It is mid-November 2017 and the Platte County Times Recorder has not published any of my pieces. The reason? Editor Jacob Hamel, who began running my columns in June, quit or was ousted, and the new editor seems not particularly inclined toward me. I get the impression it's like an incoming president undoing whatever his or her predecessor established as valuable.
The last weekend in October some members of the Cheyenne Guitar Society, myself included, committed a handful of pieces to the recording skills of Harley Nelson. It was a fun and fruitful undertaking. Check out my Music Gallery page for postings.
For five days last week I housed and fed four pronghorn hunters who used my garage to butcher and vacuum-seal what they harvested. Son Walter had arrived from Texas with a truck full of equipment. Flying in from California were his brother and son, along with a friend the boys have known since high school. Below are some pictures. I composed a column about it that will come out on Wednesday--I'll post it under "OP-ED after it's been published.
How time goes by! Today this toddler in the picture is the age of the uncle who decades ago brought the toy horse to our house in Santa Clara, Calif. This week Walter and his middle brother are visiting my place in Wyoming to hunt pronghorn. The brother has remained in California, residing near Sacramento with is family (his older son is with him today). They flew in from California while Walter (above with harvested pronghorn) drove up from Texas. A long-time friend of theirs came also.
Whenever I return to California I am aghast at the changes--the traffic and the asphalt jungle that have replaced the orchards of the past. Recently a rash of wildfires devastated communities north of San Francisco, including the Napa Valley wine country. Karl, my brother in the picture died young of smoke-related cancer.Let me weep.
It's October 9, 2017, and guess what? It snowed here all night and into the morning. Hope the weather changes by the time my sons Walter and Frank and Frank's son Colton plus Walter's friend Robert arrive for antelope hunting. (Don't know why these two pics are so much larger than the "cookies" ones, uploaded during the same session earlier today.)
Driving on I-80 from Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct 2, 2017, put me into a snow storm that got worse as I neared Laramie. Visibility was poor and semis kept splashing slush, an unpleasant drive. I was glad to spot my turn-off 40 miles north of Laramie, but worried about the drive across the mountains from Bosler on Highway 34 to I-25. Luckily the weather cleared; no snow on the mountains and none at home. I was glad to be off the road. Next is trying to figure out how to upload pics from google drive, where my son helped me store a bunch from our outing at Lake Folsom.
Baking cookies with grandchildren Anthony "AJ" and his sister Grace the day before leaving Livermore en route to Salt Lake City. Of course the dogs have to know what's going on--you can see the tail ofLola, the children's dog, and my own dog Abby just below the counter.
To the left is Grandson AJ, proud owner of a new bat. In Livermore, AJ is a devoted Little Leaguer who is getting quite good at baseball. In addition, he is also very conscientious about his schoolwork. Quite a guy!
I've been in California's Bay Area for ten days, and it's been a busy time, what with showing the City to Rolf & contingent. Also have had to contend with identity theft and a compromised bank account, for my laptop was stolen in Salt Lake City while staying overnight with act hosts. My own fault, too--I failed to lock the car, thinking it safe in a private driveway; worse, I didn't think to bring my bag into the house with laptop, etc. Also lost the charger for my phone and the one for my dog's electronic collar. Them's the reals if you don't watch out.
Friday, September 15, 2017: Off tomorrow to visit Calif. grandkids & family (see pic after Solar Eclipse graphic below), plus my nephew and family who will be arriving from Switzerland at the SF airport. So exited! The drive will be long, to be sure, but my dog and I will stay overnight with travel-club hosts in Salt Lake City before heading down the long road to Livermore, CA. Since Rolf and family are staying at Andy's I'll be across the street at Sister Susie's who is a former Buddhist nun.
By return time, my flowers & the sunflowers pictured below will have quit blooming. It'll be fall, with north winds blowing, soon the first gusts of snow.
These flowers will soon go the way of all life. Tomatoes are ripening in containers against the house wall and raised garden beds. Unfortunately, the Roma variety, so good for canning & cooking, some developed blossom rot. In back you see the wild sunflowers that invite goldfinches, mourning doves, and sage sparrows to harvest their seeds. The sunflowers are mostly brown now.
To the right is my poetry chapbook, published years ago in California. On September 7, 2017, I gave a reading for which I selected the poem "Red-Tailed Hawk" from the collection. For comparison I preceded it by reciting "The Eagle," a six-line poem by Alfred Tennyson plus a few lines from Thom Gunn's "Tamer and Hawk." In this poem Gunn valorizes falconry, with a subtext of gay romance is intriguing.
Tennyson and Gunn are readily available for reading on the internet. A bit from these authors' biographies: Tennyson, although he had misgivings about joining the aristocracy (whom he distrusted) was knighted by Queen Victoria. Gunn, a contemporary British writer, immigrated to the United States in the sixties.
Sometimes I like to renew old acquaintances. Last week I joined Wednesday Walkers, with whom hiked when i lived in Cheyenne. Only four of us this time, and Abby the only dog hiking around Pole Mountain. Abby alerted us to a young moose and came quickly when I called to put the leash on her. We all took pictures of the moose who eyed us warily but stayed away from our group.
To gt to our meeting at Lions Park, Abby and I had to get going at 6 AM. We met at seven and got to Blair (past Vedauwoo) half an hour later. It was a hefty walk; still, we were back at Lions by noon. Stayed in town until choir practice that evening, with Abby visiting at Lynn's.
The eclipse has come and gone, but fond memories remain. At my house south of Wheatland the view was awesome. My travel guests, however, opted to drive further north after breakfast on Monday. To the right are Donna and Doug, plus Amanda, my granddaughter, viewing the eclipse in Texas.
When it turned out that Donna had left her purse at my place I ended up driving the post-eclipse congested I-25 after all to meet them at Little Bear while they backtracked from Cheyenne. I was glad to hit northbound I-25 on the way home--no traffic there!
The Great American Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, begins in the Wheatland/Glendo area at 10:24 AM with maximum coverage at 11:46 AM. "Maximum coverage" means it will be dark like night, with the sun pretty much covered. The return to full daylight will take a couple of hours.
I've seen warnings to expect congestion, traffic accidents, gas & grocery shortages. It is expected that up 60,000 round-trip travelers will come just from Colorado's Front Range alone. Lots of longer-term visitors from other states are expected as well, especially in the Jackson Hole area.
I will be hosting two sets of travel-club guests from Sunday (tomorrow) to Monday, keeping my fingers crossed that their travel goes well. Glendo Lake is a superior spot for viewing and that's where they are headed, but I'll view the eclipse from my home, thank you, having secured ISO eclipse glasses. Though coverage at my house will be "only" about 95%, I prefer to stay off the beaten path.
Aug 12: In a Cheyenne Open Exchange Library, which is essentially a box from which you take a book you haven'r read and place one from your own collection, I found a book I want to take to my grandson in California for his 11th birthday. A few years ago, my granddaughter had read it for school. The book is "Hatchet," an outdoors adventure story by Gary Paulsen, who has spent years exploring (and living within) the wilderness. "Hatchet" was first published in 1987 by Scholastic, INc, and has remained a classic ever since.
August 5, 2017: After visits of sons & families, I'm little behind with my weekly post. Below is a picture of my youngest grandchild, Grace. The picture to the right shows me with Grace and her older brother AJ on the swing in front of my entry. NO pic of granddaughter Amanda--she is at a self-conscious stage.
The pictures above are arranged as "gallery," wich means if you click on he lower edge, a hover text will appear. The pic below is an ordinary picture of the badger.
A rattlesnake had made a home for itself too close to my house. When my son arrived last week reminding me that grandchildren would be visiting in a few days, we decided to move the snake to a field away from the house. Walter explained he had heard an expert say that a snake once removed is too stressed to return to its former home. Luckily Walter is an expert on wildlife; he managed to capture the snake in a garbage can and took it down the road.
Yesterday, July 18, 2017, a young badger made its way into the sunflowers that line my three rows of small trees. The trees got planted last year by the Platte County Conservation District in a cost-sharing venture that aims to use trees as natural snow-fences.
I was weeding in front when I heard a commotion coming from Abby, my dog. She had spied the badger and was going wild. Before I could stop her, she'd grabbed the young animal and was shaking it. I yelled and screamed until she dropped it. I heard a painful yelp, coming either from Abby (if the badger had managed to lash out with its claws) or from the little animal itself. I took the dog into the house and went back t check n the unfortunate little thing. It raised itself up on all fours, puffed out its fur (which was wet from Abby's mauling), curled its lip and snarled at my in a high-pitched small voice. I went back int the house. When I checked on it later it had taken off. I hope the poor little thing makes it. This incident has been expanded into a column that's posted on the OP-ED page.
Sunday July 9, 2017. Today I was guest speaker at the UU Fellowship in Laramie. My topic, "The Unexamined Faith is not Worth Living," used as its springboard the two books with which I am currently involved via writing a long essay, namely Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife and Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. As you might imagine, these two books are on opposite ends of the faith spectrum.
Participants in the discussion group were Laramie UU members I have long known from mutual engagement in social activism. Also part of the group were authors Jeffrey Lockwood (Behind the Carbon Curtain) and Erik Molvar (Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks). I love and esteem both authors and was pleased to engage with them.
My column on hemp appeared in the Platte Country Record Times on June 14. On June 28, the same paper published my column on the contributions of Scully and Baily families to Wyoming two-year colleges. This column will also run in the Casper Star Tribune . To read them, please see the page OP-ED JUNE '17 AND UP.
June 2017. From now on I will post here the news and events from my life that you used to find under "News Log." One item of interest to my readers: Since I now live near the town of Wheatland, I publish columns with the Platte County Record Times. The first of these posts appeared on June 14 under the headline, "The unobserved benefits of hemp" and was based on a speech I gave that week at the first-ever Wyoming Hemp Fest in Alcova. The festival celebrated our legislature's having approved the farming of industrial hemp, althoughinitially as trial plots under the auspices of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.
Playing & singing "Greensleeves" at Unitarian Universalist Church in Cheyenne on June 25, 2017. I am trying to upload the recording on my Music Gallery but haven't figured out how to do it yet.
Abby has been my companion since June 2015. This pic shows us in the backyard of my former home in Cheyenne. Abby was 18 months old when she came to me, after having been with three different owners who had difficulties with her--as did I, initially. Abby settled down on my acreage.
It's nice to be acknowledged. This bouquet of roses was given me, not by my adult children (who have instructions not to waste money on flowers) but by three Ukrainians who temporarily lodged with me.