Nov 30, 2014


Update on my new novel in the works. Today is the last day of National Novel Writing Month. I am at 57,057 words. I have written an ending and I have started editing. 57057, sounds like Ketchup. All I need are the fries. 

Writing a western has been great fun and so far, I am pleased with what I have and look forward to rewriting and editing in the next months.    

Before the novel goes to publication, I plan to visit several of the actual stagecoach station sites in Texas and field research.

Nov 28, 2014


When you have Thanksgiving at another person's house. You have to have a back up plan for Turkey sandwiches on Friday. A second option. This is ours, a Willie Bird Smoked Turkey Breast. Willie Bird smokes Turkey, Duck, Chicken, and Game Fowl. The best in Sonoma. Perhaps the best in California. Now all we need is a plan for stuffing and gravy.  

Nov 24, 2014

Nov 22, 2014



Nov 21, 2014



Nov 19, 2014

Nov 18, 2014

Nov 17, 2014


Scrap or Junk
A Yard Full

Nov 16, 2014


Saturday comes early
So much to do:

  • Listen to Scott Simon
  • Take a morning photo
  • Make coffee
  • Write 900 words
  • Lumosity Training
  • Feed the humming birds
  • Refill the seed feeders
  • Change the water in the fountain
  • Clean the cat boxes
  • Go to Farmers Market
  • Visit a new place in Sonoma
This list is too long - some things will have to wait for Sunday.

Nov 14, 2014


Friday or Fredag in Swedish is Freyja’s day.

Freyja is the Norse goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, sorcery, war, and death. Freyja wears a necklace of gleaming metal, rides a chariot pulled by two cats, keeps a boar by her side, possesses a cloak of falcon feathers, and, is the wife of Odin.When people die in battle, half go to Odin and half to Freyja. 

Does knowing who you are and
where your family came from really matter?

Only to those who can never know.

Nov 13, 2014


Is it the fourth or fifth day of the week?
Is it Thunors's day, Thunraz' day, or Thor's day?
Does it matter?
Whose ever day it is Thursday brings:
  • The end of leftovers
  • The Big Bang
  • The hint of bad things to come
  • Friday and the weekend
  • Another day to get things done

Nov 12, 2014

Green Trucks

Wednesday, the barrels are rolled to their mark.
Green trucks thunder by, back and forth.
Cleaning our garbage, taking our waste.
Saving the lawn cuttings and compose for a greener world.
Things used and unwanted on the heap.

When will you and I be there?


Tuesday seemed to get away from me.
Well, that's what Tuesdays do or is it Mondays?

A great song by Five for Fighting.

One year like any old other year in a week like any week
Monday lying down, half asleep
People doing what people do, loving, working and getting through
No portraits on the walls of Seventh Avenue

Then Tuesday came and went like a helicopter overhead
The letter that she left, cold addressed in red
Tuesday came and went one, one September when
Will she come again?

The thing about memories they're sure and bound to fade
Except for the stolen souls, left upon her blade
Is Monday coming back? Well, that's what Mondays do
They turn and turn around afraid to see it through

Tuesday came and went like a helicopter overhead
The letter that she left, cold addressed in red
Tuesday came and went one, one September when
Will she come again?

Tuesday came and went one, one September when
Cold and dressed in red, how could I forget?
Tuesday came and went like a helicopter overhead
Will she come again?


Five For Fighting - Tuesday 

Nov 10, 2014

                                   Some rocks may be inescapable, 
                  but most are just barriers to be stepped around. 
                Take the risk. Step around what is holding you back.
                                             Start Today.

Nov 8, 2014

Nov 7, 2014

Nov 6, 2014


Nov 5, 2014



Last night when I was taking our the garbage I found the longest worm I have ever seen in the garage. When I went to broom the worm outside, it coiled, lifted its head and stuck out its tongue. My first California Snake. Thankfully it did not rattle.

Nov 3, 2014

First Draft
Chapter 3


Superintendent Waters, Alverez Kelly, and Nathan stood together in front of the Superintendent’s house watching passengers and baggage load the El Paso Coach. Kelly loved to talk and tell tall tales. As Conductor helped each person in the coach, Kelly would comment on why he guessed the person was going to El Paso.

Technically, the stage was traveling first through the Indian Territory to Colbert’s Ferry, then, it would across Texas to Fort Chadbourne on the Pecos and finally south to Franklin and El Paso. Among the seven passengers, there were five men and three women. Two of the men were newspaper reporters from Dallas. They told the Station Agent they were in Fort Smith to cover the hangings. However, Kelly claimed they never left the nugget saloon. The reporters and another man, Cutler Hansen, who said he was a Texas banker, would leave the coach at Fort Belnap and take a different coach line to Dallas. Kelly took one look at Hansen, and declared the man a fake. 

“He might have been a bank clerk,” said Kelly. “But, he's running from something.”
Most men Kelly to according were criminals or villains of one sort or another.  

The other two men, Willis Frank and Quentin Kale were dressed as businessmen, in suits and wearing city hats, but according to Kelly, they talked and smelled like ranch hands.

“I talked to Amos Davies about these two. They came up to the ticket window together and then played some kind of game in front of Amos making out they lived in El Paso but had never met. The thing is, they have similar new suits and travelling bags and they purchased their ticket with a fifty dollar gold piece. I am certain they are villains.

The two women were as different as night and day. Elizabeth Chandler was a young stick of a girl from Ohio on her way to teach reading and writing to the Indian children at the school in Fort Chadbourne.  The other woman was in her thirties. She had come in on the stage with Nathan. Nathan knew her name was Ruth Manchester. According to Kelly by way of Amos Davies, she said very little on the trip from Tipton except she was from Illinois and on her way to Mexico.  Alverez speculated she was a Mormon.

When all the passengers, baggage, and mail was aboard, Amos Davies and a second man, Conrad Kliest carried the strong box out and placed it under the seat in the box. Neils Johnston stood guard during the transfer. When they were finished, Davies and Kleist walked around the coach with Kelly checking cinches, buckles, and ties. Kliest would take over as conductor for the trip. He would ride inside the coach.

Satisfied all was in order, Kelly and Neils Johnston climbed up into the box.  Following, Nathan used the hand rails to climb past Johnston where he wedged himself between bags of mail while holding on to the rail with one hand and his new shotgun with the other. Behind Nathan, a Choctaw Indian named Joe Red Feather (Shikoba humma) sat at the back of the stage facing the rear. He was riding the top as far as Geary Station on North Boggy Creek. Joe’s sister Lucy was married to the station master, A.W. Geary. Joe had gone to the Indian School and spoke American better than Neils. He was the twenty-five year old second son of a Choctaw chief.  

Exactly at three in the afternoon, the Wells Fargo Overland  Stage for El Paso rolled out of Fort Smith with Kelly driving the team through town at a slow walk. Kelly was one of the best Whips in the west and loved the looks of envy the townspeople showed when he drove the brightly painted red coach on another journey.

On their way out of town, Neils Johnston intently watched the road and the throng of people on Garrison Avenue. Even with a second guard and a new shotgun, Neils never stopped watching for armed men or Indians. Because they were leaving late in the day, Neils and Kelly had on cream-colored dusters.  The day was warm and sunny, but the nights could be cold and rain was always possible at harvest time.

Immediately out of town, they stopped at the first of a dozen ferries and river crossings. By now, Nathan was used to the routine. He had already crossed the red river once into Fort Smith and as Kelly explained it, they would cross the Red twice more. For safety the passengers existed the coach while Kelly drove the team and wagon onto the ferry. Neils told Nathan to stand at the back with his shotgun at the ready and guard the boot. He took a position by the right front wheel. Kelly stood at the front talking to the lead horses.

One of the newspaper men walked up to Nathan. He was short and fat, a man in his forties, with thinning gray hair.

“Did you see the hanging?” the man asked.

"I did. Did you?”

“I got there late. I was really too far back to see or hear much. My names David York. I write for the Dallas Gazette. I’m not sure what I will write.”

“I am sure you can make something up.”

Seeing six men die all at the same time had an unsettling effect on Nathan. Nathan was no stranger to death or killing. At Gettysburg, he’d seen dozens of men blown to bits by cannon shot; men dying together in the same instance. At Cold Harbor, he shot five men, dropping each man two or three steps after the last. No man getting any further than the time it took him to cock his Army Colt. He gutted a sixth Reb, with his bayonet. The difference was life and death in war were random. These deaths were planned and the men killed by something like a machine in a factory.

“Look, it would be worth a buck to me if you would tell me what you heard and saw. What did it feel like? I mean, did they twist and die slow or snap and it was all over.” The fat man snapped his pudgy fingers.

“One of the men said there were folks in the crowd more guilty than him.”

“He was probably right. What did the others say?”

“One said he was glad to leave this world. Another broke down and cried that he was innocent. Then this minister got up and read a letter one of the boys had written. I can’t remember much because it made no sense to me. When they finished, a marshal put a noose and hood on each and then pulled a lever. It was over in less time than it takes to drink a whiskey.”

“What did you think when it was all over?”

“I remember thinking that I hoped I would never find myself on that crowded platform claiming I was innocent.”

“Anything else.”

“You owe me a dollar.” Nathan gave the man a hard look and then smiled as the man pulled out his pocketbook.

Nov 1, 2014

First Draft


Nathan leaned out the second story window of his hotel room. The room had a bed, a basin to wash, and a dresser. Below him, a crowd of people moved west down Roger Street heading towards the courthouse and gallows on Garrison Avenue. The sun was just rising to the east. The hangings were scheduled for nine in the morning. According to Superintendent Waters, Judge Parker was going to allow each man time to say his piece and hopefully make his peace with the almighty.  

     Seeing a crowd was already gathering, Nathan, dressed and carried his rifle, Army holster, and valise down to the desk clerk. In the holster he left his new Colt Peacemaker The Peacemaker cost fifteen dollars, but had the advantage that it used the same cartridges as his Winchester 73. He told the clerk he would collect his guns and valise later. This morning he was dressed in his blue Army pants without the stripes and a blue work shirt he bought at a mercantile. Out of habit he had his Army issued Colt stuffed in his belt. The older Colt required a cap and ball. Nathan purchased the pistol from the Army when he was discharged, along with considerable ammunition, which he now carried in his valise with a second shirt and a spare pair of long underwear. He loved the feel of the Army Colt with its wood handle. He was determined to carry the older pistol in his belt until he ran out of ammunition. 

     Nathan joined the throng of people heading towards the old Army fort, now the Federal Courthouse. The crowd was a mix of locals dressed in business and trade clothes and country folk who had traveled for days to see these six men die. There were whole families with small children and dogs, women with little babies, older boys and girls dressed for school, and men of all ages and colors, most in various stages of drunkenness.

     Being a large patient man, Nathan was able to work his way gently through the mob until he could see and almost touch the gallows platform. The gallows were painted white with a roof to protect the condemned from the rain and a fence below the platform so the crowd could not see the men jerking at the end of the ropes. There were thirteen steps up to the platform. On the platform, there was room for eight souls. A long trap ran the length of the platform. A single lever opened the trap and the men would drop all at the same time. Today, six ropes, ending with a hangman’s noose were evenly spaced across the white stag.

     Around Nathan, the mass of onlookers were abuzz, talking about the hanging and the various crimes. In addition to Daniel Evans, James Moore, Samuel Fooy a quarter Indian, Smoker Mankiller a full Cherokee, Edmond Campbell an ex-slave, and John Whittington were scheduled to hang. Each man was convicted of murder among other heinous crimes, including rape and robbery. Talking with those around him, Nathan learned that like Evans, William Whittington killed his traveling companions for cash and  Samuel Fooy murdered a school teacher his money. Edmund Campbell and another black man, Frank Butler murdered a man and his daughter at a prayer meeting over an insult. Butler was shot by Marshal Maledon, the Court’s hangman. Smoker Mankiller shot and killed his neighbor, and James Moore, was convicted of killing a peace officer and seven other men. He claimed to have killed more than eight men, if you counted ‘Niggers and Indians’. Daniel Evans was the only Boot Thief in the group.

     Nathan stood waiting with the crowd . Marshals roamed the grounds with repeating rifles. After seeing a Marshall remove a man wearing a revolver, Nathan moved the Army Colt to his side and buttoned his coat.
At ten, a Marshall with two dozen deputies lead the six men out of the basement jail. Several men blinked and shaded their eyes as they emerged from their prison. Judge Parker with his distinctive goatee and wearing a black suit follows the men. 

     The hangman, Marshal Maledon, also dressed in black was already on the platform. The six men were led up the steps and made to sit on a bench at the back of the gallows. The Marshall stepped forward and read the sentence for each man. Then he asked the men if they had any last words.
James Moore stood up and announced there were worse men than him in the audience today. This received a laugh as men looked around at one another. James Fooy claimed he was anxious to get out of this world, and Edmund Campbell claimed he was innocent. The last man had written a statement which was read by a local minister. His words fell on deaf ears as the crowd anticipated the men’s end.

     The hangman put the noose over each man’s head and a black sack. With no ceremony the crowd became silent, waiting for and a nod from Judge Parker. When the trap was opened and the six men dropped the only sound was a collect snap, and a cheer from the excited crowd.  Justice had its pound of flesh and Arkansas and the Indian Territories would never be the same.