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home : columns October 22, 2017


Of a certain age...
My sister-in-law lives in Santa Rosa. In the early hours of Monday morning, October 9, she lost her home of 35 years to the Tubbs Fire as it swept over the hill from Calistoga with no warning.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
We're all in this together
As natural disasters happen more frequently, it's impossible to remain insulated. Maybe that's the reason for all this? Hopefully, it's waking us up and we'll begin making the changes needed to save this amazing gift called Earth. When things will ever get back to "normal" seems impossible to predict.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Grunt
The graduation of a female from the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course has left many of my fellow veterans conflicted. To be clear, there is no short-shrifting her accomplishment thus far; IOC is the most difficult infantry school anywhere in the world. But we are conflicted because we are, most of us, raised with no small pride in the notion that the infantry is the last place left exclusively to men.

We like it that way, a lot, but we are conflicted because we hold the simultaneous notion that women are as capable, if not more capable, than men when it comes to life's challenges. We were raised that way, too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Should you clone your pet?
Maybe you've had that extra-special pet, the one you just couldn't bear to say goodbye to. What if you didn't really have to?
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The Petrified Man
In 1782 Ben Franklin published a fake edition of an otherwise real newspaper. It was meant to curry sympathy for American resistance to the British, by claiming that natives allied with the British were on the warpath, slaughtering settlers by the hundreds. Complete with phony ads and other articles, it was all fake news.

Fake news becomes fake news when it is published, or broadcast, by an otherwise reliable source. Conversely, when fake newspapers publish real news the whole centrifuge is thrown out of balance, so maybe they shouldn't do that, either. But even when real newspapers stick to real news, and fake newspapers stick to publishing fake stories, the results can be confusing.

Tuesday, October 3, 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














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