Monday, January 29, 2018

The Ancestors, Part 16 & 17

Our cattle had done very well during the summer.  All but one of the young cows had had a nice calf and they had grown so fast.  I love to see the calves all lying in the sun on a little flat sunny place that their mothers would leave them.  When they had had their naps, just like all babies, they would all stand up and bawl for their mothers.  Their clean little white faces and tiny white curls on their tails -- they were so cute and their mothers would come running around the hills from where they had been feeding.  These were not milk cows, but were just raised for beef.  We had brought two milk cows and a couple of heifers that we hoped would make good milkers, but only the two older cows were really good to be milked.  Most of the time we had plenty of milk but there were two or three times when we were low on enough milk and would have to get butter for a neighbor.  We had a cream separator and I remember how all three children would catch the warm separator milk while Clyde was turning the crank.  I used a wood churn with a wood dash that I worked up and down.  To keep milk and cream cool I put it in half gallon jars, sealed them up tight and dropped them in the barrel that the cold pumped water ran through to the cattle tank.  When I wanted to churn butter I would take the jars of cream out in the evening, mix them together and let it stand until morning.  We always had cool nights out there.

We took a washing machine out with us, a wooden tub on legs with sort of a milk stool fastened to the underside of the wooden lid.  When the lid was closed there was machinery on the top that revolved the milkstool in the water in the tub and cleaned the clothes if one turned the wheel long enough.  It was better than rubbing everything on a washboard to get clothes clean, as our mothers had done.  But it fell off the wagon in moving, breaking the wheel off and couldn't be fixed, so I had to use the wash-board after all.  The water was so much better than we had had in Kansas, soft and clear, that I didn't mind too much.  Of course all of the water had to be carried from the windmill and

I had to heat it on the stove in the kitchen in a big copper boiler.  Clyde made me a good bench for my wash tubs and I had a hand ringer.  Not much like our beautiful electric equipment these days.  Clothes had to be hung on the line and out doors, no matter what the weather was, but I learned to heat my clothes pins in cold weather.  It kept my hands warm and kept the clothes from freezing on the line.

When my dear Aunt May Talbot, back in Kansas, heard about Ruth's little horse being burned up in the barn, she sent her a check to buy another one.  Clyde heard of some ponies, half Shetland and half Welsh, being raised up in Grant county; he decided to go up and look at them.  He brought home a little grey mare, only two years old.  She was pretty wild for awhile, and we had to send to Denver for a saddle to fit her, but she soon became a member of the family.  We kept her in the house yard because she seemed so lonesome.  She had never been away from her mother and the little herd of ponies where she was raised.  She tried to go home several times.  Once she got several miles away, for people would think she was a lost colt and let her through their gates.  She finally learned to love the children and always wanted to share their snacks, anything that they were eating she wanted.  Mildred was just learning to walk and would get up and walk under her, but Beauty never once stepped on her.  When Ruth first started to ride her she threw her several times over her head.  Ruth would get right back on and let her go as fast as she wanted to  They soon learned to understand each other.  She would let all three children ride around in the yard on her back, but we never let them try it out in the valley.  She learned to help drive the cattle when Clyde needed help.  Ruth loved to help her father drive the cattle.

That summer of 1915 was full of problems -- a new baby, the arrival of the cattle, the tragic fire, the house moving and the building of the new school house.  Grandpa came out for a week or so and helped get another barn built for the horses and a shed for the cattle.  We didn't want to risk losing any in winter storms.  I'm afraid I've run this story a little ahead of time.  We didn't get Beauty until the early spring of 1916.  Ruth didn't have anything to ride the winter after the fire.

Grandpa and Grandma Tilley came out the fall after the fire and Grandpa must have helped Clyde with the finances, although I just don't remember any details.  At that time the Tilley men kept finances to themselves.

In the spring of 1916 we got a real carpenter to help us put our two frame buildings together, making a large kitchen out of the frame room that Clyde had the first fall and using the two rooms of the Haines house for the bedroom and living room.  In the L formed by joining of the rooms Clyde added a nice porch where the children could have a swing and a sheltered place to play.  Clyde's mother had sent out a new rag carpet for the living room.  It was bright and cozy looking and I was happy to be organized again.

While our neighbor was still out on his claim he helped Clyde dig a "cyclone cave."  They plastered it on the inside and put a strong wooden door on it, so if we needed to shelter from a bad storm we would have it.  It also provided wonderful storage space for our winter supply of root vegetables.

I'm afraid I didn't appreciate Clyde's energy and ability to create the many conveniences that he added to our home, with few tools and no professional training except working with his father at home.  He added shelves and cupboards to the kitchen and paneling to the wall board ceiling.

Our country was getting more and more involved in World War I,  although the news was always several days old when it reached us, I don't think that it seemed as real to us as it did in the populated areas where the boys were drafted and being trained in the neighboring camps.  Even the cow boys were not drafted in the sandhills for they were involved in important work: that of raising beef to feed the army.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Ancestors, Part 14 & 15

Thirty-five for Thanksgiving Dinner

The house consisted of two good-sized rooms with a double partition between them that made closet and cupboard space.  It made a lot of closet room, which I surely appreciated.  The walls had been lath and plaster but the jerking of the move had cracked the plaster unit it all had to be removed.  Clyde found plastering much more difficult than carpenter work.

We were still able to live in the sod kitchen and living room.  We also used the frame room that Clyde had built for a bedroom, so for another month Clyde had time to put up all of the hay that he could cut in our valley and the pockets between the hills.  That was his main problem: to have enough winter feed.  The owner of the steers that we were taking care of took them to a feed lot, so we didn't have them to worry about.  The weather stayed nice so that Clyde was able to get another little barn put up and a long shed built to protect the cattle in the coldest weather.

All of this time there were dances that were really part of our living.  Clyde had found a good drummer and he found a fine piano player.  She was the mother of six children and glad to be doing something with her music.  "Possum" Ross, the drummer, had a section about five miles from us, and Grace Corl and her husband Floyd live about nine miles away.  I don't remember what Possum's real given name was for even his wife called him Possum.  They were both nice families and we became good friends.

Another big job came up that fall.  There were more children now and the state had set aside land for a school house in our area, but the Kinkaiders, as were were called, had to haul the building materials and build the school house ourselves.  Clyde hauled load of lumber and bought winter supplies while at the railroad.  He bought flour enough to last all winter, canned goods that we would need, kerosene for our lamps and lanterns, two big five gallon cans of it.  We also bought some coal that fall.  I guess it was because Clyde didn't have the time to pick up chips.  They didn't get the school house started until the first of November, but the weather stayed good and by Thanksgiving they had it enclosed and made plans for a neighborhood Thanksgiving dinner in it.

By this time Clyde has plastered the Haine house.  I think it was the hardest job that he tackled out there, for he didn't really know how.  I mixed the plaster and kept the children out of the way, and he finally got onto the knack of it, and we moved into the two rooms for the winter.

When Thanksgiving day came it turned out to be a cold windy day and the men working on the building that morning decided that it would be too cold for children, so Clyde asked them to come down to our house to eat.  Of course I had no way of knowing the change of plans and was getting the children wrapped up for the trip when the gal that Clyde said he'd send after me came in and said they were all coming down to our house.  I had chickens, salad and pie ready and of course every one else had food.  We put all of the leaves in the dining table and I got out a long linen table cloth and really had a wonderful dinner.  We fed the men first so they could go back to work, so we had to eat in shifts, but it was a nice way to get acquainted.  I have always looked back with pleasure to the time that we had thirty five guests for dinner, that we hadn't planned for.

That fall, we also had some uninvited company.  Dwight Ingalls and his wife drove their new Ford up from eastern Colorado.  He said he didn't let us know because he didn't know whether his car would make it or not.  Cars were just beginning to be used then, and there were no roads built for them yet.  It was just at the time when ducks were migrating south.  I had never seen them come into the lakes out there, and Clyde took us all up to see them come in and land on the lake at sundown.  They made a cloud.  I had never seen anything like it.  He and Dwight went back the next day, too Don to retrieve what they shot and brought back all that we could eat.  I picked the down off and saved it for pillows.

As soon as the school house was finished, a teacher was needed of course.  There were only about a dozen youngsters and wages were very low, so it was not easy to find a teacher, but one of our neighbors had a certificate that was still good.  She also had a little two year old daughter, but she took the job and her husband tried to take care of the baby.  When he just couldn't have her with him, he brought her down to me.  It was too far for Ruth to walk to school alone, and in the cold weather, so I kept on teaching her.

We had a much better organized Christmas that year, were home alone on Christmas day, but went to the Corls' for New Years day.  They had two daughters, 14 and 15 years old, a pair of twins Ruth's age, a boy Richard's age and a baby Mildred's age.  They had come out from Grand Island for Floyd's health with only the two older girls and taken a homestead north of the land in the drawing.  The were educated, gentle people, and we enjoyed them very much.  Evidently they had income coming to them fro back home, for Floyd was not a rancher.

After Christmas that year, some of the Kinkaiders go together and decided to try building a telephone line using the barbed wire fences.  Clyde had helped build the rural line that led to their home back in Kansas, so he knew how to put the insulators on the wires and they used poles to carry the wire over the gates.  They built it to the new county seat and it really worked unless some nosey cow went through a fence -- then someone had to ride until he found the break and mended it.  It was wonderful when it worked.

Friday, January 19, 2018


Time to get your Friday on, folks.  Whatever that means for you.  Do you relish your Fridays?  Are are they just another day in the week?  We have so many friends who are now 'retired' that Friday really loses its heft, except that we know that our working friends will now have a couple of 'free' nights to socialize and we'd better schedule them but quick.

We've got a very full social calendar for the next couple of weeks for some odd reason.  Friends are coming out of the woodwork with invites, which is a good thing, don't get me wrong.  It's just...different.  And now that I am over that miserable cold I caught while in Morocco, getting together with friends sounds like a very enjoyable activity.

I finally had to start taking steroids to knock that virus out of my chest, and the steroids did their work beautifully except that I felt as if I was going to bust out of my skin 24/7.  Crack on adrenaline on caffeine on etc. etc.  I did stop the drug a few days early because I just couldn't take it any more.  I remember taking it when I was younger (for similar reasons) and though it made me a tad hyper, it was nothing like this latest episode.  It was wild, man.  I felt duty bound to warn my husband that I was hell on wheels and he ought to steer well clear of me, and I apologized in advance for any angry outbursts that might occur.  You should have seen me at the grocery store, charging up and down the isles, overwhelmed by the bright lights and garish packaging, the piles of produce and the endless choices in the dairy case.  Like a bad dream, it was.

If you follow me on Facebook,  you know that I have embarked on plant based eating.  I have tried this before, but because of the learning curve and the difficulty of change, I gave up.  This time, we are 18 days in and doing well.  I did almost blow a gasket on day 7, overwhelmed by cleaning out the pantry and the frig and stocking up on all the foods we'd need.  But I took many deep breaths and got through it.  The movie (and the research) that inspired me is called Forks Over Knives and chronicles the research done on whole food, plant based diets, and follows the health outcomes of a few people who changed their diets.  If you follow me, you also know I've been a Type 1 diabetic for 25 years.  My disease has been poorly controlled despite my best efforts, and I've always believed that a low carb diet was the way to go for someone in my situation.  Amazingly, since I've been eating plants instead of meat and dairy, my blood glucose levels are significantly lower (except when I was on the steroids).  In a few weeks I'll get some lab work and see what my overall numbers look like, but I expect they will be very good based on what happens for others following the diet.  (Diet, as in the way of eating and not as in weight reduction protocol.)

One of the other common benefit people experience is weight loss if they are overweight.  No calorie counting, either.  How contrary to the way we have been taught.  My husband, a retired MD also viewed the movie with me and could find no flaws in the research and conclusions.  He is joining me on this diet in order to support my efforts.  He's not thrilled with the lack of meat, and may not want to continue to adhere completely.  And I'm not about to be his food police.  He can have his meat (if he cooks it) and add it to the meals I'm cooking.

I'm so thrilled with the diet and dumbstruck that I am craving veggies.  If you had told me this a month ago I would have said you are crazy.  But yes, the learning curve is steep, and it really is a transition.  I didn't go slowly, I dived right in of course, and made it a lot more gruelling initially.  But that's over with now.  Many people work on one meal at a time, like going WFPB (whole food plant based) just for breakfast for a week.  Then moving onto lunch, then dinner.  That's a more sensible way of doing than I did.

I'm discovering all kinds of delicious recipes, many different vegan web sites, support from others starting the diet through a FB page.  Yada yada yada.  I don't want to be viewed as one of those fanatical vegan people and I'm not out to recruit or educate anyone except myself.  But I did want to share, because it's been a very fun journey on the whole.  I did used to think Vegans were pretty elitist fanatics.  Maybe some are.  Yes, definitely some are.  But I hope not me.  Again, if you follow me, you know I just enjoy good food.  And surprise surprise I'm eating really good food.  Every day.  Every meal.

So there you have it.  I hope I haven't run you off with all this food chatter.

Yes, I'm still drinking a martini some evenings.  Always and forever.  Until they haul my dead ass away.  Healthy living demands it.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Ancestors, Part 12 & 13

The year of 1915 turned out to be a very cool wet year.  But it was good for the grass and the garden. We had beautiful lettuce, radishes, carrots, peas, beans, tomatoes, cabbage, onions and lots of potatoes. Potatoes and all root vegetables all came out of that sandy so so clean; no muddy washing after they were gathered. We had a very bad wind storm one night, probably a small tornado that took the roof off the nice big living room.  Clyde was watching the storm and opened the outside door just as the wind hit.  He had Richard in his arms and I was in bed with Mildred.  Clyde got the door shut and I grabbed my baby and with Ruth in tow we went into the little sod kitchen.  We opened out the table.  I had brought the bedding off my bed with the baby, so we made the children comfortable on the table and the next day we carried the we furniture out in the warm sunshine and Clyde put a new roof on the living room.  It was two or three layers of tar-paper over wide boards held in place with strips of sod. We had plenty of that, thank goodness.

Clyde had an opportunity to pasture a small herd of steers for a small rancher and we had plenty of razing land for both our little herd of forty cows, because we had Jim's section fenced, too, now.  They did cause us some trouble with our garden.  One night just before dark, Don began to bark and found one of the steers had leaned so hard on the wire fence, trying to get at the cabbage, that he pushed it down and was in our precious garden.  Clyde put extra pots and wire on that side.
Grandma Tilley had sent us seeds of the wild cucumber that grows abundantly in Kansas. I planted it all along the east side of the sod kitchen.  It grew fast with the plentiful rain and soon covered the outside to the roof.  It was a pretty vine that had small white flowers in the fall.  It really looked beautiful, but coming home from Sunday school on day, Clyde notice that the whole wall was leaning outward.  Then we knew that it wasn't going to last very long.

Mr. and Mrs. Haines had decided to move back to Omaha in the fall and offered to sell us their little two room frame house, so we were looking forward to having to move it over a long stretch of quite rough land.  Clyde did tackle the most complicated jobs out there with the most confidence.  I don't think I appreciated his abilities then.  He got competent neighbors to help him and used the tools that he was able t assemble in the area.  Somewhere he found sound old telephone poles and with those for rollers and with the equipment and six teems of horses, he planned to move the Haines house.

Then the first tragedy that had come our way happened.

Our Barn Burns
As Clyde was harnessing the mules, Gene Wilson rode up and stood in the barn door talking to him.  Then we loaded into the wagon and started out, around the west hills.  We noticed a group of hunters stop at our windmill to water their horses, we thought, but that was customary out there.  After we had gone about a mile, Clyde turned to look back and saw smoke rising over the hill from our buildings.  He turned the mules around and used the ends of the long lines to put them into a little run.  The children were in the back of the wagon and I raced out and put my arm around Richard, but Ruth was straddling a short extension of the center beam of the wagon in the back.  All I could do was say, "Hang on tight!" and she did.  The ground was so bumpy that most youngsters would have fallen off, but not Ruth.  When we got in sight of the buildings, the barn was a mass of flames.  Our dear Molly horse and her 6 month old colt were in it and our valuable young Hereford bull also.  Neighbors had seen the smoke and were there in no time to help us carry water to protect the house and the grass around the house.  Prairie fires were so easily started in the dry grass and could run for miles.

I will never forget the shock of that fire -- the loss of Molly and her cute colt, and also the very valuable head of our herd.  Clyde had tied him up for a few days.  His stall had a strong post in the center and he was tied to it, that way he got some exercise going around it.  When Grandpa had been there a few weeks before, he had hung an old vest on a harness hook in that stall.  We thought it possible that the bull had knocked it to the floor and trampled on it.  Grandpa smoke a pipe and always carried matches, the big wooden kind.  The restless animal could have stepped on a match and set fire to the straw on the floor.  The only other possibilities were careless smokers.  Clyde also smoked at that time and Gene Wilson had stood in the doorway talking to Clyde as he harnessed the mules.  Neither thought they were smoking at the time.  There was the possibility also that one of the hunters who we had seen stopping at the windmill had gone into the barn, but there was no way of knowing how it started.  I have always been thankful that it didn't happen when I was alone with the children.  I think that I would have tried to save the animals and the little barn went up in flames like a cardboard box.

The plans were all set for that big job of moving the house the next day and Clyde decided to go ahead with it.  The neighbors all came with their teams and by noon they had it as far as our valley.  I had dinner ready for them, then they back for the last mile.  It was easier than the morning pull for there were smalls hills to get over, but the valley was comparatively smooth.  It was slow work moving those poles that the house was rolling on.  Finally they got it in our yard and leveled on some railroad ties that Clyde has for that purpose.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Geesy peasy, its Friday already. 

Let me tell you what my Friday is like today.  I slept not a wink last night.  I'm taking Prednisone to help clear my lungs of this cold I've had since December 20th.  Yesterday was day two, today, Friday is day three.  It better fix my lungs, because if I'm going through this much crazy for nothing, I will be pissed.

The jitters, the skin crawlies, the enormous appetite and sleepless nights are not the worst of it.  It messes with my diabetes big time, and my blood glucose is 4 times what it normally is.  Approaching dangerous territory, so I'm monitoring frequently and resting.  Resting is kind of a trick when you want to run around the block all day.  I'll be tapering down after today, but I've got 6 more days to go.

Since I was up, and tired of reading my novel, I watched David Letterman's new show on Netflix, My Next Guest Needs no Introduction.  And who was it?  Why, President Obama!  Looked relaxed and happy, funny and thoughtful.  And so gosh darned intelligent.  Dave also showed some video of his meeting with John Lewis to walk across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama.  Civil rights leader and congressman, Mr. Lewis walks the bridge every year on the anniversary of the first attempt which turned into a brutal police action that the world witnessed on television.  It's called "Bloody Sunday" and they were swinging clubs and throwing tear gas and people peacefully marching on the sidewalk, for gawd's sake.  Dave was giddy to be in his presence, and his words about the movement and the current state of race relations in the U.S. showed a real knowledge about our history and our continued struggle to realize the American dream for all citizens.  Anyway, damn fine show, and if you get Netflix, you must watch.

Another intelligent voice in the conversation of black and white America is comedian Dave Chappelle.  He has a couple of new stand-ups films out, also on Netflix.  I don't always appreciate his language when he goes low, but he is great to watch and listen to.  That man is sharp.  He says politically incorrect things sometimes, and doesn't give a flying fuck who it bothers.  He is an equal opportunity comic, and will go after all kinds of people.  In this case, trans people, which I get a little sensitive about because I love me some trans people.  Still, I found his incredulous-ness funny, and reflective of how a lot of CIS people react to gender reassignment surgery ("ick" is what they think).  So he says what so many of us have said at one time or another but wouldn't admit it out loud.

So, see, my drug induced mania has provide you, dear reader, with a couple of solid leads on good t.v. watching.  You're very welcome.

Exciting news of the week:  my kids have bought a house in Colorado and will be moving in soon!  Everything about the sale went well and they are over the moon.  My daughter celebrated her 30th birthday earlier this month, and she reports being very happy to "settle into adulthood."  Grand kids are doing well and son-in-law is, too.  What could be better?

There's a lot of crazy bat shit news events going on but I'm largely staying away because I have to for my sanity.  Hard to be an informed and active citizen when reading the news makes you "want to buy a rocket launcher and make some son of a bitch pay."  Thank you, Bruce Cockburn for that song.

Hope your Friday is going better than mine.  Truly.

Friday, January 5, 2018


Bad Habits.  They are a monkey on one's back.  A thorn in the foot.  An anchor around the neck.  I think you get the picture. There is some pleasure to be derived from them, surely, or we wouldn't engage in the first place.  The pleasure is fleeting, but it's good while it lasts.  The reverberations of those pleasures, however, are most certainly not good and negatively impact the whole of one's life.  Before we left for Morocco in early December, I decided I would try, yet again, to leave a couple of the most annoying habits behind in 2017.  The trip was a good break from the daily stress and environments that prompt me.  And so I did.  And now its 2018 and I have hope, hope mind you, that I am free and clear now.  I have been free and clear for almost a month.  That's a load off my mind.  Now, I just have to monitor my thoughts and watch for triggers.  Because, ladies and gents, I feel good.  And I want to stay this way. 

At 60 years old, if I play my cards right and have a good amount of luck on my side, I've got another 20 to 30 years left in me.  May as well make the most of them, yeah?  Untethered from habits that hold me back.

Big changes afoot in 2018:  my husband and I are planning on moving into the retirement community that my folks live in.  It's a many step process, but the big hurdle has been accomplished: they will allow us to have our dog, who exceeds the pet policy weight limit by, let's just say "a LOT" to move in with us.  A glowing letter from our veterinarian was the ticket.  We have no time table, as it all depends of vacancies over there, so we'll do what we can to down size and organize on our side (we have the realtor lined up) and see what happens.

Keeping boundaries with the folks will probably be our only challenge.  I'm also a little sad to be leaving the home that we thought we'd live in for years and years.  But I do admit to being really tired of the yard upkeep, and with cooking.  These are both new (and big) for me, as I've derived quite a bit of pleasure from both.  Nothing lasts forever.

Anyone who follows my blog will know that the community is a fabulous place, with amenities galore and residents who are engaged, socially and intellectually.  We'll have 2 swimming pools, 2 spas, a library, many kinds of exercise and health classes, field trips to San Francisco and the east bay area, and delicious meals and housekeeping.  The grounds are also lovely, with plenty of fruit trees and roses.  We can choose to participate at any level we want to.  Or not at all (though I think that unlikely).

I am excited about our new chapter and the new friends we will be making.  As they say, Life Is Good.

A very happy New Year for you, too, dear reader.

Sitting on the patio of our hotel, Rabat, Morocco, Dec. 2017.

Here's to breaking old, unhelpful habits, and moving into life with enthusiasm.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Ancestors

Prairie Dogs and Other Animals

When we first saw the prairie dog "town" on the McNamara place we were very interested in the fat little animals, but as we saw the damage that they could do we were glad that there weren't any on our land, but by fall we were surprised on morning to see three or four of the little hills that they made when they made their burrows, and almost overnight there were a dozen of the hills.  A group from the big town had decided to start a new town.  After the first dozen or more they seemed to quit coming and Clyde didn't do anything to get rid of them until the next spring, when he poisoned them with liquid gas put on corn cobs and into the burrows and the entrances and exits sealed up.  We never had any more move in on us.  That fall when Lloyd was out there he spent hours trying to shoot one, but they were too quick for him.  He never got one.
We missed the little owls though.  They sounded so cheerful.  But we had meadow larks the year around, and they sang all winter, too.  Sometimes it seemed like there was a meadow lark on every fence post.  Then there were cerleews, a large bird with a wing spread of nearly two feet.  Once when we were riding along, Clyde spied some baby cerlews beside the road and brought one to the wagon to show the children and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the mother bird flew a Clyde's face, snapping her long slender bill.  He put her baby down in a hurry.  I have read since that there are very few of them left.  There were chicken hawks to menace our nice big chickens in the summertime, too.

In the fall there were just millions of migrating ducks and geese.  Once in awhile a flight would light in our valley, but they mostly settled on the lakes ten or fifteen miles north of us.  Clyde used to take our dog Don with him to go into the water to retrieve the birds that he shot.  I had a big roaster that just held six small teal ducks or three big mallards or redheads.  I always pick the down off the birds and saved it for pillows.

Clyde had brought Don home when he was just a puppy when we lived back in Kansas.  He was a short-hair English pointer.  His mother was fine hunting dog and when Don was old enough Clyde used to take him down to Pottawatomie county to hunt quail with him.  He trained easily and I got my first demonstration of his skill one Sunday afternoon when we started up to look a the area that we were planning to build on.  We were horseback, Clyde riding one of the little grey team with Ruth on behind him and me riding the more gentle one with Dick in the big saddle with me.  All of a sudden Don made a point, nose straight ahead, right foot raised and tail straight out behind.  Clyde hadn't brought his gun, but he put Ruth on behind me and told me not to move, and tore back for his gun.  My horse stood still as Clyde thought he would and when he got back, Don was still standing in the same position.  Clyde walked up slowly behind Don and then Don too some steps toward the prairie chicken that was crouched in the grass, until the bird flew up and Clyde got it.  Then Don turned toward another chicken that he could smell and flushed it out.  He did this until he had raised eight birds.  When there were no more, he obeyed Clyde's order to pick them up and bring them to him.  I had never seen such work by a dog.  He wouldn't work for anybody else at first, but we had a neighbor, the young man who had drawn the section that joined outs on the north, who spent a great deal of time and our home and seemed like family to Don.  His name was Jim Matusy, a railroad man for Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Jim had built a little one room sod house, that he lived in the required seven months until he proved up on his land.  He loved our kids, read the funnies to them.  He made a deal with Clyde to let us run our cattle on his section in exchange for help in fencing his place.  Clyde had wire and posts enough to fence three sides of his section and our adjoining north fence served his, too.  We were expecting a carload of cattle in the spring.  Clyde wanted to run them on Jim's land during the summer months and use our pasture for winter grazing. 

*******Happy New Year to my readers!*******

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...