Finehorn stood with frost in her mane, and I had coffee (which is something i do now on the road) and hitchhiked to town – an insane day of car hopping, back to potter valley 60 miles west to retrieve saddle pads, clumsily left in S’s trailer attic. We arrived to Cowboy camp 1 night ago, as it is night now again sitting in the loo.
The nearest town is 15 miles away. The moutains are bare and dry. Tule elk are about the only thing living around here, and we haven’t seen one yet. There are several invasive species, including the golden star thistle that is poisonous to horses and gives them something called ‘chewing disease’. We came here hearing from several different people that there were corrals and running water, neither of which we found on arriving a half hour ’til sunset last night. So we hitched our ponies to metal posts, brought up water from the river, and camped in the cement box with pit toilet we call the loo. It does not smell in here, we made our bed on flakes of hay that we will need to feed to the ponies- yes, tomorrow the ponies eat our beds.
General hilarity fills the loo, and we almost die laughing, watching a miniature scene take place on the cement floor, shared between a spider, a fly, a rolley polley, a smashed can, and a red candle.
Rolley Polley: ” Bring out yer dead! Bring out yer dead!”
The old street corner, smashed can alley.
And the rabbit stick street light burns.
Tiny suitor is toast. Fruit fly thrashes, flails.
Spider wanders up and down the alley, paces the bright lit corners
and perched on shiny rim.
The fly is having its way with a piece of grass.
It’s scaring me that i have not ridden in over a week. There are some trails around here- and we found a western saddle that fits Cowgirl’s high whithers. Her legs are doing better.
At this point, 3 different people have driven into Cowboy Camp and upon seeing us and our horses, have marched up and demanded “Where is your vehicle?” We tell them, “You’re lookin’ at them”. I guess there have been a high number of horse abandonment cases in the recent past- people that can’t afford to keep their horses anymore, so they take them out to somewhere like Cowboy Camp, wait until some horse people with a big trailer come along and go out riding over the hills, and then proceed to tie their own horses to the trailer and walk away. Suprise! Either that, or they just let them wander into the hills to fend for themselves.
And i wish we could get the hell out of here soon, the creek is undrinkable even steri-pen-ed and boiled. We are sleeping in the loo mainly because it is warmer. Actually that’s the only reason, now that we have our bedrollls back….There are rumours of rain – and it is dry in here, with one red rabbit candle burning. If no rain- i move back into tent, frost or not.
November 12th – S & J came today, bearing packages and gifts, as well as very encouraging and Real energy to ride on. We were able to get rid of some of the extra burden, precious as it was… took fiddle and summer clothes for safe keepings- was loath to leave Thalia but winter is here and the leather case doesn’t fit, just throws me off balance riding. Rode Jesse today around Cowboy camp, Sea rode Dolarosa, found out guitar works with new western saddle. I will start out from here on Jesse James, Sea on Dolarosa. For then M, silent but lightened, who packs mules in the hills, found us here at random and brought de-natured alcohol! we needed it for fuel. He threw in some candy bars and black velvet whisky, which we all sipped together in the pink cloud strewn sunset, poring over the map from the tail of his white pick up- he gave us some useful information about the trails to Capay, and brought our extra grain to Full Belly Farm, where we will see it again in three days or less, if all goes well. We leave from here tomorrow, on BLM trails to the next campground est. 10 miles.
Sea and i got tipsy and silly, i cooking spuds and she reading from the Golden Ass, a trash romance from over 2000 years ago, badly translated and raunchily hilarious. Porno before Christ.
Well we’ve gotten along okay. Luxuries (whiskey, chocolate etc.) in abundance, lots of grain for the horses and alfalfa, which has got Finehorn snorting all the time- that or the golden star thistle- don’t know which but she’s not well. She is on the roam now, our golden beast becoming more mythical with each day. No ropes bind her yet she never meanders far. She woke me up last night, come between the tent and the loo to get the alfalfa, i went out under the full moon and saw how the mist was glowing and caught in the mountains, and Finehorn roamed the misty bright meadow in huffs. Come to see me and meet my embrace, moving with her prehistoric amble and flux, something strange- and wonderful is happening with her.
Señora Dolarosa is still sad, she is tied to a ring that moves freely back and forth across a taught rope above her head, 20 feet beetween high posts. She is behaving wonderfully, but has resigned herself from life. Her wounds are looking not as gory, swelling down on right knee, udder still swollen and hard, so uncared for, our beautiful Dolarosa, the dried afterbirth of her baby still clings to her tail. Next time we have hot water. A hard life she’s had, flinching away from kind unmeaningful gestures.
Finehorn snorts around the tent on this fine night, allergies in the crisp air. Sea has taken to the loo, and i sleep alone in the tent not far. I feel better in here/out here. A red candle glowing, the epic shapeshifting Finehorn makes herself heard.
And Jesse was good to ride today. I trust him to understand and take care of things. He will need to lead for a while. Good herd. Jesse, and the one we call Dolarosa, lying down in the dry grass and hay and thistle, the faithful herd, waiting. Our noble beasts lounging on their arses like us and waiting to go somewhere. We call Cowgirl Senora Dolarosa for now, because of her melancholy elegance.