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No Left Turn

You may have noticed, dear readers, that I have been away for a while.  I can explain.  Spring and summer came over the Figure 8 Ranch with an endless list of work to accomplish:  barn building, garden planting, shop-cleaning, mowing, more planting, tree falling, wood splitting, cocktail mixing, raids into northern California, horse buying, and ...

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The Luftballoon Interview

  Recently, I was contacted by Dietrich Waller, a blog reporter from the German fanzine Der Luftballooner with a request for an interview.  Though this blog has a low readership in Germany, I was surprised and consented to spend a few minutes with Dietrich.  It was an enjoyable conversation.  Here is a segmented transcript of ...

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L’Esprit De L’Escalier

The French, much in the news lately, and for all of the wrong reasons–and as luck would have it, just as I was finishing a terrific biography of Marie Antoinette–have an elegant phrase:  L‘esprit de l’escalier, which might be rendered literally as “staircase wit,” either in the pejorative, or merely as an observation of fact, ...

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A Lone Star Holiday, Part Three

Our final push into Austin was a dash through the heart of Comanche Country, a trip that only a few sleeps ago would have invited certain death.  The Comanche, “Lords of the Southern Plains”, were not an outfit to be trifled with, given that they ran the Apaches–no slouches–out of what became Texas, turned the ...

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A Lone Star Holiday, Part Two

On a theme of Billy the Kid, Muleshoe, and The Chiminea Debrief… We made Santa Rosa, barreling through snowfall so heavy it made me dizzy, performed a flawless locked-wheel skid at the entrance to the Santa Rosa La Quinta Inn, dumped our gear without ceremony, then headed back out into the storm to find some ...

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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 ...

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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, ...

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