A few miles south of La Pine, Oregon, highway 97 offers travelers the opportunity to turn hard east onto highway 31. At this sudden intersection in the ponderosas – it is easily missed – there is a small sign welcoming motorists to the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway. It’s a pleasant enough sign, adorned with a silhouetted coyote yipping at the rising sun, and seems appropriate in its understatement if only to remind people that the entire world is not made of concrete, steel, and inter-personal friction.
Last week, while most of Big America was flailing about in a toxic stew of mind-numbing polemics, Murphy Ranch buckaroo Tyler Mecham was following wolf tracks up Dairy Creek. Tyler is 19 years old, 6’3, with Modoc blood in his veins, and as solid a hand as one might hope to find in this rare hidey-hole of genuine Americana.
We were riding up above it all, miles from the Murphy’s cow camp at South Flat in blowdown timber, when I saw the zucchinis. I can maybe be forgiven some momentary confusion – we’d been riding hard for several hours, chousing cattle out of some dangerously tangled alpine country – and I was feeling the fatigue from all of that when I came upon this unlikely pile of vegetables.
Twice in the same day I saw the concept of the “heroic” badly misunderstood. When that sort of thing happens, I figure it’s time for a RIR post. The first was in the context of the passing at the age of 81 of Texas songwriting legend and larger-than-life wild man Billy Joe Shaver. “Trigger” the keeper of the […]
“I want the entire world to burn until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician.” — Nathan Jun, Midwestern State University philosophy professor and “mild-mannered and conscientious member of his local community.” We’re back in “Up against the wall, motherfucker!” […]
Areas where treasure ships could be found on routine runs, such as the Spanish Main, were key hunting grounds for pirates because of the yearly trips made by the Spanish treasure fleet between Portobello and Peru that were packed with potential loot. — Pirateshipvallarta.com “When the king brands us pirates, he doesn’t mean to make us […]
I’ll keep it brief because a steaming summer thunderstorm has parked over the top of the Figure 8 and I need to spend some serious time on fire watch. I’d meant to ride my colt this afternoon, and continue roping barrels and tires and tree trunks, but I don’t ride in lightning and that’s that. Blevins from All the Pretty Horses has nothing on me when it comes to a fear of lightning. We’ve dodged two fires already this year — one lightning strike on a tree, and a downed power line nearby that charred an acre or so — which has me kindly nervous when it comes to fire.
Things are weird in the USA — and over the next few months they are going to get weirder. I find it necessary to lay out where I stand and the line I will walk as we turn and turn in the widening gyre. I am weary of people telling me (as they have for about 20 years) that I […]
“If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.” — Edward Abbey * Stuff that works Stuff that holds up The kind of stuff you don’t hang on the wall Stuff that’s real Stuff […]
Part of the natural evolution — and devolution — of language is that useful terms of art gain popular acceptance and then are debased through overuse. This process is accelerated in the sticky, humid and overwrought hothouse conditions of cultural conflict. The decomposition of useful terms is frustrating for those of us who make our living […]
It was late June, but there was frost on my bedroll when I woke up in the dark at the Murphy Ranch cow camp on South Flat, about 25 miles up the Chewaucan River from Paisley, Oregon. I was there — along with cinematographer Samuel Pyke – to begin filming The Len Babb Movie Project, which was an idea that flashed into my head two months earlier while riding my colt.
For some lighter fare, I give you a Hound and a chicken. Better make that two chickens. We are living in a time of Maximum Bloviation. Everybody has a platform, and discourse on all of them seems to have fallen to the low common denominator of the Facebook rant. Whenever I tire of listening to blowhards flap their jaws, I fire up this brilliant […]