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Sunday, 17 April 2011

I try a 7% beer - from the Odell Brewery of Fort Collins, Colorado

The great thing about having the sun go down over the bluffs, across the river there, is that any time after about 4.30 you can stake a claim for a sundowner. Depending where you’ve parked your chair, that is. Oh yes indeed.

I can see I’m going to have to do some research into this Odell Brewing Company and their splendid India Pale Ale (URL). That’s it in the picture. Maybe if I can establish a link between them and my blog they’ll send me a crate of their product (hint hint). Okay, a six-pack. I’m not greedy. I mean, they’re from Fort Collins, Colorado. That’s no distance from here.

I have to say, though, that I am little concerned by the image they have on their bottles – of an elephant going berserk, rear legs in the air, trunk rampant, poor old jockey about to be catapulted over the tusks. What are they saying?

Maybe it’s an age thing, but 7% beer has more of a soothing effect on me, especially as I sit in the evening sun, with a bowl of corn chips and a jar of chile dip, basking in 58 degrees as the snow drifts shrink visibly around me, the buzzards drift in lazy circles, and the horses snort contentedly at the fresh bale of hay over by the cattle shed.

Yes, sometimes life is truly blissful – although I note that it’s 1700h already and I still have 500 words to write before I turn in.

I have been looking at the yard – or garden – that surrounds the red house, and thinking about the rather sad fresh produce I saw in the supermarket in Gordon this morning. And the thought was born – well, resuscitated, because it had skittered across my mind some time ago. Could I raise a few green things here? Hell, we aren’t short of natural fertiliser – and there’s a river flowing right by the door.

I reckon I could sow some lettuce, zucchini, tomato and so on indoors, then plant them out in about six weeks and be tucking in by the end of August.

Listen, they laughed at Old Jules Sandoz when he declared he could grow fruit in the Sandhills. And they flocked up to his place, not 30 miles from here, when they heard he was giving away baskets full of plums, cherries, apricots. Never mind the profit, the old son of a… gun had made his point. Asparagus too. He may have been a tyrant, and a brute, but his kids ate pretty darned well.

Well, we’ll see. I need some netting against the cattle, the deer, the squirrels, the mice, and any turkeys that survive the hunters next month – and some protection against the insects. Damn. Looks like I’ve set myself a challenge. Guess I’m going to have to rise to it.

The temperature when I got up at 0600h this morning was a bracing 27 degrees. And that galvanised me. I may have failed dismally in my attempts at getting the vehicle up the rutted trail yesterday, but if it was frozen hard….

It was, and by 0730h I was on the road to Gordon, some 45 miles from here along Highway 20. I joined the library there and checked out a book I’ve been wanting to read but didn’t want to pay $45 for. It’s by someone I count as friend, a fellow admirer of Mari Sandoz who has followed a more academic route and is now regarded as a leading expert on Mari’s correspondence.

Dr Kimberli A. Lee’s book is called “I Do Not Apologise for the Length of This Letter” and is an edited collection of Mari’s written assaults on various agencies and individuals in which she promoted, aggressively, insistently, the rights and needs of the Native peoples she had known as a child. What an excellent piece of scholarship it appears to be. I have already been struck by one brief passage in Kim’s introduction:

“Understanding Mari’s life or writing to any deep degree is well-nigh impossible without experiencing the land and environment of her childhood, which shaped her writing style and her sense of being in the world.”

Maybe that’s what I’m doing here.

Yes, the other pictures. We’re a day away from a full moon, so here’s a couple of shots I took just after the sun had gone. Kinda make you want to pick up a guitar and strum a cowboy tune, don’t they?