Public Lands- More Perspective on Don T

Ron Moody, a neighbor of Don’s in Lewistown, has written on the subject of Public Lands and their loss before, notably in this article from  the Bull Moose Gazette he sent me last week:

“So is this dispute an isolated event? Or do other NGOs (non-government
organizations) self-censor or suppress support for public access to obtain
backing of wealthy donors who want more wildlife but also want exclusive private access
to it?   My observation is that such suppression is widespread, even
endemic, to the DU-type fundraising model employed by many habitat conservation groups.

“Thirteen years ago I wrote on this very subject in my old NIMROD’S TRACE
column once published in the Montana Wildlife Newspaper of the Montana Wildlife
Federation.  That column was about the challenges for hunters in the 21st
Century as predictable at the end of the 20th Century.

“Judge for yourself whether the 20th Century has inflicted hard challenges on
conservationists of the 21st Century.”

RTWT!  As  Randy Newberg, interviewing Don on a Hunt Talk Radio podcast last week said, (Don agreed): both parties are out of touch with sportsmen, the majority of whom want to keep their guns AND their Public lands; only the very rich don’t care. (HT Lucas  Machias for the podcast).

C J’s latest project

C J Hadley came over as a young girl from Birmingham in England, and worked at Car and Driver magazine in its legendary years, when the late David E Davis ran a strong stable of writers and illustrators. It may be advancing age, but I think magazines were more colorful then, perhaps because they were a more important part of the market. These were also the days of the Pat Ryan Sports Illustrated, training ground for many of the writers that helped form me, howing me how broad a subject a sporting essay could be.

CJ met Tom Quinn there, when Tom did this legendary cover:

Both went on to other things, Quinn to become a wildlife painter, perhaps our best; CJ, however improbably, ended up in Nevada runing the outspoken rancher’s voice, Range magazine, where the English girl has been nominated for Cowgirl Hall of Fame by Jameson Parker, Joan Chevalier, and John L Moore, two of whom make frequent appearances here.

I have one original Quinn, a watercolor sketch of  a roadkill Bee eater that I snatched out of the fire kindling in his studio (really), any amount of prints, and have been privileged to write the text to a collection of his work, The Art of Thomas Quinn.

Tom’s firestarter:

Quinn and me, with his wife Jeri’s oil of a horse in the background (plus wolves by his old friend Vadim Gorbatov, painted by Vadim before he visited NM for a Korean edition of Seton’s Lobo, the story of a cattle- killing New Mexico wolf, with our aid for background material.

CJ, as Tom says, is not always controversial. She has just released what I believe is her second, broadest in scope, most ambitious  and best collection of western art and poetry (in this and other images forgive some rather odd croppings; I photo’d it on my coffee table!)

You say you don’t like cowboy poetry and art? Well, there are plenty of those represented: Buckeye Blake, Waddie Mitchell, Wallace McRae, as well as traditional western writers like Will James. But so is the far less traditional cowboy Paul Zarzyski (he is a Democrat!); Ted Kooser; Linda Hasselstrom, and many many more. In artists Tom is well represented, but also the old master Maynard Dixon,  Charlie Russell, and any number of writers and artists who may be new to you. Here is a broad if non- random selection:. A always, right or double click and you can blow it up big enough to read easily.

Good job, CJ! It is $43, available at 1 800 RANGE-4-U.

Here is CJ with Montana novelist and friend of Q John L Moore.

UPDATE : here is a pic she just sent of her  with her dogs Belle Star, Strider, and Cache Drogan.

RIP: Pearl the Merle


Nate Moody and Nan Morningstar’s Pearl, the only merle pup from the late Semirichenia tazi from Kiev, brindle Lashyn, and the Hancock bred lurcher Plummer fom England, died of a bladder problem last week. She was our favorite of the litter, by far the most adventurous– she could climb over the dog gate at five weeks– and we intended to keep her until Nate fell for her. We have mostly puppy pics here– perhaps Nate can supply some later ones. It is hard to believe she was not young. Nobody is any more, I’m afraid. Other than possibly Dutch Salmon’s line, there are no more living descendants of that litter. And that makes me sad. She was a fine dog, as were her parents.

The lower photos are with her house mate, Maty, one of Ataika’s girls.

George’s Battle

My brother in law and great friend, George Graham of South Weymouth, Massachusetts, married to my sister Karen, faces the battle of a lifetime. Tomorrow he begins five weeks of targeted radiation and chemo, after that four more for recuperation. Then they cut. Esophageal cancer is a tough one, and it took down Hitch, but Hitch was a lifelong smoker and it was all through him.  They never even gave him the option of surgery.

George, on the other hand,  is a big healthy non- smoker, an outdoorsman and naturalist, who shares my interests in birds and guns among other things; but for their love of the ocean, I have privately hoped they might move here when they retired. He has the best attitude I can imagine, as does Karen: healthy skepticism, black humor, and a determination to avail themselves of all of the wonders of modern medicine, with which my family is amply connected, in a great medical town. All concerned will do their blessed damndest to fight this thing…

So, say a prayer or just light a candle to modern science, but let Karen and George, and their sons,  know they have any support they need. I will.

He and Karen with Tom and Nadine Russell, Passim coffeehouse, Cambridge MA

 He and Karen at official Mass trapping class earlier his year, learning how to catch problem creatures dead or alive– not a common suburban skill!

 With me at the Magdalena shooting range, and with us at the Spur- his accent, without the consonantal “r”, delighting the cowboys: “Say ‘Jawj,’ George!”

“Ahh, you guys…”

 Telling cancer what to do:

Darren’s Opinion of Feathered Dinos…

Darren’s opinion on feathered dinos is at LEAST as strong as mine, and better informed– but I didn’t do a T- Shirt. I don’t usually wear one, but I have ordered his, in a kind of dayglo golden orange at that…

Darren’s blog(s)– his has had several versions and sponsors– have been what I thought of as my siblings, though his have always seemed more specifically “naturalist” in subject than mine. We have both been writing blogs for about ten years– he has theoretically fewer posts, though I would say far more substantial ones– I do a lot of light stuff, not to mention Magdalena and NM rural views. But we started linking, and talking about those great predators, Golden eagles, in his first post. This led to his appearance in my Eternity of Eagles ,  and mine in his first Tet Zoo collection.

I think the common subjects extend far further than a non- scientist, or perhaps a non- artist, might assume– ask my friend Carlos Martinez del Rio, who runs the Berry Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wyoming in Laramie (unfortunately,  often confused in the popular mind with the godawful Southwest Biodiversity Center down here, which mostly sues ranchers and puts them out of business (it is an open secret in the Southwest that one of the biggest real estate developers  down here is a big supporter, picking up the deeded private portions of the ranches when the Center gets them thrown off their public land leases). There is an unwritten book about one of the best arguments for public land ranching, AKA “welfare ranching” in certain circles. The deeded land is riparian and private; the leases are the dry uplands. Once the ranchers lose the leases, they must sell the home place, which usually has the springs and such, to developers, which as far as I can see DECREASES biodiversity. That it was founded by a failed graduate student in literature at Stony Brook, with a penchant for literary “theory”, rather than a naturalist or conservation biologist, is adequately documented in this story in the New Yorker, where you get the distinct impression that the writer went in as a fan and changed his mind.

Whereas the Center at Laramie, founded by a wealthy heir to a Main Line Philadelphia fortune who was also one of the four founders of the Peregrine Fund, exists only to study, promote, and celebrate the earth’s creatures in all their splendid diversity.

More soon– lots more to unpack here. But read Darren!

Early update: I would say these nice little figures of a Velociraptor mongoliensis and an Oviraptorid are nice, but not “birdy” enough– they are still “feathered lizards”.

This might be more like it:

Watch for my swan song in the next Living Bird, my last scheduled assignment, called “They had FEATHERS!”

Good essay

Barry Lopez in Granta. The first quote is so often the writer’s dilemma.

“As much as I believed I was fully present in the physical worlds I was
traveling through, I understood over time that I was not. More often I
was only thinking
about the place I was in. Initially awed by an event, the screech of a
gray fox in the night woods, say, or the surfacing of a large whale, I
too often moved straight to analysis. On occasion I would become so
wedded to my thoughts, to some cascade of ideas, that I actually lost
touch with the details that my body was still gathering from a place.”

“Existential loneliness and a sense that one’s life is inconsequential,
both of which are hallmarks of modern civilizations, seem to me to
derive in part from our abandoning a belief in the therapeutic
dimensions of a relationship with place. A continually refreshed sense
of the unplumbable complexity of patterns in the natural world, patterns
that are ever present and discernible, and which incorporate the
observer, undermine the feeling that one is alone in the world, or
meaningless in it.”

(Courtesy of Carlos Martinez del Rio)

New Bird

VERY nice new female Aplomado which came with brain installed, including her own ideas about where to sit. She is already flying to the T perch I am using with the Harris below. Stay tuned….