Friday, June 15, 2018


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

Young Maggie, who just oozes style, at home and in the field , masked against the ubiquitous and deadly foxheads {"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


"...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.

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 ( 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: "he's half Kurdish and half

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.


..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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

John's new shop

With a 16 foot bench and lathe, among other things. Full service amateur non profit custom gun shop.


Including ones to keep Bo in...

And the garden about to begin (after a 2 year hiatus). Hawk housing rear.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Young Guns

Reed Austin and me ca 1975, when we started hunting and fishing together. He is holding a ruffed grouse and I a woodcock (and a Parker 16).

For Kristy

My pigeon looks just like your pigeon. And: rebuilding to come!