Dusty Evening with Fire

Drought gnaws. You can’t point to a day on the calendar and say, “On November 22, drought started.” It sidles into being as day after day passes without rain or snow, or with just enough to tease but not to produce. Animals that can leave start shifting their territories, and brown gradually, creepingly, replaces green on the landscape. The lack of soil moisture makes the air drier, and the air heats up faster, making rain less likely, which dries the soil, and so on in a feedback cycle.

And then the wind begins. And the dust. And something more than dust, something bitter and sweet and rich and terrifying. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Black Panther

So, Sib, Sib-in-Law, and I went to see Black Panther. Little Bit is a bit too little, and Mom and Dad Red don’t do this kind of movie much. Short version: it was a fun action movie with a good story, great effects that did not overwhelm, and you do not have to be current in the Marvel™ canon to keep up with things. You might have to suspend a little disbelief, but hey, super hero movie. Continue reading

Signal Boost: The Grey Man: Twilight

J. L. Curtis, man-of-the-world, former Navy, firearms instructor, master chef, and author-gone-wild, has released the fifth book in his Grey Man series. This is the series that Dorothy Grant and I nick-named Cowboys vs. Drug-Smugglers.

And the rest of the series is on sale!

Never count an old man out, even when he’s hanging up his hat!

Deputy Sheriff John Cronin is looking forward to a quiet retirement, working on the ranch, and handing it off to his granddaughter Jesse. And he’s got to pass on a generation worth of investigations, but it’s not as easy as handing over the case files and the keys.

I beta-read part of the book, and it was a real challenge, because I kept getting pulled into the story!

Let’s Just Move the River!

How hard could it be to pump water from the Mississippi River to the Llano Estacado? It’s only a few hundred miles, all uphill, across two or three states. The water in the Red River was already allocated, but the Mississippi had no in-stream requirements or water rights filed, and everyone was always complaining about flooding, so why not? Especially if Dallas or Fort Worth could be persuaded to buy some water to help pay for the pipeline, pumps, and power plants. Continue reading

A Gentle Reminder…

1. Please leave reviews for books/stories/stuff you buy at Amazon and other retail sites that allow reviews.

2. Please do not drink so much today that you start to see all the snakes that St. Patrick drove OUT of Ireland.

Please Don’t Bring the Snakes Back.

And remember, St. Patrick is the patron saint of souls in Purgatory, NOT of hangovers.

 

A Musical Interlude

One of the characters in tomorrow’s post mentions the Darby Ram.

Like most folk songs, it has as many lyric varieties as it does performers:

The Derby Ram

As I came in by Derby,
T’was on a market day,
I spied the biggest ram sir
That ever was fed on hay

And indeed me lads, it’s true me lads,
I never was known to lie,
And if you’d have been in Derby
You’d have seen it same as I

This ram was fat behind sir,
This ram was fat before,
And ever’time its hooves to the ground
They covered an acre or more

And indeed me lads, it’s true me lads,
I never was known to lie,
And if you’d have been in Derby
You’d have seen it same as I

The space between this ram’s horns
Was built so mighty wide,
That a coach foot six could go betwixt
With a footman by the side

And indeed me lads, it’s true me lads,
I never was known to lie,
And if you’d have been in Derby
You’d have seen it same as I

This ram he had a tail, sir
That reached down into Hell,
And ever’time he waggled it
It rang the fireman’s bell

And indeed me lads, it’s true me lads,
I never was known to lie,
And if you’d have been in Derby
You’d have seen it same as I

The singers of this song, sir
We’re called “Sweeney’s Men”,
Another couple o’ pints, sir
And we’ll sing it for you again

And indeed me lads, it’s true me lads,
I never was known to lie,
And if you’d have been in Derby
You’d have seen it same as I

Now if you don’t believe me, sir
And if you think I lie,
Just ask the folks in Derbyshire,
They’re better liars than I

And indeed me lads, it’s true me lads,
I never was known to lie,
And if you’d have been in Derby
You’d have seen it same as I.

From: https://andyirvinelyrics.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/the-derby-ram/

Another song that appears later in the book, in a way, is based on an old folk song as well. The scene was inspired by the Wicked Tinkers’ version. Older lyrics below the video.

WILD BOAR

Abram Bailey he’d three sons
Blow your horn center
And he is through the wildwood gone
Just like a jovial hunter.

As he marched down the Greenwood side
Blow your horn center
A pretty girl O there he spied
As he was a jovial hunter.

There is a wild boar in this wood
He slew the lord and his forty men
As he was…

How can I this wild boar see?
Wind up your horn and he’ll come to you
As you are…

He wound his horn unto his mouth
He blew East North, West and South
As he was…

The wild boar heard him unto his den
He made the oak and ash for to bend
As he was…

They fit three hours by the day
And at length he this wild boar slay
As he was…

As he marched by the mouth of the wild boar’s den
He saw the bones of five hundred men
As he was…

He meets the old witch wife on the bridge
Begone you rogue, you’ve killed my pig
As you are…

There are three things I crave of thee
Your hawk, your hound your gay lady
As you are…

These three thinks you’ll not have of me
Neither hawk nor hound nor gay lady
As I am a…

He split the old witch wife to the chin
And on his way he went ag’in
Just like a…

Child #18
Roud-20
From Singing Tradition of the Popular Child Ballads, Bronson
Collected from Samuel Harmon, TN 1939
@animal @myth

Copied from Mudcat (link in title of song)

Names on the Landscape

River of the Hills that Look Like Prairie-Dog Mounds. Yellow House Canyon. River of the Lost Souls in Purgatory. Plains of St. Augustine. Mt. McKinley. Jackson Square. Possum Kingdom Lake. Red River of the North, Colorado River, Colorado River, Rio Colorado, Baton Rouge.

Bog. Muskeg. Moor. Moos. Peat Bog. Beaver Meadow. Fen. Mire. Swamp. Slough. Playa. Tascosa. Cieneguilla. Polder. Spew. Snape. Brochan. Carr.

I’ve been reading a book about trails and ways in and around Britain, but an English author and poet who has also written a book of place-terms, the disappearing regional vocabulary of places, weather, and waters. The words are fascinating, and the ideas and special terms tell you a great deal about how the speakers saw the land, what they valued, and what they avoided. The Comanche, for example, used very descriptive names, describing what a feature should look like so that you could recognize it easily. There’s nothing fanciful about “The River near the Hills That Look Like Prairie-Dog Mounds” which today is the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. Continue reading

Light Content This Week

Spring Break has arrived. Little Bit (Aka Red 2.0) and her parents will also be arriving. Blogging – and probably anything else requiring long periods of quiet contemplation – will be light this week.

Are you done, Aunt Dragon? Can we play? Can we go to the park now? Now? Now?