Saturday, February 26, 2005

Coots out for a swim (Thanks for the Pics, Chip!)
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Crisp early February morning on duck marsh behind our house (Chip pic)
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Friday, February 25, 2005

This n' That

This is my weekend to work Saturday so I am off to bed soon. Had a list of Things To Do but it ended up being a list of Things to Don't!

Kim and Marc had a well dug on their lot. Water is very easy to find in Salina, I guess. Anyway, it got me to thinking about well witching. I will write more about that tomorrow or Sunday.

Once again a beautiful day in Kansas.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sunrise at 7:02 am
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Is It Spring Yet?

This morning I was ready to walk out the door when Dan called for me to look at the sunrise. It was beautiful. Generally, a few clouds give depth and interest to a sunrise or sunset, but it was perfectly clear this morning. I ran for my camera, but before I could get it set up, the sun had almost risen above the horizon. It was still quite beautiful, though. There appears to be snow in the foreground, but it is only frost. There is a bit of a haze in the distance, probably just the cool, crisp air.

The promise of a beautiful day was fulfilled by the time I loaded the Yahoo for the route. My sweatshirt and vest was just warm enough with the sun shining through the truck window. Recent cold weather occurred with ice and snow covering the ground which enabled the grass to retained hints of green. I delivered a package to the door and actually saw little shoots of the early flowers coming up. It felt like spring was in the air today.

I know we have more winter to come, but for the next few days, I am going to think spring, get out my garden catalogs, and plan how to get some dirt under my fingernails.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Cowboy at the Drovers Mercantile
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The Cowboy

Some time back I happened upon a fascinating and informative blog entitled “The Cowboy’s Diary.” I enjoyed reading the Cowboy’s writings because of his rural style of expression and also because he wrote great stories. I knew from his web site that his store, Drovers Mercantile was located in Ellsworth, Kansas. Since I was going by the outskirts of Ellsworth on the way back from Great Bend, I decided to detour down main street in search of the Mercantile.

Ellsworth’s main street, when approaching from the south, first crosses the Smoky Hill River. Several blocks further I found the Drovers Mercantile between a quaint old abandoned hotel and a hat shop. The store is well done. It is a wonderful blend of authentic 1870s cowboy clothing, rustic furniture, books and pictures. I was taking my time just looking around when to my amazement the Cowboy himself came out from, where else, the back room.

As the picture indicates, the Cowboy, aks Jim Gray, has a persona that is larger than life. Thankfully, he gave me permission to take his picture because if he was dressed as a cowboy, then he had it perfect. However, he was not an actor dressed for a role. He was totally knowledgeable about history specifically the Smoky Hill Trail, Butterfield Overland Despatch, cow towns, and cowboys. And, we just talked about those subjects. I had a feeling he also knew about many other facets of the Old West and New West as he ran a cattle ranch that had been in his family since early settlement days. He was familiar with the Smoky Hill Trail spring and area where Dan and I grew up near Junction City. I wished I could pull up a chair and spend a couple hours hearing his stories. However, he had a publishing deadline and I had to get back home.

I did not leave without joining the Kansas Cowboy Society which stands for Cockeyed Old West Band Of Yahoos Society and whose motto is “Never Sell Yer Saddle.” The Society publishes a newspaper written primarily by the Cowboy. He gave me three back issues. Among the headlines are “Wyatt Earp Was Never Here!” “Echoes Of The Trail” and “The Last of the Buffaloes.” I was given a membership card with my saddle number (1445). I also bought a CD entitled “Around the Campfire with The Cowboy.” It made for a quick ride home. Anyone interested in the old West should listen to these stories.

I kinda like the idea that Berryton now has a Yahoo Rural Mail Carrier—maybe I’ll put my saddle number on my mail truck!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Rural Carriers, Cowboys, and Grandboys

I've had a wonderful two days. Yesterday we met old friends for lunch in Lawrence. That was two hours of laughter and reminiscing. Then last night I went as far as Salina to stay with Marc & Kim. That gave me a two hour jump on getting to Great Bend this morning for the Kansas Rural Letter Carriers spring meeting.

On my way home I stopped by Ellsworth to visit the Drovers Mercantile aks The Cowboy Store. I had a very interesting visit which I will write about soon.

From Ellsworth, it was on to visit my Mom at WindSong. Kim, Aaron & Adam met me there and found Mom in good spirits. From there, on home and a welcome from Dan.

Tomorrow is a double mail day. That is Rural Carrier talk for what happens after a day off when practically everyone else is working. I'll be back here tomorrow evening though.