This is my Political opinion Blog. On it I will write about Nevada / California mostly. My Art site is on which I will post drawings, paintings and sculpture for sale.

Location: United States

I realy have lived in a cave for quite some time, though ive also lived in a franciscan monastary, a log cabin in the mountains, and a completly underground house. I work in stone, clay, wood, glass past (not blown)as well as oil and acryilic. I have also woked a forge (yes the kind with a bellows and anvil) while living on a ranch.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dead Cow Blues

Dead Cow Blues

I smell a cow lying in a field dead for several days and it is remarkable. It clears my
head, filling my actions with purpose, and energizing me! Focusing and directing this energy
toward getting far from its source swiftly as possible. No such luck for me, that cloud swept,
drizzling nightmare of a day. I was here to skin the aforementioned beast not long enough gone
from this world.

This critter died ignominiously enough, being after all a cow. Not like a pet dog run over
by a hay wagon. Torn and piteous, bleeding howling and evoking horror in Kyle. That’s whose
dog Little Shit was. In the ground to spite my efforts in stitching her up with the silk from my
“Sunday at the movies shirt.” Nor like Chip, Kyles other dog, put down for chasing chickens. For a cow it would be for rooting up a garden plot, though I doubt anyone would blame the cow for that. More likely whoever left the gate open would catch hell.

Of all the things a cow might choose to lick, a car battery would not be on any list I would
draw up. Salt blocks, the bed of a hay wagon, something normal. Truth is that we have bred
cows to be dumber than Congress in or out of session. I have seen with my own eyes, cows
nosing around in machine sheds, junkyards (what ranch does not have one?) city dumps, and
unused saddle shops. Everywhere they go, bet me if they won’t lick everything incapable of
escaping, including Little Shit.

Now she is dead and my job is to take her jacket off as the Shoshone would say. It is their
ranch so they can say whatever they please. Just someone tell me why Carrie said “chazz, go skin that cow in the boneyard”? Carrie and her sister Mary Dann, run the 2D, 29, and the D9 brand in Crescent Valley Nevada. Two renegade Shoshones raising their livestock without paying B.L.M.or any other fees.

Just this spring I received word that Mary passed away. Early Friday, the twenty-second
of April 2005 my great-aunt was fixing a busted fence when her atv rolled over, killing her
instantly. It is no cliche to say that she died with her boots on, and I’ll fight anyone who so much
as implies it. Because of work obligations I had to miss the week long mourning and scattering of
her ashes on the ranch, still a sore subject for me.

Squatting in the cold, knife put to work, I wondered as I shivered “What the hell could
those two crazy old ladies want with this hide?” Before an hour had passed light freezing rain
soaked through the bone, and to shelter from the worst of it I pulled the skin (hair side down if
you please) over me. A grey fog that slithered snakelike down the side of the mountains
cheered my soul lead coffin like. What would make this more fun than I was having at that very
moment? Lying next to a corpse, covered with its partially disembodied skin, and blue with cold?

As the rain let up, my shaking did not. Had I more sense than the animal I was about
disassembling, I would have trudged empty handed the mile or more back to the ranch. Hot
coffee, a warm tub, dry clothes that had not been under a cow, and some of Mary’s apple pie.

None for me! I stubborn and stupid enough to sit in the high plains desert skinning a cow till I
get through to please my auntie. I do not believe the tales about cows being dumb out of love for
us, though I do love my auntie still.

Lack of body temperature can cause shaking, which in turn generates heat. Extreme cold
can impair motor coordination as well as judgment. If all I had been up to was shivering this
might not be so interesting. I however was skinning a cow! To do this you need a strong
constitution, a sharp knife, and some skill at butchering. For a hide to be useable there must not
be holes in it, it must be scraped clean of flesh, and should not be covered in blood.My working
hand was shaking badly, then the knife just slipped part of the way through the other. Between
the wrist and pinky finger a bright red fountain opened. Bitter cold had claimed me, so I did not:
jump, yell, cry, swear, or even move. I watched the red rooster tail with something like
detachment, wondering what this was going to sound like when I had to explain it. Ruining a
hide through carelessness was an inexcusable outrage! Wow was I going to hear an earful!

Stiffly I made my way back home along more pre-Columbian art than a road. Dewey
Dann, the first of the Dann Band to settle in Crescent under the Treaty Of Ruby Valley, had
cleared it with a horse drawn grader. So the local legends go. I have seen with my own eyes a
horse drawn wagon with an appropriate blade fixed under it at the extreme north end of the
Valley, so it could be true. It is a demonstrable fact that blood is no good on leather, and my
moccasins were stiffer than me as a result of the soaking they had taken.

Sewed, washed, fed and dried, I finally had an opportunity to ask Carrie what Mary wanted the hide for. Through gales of laughter auntie Butch (not to her face) replied “a new set
of moccasins for you!