Friday, April 29, 2011

The new generation

The countryside is full of fresh, new lambs of all sizes. And like lambs everywhere they are busy critters. In some fields they are so wild they run to the back corners when they see you, and in others they come closer to see who you might be. You can always get their attention by giving a whistle. They raise their heads, look at you, and then start looking for the dog.

Home at last

Well, I made it. After lots of delays in various airports due to weather complications. It's good to be back. I attach a pic of one of the roads into the village where I am staying. They've got to kidding! Or maybe it's part of the new Tourist Population Reduction Program. (I doubt that, considering the economy, but ti does make one think.) You might have to enlarge pic to get the point. Or— come and drive this road.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Dark caught me on the way home from my Sunday visit and as dusk fell I couldn't resist stopping to make a picture of the rising moon over the prairie. It's always such an awesome sight. At the same time it can make you feel both incredibly small and richly blessed.

I'm in the middle of "trip prep" now, for the Irish journey. The last time I don't think I added a single entry to this blog while I was away. I'll try to do a little better this time, but no promises. Emma and Mags go to those neighbors' ranch and Jack goes to Burd Dawg Kolledge. I tell Em and Mags that I've been saving all year to send them to this very expensive, exclusive doggy camp. They never believe me.

Spring on the Plains

Sunday I went over east to visit some neighbors who are going to keep my two older dogs while I am gone away to Ireland. They live sixty miles away and I got to see a lot of the country between Here and There. The snow from our latest storm was in melt-down but there were still deep pockets of drifts, some six or eight feet deep. But plenty of new grass for the cattle and their new babies to find. A few of those new calves will be found later at the bottom of some of the drifts. Not many I hope.

The way in

My road, which is never much to speak of in the best of times, is more of a sunken trench or buffalo wallow than a highway. It runs due east/west and when it snows it fills up and stays that way for a long time. The county doesn't even bother with it. For most of the winter I just use the ground alongside of it. Works fine. Mostly.

April "showers"

Late last week we got another smack-down from Father Winter. Just as I was sorting my collection of seeds for the garden a fast moving blizzard roared in and covered us up again. We only got about 6" on the flat but it was enough to create some pretty impressive drifts. The next day it was supposed to continue but as frequently happens it detoured mostly around us and left us alone. The following day it went up into the 50s and most of it melted. Today is shaping up as a nice, sunny day and I can go back to sorting seeds.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Prairie style. Yesterday it was 86°. Today it is 36° and snowing. Such is life on the High Plains. No time to get bored with the weather!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Buds on the trees

Yesterday morning, 1 April. And though these "April Fools" will see a good bit of sub-freezing weather yet, they always seem to bring forth a goodly crop of green leaves when the time comes. Could this be a possible sub-gloss on Eliot's enigmatic line "April is the cruellest month..."?

Ten minutes later...

As I said— the light changes quickly.

Early morning skies

The skies right after dawn can be spectacularly beautiful on the plains. But of all skies they are the most fleeting. You have only seconds, literally, to catch a particular cast of light or the delicate colors of "first sun." A moment's delay and lost forever. But maybe tomorrow!

Moving Day

Today was the day for moving cattle from the winter to the summer ranges. Slow, dusty work and since it reached 85° this afternoon there were several stops at water tanks along the way. Never mind the calendar: this is the sure sign of spring.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Id vs. Superego

Shorthairs can be very obedient, well-trained dogs. Their genetics, plus their training, can make them stalwart pointers-of-game, maintaining a point & hold until their hunter comes on the scene to complete the drama. They can hold long down-stays. They can understand relatively complex commands and demonstrate mind-boggling reasoning skills.

But there is one area where GSPs do not shine: they have a very low level of superego where food is concerned.

This morning I decided to make a biftéc jalisco for breakfast/brunch. (Tender strips of grilled beef smothered in a hot salsa and eaten with toasted and buttered tortillas.) I sliced five strips of beef at the work table, turned to the stove for a moment, and when I turned back there were four strips of beef on the cutting board. And a guilty-looking Shorthair sitting next to the work table.

My Rotties always had very highly-developed superegos. They would never have taken anything from the table or the counter. They were very trustworthy in this regard. They liked food, very much, but they could control themselves.

I have learned by now not to push this issue with the Shorthairs. When something "disappears" from the table or the counter it is my fault, not theirs. I should know better, and I do. But this morning was the first time such a robbery had taken place so close, and so quickly. I scolded her, of course, and sent her out of the kitchen. She was very guilty. She knows she isn't supposed to do that. But she can't help herself when the chips are down. Or when the steak looks so good and is right there!