Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Boots and Saddles and Buckskin Horses...

Made a big bit of progress for me today...My Buckskin Filly hasn't had a saddle strapped on since way back in April. Long before she came to me... and then she only had maybe five or six rides... So that was fairly forgot by now.

It's one reason I've been coming along so slow... outside of having to wait on the pen to work 'em in. Yup, I've worked 'em just as if those saddles hadn't ever happened. Started pretty much right from scratch.

Buuuut... today, with a bright Arizona sun shining I took a deep breath and not tee total sure just how she was gonna accept the insult, I hung my kak on her.

I was suckin' a bit of wind as I pulled that cinch, half expectin' her to bust in two and turn my day into a rodeo.

I can honestly say I was purty grateful that she took it all in stride like a champ. Not a hump. Not a squeal. Not a buck... She just stepped out quiet and calm. (This video is right directly after I pulled the cinch on her)

Now most likely the good day was due to the quality and willingness of this filly... buuuut... I like to tell myself that part of it came from an old buster having half an idea of what he was about!

CJ... when it's his turn isn't going to be so easy I'm thinkin'. It's gonna take a mite more effort at thinkin' with him... but Miss Cora is tunin' me up right smart for that job!

Takin' my time has been my plan all along with this pair. I'd like to be a lot farther along but, I'm kinda bringin' myself back a mite as I'm bringin' them up... so, small little steps is the best option. That-a-way I don't get them stressed out too far... which might could end up puttin' a fresh dent in my over dented hide.

That's also the way I go about colts. Slow and easy. I'm in no hurry and it most often provides for a "more harmonious outcome."

Most every time you get a colt to buck, it's because you tried to push it too far too fast. Give 'em time to sort things out, especially the foundation bred like these colts and most of the time you can avoid the scraps all together.

... and those that do come along generally don't turn out to be much of a thing.

Kinda like that gettin' my nose drug in the dirt a few weeks back 'cause I tried to push things without having the proper set up... I learnt that lesson quick and proper! I might coulda got around it 35 years or so ago... these days... using the thing between my ears most usually works out better than trying to be a tough rooster...

... I'm thinkin' the crowin' days have passed on by... now's the time to use those quieter tricks the old cowboys taught me.

Yeah... just in time for the four or five days of rain predicted for next week... kurrr-wrap!

Well... at least when that stops I'll have her ready to maybe swing a leg on! and THAT... will be a good thing for the attitude that takes me so much effort to maintain in any sort of a way that could be described as positive!

Between the generator being unwilling to start on these cold mornings... which that GOL DURNED AL Promised were in the past what with the earth turning into an oven and all! ... my pipes all too frequently freezing up at night, the rinky dink batteries on this rig unable to get through a night, and that Bat shit crazy dog maybe breakin' his foot...

... It just might be a good thing for people around... that I stay parked out in the desert by my lonesome... they tend to stay happier that-a-way!

Onliest thing I know is... when I walk out of that pen after a good workout with one of these colts I feel good. I feel right... and I feel stupid for ever leaving them behind... and at least for those few moments when it's just me and that colt... all the shit-storm that seems to keep itself stirred up around me fades away... and all the struggle is worth every scar.

- Brian

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

From Sunrise to Sunset... Fill the Day

Monte Walsh on the stereo, coffee in the cup... Mr. Heater is warming me...and another flashy sunrise is cracking over the Chiricahuas...

Chiricahua Sunrise
Now that Mr. Heater. Has its pluses and its hassles. The lil thing can be moved to where ever you want heat so that's a plus. The only real hassle is fueling it. Let's face it, $5.67 for a pair of lil' bottles that only last maybe five hours each on low gets pricey quick.

There is a solution for that. You get the lil adapter gizmo to refill the throw-away bottles. That way you're burning the $1.60 propane from the Co-op,

 Only problem there is, and this is the only real hassle...

Refilling actually only partially refills those bottles. They just won't get as much gas as they had when store bought.

So they're only good for maybe two hours. But that's two hours of a lot cheaper gas... I just need to buy some more of the pricey ones, so I have more "refilled".

Two hours in the evening on one bottle and two in the morning on the other just ain't sufficient.

Was walking back to the Lakota after feeding last night. Looked up into the fading pale blue eastern sky... it was just before sunset...There it was hanging over the Chiricahuas.

You know, the camera only wanted to capture a bright white flash... Buuuuut... if you bump those settings to underexpose it a ways... it kills all that glare and you can capture a pretty cool image...  you'd think it was the dark of night with that exposure dropped. Actually the sky was a very soft, almost purple by that time... It lets you catch the detail pretty fine though.

Them ponies are doing me pretty good. Three days now I finally got to work them like I'd planned to be doing back in the early part of November. The tribulations of equipment, horses and finances shot that plan to ribbons. It took till just those few days ago to complete the pen I required to work these horses proper.

Now, with that pen up and the sun mostly smilin' on me... we've had three solid workouts the past three days and three days of solid, seeable gains.

 That feeling, I wish I could shape it into words. When loneliness is weighing heavy on a solo cowboy... and the day seems dark and grey...

It lifts his spirit in ways he can't speak... when his horses come straight to the fence to whicker a hello ever' time he comes around.

They say that Horses don't have, can't have the same emotions as the two legged varmints that plague the earth.

And I hope that's true. This old chunk of rock hasn't benefited that I can see from that infection...

Now, how-some-ever... There is nothing more beautiful and pure... than the spirit of a horse.

Nothing more glorious than a herd of horses racing across the high desert.

Whatever those emotions are that Cora and CJ are giving me, I'll take 'em... and count myself fortunate to have had the lil' bit of wisdom left that it took to bring them back into my world.

I've come close to getting started on some leather books. Working out some "ideas" on things I've never done before. I'm needful of not only bringing the Horses "Home" but... some other things that got left back as well. The horses re-awakened that want too.

It's not about making money... though that is sure needed... It's about... what Gus was talkin' about when he told Call; "You just don't get it! It ain't dyin' I'm talkin' about__It's LIVIN'!"

With whatever time is left... I need to be doing those things that FIRST, grant an inner satisfaction...

Think of the scene in Lonesome Dove where Gus was sitting with a jug, alone on the porch; He looked around and saw Call working with the Hell Bitch. Some of the boys were digging a well... another shoeing a horse. The sun was setting. Gus looked around at it all and with a smile on his face nodded to himself... A bit of that inner satisfaction. He felt like he was where he belonged and it was good.

...and only then, after your soul has been fed, when that inner hunger is satisfied... think about how or if that "thing" you work at can maybe help pay the Mordida that a modern cancerous soh-sigh-uh-tee demands for permission to live.

 ... The changing light of a sunset...

 The sunsets around here... there's a real danger of the repetition of such things becoming "Oh... just another sunset..." I have to deliberately remember Gus's words all the time... "you have to learn to take pleasure in All the little things..."

Like that last one...

Playing with some things... makes it look like a chalk drawing don't it? :)

Find the little things to fill a day with creativity... When you've fed that need...THEN think about making bread...

- Brian

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Just Me, My Horses and a Bat Shit Crazy Dog...

I've no sliver of an idea what's gonna happen come the spring or what the hell I'm a gonna be doing, so I just keep working here... I just keep on working like spring is some far off time that will never come.

For now... these are my reasons for being...

*Cody Jack and Cora*

When every time you step outside they call to you... when they watch every time you are moving around... when they follow you around inside a pen... it touches a rider's soul. Those who know not the soul of a horse can't have any idea what I'm talking about... But those that do live with the spirit of a horse touching their own understand that "Thing" that cannot be put into words.

Lately the work has been going such that I'm sore and weary at the end of day...

*Finished Round Pen and relocated the corrals/pens*

The round pen got finished up a few days ago... at least to where it's functional. The ponies were greatly pleased to be able to move around some. They'd been cooped up for too long in their constricted pens...

The pens got moved as soon as the round pen got done. With the ponies being able to move around so much more with the big pen available I figured them to get along better. When I moved their pens I hooked them back together which allowed a bigger pen for Cora... I'd separated the pens so they wouldn't fight through the panels.

I also managed to apply some tweak to the panel CJ had busted up a few weeks back. Got it to where I could actually use it again, which stretches his pen back out a bit... so they've got bigger night pens and with the Round Pen in action they've got work to do each day which TOTALLY changes the atmosphere between my ears! __ and theirs.

The old saying that; There's Nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse is absolute Truth!

That carries over into a lot of other places... You get a lot more done when your vision isn't so dark...

One thing was, that NW corner of the patio I'm currently still working at was discovered to be a mite low... So, I added another course of stones wove in together... The fill to level that up went in today.

Then... the local range cows tore down my hay pen a couple of weeks back. Forced me to load the hay back into the trailer in the dark of night. I was NOT a pleasant cowboy... and it disrupted my "working space" in the back of the trailer... due to the fact that there was more hay so No Room for my work tables.

So... on a sliver thin budget I managed to squeeze out a few wood posts to set deeper and stiffer. Hopefully it'll make a pen good enough to hold those dang cows out... put it over by the new pens location by the round pen as well.

*New 'temporary' hay pen started*
With the hay able to be took out of the trailer again... I got to work at sunset tonight re-establishing my work space in the back of my Lakota LQ...

This time, I did things a lil' different... using the Braiding stand as my writing desk, leaves the bigger table open to allow me to do some leather work and maybe turn out a leather book/journal/album or two...

*Mr. Heater__It Works!*

Sitting there just now in the dark of morning with that lil' heater roastin' me.

Picked up my second try with a Mr. Heater just the other day. The first try ended in a mite of excitement when it kinda literally blew up. Flame was goin' ever'where.

Fairly exciting when it's parked three feet from you!

So now, with this heater I don't hardly run the main furnace at all. I blanket up at night and leave it turned almost off. The batteries in this rig aren't up to the task. They die before the night is done if I leave it turned up.

Come the morning I fire up Mr. Heater... and only start the generator to crank up my Mr. Coffee...

A Bigger Battery bank and a solar system are on the list... but... that's gonna be a bit.

Just had a thought... Why is it always Mr.? How come we can't warm up with a HOT LADY heater? or take a sip from a Sizzling Suzie coffee maker? How come it's always got to be this damned polite MR baloney?

Well, for now, this lil' Mr. Heater has cut my generator run time by 75%. Made no sense to burn propane AND gasoline to keep warm.

A routine around here in the morning is to wander out into the desert with my Mexican Dump truck... and gather rock for the two main projects on my radar.

Those two being that patio that is creeping along, and, some sort of a combination leather studio/writing shed...

I feel like that pile of stone should be a lot bigger. The way my legs were quiverin' pushin' that dumper across the desert filled up with rock the half dozen times it took for that pile...

... it SHOULD be bigger!

... If I can manage it... I've got and idea for maybe a small... as in really small__size of my current living quarters small__ stone cabin. Maybe even a small bathhouse?

Lots of ideas... the problem is... There is Always a problem hangin' somewhere around me; It cranks on me, it really really does, that these damned rats I've been battling can dig their homes out where ever they please. The Hawks flyin' around can build their nests where ever they choose and lord help you if you molest THEM!

The coyotes and cougars bunk where they want... and hunt when they want. The javelina come and go. The quail, the deer... ALL of them without requiring the permission of any others of their kind.

Only MAN requires those around him to PAY for permission to breathe and be alive on this earth.

ONLY MAN requires another man to seek permission to build himself a shelter.

ONLY MAN believes he owns and controls the earth. ONLY MAN.

All the rest just go on about the business of life...

You know what? That's me... I'm just one of those critters.

I don't seek the permissions of human soh-sigh-uh-tee... Humanity has proven that it doesn't deserve the respect I give a rat... I go about my life seeking only a couple of things Gus said;

"There's nuthin' better than riding a fine horse into new country." 
"My God you just don't get it!__ It ain't dyin' I'm talkin' about... It's LIVIN!"

Just me, my horses and a bat shit crazy dog... Free on the Earth.

- Brian

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Same Old Same Old...

Hard to finish a project that requires bought materials... when you open your wallet an' the onliest thing that falls out is dust...

Only two things you can do 'bout then...

One is shave expenses... stay close to home and burn less fuel. The other is... eat less.

... at 'bout 30 cents a cup, you can Crocodile Dundee it! Yup. "You can live on it... but it tastes like shit!"

The other is just keep huntin' up and haulin' rock from the desert round about. 'course, once you find it you still have to set it.

Turns out, though there's plenty of stone around, most of it is more rounded and lumpy. The flat sort of a suitable thickness for what I'm trying to do with it makes it a lil bit more of a search.

So it starts goin' a lil' bit slow as you clean out that what's closer to home.

I started mortaring in the stones I've placed.

I'm doin' the lazy man's mortar method. Just dust in dry mortar mix 'tween the stones and then mist it all a few times and let it set up.

I'm not trying to build the Taj Mahal... just set a place that cuts the dust some.

It's a lil bit of a curiosity. Those stones aren't really as far apart as they might seem in places.

The stones ain't got square edges. As I fill the gaps with mortar it widens out a lil' bit where the stones curve away.

All's good. Works for me.

Worked on another project I picked up a bit ago as well.

The headlights on the truck have been slowly fading. Part of the issue I think, is the bulbs themselves. The other was the lenses. I still have to replace the bulbs but I tried something I saw a test video on and damn if it didn't work out pretty sharp.

Pretty easy to see how fuzzy and hazy the lenses have gotten in the last 240,000 miles... These pics are after I washed 'em.

But do you think Like I do?

When you hear a salesman make his big claims your first thought is..."What a scam"?

When you hear him say "Our whizbang kit will restore your "Insert product name here" To Just like new condition!"

The thought in your mind is; "Yeahhhh... riiiiight."


I used the 3M Headlight Restoration kit... the manual variety.

What can I say? From Hazy and cloudy lenses to crystal clear, and a whole lot cheaper at like $15 than replacing the clouded lenses!

I spent most of an hour... maybe... if you include all the dawdlin' and muckin' around. Three step process you can do pretty darn quick.

'course... now I have to clean off the drippin's from wet sanding...

The latest views from here on the high desert...

*The Dragoons - North End*

*That lil' bump on the left is called Mexican Hat*

* A neighbor... several hundred yards off to the west*

*Dos Cabezas Mtns*
Just goin' day by day... slow and cold sometimes. This high desert has been gettin' pretty cool lately at night. Supposed to be down to 19 or maybe 17 tonight and the next couple...ugh... my puny batteries aren't up to that task... and my gennie don't like firin' up when the cold dawns are that cool...

... might could be I'll be warmin' under a blanket with a cup of propane made coffee in the very near future... waiting for daylight.

- Brian

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Storm clouds, Thieving Cattle and Rat Wars

Been making progress... sort of. Three steps forward, two sometimes four back.

*Arizona - Storm brewing over the Chiricahuas at sunset*

 All a guy like me can do is curse... kick a rock, threaten the Devil... and after a bit, go back to work.

The round pen is progressing Slowly. Too slowly. I Really want to get to work IN it not ON it!

I have but seven more posts to set, as soon as some dinero shows up. Five line posts and the two gate posts. I've been scheming how to finish the "infill" of the sides. Was hoping to do that with barky poles cut on national forest. Their timber guy lead me to believe I'd be able, but then, that was last week and I've not heard a peep. Likely I'll just use some horse fence and call it good.

The Deck/Patio is taking shape. Takes a lot longer when you've got to go haul rock from two hundred yards away and more in a mexican dump truck! ... after you use that Mexican Dump truck to haul in the fill from gopher/rat mounds that lay in the opposite direction.

But, I set some big rocks to be the step down from the patio area to the path that leads out to the fire pit...

Then I started laying natural stone behind that. That'll be what will surface the patio. A lot cheaper than store bought pavers, and it'll look nice I believe. It's just gonna take some little while to gather enough up... hoping to do all that out to and around the fire pit as well.

Making some progress. I just knock 'em in with a rubber mallet to where they're as level as natural stone could be...

*Natural Stone winter camp Patio*

Another thing I've been working on is... The Rat Wars... and till today I've been in a bit of a stand off. Bait blocks, rat bombs... flooding... The rats, or whatever ya'll wanna call 'em persevered.

But then I seen a gizmo in the hardware store. It's a rubber deal that clamps onto your vee-hickle's exhaust pipe and you gas the buggers for a bit. Only problem was it was too small to fit the truck. And then, I had an epiphany!

I been spending too many dollars running the generator to keep the piddly pair of batteries the maker put on this rig juiced up for the cold nights we've been having. I tried a Mr. Heater "Buddy" to supplement - But it blew up... Kinda literally - which is fairly exciting when you're sitting maybe three feet away working on the laptop! I'm working on that problem still.

But, with a few minutes in the plumbing aisle I invented my own connection that clamps onto the GENERATORS pipe!

 Since I have to run that a few hours a day and they say twenty or thirty minutes should turn the trick...

I spent a lil' gas today and played evil cowboy on several rat tunnels!

Soooo... as I juice the batteries I'll reduce the snake bait around here... and the damage the diggin' little chewers do to other things!

Then... I've been battling with the cows round abouts... Arizona is a "Free Range" state so you have to "fence out" what you don't want coming in... and I'm OK with that... I just don't have the dinero to get to that fencing... even just a couple strands of electric... so I built a little "hay yard" to protect my hay and get it out of the trailer - so  I can work back there (If I ever solve the early morning/night heating difficulty)

Well... Arlo has been finding use running the buggers off... I was hoping (but not really expecting) them to learn to just stay away... last night, 'bout ten O'clock I heard something, put the flashlight out the door and three or four of the wannabe Burger Kings were ripping down my hay yard... Pulled the T posts right out of the ground! grrrrrrrrr...

Left me with no choice but to hustle around in the moonless dark and shove what I'd spread out in the back of the Lakota LQ so I could work back into the front stall. Then pile that hay back in the trailer so I could sleep not worryin' 'bout if the hay I can't afford to replace would still be there come dawn... arrrrrggggghhhhh.

Seems like sunset and sunrise is when the light shows this place off the best... Here's some more of those Arizona sunset times...

And a couple views of the Chiricahaus off to the east a little ways...

Like I said, here at 4400 feet or so it's been getting cold at night, down into the mid to high twenties, the last week or so. Supposed to do that for at least another week.

The simple truth is, like what they put in most "RVs" the batteries in this Horse Trailer rig aren't up to the task... considering the furnace they put in is barely up to the task... so... I'll be working on a more efficient, non electric heat source to stretch those batteries... until such time as I can put in the solar power and battery bank I am wishful of... but that'll wait on a few other priorities... and I'll just pile up more blankets at night.

Time to go work a pony...

- Brian