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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excerpt from Trouble at Sagrado Ranch

A few words from Chapter 6 of Trouble at Sagrado Ranch:

     "Let's go watch the wrangler break a horse or two," (said Legrand).
      "Sure, before I get involved in this stuff," I said, getting up.
      We walked to the corral near the barn that had two horses inside, a beautiful black and a sorrel. Pa was in the corral with Lute Kempus, who had just tethered the sorrel to a post in the corner and was getting ready to throw a rope on the black so he could put a saddle on him.
     "Getting ready to tackle Black Velvet, is he?" LeGrand said to Pa.  
     "For the second time, yup. He got throwed off the first time."
     LeGrand yelled to Lute, "Want me to hold that rope while you throw on the saddle?"
     "Nah, not this time," said Lute.
     The slim, bronzed wrangler was confident in what he was doing and had no trouble putting on the bridle and saddle gear.  The black gelding stood quietly, keeping his eyes on the wrangler, wo climbed jauntily into the saddle, holding the reins and getting settled. He no sooner got situated than Black Velvet lifted his front legs and dropped them back to the ground. He raised his back legs with a sudden jolt to the rider, trying to throw him off.
     Lute was expecting that and as soon as the back legs hit the ground, the horse took off in a run around the corral, stopping abruptly and sliding to a stop. Velvet started bucking and rolling with Kempus holding the reins and the saddle horn with his right hand and trowing his left in the air on each jump. The horse stopped, puffing hard, twisting his head and without any particular notice to the rider made a kick and put his front and hind legs touching in a wild buck. Lute went flying over the fence, landing on his head and shoulders, the momentum carrying him in a somersault and coming to rest in a sitting position in the dirt, unhurt, his hat askew, but still on his head. Kempus sat there, his arms resting on his bent knees, taking a few deep breaths, and staring at the hills in the distance.
     "Is that a new way to practice cartwheels, Lute?" said Pa, laughing. "Yer goin' to need some of that mustang liniment tonight for those shoulders and leg joints."
     Lute was sitting on his behind looking out over the horizon. "I'll be fine, Mister Hawkins. I was just admirin' the view of the hills, is all," said Lute, still panting. "I think that horse was trying to kill me, though."

Get your copy from at a reasonable price on Kindle or paperback and enjoy.   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not a Western

By golly! The short story anthology of Nikki Mcdonagh entitled Glimmer is certainly not a Western. There are no cowboys or Indians anywhere in sight or even a pile of prickly pear. But the stories prick at my inner conscience like ghostly wind over the desert. Ms. McDonagh has created a world that is like an out-of-body experience almost. At least the stories took me out of my confined world and took me into science fiction, a little horror, drama, and wonder. She has a fine imagination and writes with a certain savoir faire style that takes you on a mental journey into another world, a world of creativity that sucks you right into a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. There is the world of the Lost Girl and the world of Art, and an imaginative tale of a book and its owner, flotsam, and what I imagined as an alien in the opening story.for which the book title is named after. And there is the sick woman returning home with a fatal tumor. Intriguing, interesting, and creative.

I'm a Western sort of guy and don't get into other genres very much, but I certainly enjoyed reading Glimmer as great entertainment. It was 133 pages of fine writing and inventive imagery nicely done. I will give it at least four out of five stars and recommend it to fans of science fiction and horror and anyone else who likes a good read.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Speed Records on Horseback

According to Wikipedia, Buffalo Bill while working for the Pony Express covered 322 miles in 21 hours, forty minutes using 21 horses, (which is just over 15 miles an hour). His relief rider had been killed and he made the round trip between Red Buttes Station and Rocky Ridge Station. Quite a feat!

Over the past two or three years, I dip into an Anthology by J. Frank Dobie called I'll Tell You a Tale, ever so often when time permits. In this anthology Mr. Dobie wrote a tale of one Francois Xavier Aubry entitled Little Aubry's Ride. This Aubry feller was a little guy, weighing not much more than he could eat in a day or two, say a hundred pounds give or take a little. Well, this Mister Aubry was a tough little nut who traveled between Independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe New Mexico, delivering freight. He bet a thousand dollars that he could make the ride in six days. It was over 800 miles that he had to ride. The total time it took him was five days and 16 hours, actual riding time he figured was four and a half days. They said his saddle was bloody when he he got off the horse at the end of the ride.

Now, that's some ridin'!

Well, there is much more to learn about both of these horsemen at and also the famous writer J Frank Dobie and his writings. Interesting men, interesting books.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

OK, Let's See Some Stats

All right. It seems that blog viewers have been visiting my blog to see what is going on over the last couple of months or longer in droves as expressed by the stats:

Pageviews today:                       1,528

Pageviews yesterday:                 1,908

Pageviews last month:               56,416

This is a considerable increase from the days of yore when it took forever to reach 5.000.

I think the increase is due to my joining more sites like Twitter, where I tweet maybe once or twice a month or joining a couple of on-line clubs. I'm also on Pinterest, but it has a low following so far. The biggest thing, I think, is the RSS feed, Feedspot.

In any event, I hope the people viewing the blog find something of interest to keep them coming back.  Thanks!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bob Boze Bell Event

After a delay, Bob Boze Bell was the main attraction at the luncheon put on by the Lion's Club of Sun City on Saturday, November 1, 2014. It was the annual "Legends of the West" event. For those who may not have heard of Mr. Bell, he and others bought the nationwide magazine True West in 1999 and he is a true Legend of the West. Artist, Illustrator, Author, Publisher, Editor, Mr. Bell has written and illustrated ground-breaking books on Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday and his series on Western gunfights, Classic Gunfights. His artistic works include gouache, scratchboard, oil and watercolor of cowboys, Indians, Figures, and horses of the West. His artwork has appeared in Playboy, Wild West, National Lampoon, Arizona Highways and others. He is featured on Encore's Western Channel daily and has appeared on the History Channel, Discovery Channel and the Westerns Channel. Mr. Bell has illustrated for Disney's production of A.K.A. Billy the Kid, and War in Lincoln County by Northport pictures, Discovery Channel's Outlaws and Lawmen, and the PBS production entitled Alias Billy the Kid.

He entertained the audience for about 15-20 minutes after lunch, talking about growing up in Kingman, Arizona, and facts and non-facts of certain biographies of Western legends like Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. His interest in western history goes back to his younger days of buying True West at the local drugstore and reading and collecting stories of the major outlaws and lawmen of the Old West. He talked about buying the magazine and the early troubles he and his partners had with it, losing thousands of dollars a month until he found someone who actually knew about publishing a national magazine and turning it around to a profit-making deal.

The audience gave him a big hand and a couple of questions were asked before he put out a few books he had brought to sell. They sold quickly and he was out of there before we knew it. He must have been pressed for time.

The bio above came from the program, the cover of which is below.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mary Hallock Foote, Author, Artist, Illustrator

HAPPY HALLOWEEN just like the Header says, and since it is Halloween, I decided to use my sketch of Mary Hallock Foote's headstone.

Mary Hallock Foote married Arthur deWint Foote in 1876 and followed him around the country on his engineering jobs, e.g., Leadville, CO; Deadwood, SD, and Boise, ID, and finally settling in Grass Valley, CA. She wrote her reminiscences in A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West and other books like Led-Horse Claim: A Romance of a Mining Camp, The Prodigal, Couer d'Alene and many short stories, including one about ghosts (see Ron Scheer's blog post of 10-30-14 at his blog Buddies in the Saddle). In addition to her writing, she was an accomplished Artist and Illustrator. There is an example of her work for sale at, an illustration containing a man and a woman, cost only $75. The Boise Public Library has some of her stuff in their collection and there is the Foote house in Boise.

Mrs. Foote was born in 1848 in New York and died in 1938.

Wikipedia's article on Mrs. Foote has more detail on her life and times and includes a bibliography of her works.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another First

Friends, Romans, etc., I've been reading a Western-like story set in Ancient Greece. In it something comes up missing, someone threatens to kill, someone falls in love??, and someone greases a goat. It's all about a missing piece of the puzzle that a young man needs to cure himself of a boil on the bum. The youngster with the boil is Tutor Timo and he can't remember the missing item to make his Auntie Aspic's Brilliant Boil Balsam.

It is all contained in a children's book by Ali Aardwolff (pen name of Georgina Titmus), Nugget's Bum Deal. Tutor Timo is going to kill Nugget the Chicken, pet of Colin Plato, who was asked by Timo to talk to his dead Auntie Aspic and find out the last ingredient of the elixir needed for the Boil Balsam. Colin must find the one scroll of Wiseman Hermit Tottle that told how to talk to dead people. But Timo can't wait and wants to use the only other tried and true method to cure a boil - sacrifice a chicken. And so he goes after Nugget with his pop's battle axe.

Colin finds the proper scroll on contacting a person who has died and gets his girlfriend (Iris Tottle) and his young brother (Gifted Doug) to participate in a seance of sorts. It is at Grandfather Yannis' where Colin finds Iris while the Grandpa greases the goat named Frittata.

I will not spoil the ending by discussing it here in case of ruining the story for someone else. I will say that I enjoyed reading this book for children and will recommend it to my great-grandsons. It was funny, inventive, ridiculous, and entertaining, a fine story for the young and young at heart.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spirits of the Old West, Vol 2, by Kathryn Kaye

This book focuses on ghostly sightings and other unworldly happenings in the West's most famous town - Tombstone, AZ, and has short bios of some of the main characters - The Earp Brothers, Doc Halliday, Ed Schifflein. Most of you have read enough about Tombstone, the Earps, and Doc Halliday, but I found the book interesting having visited Tombstone several times and seen the old buildings and corral mentioned in the book.The author, Kathryn Kaye, did some research to back up what she writes about and includes the references at the end so you can look them up and read them for yourself, if so incliined.

I recommend it for readers who are not familiar with the subject matter and give it four stars. There are some misspelled words and the context at times is not exactly correct, but it was a fun book.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Overlooked Events

I missed posting a couple of events in the last blog, so have included them here:

Oct 18 - Western Auction at the Old Trading Post in Casa Grande sponsored by Jim and Bobbi Jean  Olson. Well, what do you know? This one is over. Sorry I didn't get this one up there.They always have tons of Western stuff on the block. Only wish I could afford it, I'd like to have a .44 Colt to put by my bedside. Maybe I can attend next month's auction just for kicks.

Oct 25: Legend of the West with Bob Boze Bell, editor of True West Mag and lives right near here in Cave Creek. Great artist and illustrator and author of Western books. I am looking forward to this one at the First Presbyterian Church here in Sun City, AZ. That's next Saturday coming up fast.

And, and, and it's time to choose a health plan for next year. You have until December 7, or 15th, or 31st depending on your particular situation. I don't know about you, but there's a big change in the air for us as the company is no longer going to do it like they always have. You have to go look for it, instead of them providing it. I think it's in some way related to the passage of the Affordable Care Act which no one in Congress read before they passed it. I have no intention of reading it either. If Mark Twain and Will Rogers were alive they could have a great time with this one.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coming Events in Arizona

Here are some exciting events to attend in November:

Nov 1-2: 12th Annual Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Trail Run and Jalloween Party, Fountain Hills. Takes place at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park on the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail. Aid stations every 5 miles.

Nov 1-2: 6th Annual FearCon Film Festival, Phoenix - FearFarm.  Showcasing the best horror cinema from around the world, presented byTrash City Entertainment. $10.50, none-midnight.

Nov 3-7: 3rd Annual John Wayne's Monument Valley Ride, Monument Valley. Four-day horseback ride in the heart of the Navajo Tribal Park. Includes horses, tack, wranglers, Navajo guide/historian, meals, "Period clothing" recommended, reservations needed.

Nov 7-9: 5th Annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, Chandler - Tumbleweed Park. Demonstrates 1880s Old West lifestyle. Teams from across the Western U.S., old fashioned culinary competition.

Nov 7-9: American Cup Championship Arabian Horse Show at Westworld of Scottsdale. A grat horse competition, uh-huh.

Nov 11: Veterans Day. Various celebrations around the State. Get out and salute the vets.

Thanks to Sun Life Magazine.