Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bronze

Why I need th is brønze baby falcon by Peregrine O'Gormley at the Peters:


Spiked collars




{Intro from Cat: Last week, a wolf tried to get into a flock of yearling sheep on the mountain, and ended up in a brawl with six guardian dogs. Although the wolf was injured, it escaped without succeeding in killing any sheep. If it lives, I'm hoping it learned a valuable lesson. A couple of the dogs were injured but are fine.
Another flock moved several miles downriver from our house, getting out onto the desert and further away from the Wind River Mountains here in western Wyoming. This is the flock we've had here all summer, with no depredation even though the wolves kept checking in on them and testing the dogs. We assumed things would be safer for that flock, but apparently at least one wolf decided to follow their movement downriver.

Bear-Bear, the biggest and toughest livestock guardian dog I've ever known (a Central Asian Ovcharka/Akbash cross), was badly injured. Since then, I’ve been getting lots of comments that we need to put spiked collars on our dogs. It’s an easy suggestion, but a lot harder to implement on a naïve dog population that most people realize. If you’ve got a stable dog pack on a set acreage it’s easier, but when you are managing a dog population involving four groups of dogs in a fluid system across large expanses of landscape, it’s much more complicated.}

A spiked collar is a tool, an added defense for a livestock guardian dog. But just like any tool, there are appropriate times and places for their use, and some dogs are more suited to using them than others. Placing spiked collars in a dog pack is something that has to be closely supervised.

We have spiked collars, and have used them in the past with a group of mature dogs with one dominant male leading the bunch (Rant). But we are not currently using spiked collars, for numerous reasons. There are four groups of dogs out with different sheep flocks, and the members of each group change on a fairly regular basis at this time of year (for a variety of reasons) when the sheep are on the move. That means that pack dynamics change as well.

In addition, since we’ve brought in our first outside dogs in about 10 years, we’ve bumped up pup production to get these dogs into the working gene pool. So we’ve got all age groups present, from pups just a few months old that are interacting with yearling dogs, dogs with a few years experience, dogs in their prime, and older dogs.

Adding sharp objects to dog collars in this scenario would lay the groundwork for a disaster. Dogs may get their teeth knocked out from inter-pack brawls involving spiked collars. Dogs are smart and know to use the spikes as a weapon. That is great when dealing with wolves, not so great when you’re hormonal and mad at another dog for stealing a bone or growling at your offspring.

In their countries of origin, there are some areas where the collars are often used; in other areas, not so much; and in some areas, not at all. Even where they are used, rarely are all members of a pack collared – only those lead or more aggressive dogs most likely to be first on the scene to challenge a wolf wear spiked collars. In some areas we visited in Turkey, the dogs only wear the collars in certain grazing areas, and by law the collars must be removed before the flocks return to the village.

Juvenile dogs that are still growing and wrestling and figuring out their place in the pack generally shouldn’t wear spiked collars, and we don’t have any collars that small anyway (as in nothing that would fit Boo, who survived a wolf attack in May).

Last week, four dogs from the river flock went on a walkabout and visited a neighboring ranch that does not use dogs of any kind. The presence of four large dogs was startling enough, but we’ve got dogs from Tajikistan with cropped ears – and for some reason, that seems to scare the hell out of people. Fortunately, these kind people got word to us so we could quickly rid them of their unwelcome visitors.

Perhaps when we’ve got a more consistent dog population (which is during the winter when we’ll be feeding hay to the sheep and the flocks are further apart) we can put collars on some of our dominant dogs. We would have more time to supervise the process at that point. But until then, it’s not a good option.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Great News!

Two days ago, Lauren defended her thesis and is now DOCTOR Lauren McGough.
Now some well deserved rest, with eagle...
Here she is on her first trip, st seventen (sixteen?) with the late Aralbai...

All our love and congratulations!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Alive and Kicking

Contrary to rumors, I'm doing pretty well. I've had some trouble with the drugs but I'm still advancing to a second operation.


Meanwhile, I have three books ready to go in quick succession. The first is my "legendary"-- I know, I know, but it has been nearly finished and read by friends in "Samizdat" for years- novel Tiger Country;.

The second is a much expanded "Book of Books", called With Trees; can you guess its name's origin?

Third is a new look at what made the Passenger pigeon a unique species. As Robert Bakker said about dinosaurs, it is more interesting to know what they were like when they were alive than what killed them. We know what killed the Passenger pigeon. What made it the weirdest vertebrate species on earth? I have some ideas in A Feathered Tempest.

And the novel? Here's what Malcolm Brooks says about it: "Steve Bodio brings his legendary Renaissance vision to this startling first novel, a work so mammoth in scope and elegant in execution it makes me wish he’d been writing fiction all along. Recalling the edgy best of Ed Abbey and Jim Harrison, and reminiscent of James Carlos Blake’s contemporary border noir, Tiger Country throws modern heroic renegades into the gravitational pull of the ancient past, to encounter the origins of the human condition. Though it makes admirable use of the techniques of the modern thriller, this book nonetheless has its roots in the classical literary tradition, populated by fascinating, unpredictable characters asking dangerous questions about the world we inhabit. Gripping, and utterly one-of-a-kind."

Plus the cover photograph by Jackson Frishman of Ladron Peak, the legendary Theives' Mountain that also dominates the opening scenes of Edward Abbey's novel The Brave Cowboy, the first great modern "western"

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Coming Attractions...

Thus and more...

Perfect Day?

“The most appealing daily schedule I know is that of a turn-of-the-century Danish aristocrat. He got up at four and set out on foot to hunt black grouse, woodcock, and snipe. At eleven he met his friends, who had also been out hunting alone all morning. They converged ‘at one of these babbling brooks,’ he wrote. He outlined the rest of his schedule. ‘Take a quick dip, relax with a schnapps and a sandwich, stretch out, have a smoke, take a nap or just rest, and then just sit around and chat until three. Then I hunt some more until sundown, bathe again, put on white tie and tails just to keep up appearances, eat a huge dinner, smoke a cigar and sleep like a log until the sun comes up again to redden the eastern sky. This is living…. Could it be more perfect?’” — Annie Dillard
(Thanks to Tim G. The unnamed aristo was Karen Blixen's father))

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Ain't Dead Yet 2

!! Have been busy, broke, aNd sufferjng everything from wrong meds to (found, never fear; guess WHO? )lost dogs, to Libby's becoming, I hope extremely temporarily , a non walking casualty; finally, idiotically, attempting TWO hawks. Nobody could say my life has been boring...

More regular blogging will resume soon. Meanwhile a few images and such...

Creaky old New Nexicans.
Hauksbee getting a wet- down on a hot day
Outside with the irrepressible Bo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Peter Noone RIP

After a long battle, Peter Noone has finally come to rest...

I can only guess how reluctantly. He spent his a whole life in outdoor retail, starting at Berkeley's pioneering Ski Hut under the legendary catalogue pioneer George Rudolph (I believe they were the first outfitter to have a mail order catologue) ; then joined his buddy Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia, where he remained for over 4o years. I only hope Patagonia will survive him. His good taste (his favorite city was Paris) and his incorrigible political INcorrectitude served a company occasionally hampered by taking itself entirely too seriously.

Not Peter. A sophisticated urbanite with an occasional foul mouth and, for years, a heavy cigarette habit, he did not fit the image of an outdoor clothing executive. What he did have was an abiding fascination with matching the hatch with tiny flies in sophisticated streams like those in Yellowstone. I recall one day hearing he and Yvon making fun of themselves for being obsessed with "tiny fairy hatch matching", but they were good at it, something I haven't had the discipline or time to do.

He could also be a very innovative hatchet man, doing jobs that no one else could figure out how to do. When the insane cult CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant) came to the Yellowstone Valley, they located there because they were afraid the world was about to end in vulcanism and atomic war. (That they were then located between the largest missile field and the largest supervolcano in the world did apparently not trouble their consequence free minds).At that time, Patagonia replaced or refunded any return without question. A peculiar problem soon arose. CUT members bought over $10,000 worth of clothes in a particular faded cranberry color that caught the imagination of members as the right color for their death shrouds. When they didn't die, they intelligently if dishonestly wanted to return it and get their money back. My feeling, as most sane people's, was too bad; the color didn't save them - stupidity did.

Enter Peter with a solution both Solomonic and satisfying. You can have your money back, but only if you never do business with Patagonia again. Patagonia had to block the zip codes in the upper Yellowstone Valley for a few years. But it worked.

I wonder what Peter would have thought of the fellow who burned his jacket to stay warm while climbing the Grand Teton and wanted it replaced? As I used to say when I was a kid "I'd give a nickel to hear that!"

Good show, Peter -- I hope there is good wine and lots of fishing on the other side...

Peter and Malinda Chouinard several years back

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Those Who Abide

Sometimes this journal seems to be a chronicle of death and dissolution. This may be natural for 68 year old man with Parkinson's ticking away in his breast, even if his prospects are better than some people's. But whatever mortality lies beneath, Querencia is supposed to be a celebration, even when it does obituaries.

This time I'd like to celebrate some friends who are still alive and have overcome many things to be where they are. This can be said of many readers and characters in Querencia. To name a few: Dutch and Margory, Cat and Teddy, Jonathan, Cass, Chas, Brad, Reid and Reed, Petro and Annyushka and Vadim. The list goes on...

Here I'd like to celebrate a special few. I just got the latest photo of Tim Gallagher hawking with John Loft in England, happy survivors if ever there were any, last week. Tim briefly found the Ivorybill a number of years ago (I believe he hit on the idea on a visit here, where we contemplated how cool it would be to see one, and he went the next year.) He has since written several other good books, including one on Emperor Frederick and on his (Tim's) youthful time spent in prison, and a harrowing trip to Mexico where he attempted to find the Imperial woodpecker, perhaps the first intentional victim of Biocide. When J. P. S. Brown, the legendary 89 year old border cattleman and novelist, and probably the hardest man I know, heard that this white boy (he was born in England, grew up in LA, and looks like he was separated at birth from Jimmie Paige) was going to go to country he had sold out of because it was too dangerous (and Joe is alleged to eat wolves for breakfast, and to be the cowboy in Tom Russell's song who, after killing Apaches for their bounty, rode into Durango to ride up the whorehouse stairs) said to me "They'll kill him and eat him, for breakfast maybe even raw!"

But he made it out. His first post- mountain Email, sent from Durango after a day of sleep and R & R, began: "...The houses that were still standing when we went in were burning when we left. The good narcotraficante with the AK47, who we hired to guard us, refused to ride with us on the way out, out of pure fear. It was a long five hour drive through the mud to get off the mountain, trying not to look in the eyes of the drivers of the cars coming the other way."

During these years he and his wife Rachel Dickinson, an original writer herself and author of a curiously melancholy book on falconry herself,
suffered the loss of their son to suicide. They don't complain about it. They talk about it just enough, or maybe not enough. They feel it.

John Loft: what can I say? Schoolmaster and classical poet, he already had 50 years of falconry when he published A Merlin for Me. It contains illustrations by writers who became well known, history, biology, rhyming poetry, including a dedication which contains the line "And especially to Steve for the last approving tic." He also draws on his admiration for the great falconer E. B. Michell,(which in my opinion he surpasses in his own great book); The Art and Practice of Hawking was Michell's masterwork and curiously the first "real" falconry book I read (T. H. White, eminently literary, doesn't count in the same fanatic way). But my first copy was a modern reprint, not the Edwardian relic he presented me with -- a magnificent present from John, the Merlin man, real mentor to such as Helen Macdonald, and a spiritual mentor to me. He has never written an ungraceful line.

John is old enough to have known all the greats and good enough to keep most of his stories kind. He took in two shaggy American ragamuffins he knew only from correspondence, orphans of the storm who blew into Lincolnshire on the train with the spring rains. He treated them as friends, made them friends with his good wife Nancy (she didn't even know they were coming!!), and took them to the pub where they feasted on local delicacies and discussed the differences between American and British falconry. He took them to visit some Yorkshiremen, "Geordies" whose accents were so thick that Libby didn't even realize they were speaking English. John laughed aloud when I told him about my recent vivid first meeting with Jemima "Mima" Parry-Jones, to whom I was introduced by the rather serious artist and zoologist serious Jonathan Kingdon. When she took my hand she said "I know who you are! You're the fucking American CUNT who wrote that the British have nothing to teach us but history" John grinned and said "If you think she's bad, you should have heard her father!"(the legendary austringer and falconer Philip Glasier, friend and hunting companion of Prince Philip). Mima has become a friend, and the whole episode confirms my theory that the foulest mouths are owned by aristocratic women and Italian- construction workers in New York City. That they are the last two groups to smoke unfiltered cigarettes may be relevant too...

John is still hawking, still flying Merlins. I won't say how old he is but he won't see 80 again. Tim goes out with him every time he goes to England and sends me a picture of the two of them. Here is the latest.


Wendy Parker came to see us the other day. She was one of my best students at Wildbranch, though she didn't publish enough. What she did do was hunt. She had rare German pointing dog and an eponymous gun. For a time she went with our difficult friend, Jerry, who had the best collection of American doubles a poor man could have. They are both biologists and are smart as hell.

What I didn't realize is that it had been more than 20 years since I had seen her. She looked exactly the same -- I DON'T.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Timothy Murphy,1951- 2018; RIP

I cannot do justice to Tim's many interests and careers here even if it were not late at night. Farmer, businessman; poet and student of poetry, vigorous with unfashionable rhyme and meter (it was said that under the tutelage of his Yale mentor, Robert Penn Warren, he memorized 30,000 lines of Greek and English poetry); adventurer, gay man, gun nut (a 28 bore on the prairie!); Catholic (as another Catholic writer, Michael Gruber, once put it, practicing and trying to be perfect, with no illusions!)

In a just world he might well have been poet laureate, and he was enviably productive too. His cancer diagnosis spurred him into writing at least four extra BOOKS!

He wrote the best poems on dogs of our time, and on our common mortality:

When the returning dove
roosts at your mother's grave,

Ill bury a box of ash
beside her in the sod.

Vaya con Dios, love,
You were the dog of God.

Our fellow bird hunter, Catholic, and writer Jameson Parker called him "A Predatory Poet in a State of Grace." Exactly right.

Oh and-- for extra cool points: His childhood babysitter was Bob Dylan,

Robert Valenzuela June 2018 ; RIP

When we first knew Robert well, he was riding high. We called him "The Mayor of the Alley" then, and he ramrodded several Navajo work crews for us to build our yard, garden, loft, and outbuildings. As Libby said wonderingly he was "illiterate" in at least four languages.

We met him at a Torres mattanza back in 85. He was still under the influence of his elder brother, Johnny, not an entirely good things. For one thing, Johnny was a criminal; for another, he was unlucky. As Marshal Larry said "You don't steal a bag of pinions with a hole in it so it leaves a trail wherever you go." Johnny died nominally committing a crime that was almost as ludicrous as it was heartbreaking, and Robert was never on the wrong side of the law again.

He fought the insulting nickname "Lurch" all his life, and many people, even good ones, were unaware that he detested it. I got in a real fight with a Taoseno thug whose wife was living here in the Witness Protection program for ratting out the Dixie mafia; unfortunately she always got drunk and told people about it and had to be moved. I have not been moved to fistfights for a long time. But when an out of town criminal told me he could insult my friend any time, I lost it.

Robert could do almost any kind of outdoor work. He did so for free or whatever money was available. He also hired some really peculiar Navajos. One tried to sell me the shoes he was wearing when he was drunk, and Floyd Mansell was inclined to doubt this story until the guy came to him the following week and tried to sell him his pants. And there were two who tried to have Libby cook them their liver ("stone soup?"), and one that broke into our front room and piled all the books he could find on the floor to use as a bed; the dogs who were used to drunk indians, didn't make a fuss, and when I woke him up in the morning asked me innocently if this were not the Farr Ranch, 60 miles away and 20 miles off the pavement.

Robert could talk to all of them and explain them to us and us to them. He gradually cleaned up the alley with me, putting trash barrels out for beer cans, and barbed wire in the weeds so people could not sleep there. He traveled like Dr. Who, often wearing two coats with lots of pockets. I never saw him extract a kitten but but he did produce beer and pinion nuts from one. Once when we weren't home, he brought in an insane Cooper's hawk dying of aspergillosis in one of those pockets. When we didn't appear at the door he went inside and put it in Lily the dachsund's sleeping crate and left a beer as a sign that he was here. Needless to say, Lily refused to go in her crate that night. Imagine our surprise when we looked inside and found an irate dragon inside.

His appearance could be unusual -- he often wore dreadlocks or cornrows and two large overcoats stuffed with things. Once my rather military, very precise Scottish friend Bodie rushed into the kitchen to hiss urgently "Stephen! There's a transient sitting in your living room!" I was able to reassure him without even looking. "That's OK, Bodie. That's not even a transient -- that's Robert, and he's family."

Robert unfortunately lived with Zelma, a Navajo woman turned nasty by misfortune. There are many stories, some of which I will tell. One night she ran him through with a pitchfork and stuck him to the door. He had to be medevaced out by helicopter, which cost $30,000. I explained to the hospital that I was not responsible for him -- he just had our phone number. They fortunately understood and said "That's OK sir -- this is New Mexico!". Nevertheless, Robert generally paid his way.

He "took care of" a large extended dysfunctional* family of mostly Navajos.Such taking cars could include such unusual benefits as participation in the Annual Easter Beer Can Hunt in Roberts cluttered yard. Trouble was, they brought Alamo's most dysfunctional social habits to town, one that destroyed easily 50 buildings in the first decade I lived here: making fire rings on wooden floors, trusting to a half inch of sand to save the floor and the house. It never did, but they were always so very COLD.

When Zelma died, Robert told me that the survival of his house depended on the mental health of Zelma's 24 year old son Bruce.If he got sober, all would be well, but if he continued to drink he would burn the house down. It took all of 5 months for Bruce to pick option 3. Robert soon moved to Socorro where he had fewer friend's to watch out for him, and where he died this week of complications of cirrhosis, one of which i suspect was malnutrition. It wouldn't have happened up here I think, or not that way...

Robert's ife was full of almost unbearable tragedy. He and his brother were pt as virtual slaves by their foster family as children. He lost that charming if ridiculous brother to a cold blooded profit murder, his regained teenage son (to suicide), two wives (these still live) , and another girlfriend, who was decapitated in a grisly car accident on the Alamo road. He mourned them deeply, then let them go. What could such a life teach but fatalism?

If the church still makes saints out of simple-minded sinners, I have a candidate for them!

*Dysfunctional? At 8:00 one morning the whole fleet of them showed up at my house, Zelma in he back of a pickup truck, screaming, on a pile of dog beds. One of the Indians told me excitedly that "Zelma just broke BOTH her legs playing poker with her cousin!" She had...

First in pictures: Torres mattanza 85; Robert in pale t-shirt.


Second set: Robert with the late Bill Smiley at Bill's 60th birthday party "Two gentlemen of leisure at the opposite ends of the social spectrum". Bill's Purdey was worth approximately 14 times what Robert's house was.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Quintessence

There are no bird dogs prettier than Elhew poinIters, and no pointers prettier than Daniel Riviera's.


Young Maggie just oozes style, at home and in the field , Aad his slightly older male Ferd, masked against the ubiquitous and deadly foxheads that almost killed him last year {"California, land of killer grass")

And Daniel's new second gun, fitted and modified for him by Diggory Haddoke, 16 bore Holloway and Naughton, the only sideplate gun I ever liked. ("First" is a Purdey back action hammergun like Lord Ripon's or King Edward's ("God the Father shoots a hammer Purdey")of course.-

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Hauksbee?

"...Many of the stories, particularly those set in Simla, shared the high spirits of Departmental Ditties. Simla was Rud's Illyria, a place where everyone fell in love, usually inappropriately; where identities were mistaken; where tricks were played on the self-regarding and the unwary; and where there were occasional glimpses of a darker undertow. A number of these stories features the machinations of the witty widow, Mrs Hauksbee. Based partly on his own mother and partly on a Mrs Isabella Burton, she was an early example of Rud's lifelong fascination with strong, self-determining, older women and would soon become one of his best-known characters. 'Kidnapped' contained an admiring résumé of Mrs Hauksbee's powers, describing her as 'the most wonderful woman in India' with 'the wisdom of the Serpent, the logical coherence of the Man, the fearlessness of the Child, and the triple intuition of the Woman'. (Simla must have had its fair share of would-be Mrs Hauksbees, and Rud's first readers no doubt enjoyed the tease of trying to guess her true identity.)


Saturday, June 09, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, RIP


Tony Bourdain finally lost the battle with depression. I thought he had beat it. Does anyone?

Anne Hocker decided to remember him through this CNN piece on Montana. It is pure Bourdain, right down to the politics--perfect:

You may be the most cynical, born and bred, citified lefty like me -- instinctively skeptical of big concepts like "patriotism," relatively foreign to hunting culture, unused to wide open spaces.

But spend any length of time traveling around Montana, and you will understand what all that "purple mountain majesties" is all about.

You'll soon be wrapping yourself in the flag and yelling, "America, **** yeah!" with an absolute and nonironic sincerity that will take you by surprise.

You will understand why and what people fought and died for -- or at least perceived themselves to be fighting and dying for -- either defending Native American hunting grounds against Custer or "defending America" against foreign aggressors. And you will be stunned, stunned and silenced by the breathtaking, magnificent beauty of Montana's wide open spaces.

Even in Butte, a place as scarred, poisoned and denuded by rapacious capitalist excesses as a place could be, you will see things, beautiful, noble even -- a testament to generations of hard work, innovation and the aspirations of generations of people from all over the world who traveled to Montana to tunnel deep into the earth in search of gold and then copper, a better life for themselves and their families.

Even the hard men, the copper barons who sent them down into the ground, you will find yourself begrudgingly admiring their determination, their outsized dreams, their unwavering belief in themselves and the earth's ability to provide limitless wealth.

And when you look up at the night skies over Montana, it's hard not to think that we can't be alone on this rock, that there isn't something else out there or up there, in charge of this whole crazy-ass enterprise.

Or at least, that's what I was thinking, after a long day of pheasant hunting, perhaps a bit too much bourbon and Joe Rogan demonstrating an Imanari choke from omoplata (he damn near cranked my head off).

I flopped onto my back, stared up at the universe and thought, as I always do in Montana, "Damn! I had no idea the sky was so big!"

We show you a lot of beautiful spaces and very nice people in this episode, but its beating heart, and the principal reason I've always come to Montana, is Jim Harrison -- poet, author and great American and a hero of mine and millions of others around the world.

Shortly after the filming of this episode, Jim passed away, only a few months after the death of his beloved wife of many years, Linda.

It is very likely that this is the last footage taken of him.

To the very end, he ate like a champion, smoked like a chimney, lusted (at least in his heart) after nearly every woman he saw, drank wine in quantities that would be considered injudicious in a man half his age, and most importantly, got up and wrote each and every day -- brilliant, incisive, thrilling sentences and verses that will live forever.

He died, I am told, with pen in hand.
There were none like him while he lived. There will be none like him now that he's gone.

He was a hero to me, an inspiration, a man I was honored and grateful to have known and spent time with. And I am proud that we were able to capture his voice, his words, for you.

I leave you with a poem Jim wrote. We use it in the episode, but I want to reprint it here. It seems kind of perfect now that Jim's finally slipped his chain.

BARKING
The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn't die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there's no chain.


The Kids

BoBo and Hauksbee.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Looking Good?

Margory was kind enough to suggest that I looked good in the photo below. Thanks, but not a chance! Working hard, maybe, but not "good".

There are times, though. In these I am trying, not very hard, to keep the dogs from sharing a couple of Green winged teal that Tom Quinn recently sent me. That means I am happy, and I think I look pretty good.




Sunday, May 27, 2018

Quinn is 80

I dont believe it-- he looks and acts younger than I am (if bigger)..

Congratulations Tom-- not so much for attaining 80 but for keepimg up your standards...

"Draw brave!"



Solar System

Jack and Eli have built a model of the Solar System at Deep Springs:

For several weeks, Eli and I have been planning and assembling an accurate scale model of the solar system stretching from the main campus to the lake corrals. We expect to put it all in place today. You may notice some stumps with spheres glued to rocks on top of them, notably near the dairy barn and on the road to the lake. Please, PLEASE do NOT move or otherwise disturb them. If any of them are causing problems, please let me know and I'll figure out a solution. We hope everyone will have a chance to take a look and enjoy it! We hope to leave it in place for at least a few weeks to give lots of people opportunities to check it out, and I'm sure Eli would be delighted to give in-person tours to anyone.

We were inspired by the fact that there's simply no adequate way to depict the proper scale and relationships of the planets and their orbits on paper or on screen. Only a large model such as this can really impart an accurate sense of the sizes and distances in play. We were inspired by an excellent video of a similar project in Nevada's Black Rock Desert (https://youtu.be/zR3Igc3Rhfg). Thanks to that region's flatness, those people were able to drive vehicles on their orbital paths and produce some great video of the results. Deep Springs doesn't offer quite the same possibilities, but we felt obligated to take advantage of our access to a large, mostly empty desert valley and make something similar in the space we have.

For those interested in details, the scale we are working with falls out to 1:404,324,324 (about twice as large as that used by the Black Rock folks, thanks to our not needing to drive our orbits). The Sun will be depicted on the side of the block house, while Neptune will be at the lake corrals - all other measurements flowed from these choices. This gives our Sun a diameter of 3.44 meters and Earth a diameter of 3.15 centimeters. Our calculations surely have rounding errors and other mistakes, and our actual constructions are necessarily imperfect; however I'm confident that they're sufficiently in the ballpark to impart a reasonably true sense of the scales in question. I've attached some Google Earth screenshots to give a birds-eye view of the project.

Some additional trivia:
In this model, Pluto's average distance from the Sun would put it out past the DS Lake bed at the base of the slopes beyond; its perihelion would be just inside Neptune's orbit a couple hundred yards before the corrals; and its aphelion would be well up in the hills near Westgard Pass.
Voyager I, humanity's furthest-ranging spacecraft, has made it nearly to the crest of the Palisades, or assuming a different direction, nearly to the Fishlake Hot Springs.
Going much bigger, the Oort Cloud, which represents the beginning of the end of the Solar System and the Sun's sphere of influence, would be located a ways past Madagascar.
Proxima Centauri, our nearest neighboring star, requires a different approach - at this scale it would be found about 99,350 kilometers away, approximately a quarter of the way to the (actual) moon.
Happy end of term to all!

Jackson and Eli
\

Paul Domski's Waylon

[Photo Shiri Hoshen]

Paul says: "... the fastest saluki I ever had..."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Still standIng...

.. to write at the upright desk novelist Brad Watson gave me in Laramie- or as we say here automatically,"Still staggering".

Professional Travel Writers


I've heard it called "explornography". I don't want to do it.

In The Folk of the Air, the great novel about, among other things, Berkeley and the Society for Creative Anachronism, Peter Beagle, in the person of his protagonist, Joe, had this to say:

"No," he said. "It's like the trouble I have when I travel. Wherever I go, I always want to spend a life. ANYWHERE--Tashkent, Calabria, East Cicero. I always want to be born there and grow up and know everything about the place and be horribly ignorant and die. I don't approve of flying visits."

I wanted to call Eagle Dreams "Flying Visit" They wouldn't let me, especially as I wanted to put this quote up front. I still might.

The New Bird...

is an (A) good big boy Aplo/ (B) little male Gyr {C) BIG... hybrid of unknown gender. We tend to call him "him" but are looking for a genderless trial name until or unless we have "him" DNA tested.

Meanwhile, he's a sweetheart-- look how calm he was putting on jesses (Yeah, I KNOW, two different kinds!)

Annyushka says her undoubted male flies at less than 450 g,which would be typical. Ours is already 22 oz fat and empty-- more than 600 g, heavier than anything since the Gyr hybrids from Nevada that Les killed...

Monday, May 07, 2018

The return of Chatham

Those that say that there are no second acts in American life have obviously never met the painter (writer, publisher, restrauteur, etc.) Russell Chatham He has to my certain knowledge cycled from serious rag to serious riches four times, and it may have been five or six.

In his various reincarnations, he has returned from Montana to his roots as a California painter, and is now living a couple of houses away from his and our old friend Thomas Quinn. I think it was a good move. In this interview he says a lot of interesting things about painting, fame, and money. Russ is an old friend, but I also owe him a lot. Not only did he have the perception to publish Querencia after it was turned down by several less imaginative publishers; he introduced me quite consciously to Libby.

SLOOOWLY

..everything. But I m now convinced that my karate- competitor neurologist, Dr Jill Marjama-Lyons, will do the operation or operations to correct the mistakes made by... another team.

My impatience is palpable, but we are all keeping a sense of humor. A new drug schedule has me moving again. A bird or birds (Bill?) will help. I think it was Daniel Riviera's guru, Ed Pitcher, who famously said "Raptors or Valium", or as we ruder types say, "Raptors or Heroin!" Some progress in writing too. Writing: Book of Books Version 2 is off the stasis point, thank God. I am hoping for help on the Passenger Pigeon book, and that a new electronic "ear" will help Lib take dictation. House remodeling advances. Life can still be good.

TK: Russ Chatham returns, the guns, and something astronomical from Jack and Eli..

Here tomorrow

Ezzie's chick:

Matt thinks that before their feathers are sprouted they are too young to leave mother, but I say it is the perfect time for the cat feeder to do its magic work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ezzy's First

First Aplo hybrid pipped at Matt's:

How we raise babies

This 7/8 Gyr was the last we raised our own way. He was perfect, and probably would be with us still. But a supposedly experienced falconer, a biologist, begged us to let him "start" the bird on game. In a week he fed it a bridge pigeon and killed it-- but he didn't tell us for a month.I was so depressed I didn't even tell the breeder, who probably thinks that we're the idiots. It was the last Gyr, my favorite species, I felt able to keep up with -- Gyr flights can easily go four miles on Lee's ranch. He was a good bird. We have raised little birds this way too.