A Lone Star Holiday, Part One

Last week we butchered the turkeys. I can admit that I didn’t feel good about it–who would–but it was time. With the deep snow our henhouse simply wasn’t big enough for the turkeys and chickens to live in bird-harmony anymore, given that the turkeys were approaching forty pounds each, and acting like jerks. So, reluctantly–I ...


Fair Winds and Following Seas

We are expecting snow here by the end of the week, along with much of the country, which means that the hundred or so winterizing projects I have been putting off can’t wait much longer.  I’ll admit to a touch of simple laziness.  A late fall warm-up seduced me into thinking I had more time, ...


Cowboy Copas and the Ear Trumpet

Yesterday I was fitted for hearing aids.  I’ve known for some time that my hearing is in decline, and the tinnitus in both ears has been driving me crazy, so a couple of weeks ago I drove into town and took advantage of the free hearing test in Sisters.  I flunked.  I knew that I ...


First World Problems

Yesterday, near the end of a daylong cattle-buying adventure in the soggy Willamette Valley, I enjoyed quite possibly the best hamburger I have ever eaten.  I don’t throw out praise like this very often, so you can take it to the bank.  If you ever want a GREAT hamburger–that is, if you aren’t sulking around ...


Opening Day

This year I applied, through the government lottery system, for seven separate hunting tags.  I applied for, in order of importance for the ranch freezer, the following tags:  bull elk, cow elk, deer, antlerless deer, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat, and antelope.  A hunter is allowed only one bighorn tag in his lifetime, so there ...


The Hired Man, a new excerpt

Today’s piece is a new excerpt from The Hired Man, a novel in progress….       In 1946 Charlotte Mulroney was nineteen and bestowed with what his father had called “An impeccable conformation.”  Del was twenty two and home from the war, a wounded veteran of the Pacific campaign in a new hat and denim ...


Dinner With Steve

I don’t know why it should be that late last night, while I was riding with T.E. Lawrence into the fires of Damascus, and only shortly after he had discovered the horrors of “The Turkish Hospital,” that I would have occasion to reminisce about dining with my father.  It might have been his devotion to ...


The Hired Man, An Excerpt

Today’s offering is an excerpt from The Hired Man, a novel in progress.      When he was a boy and a bull slipped the fall gather they would grain the mules.  Twice a day Del would whistle them up from the bottom pasture and grain them with barley and corn rolled in sweet molasses. ...


The Sweetwater Brewing Company

A few years ago, after losing my grandparents, my dad, and our son, in a rapid cascade of debilitating blows, I needed to get away.  Badly.  I was working seventy hour weeks as a narcotics detective, a notorious and occasionally dangerous grind of surveillance and door kicking, and what little time I had left was ...


Lights and Sirens

Post Ferguson, the pundits are working overtime to diagnose the various ills of American policing.  The conclusions are sometimes infuriating, sometimes hilarious, but almost never accurate, which is a bi-product, I suppose, of the simple fact that none of them have ever been cops, or know the first thing about actual police work.  So they ...

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Jack Donovan

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