Return from Tanzania

Connie and I returned last night from an amazingly wonderful trip. In the coming days I will put a lot of material up on the blog on some of the experiences we had while there. Like watching these two old bulls devour an acacia tree in the Endumet Wildlife Area.

Or seeing this dark-patterned giraffe also in the Endumet.

Or watching this Grey Crowned Crane at Ngorongoro Crater.

“Better than Bacon”

This painting, in which Carl Rungius does his own version of a Charley Russell theme, is in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole. Most of Rungius’s late great oils  have a distinctive theme or style, which I characterized rudely to two of my friends, art historian Jim Moore and museum curator Toby Jurjevics, as “a cubist mountain with a big white mammal on it, or a big dark cubist mammal, a bear or a moose.” True and I think funny (they did laugh), but leaves out the fact that he was one of the greatest “animaliers” ever, and maybe my favorite big game painter.

A show is coming next year of American hunting and fishing paintings, from the Revolution to WW II. I will do the intro, one reason we were all sitting in my yard last week talking about painters. I want to add this Rungius because it is atypical, as well as very nice.

By the way, I have a letter by Rungius that fell out of an old Knopf Borzoi book on Alaskan hunting by Russell Annabel that I found in a bookstore.

Image again

Here is the full image of the painting that contains the detail I blogged on below. I await the book, but as far as I know it is in Chinese, so it may still be enigmatic. It is both beautiful and sinister, and its title is “Clearing the Mountains”. Who is clearing whom out of what mountains?

Old Timers

Our annual fiesta seems to have taken on new life, and despite threatening (pre?) monsoon  clouds staggering  by, nothing is getting  cancelled. It SMELLS like O t’s. Now we just need the metronymic rhythm of 4 pm daily storms (with hail!) and maybe this will be the best “real”  rain in a decade…

Pics, random and not necessarily meaning anything, but “I LOVE THIS TOWN!” (Sis Olney) is as reasonable response as the more cynical one by the old cowboy who when asked why he stays in our harsh land: “I been three other places and they’re worse…”

Click on photos to enlarge– most will two times, with a lot of detail.

Libby took this photo of Bessie Apache in a formal shirt.

  Eleanor, Roxy, and “Cousin” Sis with her granddaughter, who wants to be a paleontologist and has assisted UNM scientists on a dig of mammoths on the ranch (it was one of the conditions Sis gave for them to dig). Sis is semi- retired from actual ranch work after getting busted up by a cow, so she has time to chase lions with her hounds and her husband Tom, ‘way below on roan. Next,  Sis and daughter Gianetta, who I have known since she was four and who is now the ag teacher at the high school. When she was four, she used to exhort me to drive “..faster, Stevebodio, faster!” on the dirt roads on the ranch. Once, when I could barely stay on the road in my Suburban, I asked imperturbable Sis if she usually drove that fast. She grinned and said “I aint driven this fast on this road in my life!”


Gospel rock band from the Alamo rez. And every parade needs a 57 Chevy.

Karolyn and Doc ham it up.

Tom Olney (above, the computer won’t add where I want), leads the parade. Barbara Trujillo Bowden, below with flag, is the aunt of my old friend James “Viejo” Trujillo, who died last year and appeared here, sister of my mentor Tony, and the recent widow of Curly Bowden, a fellow bird fancier (he briefly kept an emu!) The whole family is known for good  horses. A teacher and a reader, she beat cancer last year, and is still smiling.

Above: the guy with this float has a collection of antique (mostly 19th century) astronomical telescopes, some on display at a gallery in town, and assists at astronomical events and star parties. (Remember, we have Tech, the VLA of “Contact” fame, and a huge traditional telescope on the crest of the mags. NM is cowboys, Indians, old Spanish culture, and science fiction.

Below, Paul Pino’s band has played in every fiesta for years, decades…

Left: Marin Harris, who I have known since she was born (in this town), has gone to college in British Columbia and Maine, and worked for the circus in Manhattan. She is in Albuquerque when not visiting her family here,  pursuing further degrees. Then, Sharon, Marin’s mother, and Terry, teachers

The last float was incomprehensible. When Libby asked Felipe, more or less driving, what it was for, He said “I don’t know– they came and woke me up and asked me if I wanted to ride in it.”

Below, us. We are still staggering, still smiling. A few hours later, the rains came. Libby in the aftermath just outside the front door, as some will recognize…

Upcoming Trip

Connie and I are leaving later this week on a two-week trip to Tanzania. Our itinerary includes visits to Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Oldupai (used to be Olduvai) Gorge, and Serengeti National Park.  We hope to have lots of photographs and stories to share when we return.

Pedersen Rifle

But for  the preferences of General MacArthur and a big supply of WWI Springfields, we might have had a more elegant, if complicated, rifle for WWII than the Garand. Nathaniel F, gunblogger, scholar, and expert on military weapons and their history, first showed me a cartridge for the legendary Pedersen when he visited with Arthur last year.  They brought lots of odd long guns, and posed with us in our library.

Now there is a YouTube of shooting the Pedersen, with Nate providing some info and perspective.