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January 25, 2007

TOMBOY TRUE

Miniature black beaver set
over loose blond threads
escaping a forgotten ponytail,

laced red packers peeking
brightly under faded jeans
beneath a sleeveless
white cotton blouse

to which I offer
my most sincere compliments
for lookin’ sharp –
but meaning mostly
her free and easy carriage
gracing the way to work with Dad
on a summer Sunday morning

            how were I younger
            I’d be charging her
            around at preschool

when she interrupts
with the four year-old facts,

“Hey, it’s just me
underneath
all these cowboy clothes!”

                 for Katie Lynn Fry



from APRIL BULLFROGS

January 22, 2007

Fuller, Maze & Lawerence Branding


Waiting for the Irons
Chad Lawrence & Paint


Calf Smoke
Jody Fuller, Garth Maze, Frank Ainley, Jr, (iron), Katie & Chuck Fry



Gotcha!
Virginia McKee



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Catchin' up
Kyle Loveall & Chuck Fry



Son & Father
Ted & Frank Ainley, Jr.



No Hands, Grandma
Jody Fuller & Sam



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Crew, Homer Cove
Lesley, Chuck & Mattie Fry (mounted), Kyle Loveall, John Dofflemyer, Katie Fry (mounted), Art ?, Chad Lawerence, Audrey & Garth & Teresa Maze, Sam (mounted), Steve & Jody Fuller, Allie Fry (mounted), Barbara & Frank Ainley, Sr., Frank Ainley, jr. (mounted), Virginia & Ken McKee, Ted Ainley (mounted).

January 21, 2007

BULL PEN

Torsos thick as trucks rise from a huge,
silted tangle of roots, colossal limbs
embrace the other’s empty space,
side by side, like old friends – twin

Valley Oaks entwined in one thatched
canopy for centuries where eagles
choose to roost above corrals,
where lumbering bulls claim shade

and the remnants of natives come
for a feather – and where boy and father
learned how anger works.
After fifty years, voices soften,

the horse dance sort of cattle slows
as eagles idly share a myth of men –
recalling swallowed tears and a boy’s
sweet solace found in booming mantras

of profanity, iambic ire and the mountains
of alliterative discord that finally drove
the old bull off. They come less often now
that one lets go its grasp, sheds hollow

limbs of marrow tunneled by decades of ants.
Great white heads cocked, they still stay
for the entertainment – looking down their
hooked yellow beaks at the show below.

January 19, 2007

Branding: Sulfur

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Janaury 17, 2007

January 14, 2007

Cold!

Down to 22 degrees at daylight this morning here on Dry Creek, compared to yesterday’s temperature of 25. Though it’s supposed to warm slightly tonight, I would guess that the bulk of the citrus crop that wasn’t damaged Friday, froze last night. Ken McKee, (pictured in the Greasy Creek branding crew below) indicated to me that his remaining crop is lost, temperatures down to 20 degrees in the Elderwood area Friday night – presumably in the teens last night. Undoubtedly, there are a few warm pockets that survived, but those would be an extremely small percentage of the crop still on the trees. The fruit can tolerate up to 4 hours at 26 degrees and a lesser duration at lower temperatures. In the mid-teens, the trees are at risk.

Two miles up the road, we branded some of Craig Ainley’s calves yesterday. Though I had wrapped most of our exposed pipes, I had to leave about 9:30 to address a rainbird sprinkler that had frozen and thawed into a geyser. A fairly quick fix with the plumbing parts at hand, but today being Sunday, I’ll have to wait to see what I need – hopefully it won’t necessitate a trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s in Visalia. Ugh!

Along with our inability to drive in the snow, which we didn’t receive with this cold front, Californians aren’t prepared for frozen plumbing, most new homes on slabs with plumbing above sheet rock ceilings. Likewise, most trenching is fairly shallow. Comparing notes at Elko in 1998, this practiced recipe for problems brought lots of grins from friends from other parts of the West.

We leave for Elko in a couple of weeks, but not before we gather another bunch of calves to brand Wednesday. With a little luck before we leave, we’ll get some rain that will give us time to get our stuff together. Short of any plumbing disasters today, I plan to work on my new chapbook, April Bullfrogs. For the most part, it is an edited selection of poems from this weblog that ought to be available at the Gathering, or through Dry Crik Press when we get home.

Robbin took quite a few pictures at Craig’s branding yesterday that christened Jody Fuller’s new pipe pens. I’ll add a couple of these later in the red-lettered “Continued” section.

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Homer Cove
Fuller Corrals/Craig Ainley Branding



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Three Generations
Horseback Head: Ted Ainley - Heel: Chad Lawerence
Calf Head: Craig Ainley - Holding heel rope: Corrine Ainley (our sweetheart)
Coaching (with broken ribs): Frank Ainley Sr.



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Riding Towards Supper or Chuck & the Kids

Though nippy by California standards, it was warm with family and community.

January 11, 2007

January 11, 2007

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Greasy Creek
Back: Craig Ainley, Ben Britten, Tony Rabb, Ted Ainley - Front: Robbin & John Dofflemyer, Jody Fuller, Frank Ainley II, Lesley & Chuck Fry, Clarence Holdbrooks, Virginia & Ken McKee


We managed to get a little bunch of calves marked in Greasy yesterday ahead of the much-heralded cold storm that arrived this morning. 40 degrees at noon today, we expect several nights well-below freezing into the mid-teens – cold enough to freeze the remaining oranges still on the trees in the Valley.

So far, there hasn’t been any moisture associated with the cold front, but there’s speculation that it may snow down to the Valley floor. Most Californians don’t know how to drive in the snow. In 1998 when Robbin & I were leaving for Elko, there were about as many cars nosed off the road as there were on it.

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