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home : columns September 26, 2017


Willow's tail
This summer, I took a class taught by John Calderazzo at the High Desert Museum. It was a part of the Waterston Desert Writing Award ceremony. Calderazzo, a writer and professor of English, emeritus at Colorado State University, asked us to bring a memento we had with us and put it on a table in front of the class. There were wedding rings, a note and photographs of loved ones kept tucked inside wallets.

After a class discussion, Calderazzo asked us to write about a memento that still matters to us now. I thought immediately of my horse Willow's tail lying on the table in our tack room and could barely wait for him to stop talking before I began to write.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Unsportsmanlike conduct
The biggest problem with the NFL isn't the mostly meaningless and entirely self-congratulatory fad of anthem protests. The biggest problem with the NFL is that the product is becoming unwatchable.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Coffee beans and birds
Not being a coffee-drinker (anymore), and not being in the bird-researcher loop as many of my friends are (including Doug Beall), the business of songbird conservation and coffee-growing methods went right over my head - until Doug grabbed my attention in Bi-Mart the other day. (Many Nugget readers will know Beall's name as it is attached to the splendid photos that appear in the column Sisters Country Birds.)
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
'Dogs are people, too'
Neuroscientists have finally taken a look inside the mind of man's best friend by training dogs to lie motionless in an MRI scanner.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
The shoulder season
"Lord, let me die but not die

Out."

- James Dickey, "For the Last Wolverine"



A few weeks ago, on our way to the End of Summer Concert and Barbecue at the Camp Sherman Store, my wife and I crossed paths with a bear. He wasn't a big bear, probably not much more than a yearling boar, and we surprised him at whatever he was doing. He lumbered a few yards into the brush, then stopped, sniffed the air, and sat by a rotten stump. We stopped too, and for a long time the three of us just sat there studying each other.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
When the smoke clears
It sure seems like things are falling apart. Hurricanes, fires and crushing snow have left so many feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Our brothers and sisters in arms have been fighting wars that never seem to end. Our first-responders have been stretched to breaking trying to deal with it all. Firefighters are getting pulled from disaster to disaster as the emergencies shift like the wind.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Cats make great pets, too
If you've ever had a cat you probably already know how much joy they bring to your life.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Of a certain age
The eagle's-eye view from the property is awe-inspiring. The energy of the surroundings is healing for those who come seeking rest and solace.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
The impact of wildfire on wildlife
The Milli Fire that's been so hard on the breathing and vision for people living in Sisters Country has impacted the wildlife as well.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
The Cajun Navy Handbook
I have a friend from the Marine Corps, John "Scoot" Davenport, who lives in Youngsville, Louisiana, and is an admiral in the Cajun Navy.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
A little help
Before the Milli fire started getting that strange look in it's eye, filling the sky with smoke and causing the evacuation of Crossroads, my wife and I were pleased to host a couple of through-hikers attempting the Pacific Crest Trail.

Because of the fires in Central Oregon, numerous trail closures, and active measures by our much-adored firefighting professionals, they were forced to abandon the trail at Elk Lake.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
The Confederate flag and the unreconstructed
When I was a young man of about 20 or so, I had a Confederate battle flag sticker on the back window of my Chevy Impala.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Of a certain age...
Ten days of traveling across Idaho and Wyoming, and back again, brought to life the 1852 migration of my ancestors from Illinois across the American Plains and mountains to the Oregon Territory, land of promise.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Charlottesville
This week I had planned to write about our garden. After a few years of heartache and disaster, I wanted to share a tale of success - the 18 pounds of peas we've harvested so far, the bucket-loads of green beans, the beautiful squash, and the luscious ears of corn that have sweetened up just right and taste exactly like a Central Oregon summer.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Bull by Bull
• When I offered to help out the Anglea family - a clan of foodies - I was asked to provide dinner upon their arrival home from a cross-country U-Haul trip. For me, that about ended life as I knew it. After a sleepless night, I came up with a game plan, which included two of my favorite people contributing a smoked pork roast and a batch of the best homemade cookies in the world. I felt sure I could handle the side dishes and wine, and I wouldn't even need to take my printer out of the oven.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Arrivederci, Scaramucci
I, for one, am going to miss Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci. If you didn't know, The Mooch was sacked as White House Communications Director after an explosive and "colorful" interview with Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Of butterflies
The most wonderful thing about writing this column is the phone calls and emails. Last week, the phone was ringing off the hook (and vibrating in my pocket) with all you wonderful people calling to tell me about the outbreak of "monarch butterflies" that have taken over the foothills of the Cascades.

But I'm sorry to say, those are California tortoiseshell butterflies, not monarchs.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Does your dog need a friend?
Every time you and Rover spend the weekend with your friend and her dog, the two dogs have a great time together. And each time when you return home your dog seems down for a couple of days.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Lashed to the mast
If you were ever lucky enough to live out on the great sagebrush sea, like I was during a certain vanishing era, you might have enjoyed a slice of old Americana in perhaps the rarest of ways: trailing cattle and working horses.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Famous mayoral meltdowns
The video that surfaced this week on BookFace of Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan in a rant directed at one of his neighbors was certainly evidence of bad behavior - most likely personally embarrassing, and definitely intriguing, but hardly worthy of a 60 Minutes segment.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017















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