Friday, June 16, 2017

Gordon Hall Wasley Austin RIP


When my old friend and editor at Gray's, Reed Austin, wrote a piece on how he met his wife, Gordon Hall Wasley, on a business fishing trip in which he ended up getting a treble hook bass plug stuck in his butt, and Gordon had to remove it, I thought it was hilarious and wrote him to tell him so. (Link TK; Anglers Journal Vol 2 no 4)). It wasn't until last week that I learned that he had written it originally as a love letter to Gordon to celebrate their 30th anniversary, never imagining it would serve as the centerpiece to her eulogy four years later at her funeral.

It was inexplicable. For me they are the very image of WASP golden youth, forever young. That they were happy grandparents is hard for me to get my head around. I remember all the years that Reed and I spent doing crazy versions of fishing and hunting. Once he jokingly asked me not to tell Bill Sisson, our editor at Anglers about our high times. (What he actually said was "Buy anything he writes, and don't believe a word about anything we ever did.")

I remember Gordon's aureole of golden hair around her face when we were jumps- hooting ducks on Duxbury Marsh.(Duxbury Marsh was so much native habitat for Reed; his grandfather Francis (Frannie) was one of the three young men hunting Duxbury Marsh in van Campen Heilner's canonical duck hunting book; another was Reed's then landlord, Parker).

But mostly what I remember of Gordon Hall Wasley was her genuine interest in everyone else's passions. A brash and somewhat insecure kid from what was very much the other side of the tracks in those days at first could not believe this exotic creature was asking questions about my passions, with interest. By the time they were married I was with Betsy Huntington, and another interesting virtue was added to the Austin repertoire: utter loyalty. Betsy was of a haut-Boston background and was much older than me; this made us a little too odd for some of the more conventional gatherings we were invited to. Somehow,inevitably, Reed and Gordon would end up at our table where they would spend the rest of the evening. No fuss was made -- they just came and sat with us and had fun. As I said to Reed this week, "Do you think we never noticed?"

I last saw Reed at Betsy's funeral. He had gotten out of his hospital bed, and slashed the leg of his Brooks Brothers suit to fit it over his cast. It was a typical gesture. Through the years we stayed lightly in touch but were involved very much in our own pursuits. It took Gordon's death to bring us together. I told him "We all loved her, and she loved you."

Now he has his own battles to fight, alone. I hope the children and grandchildren are of comfort. Meanwhile, I grieve with you, old buddy -- she was glorious. Keep writing, and hang in there.

Gordon fishing the Battenkill

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Older Days

The piece on the girlss playing somehow reminded me of an older incarnation.This would be the late Lashyn and a much younger Ataika, in the spring woods with us the day we discovered the remains of a very large old bear who evidently starved before he could den up . I still have his huge skull with its worn- down teeth, And I still carry a 1911 and 7 X 42 Ziess Dialyts., though I don't know which is more reactionary. This would be 2005 I think...





UPDATE; Found another pic (bottom):

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Girls Play

Once again we have a Girls' Act. Bobo has regressed her great aunt to about 18 months old (from 14 years).  They play and pop and flirt as long as anyone stays awake.


This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows Turcoman tazis. Ataika's mother was 14 when she had her and 21 when she died, Her grandmother attained 19, If she were at "home" she would probably sill be jumping off the backs of camels.
Almaty- Taik on left just two months younger than Bo       


Be patient -- real content is coming.

By the way -- does anyone have any trouble seeing the usual background for this blog? At this point we're just seeing white space down here...

Better Pain Scale...

... copied from my podiatrist. According to a nurse I know, the idiotic "pain face" version is required by the government for some venues. Tell me it ain't so!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lauren's New Eagle

The REAL Eagle huntress,  Lauren McGough, the Mother of Dragons, is in South Africa with a new dragon. Monkeys beware!


John takes off

Our favorite gun geek John Besse left for his summer home on a tributary of the Snake in Idaho in the middle of the night so nobody  would make a fuss. I wasn't too surprised.

Here he is with his latest project, a restored M99 Savage in the uncommon  "250- 3000" caliber.

















He is partial to my favorite retriever, the ever - quirky Chesapeake, and has two: grumpy middle- aged Willie and young goofy Andy.




















This M 92 isn't quite done yet. It had a surface as pitted as the moon's .
 Now look-as smooth as velvet, but with all its edges...

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Registering Microchips

We recently imported several dogs from outside the United States, and those dogs had been microchipped by veterinarians before arriving in the U.S. For the microchips to be useful in the event a dog is lost, the numbers associated with the chip must be registered. Implanted microchips that aren't registered by the animal owner are of no use whatsoever. It's the same as having an unchipped dog.

When I asked my veterinarian, I was told to register the number with the maker of the microchip. But since the chip was manufactured in a foreign country, the company's registration information was in a foreign language and script. I decided it wasn't worth the effort.

I did a few online searches and found dozens of companies and websites that register microchip numbers, with some requiring annual renewal for a fee, and others offering lifetime registration (also for a fee). Some claimed to be international registrations, while others were U.S.-only. Which one should we use, since they all seemed to be competing against each other?

I wondered where do veterinarians and animal shelters go to look up microchip numbers? They go to the American Animal Health Hospital Association's website to plug in the numbers. But AAHA isn't a microchip registry - it's an online search tool. According to the AAHA, "The tool works by searching the databases of participating companies. It will not return pet owner information contained in the registries’ databases, instead it will identify which registries should be contacted when a lost pet is scanned and a microchip number is identified."

"The American Animal Hospital Association does not maintain a database of microchips of its own. To register a microchip or update contact information for a microchip, pet owners should contact their pet recovery service."

So that's what we needed: a pet recovery service. I looked at the list of microchipping and pet recovery services that participate in the AAHA program and did some more research, finding a similar can of worms of competing services, with various prices and terms. I finally settled on AKC Reunite, which enrolls any brand of microchip and charges no annual fee. Their online records account allows for easy access to update a pet's record and to upload a photo. Your pet does not need to be an AKC-registered animal to enroll and use the microchip registration/pet recovery service.
Lifetime enrollment with AKC Reunite of your first pet costs $17.50 and can easily be completed online, but multiple pets are given a discount. It cost $50 for lifetime enrollment of our four new pups.

The bottom line is that if your dog's microchip manufacturer isn't listed as participating in the AAHA program, your microchip probably isn't going to help you in reuniting with your lost but microchipped pet.

I selected AKC Reunite not just because it participates with the AAHA program, sets low fees, and allows easy updating of records, but because it also offers a variety of support services in the event a pet is lost. Find out more at AKC Reunite.

Until the microchip companies cooperate to create a universal registry (which I doubt will ever happen), the best solution for dog owners in the United States is to make sure that their chip is registered with one of the companies participating in the AAHA program.


Monday, May 08, 2017

Paul's cane


Paul Schmolke is one of my oldest friends in Albuquerque, where he worked st Ron Peterson's when I first met him. He is a gunmaker, a poet, and a student of Zen Buddhism, which combination made him a natural for our "circle". In the photo above he is examining a big- frame Parker in our
motel room in Santa Fe, while his wife and childhood sweetheart Lynne talks about something OTHER than guns behind.

I was up to Alb lasrt week for an oil change  and tuneup last week. and met the Schmolkes and Paul Domski for lunch at the usual Chinese hipster place for lunch.Paul handed me this stout cane he had just made, more weapon than walking stick, like something out of Game of Thrones. It is hickory and a little bit shorter than my current regular, though stouter. It it is suitable for taking down dark streets.
Here it stands in front of he upright computer desk I write this on, given to me by novelist tBrad Waatson-- two of the many reasons I always say ..... (see "Labels" )


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

If you were to have three English Shotguns

.. you know, if you HAD to...

You could do worse than these three:
Or if it came to two:

Top: Frederick Scott  12 bore SLE proofed for heavy loads, but weighs only 6 1/4 lbs

16 bore Cogswell & Harrison from London, 30" Damascus barrels. 6 lbs

.410 Thomas Turner with 26" barrels, again modern proof for loads I wont use, 15" stock! 4 lbs even.

All have exactly the same proportioms of stock, though the Cog needs a leather- covered pad to bring it up to length.

 










Thanks to Ron Peterson, John Besse, Gerry Cox, and Tom Qunn, among others.
Above: Gerry, John, Scott; Magdalena; Scott Locks

   UPDATE:Tom, you don't usually find these on Gunbroker  (maybe from GI); you ind them from friends, whether dealers (like Ron Peterson) or no.t You also need a good gunsmith on standby.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Great Unknown"?

John Muller's fine piece on me in  NM magazine is out, graced by the photos of Hans Wachs, and soon to be online.  It is called "The Great Unknown"--  meaning me!-- and uses this photo as a lead, which will have to do until I have a link.
UPDATE: Here
is the link, thanks to David Zincavage and others.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No Respect

These fine photos of a cow giving birth are by John L Moore of (near) Miles City, rancher and novelist. If they were of antelope, they would probably be on the cover of a magazine, but domestic animals get no respect. Johnson and Janiga, the authors of the magisterial Superdove, on feral pigeons, say they were actively discouraged from writing about them.






William "Gatz" Hjortsberg, 1941- 2017

Chris Waddington, my old editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and now a happier man in his belovcd New Orleans (even though Katrina flooded his house) emailed to tell me that our mutual friend Gatz Hjortsberg died at his home in Livingston after a "short illness" i.e. pancreatic cancer (it's a bad one; it's the one that took down Bob Jones after he survived prostate cancer.)

As I said to Chris, our friendship was cordial, but not particularly close. Still, we were part of the same Montana scene and went to the same parties, where Michael Katakis would groan "Oh God, Gatz and Bodio are both here -- nobody else will be able to get  in a word." Probably true, and I think they're all the better for it.  He was always known as "Gatz", never Bill or William, apparently because of a youthful infatuation with the work of Scott Fitzgerald, especially The Great Gatsby. Besides, he wore all those cool hats.

He was utterly intrepid.He was one of Pat's boys" at Sports Illustrated, and his first assignment was to ride a BULL.He did it, too.

Gatz was undervalued as a writer of books, perhaps because he was a writer of genre books in a  literary field. He followed his friend Tom McGuane to Livingston from grad school, because McGuane was the only writer he knew who fished. Among the schools he attended was Stanford, where like McGuane, he was a Stegner  Fellow; that is, someone whom Wallace Stegner abused. This was good company to be in; among the other people Stegner called bums, hippies, beatniks, and worthless were Robert Stone, Ken Kesey, and the lesser known but fascinating David Shetzline, who wrote one of the only two good novels I know of about  forest fires. Among Gatz's books were the dark fantasy Alp and the darker sci- fi Gray Matters in the early years, and the Mexican thriller Manana recently. But his best knows was Falling Angel , which was made into a movie starring Mickey Rourke. He also wrote Nevermore where he wrote the following wonderful inscription in my copy:
He also wrote a puzzling biography of "Poor Old Richard" Brautigan, which took him about 14 years and was rejected by its first publisher. In the end it ran to 862 pages, any 100 of which were brilliant. I can't help but think that Richard's own words might apply: " In this world, where there is only a little time to spend, I think I've spent enougth time on this butterfly." *

No matter. Gatz Hjortsberg was a gentleman and a writer, and he will be missed.

*The quote about the butterfly is a close paraphrase. I'm not going to look it up at this hour!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Humor from Annie D

"He was such a good dog, very strange breed, and didn't train well, but a good boy nonetheless"

Best Dog Photos...

Taken by Dellas Henke of Michigan over a decade  (?) ago, and sent a few days past. The last one of Lashyn especially almost made me cry for her beauty, innocence, and youth...




"Great Moments in Pigeon Keeping"

..as Jack said in a recent email.The Grand Canyon guides knew long before the scientists about the huge stable non- migratory Peregrine population in the Grand Canyon, the Colorado and its tributaries...

 Photos by the late great Wesley Smith of the homers he used to take down the River in the days of film cameras, to allow his clients to be met with photos,. He used to say that each roll took three pigeons: "One for the tiercel, one for the falcon, and one for the film..."



Thursday, April 06, 2017

Golden Eagle Migrations


Researchers recently discovered the importance of Montana's Big Belt Mountains (near Bozeman) as a raptor migration flyway, and their first major monitoring effort for this flyway began in the fall of 2015, and was repeated in fall 2016. This route recorded the greatest number of migrating golden eagles of any site in North America, with 2,620 golden eagles recorded, with a peak of 24 goldens per hour!

The team also recorded another important behavior: Golden eagles continued to migrate at night under a full moon.

And if the golden eagle information wasn't enough, the researchers also documented all 17 raptor species known to migrate through the region - all on one day!

The Big Belts are a 75-mile long mountain range in west-central Montana, just north of the Bridger Mountains, which are well-known for raptor migrations. The raptor migration counts were conducted by Ronan Dugan and Jeff Grayum of the Golden Eagle Migration Survey and the report on the Fall 2016 counts can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Introducing Patricia Cooper

As some of you know, I virtually cannot type anymore. But I have many books to write yet (Yojimbo: "I can't die yet-- I have too many people left to kill!") and Libby can't  easily take dictation, partly  because she can't hear my hoarse Parkinson's voice, and partially because by evening she is exhausted and drained by an ever more irrational  Post Office.

About two weeks ago my veterinarian of 35 years, Terry Gonzales, who even when she was out of work (even when she was recovering from cancer!) always made house visits so that my dogs might die at peace in their own beds, called me and insisted that her sister had to be typing for me. I still do not know how this miracle came about -- she hadn't seen me for months, even heard I needed a typist, and Pat certainly isn't a "typist,"- she is a literate scholar with degrees in literature and history, and I expect rather comfortably off. I think she was bored!

After ten minutes with me she had quoted Kipling, Wilde, and Dorothy Parker. I left Terri to talk
 dogs with Libby,  and took Pat into the library and quizzed her. I sent her home with a stack of books, mine and others, and said that if she felt up for working for me after reading those we could talk. We've been talking ever since.

We have now officially begun my second book of books, which you will hear much more about. Soon to come in the blog is a detailed outline,  for this is a "new thing under the sun", to be partially crowdfunded by my friend and agent Daniel's wife's publishing company. It should make me considerably more money and less heartburn than Hounds did. It will also be far more unusual than the first one, a huge compendium of books I love and why. The short title is "With Trees", and I bet a lot of you will know exactly what that means.

I accused Pat of being a "woman of mystery" after I had known her a few days. She protested that she was not mysterious at all, and then told me that though she had grown up in the South, she was born in Japan and Japanese was her first language, and though not Catholic, she had gone to Catholic schools until her parents feared she was becoming a "Papist". She showed total familiarity with cowboy lore.  She then added the following:

"I've had my fun, but nothing, dear folks, like the adventures you have lived. I am a widow; my husband of 20 years died in late 2013. He was a star: brilliant, multitalented, highly skilled and uniquely funny  (and a beautiful ballroom dancer). Different occupations (legal secretary, autopsy assistant [!!-- SB], administrator, parapsych researcher, political organizer) have filled my years..."

Woman of mystery, I say. At any rate, if this works out, and I think it will, she will have more responsibility in the fiction and memoir areas in the  NEXT two books, and a full research partnership and cover credit if we ever do the Passenger pigeon book. Here she is; working:






And in a hilarious poster with her late husband