Monday, November 23, 2015

Ponies, Rats, Rocks and Root Hog or Die!

Progress on winter camp proceeds very very slowly. Materials requiring Dinero, like fence posts, fence wire etc. are difficult to accomplish when the Dinero is all in somone else's pockets.

Started re-seasoning that long unused dutch oven... makes kind of a pleasant sight sippin' my brew as the evening cools down fast at sunset... once I start bakin' up my biscuits___um um um__ good Eating!

I have also started the rat wars. There's a variety of 'em around. It's not that I truly despise the dirty lil' beggars... but where you find a lot of those vermin... you find more snakes.

Now, the sort that just slither around and eat rats, no problem. Kings, Gopher snakes, etc... but... in this part of the world, a good population of mickey's cousins generally means a healthy population of the sort of serpent that buzzes when you come around... and THOSE I don't permit to live close by.

SO... the bait's have been goin' into tunnels... as soon as I find some, gopher bombs will smoke 'em... fewer rats... fewer snakes... but for right now, it's pretty much a standoff.

Gonna start on the round pen this week I believe, dinero or not. A few posts and go as far as I can till more dinero shows up. Gonna fall back and do it pretty much an old time cowboy pen.

Can't afford a welder, so... treated wood posts and girts (to deter the termites for a little while)... and then, I found a saw mill clear over into New Mexico. (hope to find one closer... but the greenies shut down all the mills I knew of in arizona years ago...  resulting in that Half a million acre Blaze a few years back from badly overgrown forests)

The mill is needed as I'll be hanging "slabwood" slats vertical on the girts. Approximately 6" to 8" wide by 7 or 8 feet tall raw slab wood "planks" will wall the Round Pen. That'll give me a tall and secure pen.

That round pen is an issue because... well... I don't much like doin' Quigleys... You know what that is don't you?

*Imitating Mathew Quigley is tough on shirts!*
That's when your 160 pound butt is dangling on the end of a 30' rope as you get drug across the desert by a thousand pound pony!

Yeah... the filly is easy and far more co-operative. She longed sweet and easy.

The colt, uhhhh... he's a mite greener. Something goosed him after 3 or 4 turns. He was coming around to the left and sudden like cut back to the outside...

Jerked me off balance 'fore I could react. I ran 3 or 4 steps maybe trying to catch up so I could set and pop him back around... buuuut... surprise, he outran me!

The last 10' of that longe line sizzled through my paws till I hit the big knot and rubber disc on the end and then guess who got popped?

Yup... A genuine Quigley... dragging through 75' or so of Arizona desert with my nose in the dirt before I managed to stop him and get a handle on the situation. Or... like he prolly thinks; "Before -I- stopped!"

Like I said to some others before; I love Arizona, but it TASTES like shit! One of those "root hog or die" sort of moments... as we weren't in a pen... if I come loose... and HE got loose... aw... it'd be a tough while tryin' to gather him back up.

I must admit it was a bit of a left handed ego boost; The old buster has enough Cowboy left to hang on! That colt learned one thing. He can run, but he can't knock me off the end of that line! ;)

So... his training is kinda suspended till I get that pen up...

In the meantime I'll dig post holes... and haul rock to work on the other lil' projects I've got in mind... hit on one yesterday; rather than buy gravel or whatever for the path to and around the fire pit, there's so much rock around, it'll take a while but I'll just collect up enough flat ones to lay down a native stone surface.

Might even do that on the whole deck area... though that'll mean a Whole Lot of Rock!! but I got time and sweat... and that makes up for a distinct lack of riches.

annnnd I'll keep on working the filly. Since she's been saddled before, I should be able to be astride her in not so long a time with little risk.... and THAT will be a huge lift to my spirits.

- Brian

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Slowly Shedding a Lot of the Stuff of Soh-Sigh-Uh-Tee...

And getting back to where I wanted to be. Each day has its chores. Each day a fresh part of who I was, and what I was pokes up its head.

*My ponies just out the door greet me each morning*

The small things... when your horses whicker to you when you step out at sunrise to toss them a flake of hay...

When you glance up and see your spurs hangin' on the wall when you come in the door from driving posts or moving panels...

or your hat hanging on a hook as you take your coffee in the morning...

The small things... that add a comfortable feeling to each day...

The days fall into a good and proper routine. Feed the horses. Do some work on putting this winter camp together...

Haul the load of water as it's needed...

I have but a small tank now. It'll do.

Hopefully, over the winter I can find a way to arrange a water trailer with a larger tank. That'll free up the truck from holding the water (which gets in the way sometimes when I need to haul feed or some such)

 Met a new neighbor a few days ago... just before a storm come a whuppin' in...

Little guy. not a whole lot bigger than a quarter. If he survives one day he'll be a dinner plate sized desert wanderer. ;)

So far we've got cottontail, Jack rabbits, Hawks and Owls. Quail, White tail deer, Javelina, coyotes and rats and gophers.

I know there are cougar around. and of course... Horses. :)

Yeah... a storm came and went. Not much really. rained a bit. Blew a lot. In some spots it snowed!

Got chilly at night. Down around 28 or so. Nice thing about "here" is... that's 'bout as tough as it gets. ;) and then the storm passes on by and heads for lands east...

Moved the pens to what I believe will be the permanent location and separated the colts... because Cora... the Buckskin, is proving to be a bit of a Hell Bitch... she's good with me, but she's a lil' bossy with CJ.

Bossy to the point she was kicking and threatening to grant me another vet bill, so now, they've got separate pens...

*Horseman's Winter Camp*

Slowly getting to work, working them. It's time to truly get "Back to Horse".

Part of that is working to put down the electronics...and... the drain of "social networks"... which are ANYTHING BUT social. I am working (And it's fearfully difficult) to abandon and ignore the news of declining human soh-sigh-uh-tee. It's a cancer on the soul that has its claws buried deep.

But, each day with Horses in this desert, the muscles to push away the insanity of humanity grows stronger... and its grip grows weaker...

My horses are waiting... and work on cleaning out the back of the trailer to get started on the next book...

- Brian

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Am a Horseman... In a World I Understand Ever Less of With Each Passing Day

I grew up thinking I understood "man". I have discovered that understanding mankind is a lot like understanding women. If you think you can do that let me expose you to a lil' and hard to swallow truth; You friend are existing in a place called Wonderland!

Truth is, I grew up knowing what people were thinking. I could predict their choices and actions.  In large part I knew what they would say and do. Where they would go and why. A valuable ability for a soldier.

But the world has changed. Humanity has changed and the evolution has not been positive. The double speak of George Orwell has morphed into reality. Up is down. Light is Dark. Truth is Lie.

Evolution, if you believe in that theory, has morphed into deliberate degeneration. Rather than survival of the fittest it has become deliberate communal destruction of the fittest because it is not fair to be stronger and more successful.

Creativity and productivity are no longer Honorable. To profanely insult, denigrate, defame and dishonor is what makes you an icon in the current world.

Judging what the reasonable action of a thinking person will be based on the physical observed reality is no longer an accurate way to predict what their actions or choices will be.

There was the time I took considerable pride in being able to understand where a person "was coming from" even if I viscerally disagreed with their judgement. I might disagree but I could understand, I could comprehend how they could come to that decision or understanding.

That allowed me to make intelligent choices and decisions of my own in the interest of dealing with and co-existing with those people.

Now a days... I haven't got a clue... To quote Hawkeye quoting his father; "They are a breed apart and make no sense."

What is plainly obvious is painted as stupidity and that which has been shown repeatedly to be folly and lie is held up as towering wisdom... and any who speaks against that insane "Wisdom" is demonized variously as degenerate, racist, misogynist, misanthrope, deviate, selfish...

So what has that got to do with being a horseman?

Well... a guy at some point has to make choices. Does he keep on trying to comprehend the incomprehensible and repair the damage? or... does he simply accept the approaching reality of what those people are creating and walk away? Does he step out from under the falling tree?

If he steps away it's a given that he does so with a wounded soul.

Horses are Honest. They play no emotional games. They are transparent.

... if ... you choose to take the time and invest the effort to learn the language they communicate in and approach them in the same honest manner you are rewarded.

You are rewarded with a relationship with the purest and most wonderful souls the Boss ever created.

I am weary of the willful stupidity and mindless ego games of humanity. I can see the end result. To me it is as clear as a meteor streaking across the sky... and as unstoppable.

So... I go back to horse for the soul filling and soul healing power they share... and the joy they provide in this life.

While mankind... with its infinitely ignorant ego... like the meteor that races across the sky... burns up in that egotistical atmosphere he alone created.

Just a Horseman

Friday, November 13, 2015

Slowin' Down? What was I thinkin'?

You might could remember I thought I might be able to start easin' up and slowin' down a bit... 

Since I done that "Slowin' down" in the past few days I've;

Hauled Cora to the vet 50 miles away to get the sutures out (She's 100% OK) which is a good thing.

I've hauled water and hay.

Picked up three fresh corral panels...

And... toted a heck of a collection of rock in a Mexican Dump truck...

Also cut out some sage brush and mesquite to make room, flagged out the road and corral locations...

...and even worked the ponies very lightly... working to get them truly halter broke... which they weren't.

So now... all slowed down and chillaxin'... I'm sore an' achin' and wonderin' if I can survive all this easin' up! You wouldn't think living in a Horse Trailer would be so athletic!

The rock is to make this winter camp of mine a mite more livable. Thought I needed two things; A fire pit and a leveled out spot to put down pavers for a deck next to my Lakota LQ, to make the camp less dusty... or muddy when it rains...

*RV Boondocking with Horses??? :-) *

 The ground slopes away from where I wanted the Lakota parked... so, lacking any dinero to buy block, I opted to invest sweat and collect up more of the rock that is found right on the place to arrange a low "retaining wall" so that I can fill behind it to mostly level the ground to set down pavers for an all weather deck surface.

 The drop is less than a foot, so only a simple, low retaining wall of native stone is needed to let me level it back to the Horse Trailer... once I get that leveled and packed... I can spend a few dollars for concrete pavers to set me a proper RV deck.
*Lakota LQ with fire pit and deck coming along*

The fill came from around a mesquite. The dang gophers had piled up dirt around the base of the tree building their own quarters and it was being choked out. There's still green shoots on it, so I think with a lil' nurturing that tree will come back and thrive...

Sorry gophers... ya'll just got evicted by an un-sympathetic cowboy!

In the pic above I just started diggin' it out. You can see how deep they'd buried it...

All dug out and ready to shine... maybe...

Now shhhhhh... this is a "secret"... but I can't think of a better use for... ahem... "Shower" water... than...

Nurturing a gopher abused Mesquite tree back to good health!

That's one of the plans... an efficient "re-use" of some of my "resources".... but shhhhh... don't tell no one...

Efficient and responsible Re-use of precious resources is something govie frowns on... even here in the desert where water is more scarce with each passing year.

Starting to feel a mite more like a place to call "home". If even it is a part time winter camp or home base...

The mesquite fired biscuits and fire cooked beans is gonna have to wait for the fixin's to be bought on the next supply run... after some more dinero shows up in the bank account... and that supply run is a hundred and fifty mile+ round trip...

*Deck in progress for a Lakota Charger LQ in my Winter Camp*

'Till then I'll keep hauling rock and dirt from gopher mounds that's scattered all over this lil patch of cowboy heaven... I'll tell you what; LQ Horse Trailer Living ain't half bad.

Maybe I'll take a day off and go walkin' around over in the Chiricahua's... it's not like they're a long ways off...

*The Chiricahua Mountains off to the east*

Or__maybe the Dragoons, which lay the other way...

*The Dragoon Mountains off to the west*

At least... when I'm not with my ponies...

*Cody Jack and Cora*
 I feel like I've got a lot done. There's much much more to do... as well as a LOT of writing that needs to be whittled on.

So... I best quit palaverin' and get to it.


Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Been a Tough Ten Days and a Couple Hard Hauls...

Where to start... Been such a trying ten days I'm not tee total sure... Let's see...

So...I took off for Gettysburg, SD getting there with little difficulty. Settled on the colt I was going to load; It was really a choice between a gelding and a sister of his... the gelding won...

*Cody Jack*
Had a bit of trouble for a couple minutes but he finally climbed in the trailer and I headed for Glendive, Montana to wait.

They hadn't got the requisite blood test for transportation.

Nigh on to half way back there... I'd just rolled through Faith, South Dakota when my eyes strolling across the dash noticed... "AW HELL COWBOY! ... You ain't got any voltage!"

Now, since fuel pumps and such require some electrical juice or your backside is sitting in a quiet truck on the side of the road with two unbroke broncs in the back... I swapped ends and headed back to Faith.

*Sitting in a truck shop... again...*

Took three hours and near to $300 to get her back on the road... third alternator in as many years...ugh...

Pulled into the county fairgrounds in Glendive after dark. Managed to get CJ into a pen without any damage and went to bed for the night. Had to sit there that night and two more waiting but got loaded early on haul day. Had a sleepless night fretting about getting those unbroke colts into the trailer. So, just to show me my faults, they both just walked right in! We made a long hard haul for those colts to Fort Collins.

*Showed before... but... Pretty Poco Fox... "Cora"... that I was waiting for*

And then the Real fun began.

You see, these colts are green as grass. They been living in a herd their whole lives. He's 4 1/2 and she's 3 1/2... and they didn't want to get caught in the pen I'd arranged. Like a greenhorn I'd chosen to leave their leads off... pitiful.

Well, with them walking a circle around me in that pen she chose to dodge between CJ and the 2X12 Farm corral fence I'd tied my road pen panels to... and found the ONLY spike head protruding from that old fence... that I'd missed...

It stuck out about 3/8 of an inch... but enough to catch her right above the eye... Aw Hell...

*Nearly catastrophic laceration*
 This being late on a Saturday afternoon... not a vet could be found... except of course for the Colorado State University Vet Hospital... where we spent a few hours and ohhh... $700?

The real concern here was, that eye wasn't blinking any more. The laceration was deep and in a bad place. Danger of broken orbital bones, nerve damage... direct damage to the eye itself...

If that eye doesn't blink it dries out and eventually, she'd lose it. :'(

My guts were churning. I was, pure honest, feeling as low as I could get... It's been an awful couple of months in my world to begin with... This happening three days after I loaded the horse in my trailer was NOT needed.

Well, we sat there in Fort Collins for a couple of days, treating the eye to keep it from drying out and causing ulcers... and begging the Boss to heal her up.

When the swelling reduced enough and that eye started blinking again, even if slow, my blood pressure dropped some 600 points.

A storm was threatening on the Front Range so I loaded late in the afternoon figuring on a long difficult haul to get to winter camp... and some $1000 poorer on an already too tight budget... My spirits were low.

But, we made the haul ok. Several hour/2 hour stops to let the ponies rest, eat and drink and we pulled into winter camp.

*Nearly Home*

... got the pen set up quick and let them out into the quiet of the Arizona sunshine.

Scrambled for a couple of days to get settled. First day was getting a few more panels to stretch the road pen into something that'd work for a longer time... since the damage done to the budget erased the ability to set up the BIG working pen I'd planned on. (that would double as a good big corral). And also, getting the water access lined out.

Next morning... I go out just after sunrise to feed. The Buckskin filly, whose name is Pretty Poco Fox... but who I've gone to calling Cora... is Queen of the roost. She was top dog in her herd and figures to still be.

Well... I fiddled too long moving bales around and she went to chousing CJ a bit... causing him to take a good big jump over the water tub and chest one of my Light weight ROAD PEN panels...

Bought 3 ten foot panels the day before... lost 1 eight foot panel the next day... can you spell snake bit?

I swear... somebody tells me their luck is all bad and I just laugh... They haven't a clue about bad luck and the steep slope some busters have to climb ever' day of their whole life... all of it against the wind.

But there's no choice but to swing a leg and ride... till the day's light is gone.

Finally hauled my first load of water the next day. Which was a good thing, because I'd given the last gallon on the rig to the ponies that morning.

Of course that was a di doe too... standing there beside the truck talking to the well guy as the tank filled... "OH CRAP!" I jumped...

Some bozo with his mind running nine oh in twelve different directions had failed to "crack" the lid on top to vent the tank. That well pressure had it swelling up like a balloon! Damn near blew the sucker up!

Sheesh... now... I've had a couple days of just talking to my horses... flagging out where I'll put my road into this lil five acre patch... and just breathing.

The days are slowing down and some of that cacophony of useless noise so-sigh-uh-tee gets shoved into our brains is fading away.

It's that racing around trying to keep ahead of the beast that trips us... trips ME. Once I get that put aside... and live in MY world... I do ok... it's trying to live in that "other" world where I don't and Never fit... that gets me into difficulty. My brain gets so fogged and spinning I'm lucky to be able to accomplish any damn thing.

I live in the Shadow of the Chiricahua Mountains now...

*My Ponies at sunset... starting to work their magic*

Working out a routine these days. Some outside work on the place. Some time with the ponies... and soon... getting back to some writing... but mostly... stopping to breathe... and see if the cacophony in my head will lay down and go quiet on this Arizona desert.