The organizers of a book signing…

The organizers of a book signing in Aix-en-Provence invited Jill and me to a party in a lovely apartment in the center of town. There were mounds of pasta, wonderful greens, and lots of wine. Many of the other guests were food people and there were a few farmers in the mix. By then, we had been in France for nearly a month and that afternoon, at the book signing, I had talked a little bit about the excellence of the food we had found – especially in the countryside. I spoke with admiration about the cheeses and sausages we found in the country kitchens of our friends.

We have all heard the saying…

(Part of a key-note speech given at Lane Community College in the first week of May. Lane is experiencing drastic budget cuts. Programs are going away and people are losing their jobs.)We have all heard the saying that the only two things you can count on are death and taxes. To that short list I think we can safely add the maxims, boys and girls will get together and change is inevitable. The ancient philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying it first: There is nothing permanent except change. Let me say it again, Change is inevitable. Living creatures are certainly no strangers to change – in fact, we are products of change.

Sustainable Harvest Alliance, Inc

Three years ago a group of Lakota people came to Wild Idea and asked if we could come out to the reservation and harvest their buffalo the same way we harvest our own. These were our neighbors. They had looked at our website and many had heard me raving about Great Plains restoration, respect for buffalo, and the production of America’s finest red meat. They said Wild Idea’s attitude toward such things was very much like their attitudes. Even though those attitudes might have originated in slightly different cultural values, I was honored.


Here is chapter four of the ongoing children’s story. Check archives for the first three chapters. Keep letting me know what you think about the story.THE HOMESTEAD IN THE SHADOW OF STRONGHOLDInstallment Four


Note: Here is chapter three of a rough draft of my first children’s story. Check the archives for the first two chapters. It looks like Homestead In The Shadow of Stronghold is going to be about seven chapters. So we’re almost halfway through. Sorry about the inconsistencies and the spelling errors. I’ll get that on the next pass. I’ve had lots of comments and sage advice. Keep them coming. For a look at Installments One and Two, go to archives, January and February 2007. THE HOMESTEAD IN THE SHADOW OF STRONGHOLD Installment Three


Thanks to all who tossed in their advice on the first chapter of the first draft of my first “kid’s story”. Keep the advice coming! For a look at Installment One, go to archives, January 2007. THE HOMESTEAD IN THE SHADOW OF STRONGHOLDInstallment Two


I have been challenged by a Wild Idea customer to “write a children’s story with buffalo, why don’t you?” Well, I’ve never done that but I’ve always wanted to try. It might take me a few months but here is the first part of a first draft of a first children’s story.” I am looking for advice. THE HOMESTEAD IN THE SHADOW OF STRONGHOLDInstallment One

It doesn't look much like Christmas…

It doesn’t look much like Christmas here on the Cheyenne River, but you can feel it gathering beyond the northern horizon. The landscape is brown and cold. Below zero this morning, but sunny. It is a good morning to sit at the word processor and stare out the French doors at the river a mile down-country. The buffalo are across the river in the roadless area. I know right where they are: at the head of Little Corral Draw, where the drainage makes a wide swing to the North. In that country the land breaks up into huge pedestals with eroded edges.

I began writing…

I began writing this monthly musing about Sir Nicholas Stern’s report on the economic impact of global warming but I couldn’t do it. The subject, and the report, is just too hard. I couldn’t read the entire report because it is 700 pages long and because what I did read was as cold and inhuman as, well, an economic report. I ended up Googling (or should I say that I got on The Google and found) “Sir Nicolas Stern on global warming”. After reading this Cliff notes version, the Earth shaking economic report on the cost of global warming came a lot more clear to this non-economic type.

My Best Argument

Perhaps my best argument against the theory of Intelligent Design is the indisputable fact that the vast majority of the good things to do in life happen in the same month. I’m talking about October and more specifically, October on the Great Plains. Winter out here can be inhuman, the last few summers have been unbearable. Spring can be good, but unpredictable. The time of year we wait for is fall. And the fall month of choice is October.

In the mid-ninetieth century…

In the mid-ninetieth century the word spread around the world that the United States of America was about to begin a project that would alter the future of that new country, North America, and the world beyond. It would be an unparalleled engineering feat that would bring transfiguring prosperity to the Great Plains and to the country as a whole. The plan was to build a transcontinental railroad and the railroad’s promoters heralded it as the agent that could bring settlement to the West, much needed raw products to the Coasts, and wealth to all Americans.

The first thing I saw…

The first thing I saw when I pulled into Tuttle, North Dakota was a corner gas station that looked like it could have been the model for a Norman Rockwell painting. Everything was the way it might have been in 1958: the red and white frame building, the single mechanic’s bay, the “bubble gum machine” gas pump, and the public bench out front. The elements missing from that idyllic version of American’s past were the things that made Rockwell, and perhaps America herself, famous throughout the world. When I drove slowly past Tuttle, North Dakota’s only gas station I found no sense of pride, no impression of enterprise, and no hope of prosperity.
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