Saturday, September 27, 2014

Old photo #1

Found a hundred or so old photos. Here is Constant Commenter  John Hill, better known as "Johnny UK", on one of his many stays here, riding the Qureshi's Cebolla north of town.

Random Doggage #1

Lots of photoblogging coming today because I have a ton of good images. First, an Irish team:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


There is no scientific anthropology here, for anthropology is not a science, no matter how much its young practitioners wish it to be. You can feed apples into a computer until the cows come home, but all you will get out of it is applesauce. I am defiantly an "eyeball anthropologist," a man with what might be called extensive knowledge in this sad age of rampant ignorance, with an insatiable curiosity and a visceral need to know the whys of human behavior, and the propensity to form a theory out of any two pieces of data. Watch out for that. I will not lead you down a straight Yellow Brick Road, but off into the poppy fields to look at his or that apparent irrelevancy, which will lead to another irrelevancy - but we will get to the Emerald City at last.

- John Greenway, Down Among the Wild Men    


"Work that does not lead directly to food should be forbidden in fall."

- Carlos Martinez del Rio

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The wheel turns

The great season song, the great New England song, the song that haunts me. Take it, Tom...

Bron, Karen, this one is for you.

Weekend Dogs: Teddy's Teckels

In his comment below, Gil mentions a hunting dachshund. Our own late Diamond Lil was another, but for the best hunting dachshund pics we go to Teddy Moritz, who bred our Lil. Here is Lil, and a few of Teddy's through the years.
And Teddy's:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

At Mark's: Gratuitous weiner dogs plus

I took a lot of photos at my friend Mark's "new" office in a historic building here-- firearms, animal specimens, and gratuitous dogs. Rather than publish  them all in one monster post, I think I will parcel them out.

Mark is a fan of bird dogs and dachshunds. He has several dachsies, plus Kena who is both (half German shorthair)...

 Dogs can be as visual as cats. They are chasing a laser dot here...
 Where'd it go?

Play fair!

Friday, September 19, 2014


A haul of our most delicious parasitic mushroom, gathered by Simon Armijo in the White Mountains of Arizona,  100 miles west and higher and wetter than ours...


Last blaze of glory...

New York Carriage horses and their enemies

Like Joel Katz of Bedlam Farm Journal, I think that the case of these horses, well- kept but attracting the attention and money of --  I can't soften it,  deranged animal "Rights" activists,  possibly backed by the money of cynical real estate interests-- is emblematic of our "rather stupid time" (Ortega), and a preview of what every one of us who lives with ancient human- animal memes-- dog breeders, houndsmen, pigeon racers, falconers, sheep herders, ranchers, dog trainers-- faces. Name it-- there is some fanatic in a city near you who has never kept, never mind bred or worked with, any animal, and that person  is determined to take your animal away and "rescue" (or kill) it,  to at best, a puzzled life behind bars with no work.

Some recent Jon Katz; first from September 16

"Have you ever been absolutely hated by an animal rights activist? I mean HATED so much that they wish to obliterate your very existence. HATED so much that they vow to destroy you and your kind no matter what it costs, monetarily or in decency? HATED so much that your very humaneness and your families identity and legacy and traditions and whatever else you hold sacred and dear are threatened with a campaign to destroy any trace of your existence? What is it about this kind of activism done in the name of loving animals, that loathes humankind to the point of what appears to be utter insanity?"

And this, from yesterday

"The next thing that surprised was learn that the campaign against the carriage horses was not  a debate about the horses, or an argument about animal welfare or the future of animals in the urban world. It was an ideological assault – personal, brutal and relentlessly cruel – against the people who owned and drove the horse carriages. To understand this unnecessary controversy, it is first essential to understand that. It has always been about attacking and dehumanizing the drivers, who have been called thieves, torturers, abusers, immoral, callous, greedy, liars and inhuman or less than human beings.

"This is always the language of hate, the precursor to persecution, the ugly advance work necessary to demonize people to the point that their freedom and property can be taken away by the so-called moral community around them. Earlier this year, one of the gentlest and most beloved of the carriage drivers approached the mayor at a public event with his young son. He asked the mayor why he was do determined to ban the horses, and the mayor said "because your work is immoral." He said this right in front of his son, and then turned away. He did not speak of the horses, he spoke of the character of the people who drive them.

"There it was, from the mayor's mouth to our ears. It is about the people, not the animals. The story has never been about the welfare of animals, not one animal on the earth will lead a better or safer life if the carriage horses are banished to rescue farms and slaughterhouses."

This not young photographer, recovering from open heart surgery and for no reason but that he understands working and domestic animals and can see and think and feel, is the most eloquent defender of our Old Ways on the web. I check him every morning, and you should too. Thanks, Jon, and keep up the good fight.

UPDATE in progress. I am writing this out of saved material.  Libby informs me that Jon is apparently putting his farm up for sale, as his health is shaky. I hope he continues writing and making beautiful photos, but our hearts are with him whatever he does. His eloquent defense of working animals is something we can mine as long as deracinated urbanites try to deny us contact with (CS Lewis phrase) "other bloods".

Gilcrease Museum

The first weekend of the month, Connie and I were in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a special event at the fabulous Gilcrease Museum. The museum had an open house with a number of lectures and other events to celebrate the opening of a new building they just added. Connie grew up in Tulsa and was very familiar with the Gilcrease, but it was my first visit. I was blown away by the quality and quantity of the western art and prehistoric artifact collections there. I would recommend anyone visit if they have the opportunity.

One of the lectures was given by our old friends, authors Kathy and Mike Gear. They gave an interesting and entertaining talk about why and how they write their archaeology-based novels. Their latest novel, People of the Morning Star, is the first of a series of three set in the prehistoric Mississippian metropolis of Cahokia.         

Close Encounter

Early yesterday morning, these two young bucks were busy noshing on my neighbor's lawn and shrubs.

Suddenly, my neighbor came out her back door with her dachshund, who saw them and barked once. The two boys dove to the bottom of the arroyo that was just a few feet away.

They hung out down there with a doe and her fawn, who had been eating sumac down in the arroyo bottom. They were anxious to see if that dachshund was coming after them.

 Then they noticed me, standing on the bank of the arroyo. They wanted to go down the arroyo and back to cover along Bayou Gulch. You can see the doe's ears swiveled back, listening for the dreaded dachshund. I was between them and Bayou Gulch and they didn't like it. I didn't keep them in suspense for long.

One final thing - look at the dark mark on the forehead of the buck in the rear. I don't remember seeing anything like on the muleys around here. Maybe someone who knows more about them than I do can comment. 

Congratulations Paula! (and reluctant self- promotion)

Friend of the blog Paula Young Lee, writer and hunter, traveler, sometime resident of Paris France, Paris Maine, and Wellesley Mass, has won the Gold Medal for travel book from the Society of American Travel Writers  for her book Deer Hunting in Paris. I bet it could as easily win one for hunting book, or food book, or even tangentially for a sort of Po- Mo criticism.

The judges said: ""Eudora Welty, who believes all good writing must have it, speaks of the sound of a voice. And what a voice here! Resonant with images and descriptions, detailed observation and reporting, it soars — from a coot recipe to church suppers. Paula Young Lee saw a lot of the latter because her father, who came to this country from Korea with her mother after the war, served as a Methodist minister in various small town churches in Maine. Growing up there instilled in her a love of hunting, a match for her interest in cooking."

Paula has complimented me by agreeing to do an intro for the new, third edition of my book of essays On The Edge of the Wild. As she is the only one doing an intro that I have not met, I was a mix of eager and scared. Suffice it to say I need not have worried! With Vadim Gorbatov on the cover, with its third Goshawk portrait (in this one the Gos catches a Pied crow in the snow outside Vadim's Moscow apartment building), it will be an attractive package.


I have recently been persuaded that if I am going to write books I must sell them, and I haven't been;  people of my age and background have a horror of calling explicit attention to themselves; somebody else should do it. But there is no budget for promoting books that are not expected to have a shot at the NYT Best Seller List.

I am not sure if I even want to show you the figures for my "book of books", the so- called Sportsman's Library; enough for now to say its sale numbers are a LOT lower than the number of hits I get every day on this blog. I assume nobody but old friends knows exactly what I write, even if they read the blog.  How would they?  Apparently, I have to add my new editions to my Amazon page!

I had decided already that the five backlist titles would be graced with new covers by artists I knew and liked (well, and one with a photo by me), and intros by people younger, smarter, and more famous than I, not to mention generous...

 So far so good, and much more to come! Expect backstories, excerpts, tales about artists and publishers good and bad; even guest appearances, to convince you not only to buy all my books for yourselves and for birthdays, but to buy ten of each for Christmas. You are warned!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Non- Random Doggage

Larissa stayed with us for a week while Shiri visited the coast. Here she is reunited with her, as mother Ataika competes for attention.

New Creature

Annie Davidson sent this video of a new siphonophore, more beautiful and odder than a Portuguese Man o' War, the only well- known member of the family. Was it Arthur Wilderson who recently observed that the ocean's abyss is full of "new" life forms, as odd as anything in science fiction?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Out of place?

Last week, on a hot late summer day, Libby noticed an unusual butterfly feeding on the back yard flowers, so placidly she was able to get me out to photograph it. It was the color of a Luna moth but obviously a butterfly; the raised, leaf- like ribs on its wings had me wondering if it were a "stage" in leaf- mimicry.

White Angled-Sulphur
Anteos clorinde

I asked John Wilson (who knew what it was) to send it in "officially", and received the word that it was the first record in Socorro county and a rare one for this subtropical species in New Mexico.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Exhausted, happy, SLOW.

I will not attempt to get everything out immediately. Suffice for now to say that the "gathering of the clans" was a success, and that we all had fun. Jim blogged our night at Malcolm's signing here. More photos:

 A Central Asian dinner, with Russians metaphorical and real:
And art, and guns, and TALK (quoting Jim: "... endlessly fascinating and wide ranging conversion; writing and writers (good, bad, and obnoxious), falconry, guns, pigeons, more guns, food, wine, and music. A woefully incomplete list of topics I can recall that were mentioned or discussed included: Annie Dillard, the post-punk band Mission of  Burma, mushroom hunting, Johnny Cash, the eccentric Oxford naturalist Jonathan Kingdon, Remington Model 8 rifles,  Mauser Broomhandles (especially regarding the merits of the 7.63 Mauser cartridge over the 9mm Luger chambering), Annie Proulx, the 1903 Mannlicher Schoenaur rifle, technical details (that were beyond my ken) of evolutionary biology of horses, dinosaurs, birds and lizards..."



Eating a well done steak is not unlike eating an alarm clock.

- Russell Chatham, Mountain Mallards

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


Off to Denver for a reading by Malcolm Brooks, for Painted Horses. Not sure if, this fall, I might  not take a short or long break, as things get more physically difficult and slow, as work gets shunted to the side by more ephemeral writing. ??

Bear with me, and wish me luck...

Literary Quote

In art, one is not compelled to choose sides, one poet or novelist at the expense of another. Beckett and Larkin are not mutually exclusive tastes. One feels no pressure to be consistent. Aesthetic love is promiscuous without being unfaithful. One loves Swift and Henry James, Italo Svevo and Barbara Pym. Rigorous consistency in matters of art suggests provinciality and poverty of imagination.

Patrick Kurp

No Boletes

Our strange hot year and its half broken drought left us no boletes. Below, Bear Trap campground in the San Mateos this weekend, and (see tree for position) 2006.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


I actually don't know many mushroomers; in southern New Mexico, just we and the Armijos, and the blogger MDMN and his wife at Sometimes Far Afield; and since they moved to Roswell we don't even see them that often. It is a mixed blessing; no "mushroom jams" at the side of the Forest Service roads, no need for secrecy or misdirection. On the other hand, mushroomers tend to be scholarly as well as seriously interested in the outdoors; the Massachusetts contingent was heavy with writers; Larry Millman, Elio Schecter, Monty Montgomery. The late hunting writer Norm Strung was our mushroom guru in Montana. I miss the conversation , and have to do it online instead.

Our good friend Chas Clifton is an exception;  we have known him and his beautiful wife Mary in real as well as virtual space forever. They live in the Wet Mountains of Clorado, not a bad place at all for foraging. Recently, Chas wrote a piece called "Would you eat Amanita if David Arora cooked it?"

I answered with a hearty "Yes!" Arora is the author of the only utterly indispensable book on identifying North American mushrooms, Mushrooms Demystified; my tattered and note- filled copy is a prized possession. (Look it up in Amazon, link not working right now).

It was a bit of a cheat, because I knew Chas was talking about the mushroom above, Amanita muscaria, and I would certainly eat it, as nothing in the world looks like it; the other "edible" Amanitas look so much like the deadly species that I would have to ask even Arora to justify them!

Chas led his readers to Fat of the Land, where Langdon Cook enjoys a dinner of muscaria cooked by Arora, with no ill effects. He  cites and quotes mushroom writers who say it should not be recommended, but also links to a hilarious paper by Larry Millman and a friend, who didn't get all the active ingredients out, and to a detailed and scholarly paper, by Arora and another, in Economic Botany, which not only tells you how to render it harmless, and delicious, but convincingly explains why only 20th century Americans seem to think it is dangerous. (I know he is nutty but it is hard not to see Gordon Wasson's theory of Anglo Saxon "mycophobia" at work here).

The mushrooms are tempting, but the funniest thing in the whole mix might be Lawrence Millman's deadpan account of the (not very frightening) effects of boiling the Amanitas in too little water. He and his friend spent hours looking at things and giggling and carrying on like two teenagers in the sixties who just got high for the first time. As Larry, a long- time correspondent, serious mycologist, arctic explorer, and fellow Fellow of the Explorers Club, is a scholarly and intrepid gent MY age, it is pretty funny. When they called him for advice, Arora suggested they take notes of their perceptions and words. Some examples:

"Lawrence has been silent for a while, listening to the mushrooms. All of a sudden he's very talkative, although he's not making much sense. "Smooth circus" --neither of us knows what that means. "Mushrooms are people, too," he says."

And: "Lawrence is drinking a beer and says he can relate to the bottle, that the bottle can relate to him, and that the two of them are actually enjoying each other's company... we leave the restaurant. Lawrence says that objects have no meaning, but simply exist. We see a dead deer on the road, and he says the difference between a dead deer and a living one is negligible. Tonya still feels elated, exuberant but at the same time relaxed."

I will refrain from making Sixties hippie noises. After all is done, the  Muscaria is a common, big mushroom here, and if we find some, readers will get a first- hand account...

UPDATE: A dissenting view, here.


Nero's Deadline

Nero wasn't troubled when he heard
the Delphic Oracle's prophecy.
"Let him beware the age of seventy-three."
He still had time to enjoy himself.
He is thirty years old. It's quite sufficient,
the deadline that the god is giving him,
for him to think about dangers yet to come.

Now to Rome he'll be returning a little wearied,
but exquisitely wearied by this trip,
which had been wholly devoted to days of delight -
in the theaters, in the gardens, the gymnasia…
Evenings of the cities of Achaea…
Ah, the pleasure of naked bodies above all…

So Nero. And in Spain, Galba
is secretly assembling his army and preparing it:
the old man, seventy-three years old.

- Constantine Cavafy


Because books contained most of the sorts of answers he hoped to find in life, he became attached to them in their every aspect while very young. He loved their look, their feel, their type, their presence singly or in great quantities, as in libraries. His origins were lost in mystery, so nobody could explain where his traits and tastes came from.

- Paul Horgan, A Distant Trumpet


Going out to look for Boletus edulis this weekend. Here is a collage from previous years.

(I am enjoying these photo posts to set the season; never fear, writing will return soon).

I assume any reader knows me; others, in order of appearance: Lib, daughter-in-law Niki Mazzia Frishman, Connie Farmer, Della and Simon Armijo (the only other "shroomers" in two counties), who have also rebuilt about half of our house so far,  and Greg Vivian, Lib's former boss, a Vermonter who took naturally to mushrooming.

We used to use a dead Jeep for a dryer