2/6/07

Howdy!

We got a little snow but it has warmed up a bit.

I finally realized that I was missing a bull so Cindy and I drove the place this morning trying to find him and hoping I wouldn’t find him dead somewhere. No luck.

So at noon, I started calling neighbors and found him on the second call. He’d been “visiting” but the neighbor must not have minded feeding him, as he never called to tell me he was there. So I ran the horses in and saddle up Beaver and went and got him. He really didn’t want to leave his new found buddies, but shoot! A little ol’ bull is no match for me and Beaver! LOL

He’s waiting in the corral with feed and water until morning when I will turn him back in with the ladies, seeing as there are a few fall calvers who might need to get bred so they can calve again next fall. He ought to enjoy their company.

I just finished a new poem and sent it off to Beth Ebert who is probably the best poet to ever live in this state and that includes Badger Clark, who was a hell of a poet. Beth is kind enough to critic my work for me and try and help me get it better. Poor lady!

She seem to think this one pasts muster, so I’ll put it on here. Let me know what you think, please.

I came up with the last verse of this poem years ago and tried to craft a poem around it, but was never satisfied. Must have the poetic juices flowing again, so I gave it another shot. I’m pretty happy with it. Hope you enjoy it

Specters

Others came before
with stories galore
before we rode these hills
With gumption and grit
too dry to spit
their lives a battle of wills

To try and overcome
not to succumb
to the perils that rule this land
They trod a hard road
carried a heavy load
but still thought their life was grand

You can feel their stares
as you ride unawares
yet never quite bring them in sight
Like a mote in your eye
or a raindrop that’s dry
or the breeze when a bird has took flight

They don’t mean to frighten
or even enlighten
those of us who pass this way
Just wish for the past
before the die was cast
when they too ruled the day

They lived this life
full of cowboy strife
fought blizzards, drought and fire
So they watch us close
as we take our daily dose
see if we are brave or a liar

They are proud of what we do
know that we are the few
who will attemp the cowmans trial
They’re the spectors of the plains
hanging onto the reins
they’re the legends who watch us and smile

Robert Dennis 2/07
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1-31-07

I have been working on a new poem. Seems some of you enjoy them, so here it is. I got the idea for this from the rocky hill that lies north east of our house. I have always loved that spot on this ranch. It’s the same hill that is in the picture on the front of the horse page on the website. Let me know what you think. 🙂

I tried to lay it out so that people would read it like I would. Please read it out loud, as this type of poetry is meant to be heard and not read. Thanks.

rock on a hill

there’s a sandstone outcropping
on a hill by a creek
resisting the slow erosion
of natures careless whims
it has been a silent witness
to the passing of ages
watching and listening
to the praire’s soft hymns

an indian once stood
on this wind roughened rock
as he prayed to his god
for his tribes way of life
with alien, guttural
beseeching tone of voice
for his tribe, his land
his children and wife

a trapper once paused
in the shade of this slope
bellied down tight
in the grass and the dirt
as he peeked over the rock
embedded in the soil
trying to ignore
the bloody stain on his shirt

a soldier once climbed
to the crest of this hill
reclined on the rock
seeking rest for his bones
while listening to his troops
by the creek down below
wearily setting up pickets
and tents with hushed tones

a cowboy paused
at the ridge of this crest
scanned all, from horizon
to the rock down below
looking for the cattle
that pay his meager wage
leaving his tired cow horse
to stretch and to blow

on occasion a rancher
will come to this rock
he rests and reflects
on this vast mystery
ponders on who all
may have come to this spot
feels tied to the thread
of a land’s history

I ran onto a feller I hadn’t seen for awhile at the Stockshow yesterday. He and I were talking about ranch roping and he told me to post any news of upcoming roping’s in the area, as he reads this blog. So I guess that would be a good thing to do, if I can just remember.

I was surprised to learn that he had been reading this. If I don’t hear from people, I never know if what I am writing on this site is being read or not. So it’s always nice to get feedback. 🙂

1-29-07

Hi!

It’s been awhile since I sat down and wrote anything, so I’ll try and give you all an update. When I started this, I didn’t intend to use it as a daily diary, but more as a journal, so the entries will tend to be scattered. Sorry if that is an inconvenience for any of you.

First of all, thank you all for the comments. I appreciate it and know that I am not just writing this stuff for my own musings.

Second, I will try and post any new poems or stories here, as I write them. Seeing as how I don’t do that very often, that is write new stuff, don’t get all excited. LOL

I just got back from Iowa. We went back to New Hampton, which is in the northeastern corner of the state. We had a great time and did 3 shows. 2 were either sold out or almost sold out. This is the second year for the shows and this year we did a Saturday afternoon show, which we didn’t do last year. It went well, but it was a smaller crowd. I did sell over 20 books, so that was great. I talked to 2 different ladies who were interested in putting on shows in their towns and were wondering about cost of getting any of us poets. So maybe some of us will venture forth again to that part of the country.

Gale Patzloff went this year for the first time and he had them rolling in the aisle’s! Marty Blocker was there and then me. I did mostly songs as both Marty and Gale do poetry. I found out that I need to make a CD with some of the songs I do and mix in a story or two and some of my poems. Now….if I can just get the money rounded up to pay for that venture. It could be a pretty big project, what with getting permission from the people who wrote the songs that I want to do, along with the actual work of making the CD.

I went to Spearfish last week and did a show with a couple of nice guys. One, Hank Harris, just made a CD of the music that you would have heard if you were in Deadwood, during the gold rush. Very good!

Hank has a small studio where he made the CD, so it might be possible to do the recording there. I would like to have Chance play lead guitar on many of the songs and perhaps get Hank (who is a very accomplished musician in his own right) to accompany me also. I don’t want a Nashville sound tho’ and over produced. Just simple, clear, rendering of the songs I like to sing, with more emphasis on the story in the song than the music that accompanies the words. Guess I’m just fussy!

This is the week of the Stockshow, so I will probably be going to Rapid City at least once or twice. I have friends from around the country coming in so I will have to meet up with them. And it looks like we are in for a taste of winter. Friday it’s only supposed to get up to about 7 degree’s for a high! Oh well, we have got by real cheap so far.

Enough for now, I better get to work!

1-16-07

I have to go to Spearfish tomorrow to do a radio program for Jim Thompson and then do the Heritage of the American West show tomorrow night at the High Plains Heritage center. The theme is about Deadwood, so they asked if I had any poems or songs. I didn’t! LOL

So I wrote one and didn’t like it and threw it away. Then I wrote another, but it was pretty bland. For some reason, this morning, I had an inspiration so this is what I came up with. It has a little different meter to it, but I kind of like it. Seems to roll off my tongue fairly well. If you read it, try reading it out loud. If the rhyme and meter is good, it should just roll along and move smoothly for anyone who is reading it. Hope you enjoy it and are having a good day.

Deadwood no. 2
Deadwood was born in a gold rush
a town that was wicked and wild
it was sinful and dirty and dusty as hell
not a place for the meek or the mild

it was named for the fire charred relics
that clung to the banks of a stream
they were reminders of natures past furies
to be careless was living a dream

but the people who came to this valley
cut trees and tore sod from the ground
they built and they dug and they dug and they built
till the valley was all scarred and brown

and the people were scarred also
by the work and the words and the play
there were shenanigans, shootings and stabbing’s
the strong and the rough ruled the day

Wild Bill and Potato Creek Johnny
Charlie Utter and Martha Jane too
Bullock and Starr and Jack McCall
were members of this motley crew

but lawless only lasts for a time
then the piper must be paid his price
through fire and flood and famine
and winters as cold as ice

because nature was seeking revenge
or at least maintaining her course
trying to reclaim the valley that was lost
she fought back without any remorse

and time has a way of changing
the patterns and wants of men
the bloodshed and killings grew tiresome
so law must prevail again

those citizens of a long ago time
who lived and loved by that stream
they ripped and they roared, slept and they snored
but their memory is only a dream
Robert Dennis 1-07

1/14/07

Well, another birthday passed by yesterday. I ain’t officially old yet, but I think it’s the miles, not the years.

Tate, Kass and Gabe came out and spent the day with me and Cindy, after she got off from work. We took my, new to me, ice skates and went skating on the pond. I used to just love to skate, but old age ain’t helped my ability to skate! I never fell down, but I sure used some muscles I hadn’t used for awhile. 🙂

We got a lite dusting of snow and it’s gotten cold. Down below 0 several nights. Highs in the teens during the days. Of course, I had a tank or two want to freeze up and run over, so there is lots of ice in the corrals. I bet it’ll all be gone by the 4th of July! LOL

I even fed the cattle some hay. I’ve got to be careful, or I’ll spoil them. Nice hay that a neighbor traded me for a saddle. I just wish it was a bigger pile. 🙂 Beggars can’t be choosers, tho’.

Tyler drove out tonight to spend the evening and tomorrow, as it’s his day off. I’ve got a gig in Spearfish on Wednesday and Chadron on Friday and Saturday. Should be fun.

Hope you had a good day.

1/10/07

It is the supposedly ,last nice day we are going to get for awhile. Temps have been in the 30’s and 40’s. For the next 5 days or so, we are supposed to get some snow and temps in the single digits.

I can remember years when I would have been really grateful to have the temps warm up into the single digits, at this time of the year. So I guess I won’t complain when we get “seasonal” weather. It all balances out. We get some extra hot days in the summer so we are bound to get some extra cold days in the winter.

Moisture wise also. We had some real wet years and lately we have gone thru’ some real dry ones. It will change and we’ll be back to “normal”! 🙂

Cindy and I had to run into town the other day so we took the trailer along and got a load of bales. When we got home, we unloaded them. So yesterday I could barely walk! I have got to get in shape and shed a few years! Man, gettin’ old ain’t for sissies.

I’m going down and get me a new cowdog pup this morning, from a young feller who’s female had a batch, awhile ago. He’d asked me to take one and I had agree’d, but then it looked like I would be working for Dusty a lot and I didn’t think it was fair to Cindy or the pup to have him around and no time for him. But it looks like now I maybe won’t be helping Dusty that much, so I decided to get him and see how it goes. ‘Sides, Cindy just looooovvvveeees puppy’s! 😉

It will be fun to have a pup around again. Until he starts chewing things up! Oh well, it will all average out. Just like the weather.

Hope your having a great day!

1/6/07

The weather has changed a bit around here. Cooled off and we got a little rain and snow yesterday and a touch of snow today.

Had a good/bad day the other day. Awhile back, when I was going to ship some cows, I left the ones I was going to ship in the corral over night. The little corral that leads into the loading chute was full of ice. I was afraid one would get hurt, when I tried to move them thru’ that corral to load them. So, I scattered some hay on top of the ice so that they could carefully walk in and eat the hay and mess up the ice, so that there would be better footing the next morning. Seemed like a good plan at the time.

Next morning when I went out to load them, there was an old cow who had slipped on the ice and had her hind feet out behind her and couldn’t get back up. She must have lain there most of the night. I cussed myself for a fool and went to trying to get her off from the ice. After the help of Cindy and Woody, I got her drug onto dry ground in the other corral.

I’ve been working with her ever since trying to get her back on her feet. This was a coming 17 year old longhorn cow. She would eat and drink, but I never could get her to get to her feet. So the other day I decided that I’d done as much as I could for her and wasn’t really doing her any favors by trying any more, so I shot her and drug her to the dead pile. Man, I just hate to shoot a cow! But I reconciled myself that she wasn’t suffering and she had had a long and good life. But I still feel stupid for not thinking about this happening. Lesson learned.

Then I caught my two draft horses and worked with them. Fine, the filly, worked real well. It was the second time I had put a harness on her and I went ahead and drove her, single. She did real good and I think she will just keep on getting better, when I can find the time to keep working with her. Now, if I can just dig a hole to lead her brother into, so I can throw the harness on him! Man! If I’d have known how big he was going to get, I don’t know if I would have got him. Good thing that he seems to be a gentle giant. Sure wish they were broke to drive and I was younger!

Hope you had a good day.

12/31/06

It’s hard to believe that another year has rolled around so fast! So many things that I should have done, and maybe a few I shouldn’t have!

I went up to Baker, MT the other day to perform for the Baker Livestock Auction’s Christmas party. Dan Murphy had lined it up quite a while ago and I didn’t think the weather was going to cooperate, but it did, after a false start! Had a nice crowd and saw a few friends and made a few new ones. Got to go to the ranch of a woman and her husband who I’ve gotten to know on the internet. Nice cattle, nice horses and nice people.

It was kind of late or early, depending on how you look at it, when I got home, but I sold enough books to pay for some gas and Dan sent a bunch of books home for me to read, so it was well worth the trip.

Weather has been pretty nice, tho’ it’s gotten a little chilly in the evenings, but for this time of the year, it’s really been great.

I’ve got 3 gigs coming up in January and a possible. I’ll be in Spearfish, Iowa and Nebraska. Hope any of you who read this show up. Email me if you want more info.

I got a nice Christmas card and also a nice new year email from one of the fellers who was here this fall, from Denmark. This old world has really gotten smaller, hasn’t it?

I hope you all have a wonderful and prosperous new year.

12/23/06

Merry Christmas!

Hope all reading this either have or had a wonderful Christmas.

We will have all the children home and hope for Dusty, Tristan and Lan to be here also.

We are very much enjoying a brown Christmas. This is sure a great time for a drought and a heat wave. It can start sending moisture about the first of April. That’s what I want for Christmas. 🙂

I sold a few cows the other day and got 10 head of nice 3 year old cows bought for Chance and Hope. So now they have more cows than I do! Oh well, I’ve still got more land and horses than they do. 🙂 And less debt on my cows! LOL

Hope you all had a wonderful day.

12/15/06

I’m tired!

I ran the trackhoe for about 10 hours today and dug around a mile of cable up. The boss is whining as he thinks I should work tomorrow. I never have liked working on Sundays, unless it’s real necessary. ‘Course, I’ve never liked to work at all, but always seems like someone thinks I should. Wife, banker, father, mother, kids, etc…… LOL

Chance got a loan to buy a few cows, so I’ll need to go find some for him , that will work here and still be something he can afford. Dang kids, always making me work!

Hope you all had a good day today and that the wind didn’t blow as hard as it did here, today.