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February 5, 2007
About the photo:
South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook often writes about his family, and he's particularly fortunate to often visit with his "Grandpa Buckles," (Frank E. Buckles). Ken shared this photo with us, of Grandpa Buckles and "Babe" and "Dolly" from sometime in the 1930s, east of Merriman, Nebraska. Ken talked to Grandpa Buckles recently about the photo and told us:
Here's what I know about Babe and Dolly:
Grandpa got Babe and Dolly as colts and broke them himself. The more we talked the more it bothered him that he could not remember who he got them from, but he was fairly certain his Papa, James W. Buckles did some horse trading and got the two colts in the deal. The picture was taken in the early 1930's east of Merriman, Nebraska. He used Babe and Dolly for every job on the ranch, from haying and feeding to dirt work and ditching.
Grandpa says Babe was a much better horse than Dolly and when Dolly died he purchased another blood bay horse for a hundred dollars, which was a ton of money to my Grandpa in those days. Charles Bakley was at the lumber yard on the day Grandpa took his team to the scale to see what they weighed. They weighed 1500 apiece. Now keep in mind Grandpa had just purchased Dolly's replacement and Grandpa had never even harnessed them up when Charlie up and offers Grandpa five hundred dollars for the pair. Charlie was buying horses for the government and as far as Grandpa was concerned ol' Charlie was now the proud owner of two more! Grandpa led them horses to a ranch just south of Martin, South Dakota and got his money from Charlie after delivery. Grandpa knew Charlie's word was good.
Grandpa's story about Charlie's purchase of the team was far more important to him than the every day work of Babe and Dolly. One of Grandpa's favorite sayings is "if wishes were horses...beggars would ride!"
Frank E. Buckles died in February, 2007, at age 97.
Read more about Ken Cook and some of his poetry (including the poem "Grandpa") here.
January 29, 2007
About the photo:
Texas poet Linda Kirkpatrick shared this family photo, taken in about 1904. She told us:
There are three generations of my ancestors in this Fleming Family gathering photo.
In the first seated row: first couple on the left are my great great grandparents, John McQuirter Fleming (Texas Ranger, a member of the Frontier Battalion in 1864 serving under John S. Ford) and his wife Margaret Elizabeth Woods Fleming. She would sleep with a butcher knife under her pillow when he was out on patrol.
On the next row, standing: third from the left is my great great grandmother, Sarah Ann Fleming Kirkpatrick (my great great grandfather, Samuel Lewis Kirkpatrick, not pictured, was also a Texas Ranger).
On the back row, first from the left is my grandfather, Lewis Burleson Kirkpatrick, before he married.
The photo was taken at Camp Allison on the North Llano River in Kimble Country, Texas.
As a young child I was always interested in the old chuck wagon. On the notes on this copy of the photo it mentions that the chuck wagon came from Weed, New Mexico. I do wish that I had that chuck box but am thankful that I have the photo.
This is a photo from September 27, 2003, at the occasion of the Texas Ranger Cross Dedication for John McQuirter Fleming, held at Copperas Cemetery, Kimble County Texas. John McQuirter Fleming's 4th-great grandchildren are in the photo, including my grandson Wade (left, mounted) my granddaughter Chelsea (laying flowers) and my cousin Lewis's grandchild Ethan (unveiling the cross).
You can read more about Linda Kirkpatrick and read some of her poetry here.
January 22, 2007
About the photo:
Mike Puhallo, British Columbia rancher, poet, gathering organizer and President of the British Columbia Cowboy Heritage Society sent this 1926 vintage photo. He describes the photo:
Left to right, Garney Willis, Cyclone Smith, Hans Richter, Herb Matier and Henry Shuttleworth, winners of the 1926 Sumas, Washington Rodeo. The five British Columbia Cowboys were reputed to have won all the money that year and had their picture printed as postcards. Although all five friends hailed from British Columbia at the time, Smith and Matier were originally from the U. S.
Mike collects and archives vintage photos, for his own interest, for the British Columbia Cowboy Hall of Fame, and he has supplied photos to movie set decorators. Most of the photos in the various scenes of the film "An Unfinished Life," with Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, came from his collection. (Mike supplied the vintage photos in the movie's downtown restaurant and bar locations. Mike's own artwork shows up in Einer's (Robert Redford) house, both a painting and a pencil drawing, and he told us that "Above the counter in the restaurant there is a row of Wendy Liddle's cartoon illustrations from our first five books.")
Read more about Mike Puhallo and some of his poetry here.
January 15, 2007
About the photo:
Idaho writer, poet, musician, and talespinner Charlie Camden sent this 2006 view from Idaho. He told us:
It was taken from Deer Creek Road, just south and west of the small town of Whitebird, Idaho. Just over the mountain to our backs is a place called Pittsburg Landing on the Snake River. While driving this road you are between the Salmon River and the Snake River, just south of where they come together. When you reach the end of the road and hit the Snake River, you are in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Hells Canyon is one-and-a-half times deeper than the Grand Canyon. It is an amazing area that is sort of a secret place to other than local people.
As you look out over the rolling hills with the pink rolling snow clouds, you are looking toward the now nonexistent town of Florence, Idaho. Cherokee Bob met his demise there in a gunfight over a woman. I will send a photo of his gravesite as soon as 6 feet of snow melt in the springtime. When gold was discovered there, it turned out to be the biggest superficial gold strike in the West. It is said that the placer gold produced $500.00 per pan in numerous spots.
Once again about the area to the rear of the photo, Pittsburg Landing was a wintering area for the Indians for at least 1,000 years. On the flat at the bottom, if one would follow the signs, there is an area of carvings in stone with many depictions of strange appearing shapes, and objects of one thing or another... They have stood the test of all elements of the weather and time. Let us hope they don't have to withstand vandalism.
The photo was taken just a few weeks before Christmas in 2006. We were blessed with really warm weather till around Christmas. Now we have winter, and the seasons march on. Farther on to the east (the direction we are looking in the photo) lies the largest continuous Wilderness I know of. It starts west and south of Missoula, Montana and continues south and ends a few miles north
of Boise, Idaho, with millions of acres of wildlands open to all outdoor activities and many beautiful campgrounds, some totally free, and others with a daily fee, all in special places along streams, rivers, lakes, and meadows. They range in size from one campsite to as many as 40 or so. In the deep canyon in about the center of the photo runs Hwy. 95, just north of the resort town of Riggins, Idaho, home of the jet boat and river raft crowd.
You can read more about Charlie Camden and some his works here.
January 8, 2007
About the photo:
In 2005, Yvonne Hollenbeck wrote, "On November 28, 2005 the Dakotas and surrounding areas were hit with a blizzard, which South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds called "the worst storm to hit eastern and central South Dakota in nearly a decade." Yvonne shared some words and pictures that give a look at how the Hollenbeck ranch was affected by the storm, including the photo of this bull. She wrote, "Some of the neighbors haven't fared so well and have cattle strewn all over the country that drifted with the storm. We had 4 neighbor cows, two with calves, walk in while we were feeding. As you can see by the Angus bull walking through the snow, they really got pelted." She adds, "One can only imagine the troubles folks had years ago before the fine snow removal and feeding equipment we have to work with now."
You can read more about that storm and see more photos here in Yvonne's occasional column, From My Prairie Home, which focuses on life at the ranch she runs with her husband Glen in Clearfield, South Dakota.
Read some of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poetry here.
January 1, 2007
About the photo:
The inimitable Pat Richardson shared this photo of his parents, taken in Lockford, California, in the 1930s.
We asked Pat to supply some information about the photo, and it is probably prudent to note that the information that follows is from Pat alone (and does not necessarily reflect the editorial tone of CowboyPoetry.com). Pat sent three descriptive selections, and rather than deprive our readers of any of them, all three are included here:
Pictured above are Ann and Ed Howard, the mother and father of Jess Howard and Pat Richardson, who are full brothers. (They had an older full brother, Phil, who lost both arms and legs in an auto accident and is now just a half brother.)
Note the "wooly" chaps Mom's wearing. Forty years later I found those same chaps upstairs at my old bachelor uncle's house, and between the rats and the moths there wasn't a hair left on them so we just called them "Baldys."
Ann and Ed Howard, the parents of Jess Howard and Pat Richardson, two of the best loved and admired cowboys, cowboy poets, and human beings, are pictured in Lockford, California, circa 1930. This was before they had any of their six children. Later, as the children arrived, the Depression got into full swing, and they had flipped a coin to see whether or not to "keep the kids"; they went into the cattle business. However, due to the method they used to acquire a small herd, by the time their first born started school, they were wanted by sheriffs and brand inspectors in four states. (I'm telling you, Dad could rope better in the dark than most men could in an arena.)
Mom couldn't rope worth a darn, but sure could keep a set of books that left the auditors in awe. Unfortunately she inherited a deep rooted insanity from her mother and her mother's mother. The symptoms are hard to describe. Have you ever seen that Tasmanian Devil in the Bugs Bunny cartoon? Well, I think he had the beginning stages of her malady.
Pictured above are the happy newlyweds. The former Violet Ann Jones (on the left) and the former Charles Edmund Richard Howard (on the right). Dad was given lots of names when he was born. Perhaps his mom was psychic. He used them all with slight variations: Chas. Edmundson, Ed Charleston, Howard Edwards, Charles Richardson, Joe Louis, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Sergeant York, just to name a few.
For more of Pat's twisted outlook on cowboys and life in general, see our feature about him here, and read more in his Medallion Award winning-book, Pat Richardson, Unhobbled.
December 25, 2006
About the photo:
Diane Tribitt shared this photo taken on her Minnesota ranch in 2006. She told us:
We started custom grazing programs at our ranch this summer for several producers. I wanted them to see how their cows and calves were doing, especially during calving season, so I used my zoom lens to capture moments like this one. This shot was taken from a large rock sitting out in the middle of the pasture, as I witnessed the birth of this calf, capturing one of the most magical moments of ranching. Throughout the summer I would send the producers photos of their cattle.
Today is Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the most wondrous birth of all, the birth of Jesus, who has become the basis for my faith; the hope for our salvation; and the redeemer of our sins. Merry Christmas from our ranch to yours; and remember that God is never any further away than the distance from our knees to the ground, no matter where you are.
You can read more about Diane Tribitt and read some of her poetry here.
December 18, 2006
About the photo:
Jane Morton shared this photo taken on the family ranch in Colorado in the 1920s.
In her award-winning book, Turning to Face the Wind, Jane Morton includes the photo, along with her poem "Christmas Turkeys" (included below and in our Christmas at the BAR-D feature). She comments:
For over thirty years Grandma raised turkeys to sell at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She never bought anything fancy, but money they brought in helped pay for Christmas presents. She was still selling turkeys as late as the 1950s. I know that because our children were terrified of those turkeys running loose in her yard and with good reason. They did attack.
You can read more about Jane Morton and read some of her poetry here.
To earn some extra Christmas cash
In years when times were hard,
My Grandma raised some turkey chicks
Who ran free in the yard.
Those birds weren't penned like those today,
They thought they owned the place.
They chased the bugs and scratched for seeds,
And guarded well their space.
They grew to be big ugly birds
With wattles hanging down.
Their fearsome gobbles scared the kids,
Especially those from town.
When any child dared get too close,
The Big Tom would attack.
The kid ran shrieking toward the house,
And never did come back.
That turkey was about as mean
As rocks inside a boot.
And he liked nothing better than
To run in hot pursuit.
My grandma sold the others off,
But no one wanted him.
The chance of selling one so big
Was something less than slim.
What ranchers couldn't sell they ate,
That's what we had to do.
We knew that when we at Big Tom,
We'd chew and chew and chew.
By Christmas he weighed 40 pounds.
We ate him Christmas day.
Although he tasted dry and tough,
Revenge was sweet I'd say.
© 2004, Jane Morton, from
Turning to Face the Wind
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
See the current Photo of
the Week on Page 1 here.
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