Castle On the Peace River [Reader Post]

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lady_godiva_by_john_collierIt was the end of November and my friend Knarley Manners and I were planning a trapping expedition along the Northern bank of the mighty Peace River. I was 15 years old and two years older than my best friend. We would be gone for several weeks and were excited while getting ready for the first expedition of our lives. We would use four dogs to pull one dog sled and one taboggin. The dogs weren’t really sled dogs, but ranch dogs were expected to do almost anything and everything. Knarley had a Chesapeake named Ted that someone in town had given him because it was too big and aggressive for city living. I had two catahoolas and a pit bull. They were stock dogs and pretty dang good at keeping bears and moose out of the oat fields and the back yard. The Catahoolas are headers and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds, they were savage with recalcitrant cattle and would often shred ears and noses if the cattle were belligerent. The pit bull was a female and was usually a heeler although she often locked onto an ear or a nose of an animal that didn’t cooperate. These were not your average apartment dogs.

Knarley’s family were Jehovah’s and mine were Mennonites, so his family didn’t care if he was back for Christmas, but mine was hoping I would be back for the Holiday. They knew it was a lost cause to ask me to try and be home by the the 24th since I had ridden a bull earlier that summer at the Hudson’s Hope Rodeo and was bucked off way into the air. That wasn’t so bad, except he kicked me in the head on the way down. Since then, I’ve had many problems with time, for the first twenty years, I couldn’t tell ou whether something happened a few days ago or a few years ago. The condition has been improving over the last 30 years, but I still show up for appointments on the wrong day or the wrong month. Thankfully, it is still improving. None the less, I gave up bull riding and my dad knew that relying on me for anything to do with time sequences was next to hopeless.

I was the unofficial leader, since I was the oldest. Although Knarley was a better shot, hunter, trapper, fisherman, mechanic, and problem solver; I was a better reader and people loved to listen to me tell stories and recite poetry, especially in camp around the campfire.

We left from my dad’s place at four in the morning, it was thirty five miles to the river and we hoped to make it in one or two days. If the snow was deep and the dogs were sinking too deep in the snow to make time, one of us would go ahead with snowshoes to make a trail so that the dogs could travel faster. We were lucky and made it to the river about midnight and looked for a good place to make camp. Knarle found two old thirty six inch diameter Spruce trees that had fallen over so that the were about eight feet apart with their root system and dirt sticking up in about a ten foot diameter at their base. Knarley looked at the two trees and said we could build a castle in between them.

We limbed the trees and cleared all the snow and brush on the ground so that we could drape a large tarp over a rope that was strung between the trees about eight or nine feet in the air. We then lapped the sides over the two logs and tied a rail to each side to keep the tarp tight. I built a fire near the root systems while Knarley spread another tarp over the dirt floor with bear skin robes and wool blankets for sleeping.

It warmed up in our shelter and I called it our Castle on the Peace and to this day that remains the name of the home we built, oh the logs are long gone, but the little hill is still there and people still call it the Castle of the Peace.

Knarle was not one to become overly close to animals, I never saw remorse when he had to put down a horse or a dog, he just did it with a sense of indifference; I became overly close to both horses and dogs and grieved when ever I lost one of my friends. I am fairly sure it had something to do with his religion.

As hardened he was to feeling for animals and as strait laced as he was there was one story that Knarley could not hear enough of and that is the trip I had made to visit my uncle in Virginia. He was a WWII and Korean War Marine and at that time was flying for the CIA. I always thought it was funny how a family of Pacifists had so many guys go to war, my father had been a US Naval Officer in the Pacific and yet we were Pacifists, I still haven’t figured that one out. My uncle had a beautiful wife who introduced me to the young horse girls in the countryside and that summer nearly ruined me. The girls were amazed at how I could get on an unbroke horse and take off for the day and bring back a fairly good horse in a few hours. However there was a beautiful redhead girl with bright green eyes that asked me to ride with her through the country side. We came to a small lake and she suggested we go skinny dipping with the horses. I thought that was a great idea and soon we were riding the hoses in the water and swimming the horses bareback and bare assed, a great way to spend a hot sultry afternoon. There was only one problem, she, the young red haired girl decided to tell everyone and word got back to my aunt, who gave me a lecture and a tongue lashing on proper behavior and respect towards Southern women. I told her I was sorry and that I would never make the same mistake again, but that was a lie, I’d have done it the very next day.

Now Knarley and I had enjoyed the little dark haired beauties at the reservation for a couple of years, but white girls and their bizarre behavior patterns, were an enigma and after we finished our first meal Knarley asked me to tell him about the horse girls in Virginia with their tight riding breeches and protruding white blouses. His favorie story was the one about skinny dipping with the red haired girl and the horses and how we tired to pull each other off their horse. (I didn’t try very hard) Then I told him we had a romantic interlude under the shade of a giant oak tree, no specifics, just the fact that there was a romantic interlude. Knarley would look me in the eye and his right eye would open and his left eye would almost close as if he were looking through the scope of his ever present 30-06 that he was already well known for handling as a marksman. Knarley would then drift off into his own thoughts while he stripped down to his wool long Johns and climbed into his bed of wool blankets and bear hide. He never made a comment, but I knew his imagination was like a fast train running downhill on greased rails.

Since the Peace had not frozen, the lynx that migrated South for the coldest part of the winter were stuck on the North bank until the temperature hit at least 40 below for a week to freeze the river hard enough for them to cross, in the mean time we were cleaning up on lynx, pine marten, coyote, fisher, wolf, and beaver. It was possible that we would double our families’ income with our fur haul.

We each had three lines that were like the leaves of a clover, we would run each line every third day. The dogs would pull a sleigh and we would run along side or if there was deep powder on the trail we would have to reinforce the trail with snowshoes ahead of the dogs. It worked fine unless the dogs saw a moose and decided to chase the animal, then there was pandemonium. We would meet back at the castle each night and after a meal fit for a king, we would skin and stretch the fur. Then Knarley wanted to hear about Virginia before we turned in and I would repeat the stories once again. Every night, we went through the same routine; needless to say, I wanted to tell a bible story or recite some poetry, but Knarley wanted to especially hear about skinny dipping on horses. Most of our rivers were way too cold for swimming, but on a few days of the year some intrepid people tried swimming in a lake or shallow stream, thus the concept was foreign for Knarley, especially skinny dipping and skinny dipping with white girls on horses.

Eventually we were running out of flour, and the rendered bear tallow that Knarley needed to make the best huckleberry pie crusts in the world, our supply of frozen eggs and canned milk for coffee and tea was gone and we were missing those comforts so we decided that we would gather up our traps and snares in the next couple of days and head home.

That night we were in peaceful slumber, my three short haired dogs were under the bear hide with me and Ted was sleeping by the dying embers. The moon was full and there was an eerie almost daylight quality to the light projected by the snow. An aged Grizzly, with claws the size of my fingers, had probably built a poor den and was looking for new quarters. He brushed the tarp door aside and upon seeing the bear hides with the forms beneath thought there were some other bears in this Castle on the Peace and laid down between Knarley and I.

Everthing was fine until the bear started snoring in a most obnoxious manner. I was awakened and said “Knarley your snoring would wake up Moses” and gave him a good kick. The bear stood up and roared, the dogs leaped upon the bear while Knarley and I were searching for our rifles. We were both knocked down several times by the rampaging animals in their fight to the death. Knarley eventually was knocked out the entrance of the castle while my face was slammed into the bark of one of the trees that served as a wall to our castle. My face was bruised and bleeding and I wanted out of the castle in the worst way, crouched by the tree I had hit, I saw the entrance and ran for it just as the bear and four large dogs ran over me on their way outside. The animals and Knarley were all outside and without thinking I walked outside to gaze on a scene from Hell. Knarley was down and the bear was on top of him trying to crush him with his front legs when he wasn’t protecting himself from the dogs and their insane instinct to bring down the bear. The bear would reach down to bite Knarley and one of the Catahoolas would grab his muzzle or an ear and distract him while the pit bull would run in and bite him on the hind quarters, while the Chesapeake was attacking from any opening, thus causing the bear to spin on Knarley or back up and keep rolling Knarley to keep him underneath.

Knowing Knarley or the dogs couldn’t last long in this situation, I ran into the Castle to find my rifle. The rifle was near the fire, I picked it up and ran outside, there was blood everywhere, Tiger’s ribs were showing on one side, but he fought on without slowing. I aimed at the bear’s head, but there was no way I could get a bead on it because of the dogs jumping up to grab a hold of the bear sometimes two at a time. Knarly was yelling at me to shoot, the dogs were slowly being torn to pieces and everything was happening way too fast.

Finally, I pulled the trigger and sat down with my eyes closed. There was total silence and I was afraid to open my eyes. Finally I heard Knarley yell in a strangled voice, “Get him off of me, I can’t breathe.”

I looked up and the bear was stone cold dead with an ever increasing pool of blood over Knarley and the snow, the dogs were sniffing the bear and licking the blood. I rolled the bear one leg one leg at a time until Knarley was free, he had no open wounds, but he was so bruised up inside he couldn’t hardly move. I got Knarly out of his bloody clothes and into some clean dry clothes while he passed in and out of consciousness. I lined the sled with a bear hide and then placed Knarley and Tiger on the sled with a bear hide over them. I hitched up the other three dogs and asked them to ignore their wounds and exhaustion while we mushed for home.

Knarley was just bruised up with a few cracked ribs, the dogs all recovered and people always wanted to see the dogs’ scars when they came to visit. My dad and I took some pack horses and went back to retrieve the fur and camp a few days later. We thawed the bear enough to skin it in the castle with a roaring fire and the hide was a topic of conversation for decades. Although I missed the head, the bullet had passed through the area that joins the neck to the shoulder and continued on until it exploded the heart, killing the bear instantly.

Yes this is an extreme case, but occasionally we all must step forward and take responsibility for ourselves, our families, and our country with its freedoms. If we vote present or wait to see how the situation develops, a disaster may be the end result. You Mister Obama must realize that sitting back and watching failed Socialist policies driving the country ever deeper into an ever widening pool of recession isn’t working and never has. You at this point need to realize that silly speeches, date nights and a continuous party atmosphere in the White House while the country is bleeding economically is suicide for you and the country. Taxation and massive deficits coupled with increased government spending only puts the binders on a struggling economy. Worrying with a cleaner environment is a moot point if the economy no longer exists. Common sense says to get the economy vibrant before implementing new taxes that only serve as an anchor to weaken an economy. Applying further restrictions to CO2 because of scientific data that was falsified is approaching a criminal act.

Yes Mr Obama, it is time to admit you were wrong and walk forward to take responsibility for a failing economy and a desperate country, walk forward and change tactics, it is time to take your shot before the country is destroyed by the bear.

A professional horseman for over 40 years, Skook continues to work with horses. He is in an ongoing educational program, learning life's lessons from one of the world's greatest instructors, the horse. Skook has finished an historical novel that traces a mitochondrial line of DNA from 50,000 years ago to the present. The book Fifty-Thousand Years is awaiting me to finish a final proofread and it should be sent to the formatter in a matter of days. I am still working, so it is not easy to devote the time I need to finish the project. The cover is a beautiful wok of art. I would put it up here if I could figure out how to make it work.

50 Responses to “Castle On the Peace River [Reader Post]”

  1. 1


    Great writing, Skookum.

    I do believe that Obama is the bear – that his goal is the destruction of the nation. These folks don’t really care about “green”, or anything else they claim to stand for. The children, the worker, the fairness. These are just words and ideas that they know will work as propaganda, as advertisement…as they always have. It’s ALL a ruse.

    If they cared about “green” and CO2 output (as if it really was a poison, and not the stuff of which life is made…) then their Gods in Hollywood would have different behavior, smaller mansions, fewer cars in the motorcade, less lights at their daily Gala events.

    If they cared about the children they would have thought twice about allowing Kevin Jennings (monster) to a post ass-backwardly named “Safe Schools Czar”. If they cared about children, they wouldn’t murder a million a year via planned parenthood, in each and every ‘hood, just as its racist founders planned.

    If they cared about the worker, they would not have allowed the workers to destroy the companies, as planned by Khruschev, by organizing and demanding that the companies pay them and all their progeny more benefits than princes and dukes until and even after they die. No business can survive while paying everyone that ever punched a clock kingly benefits for the rest of their lives. It is simply not possible. If they cared about the worker, they would have given the worker a reason to outperform the worker standing beside him, instead of giving absolutely no incentive to perform, thanks to the union believing that work is unfair, and negotiating contracts which prohibit the worker from working more than any other worker.

    If they cared about fairness, kids in DC schools would be able to LEAVE and go to a school which actually educates, in subjects like History and Reading Comprehension, instead of the current schools which offer varying shades of indoctrination and feel-good social programming. If they cared about fairness, they would not be the party whose supporters are most likely to vandalize a car for showing a bumper sticker they disagree with. They would not be the party whose supporters are most likely to shout down, and even BEAT down, someone who wishes to speak, was invited to speak, and who has an audience WAITING to hear him speak. They would not be the party whose supporters are most likely to engage in vote fraud. They would not be the party whose supporters are most likely to steal whole stacks of college newspapers so that they can be destroyed before anyone gets a chance to read them.

    Obama and the current Fascist-tending Democrats, and their numerous FAR-left supporting organizations (themselves supported internationally by the worst communist thug organizations on the planet) are a COMPLETE ANATHEMA to all they SAY they hold dear and love and support.

    Basically, if they say they care about something, it is to get money or power, and they in reality are usually destroying that which they claim to care about. EVERY TIME.

    If they actually cared about the things they repeatedly trumpet that they care about, we’d already know, for it would be evident. So, please…don’t try to appeal to their “good” nature and for their “intervention” to save things. They have no “good” nature, they just play like that on TV, and they are laughing at you when you do so. As well when you ask them to intervene and “save” things. Things which they are actively and intentionally destroying. They’ll tell you just to wait a while longer, it’ll get better, and perhaps they’ll mention the children.

  2. 3

    Old Trooper

    Excellent tale and well told.

    Obama is not the bear. He is the Weasel in the Hen House. He is in the company of badgers and wolves that will plunder the Treasury, destroy the economy and have the next several generations of Americans bearing the burden of poor judgment, unwise choices and the wasteful, fraudulent and abusive policies that he embraces.

    However, I remain very guardedly optimistic. Tyranny breeds Patriotism. A return to values such as moderation, thrift and the realization that Obama’s snake oil did not cure any ills. Right now the Russians and Chinese are more Capitalist than the US in a crude fashion. France and Our NATO Allies view Obama as an amateur and an embarrassment and privately as an amusement. Eastern Europeans loved Ronald Reagan and GWB. They do not trust Obama.

    I look for the next National Elections in the US to halt Government Meddling in areas where the Feds have overstepped their bounds. I look for some States to demand their Rightful Authority in accordance with the 10th Amendment and manage Their Own Affairs where the Feds have mucked up the works. The role of a huge unsustainable and meddling Federal Government will come to a halt. The Federal Government is NOT Father Christmas. It consumes but produces nothing.

    The use of the Interstate Commerce Clause and General Welfare Clause is made up. It cannot be found in black and white in the Constitution. It is generally the bastard child conceived by Career Politicians in order to buy votes in the Home Districts and a tool for meddling, taxing and exercising overreaching power not authorized by the Constitution. Some Folks need to reread Their Job descriptions.

    In Montana the State Legislature convenes in January and is the session is complete by May.
    DC needs to adopt that work ethic to a large degree. The World is more complex now but the Founding Fathers intent was not to create Career Politicians as an Elite Ruling Class. They were businessmen, farmers and the like and excellent authors as well. Inventors like Ben Franklin. George Washington was a Soldier, actually farmed and distilled spirits. John Adams was a Diplomat an Author and a farmer. The same for Thomas Jefferson.

    Winning a couple of elections and bread and circus policies do not a Statesman make. When the bills come due, the Taxpayer / Voter will awaken and demand accountability, prudent spending and responsible Leadership. Elected Officials at any level have Terms. They can be sent packing.
    We have an Elite Ruling Class and a Permanent Welfare Class that need some of Darwin’s evolution. We have Hyphenated Americans that need to just be Americans.

  3. 4


    Wow! Spellbound again, not only a great story, the comments were just as worthy, strong, heartfelt and true! Compliments to Skookum, Old Trooper and Taqiyyotomist(had to c&p that handle!)

    BTW, I listen to Old Trooper, you just saw why!

  4. 5

    American Voter

    I will never forget this epic. . .thanks for sharing another chapter of your life.

    Obama will never change course. . .I do not think he has a choice. He has dealt his soul away for power. (If Obama changes course — I will say I was wrong and send prayers of thanks.)

    If Obama stays his course, the American citizens will need to continue to step up and diligently work/fight to save our republic and way of life. We must be as brave as you were in the face of adversity. Once the Marxists are out of dominate power, we must set about healing our wounded country . . . America may never be the same. . .hopefully will be wiser and stronger.

  5. 6


    John Cooper, than you for your kind words.

    Taqiyotomist and OT, your commentary was outstanding. It is an honor to think that I was the impetus for your writing. I humbly commend you both and thank you so much for your contributions. You have inspired me to try harder in the future, thanks again.


  6. 7

    Old Trooper

    Hey, Cobra’s Anger is slow going but no casualties for Friendlies, 11 room temperature Tangos and 5 Tangos enjoying our hospitality awaiting transport to the cage. I expect the Marines and Afghan Forces to be encouraged. All went according to Plan and it is my prediction that the Bad Guys are playing the old Rope A Dope and laying low for now.

    It will be brisk out tonight, around 22F but worse in the mountains. I reckon the T- Ban folks punched the clock and crossed over to Pak. The ISAF covered a lot of ground today. Some super folks at home sent cookies and fruitcake. I will save the fruitcake for throwing if We get low on ammunition. I’m in a relatively SAFE area so no sweat. The Marines will eat anything so they can have fruitcake.

    Thanks again Skookum for a good read. It was soothing and more entertaining than the radio traffic or AARs here. Vertical envelopment works keen in good weather. Wait until the snow flies here. It won’t be like Valley Forge but the op-tempo slows down some.

    Take Care All!

  7. 8


    OT glad to hear that hunting is going well, congratulations to you and your men. Your updates are comforting and reassuring, please continue as much as possible in the future. May you have good hunting for the Holidays!

    I loved the fruitcakes when I was a kid, a little too rich for me now.

    Good luck! You have many fans and followers here!

  8. 9

    SoCal Chris

    @Old Trooper:
    [I will save the fruitcake for throwing if We get low on ammunition.]

    LOL!!! I couldn’t think of a better use of fruitcake!! Hopefully a Taliban dude will get a candied cherry or raisin stuck in his eye!! 🙂

  9. 10


    They picked a good name for that battle Old Trooper. Cobra’s Anger, fast and dangerous! Chilling, imho. Sounds like not all those “T-Bans” got to punch that clock, they got clocked!

    Would the ROEs allow for a contest? Something like, whoever shoots the most “T-Ban” gets the fruitcake?

    Always good to hear from you OT!

  10. 12

    Donald Bly

    Best uses of fruitcake…

    1. re-gifting.
    2. door stop
    3. paperweight

    Excellent story Skookum – Which is an interesting name. I play poker on a regular basis on the Skookum Indian Reservation, Little Creek Casino outside of Shelton Washington. Are we neighbors?

  11. 13

    SoCal Chris

    By the way, I am very glad people sent ya’ll some goodies to eat, OT! I’m sure those Marines are very thankful indeed and will gobble it up in no time!!

  12. 14



    Off topic.

    Just contemplating what you would do with this side of Obama, maybe he could be called Obamapompousass or Hebestroked?

    Comedy, drama, tear jerker, all three? Peter Baker definately did not have me at the edge of my seat, can’t be suspense, sure getting spoiled in here.

    Not meaning to make light of this very serious situation either, it’s a strange write up.

    What could have been going through General Petraeous’s and Admiral Mullen’s minds having to sit through all this knowing exactly what needs to be done. Bet they had to sit on their hands or choke someone.

  13. 15


    Missy, I read the reference. It is sad to think that Obama is more concerned with petty politics and the support of people like the Dingbat Pelosi than with the very lives of our patriots overseas. For crying out loud he acts like he is dealing with a strike by sanitation workers rather than a war.

    The statement that you know he is serious if he spends 25 hours on a subject. Do you know how many hours it takes to play 18 holes of golf? It takes three to four hours, how many rounds do you suppose he played in that one hundred days. I am betting he has way more golf hours and basketball hours and party hours with the Marxist Freeloaders than he had worrying over our 70,000 patriots in Afghanistan. Besides most of the worry over the correct amount of troops was placating everyone to make sure no one would be mad at him rather than telling everyone how it was going to be. Pathetic.

    I need to think about this one.

  14. 16


    Wow, what a great story Snookum. I read one several weeks ago about you crawling into a carcass to stay warm and it froze solid.

    Man, really?

    You should write a book, no lie dude-

  15. 17


    Obama (or “walking eagle”) won’t change course.
    he doesn’t believe that he’s on the wrong course as it is.
    his mission is to lay America and her people low.

    Let this be the patriots mantra “He cannot destroy in four years that which took two hundred and thirty-four to build.”

    One term,then the rebuilding can begin.
    We the People will send this clown back to Crook County and place an *asterick beside his name in the history books.

    * elected by error due to mass insanity brought on by what was then known as Bush Derangement Syndrome.

  16. 18


    M&M, I enjoyed your commentary and thanks for the kind words. I am on a mission, there is no danger, unlike our brave hero OT who is living a mission as you read these words; but a mission none the less. Instead of a rifle, I have a keyboard, the stories are to capture the imagination of as many people as possible and get them to think about our current political situation from a different perspective. Hopefully, I have accomplished that with you and man others. Straight political commentary can be boring for many people and that is the reason I use my adventures in the great Canadian North as a backdrop for my commentary. I am no cultural anthropologist, but you seem to be of a younger generation and perhaps from the city; for me that is a coup, because it is hard for a mature backwoods type, like myself, to communicate with young people from the city. I am navigating on assumption, so please forgive me if I am wrong.

    The country is a country of extremes and the weak are always the first to perish in a grim situation. If you have thrived in the Bush and in the mountains you have many stories of survival that seem foreign to people who have lived within so many minutes of a hospital, a school, a grocery store, and a post office. But these stories and ones much more exciting are still being played daily by people who love to live life to the fullest in front of some natures most extreme circumstances. I plan to die in the mountains, I have discussed it with my children and they are in agreement. There will be no old folk’s home for me or hospital bed with a rep from Obama Care telling me I have lived way too long and I am eating into the profit margin. No siree Bob, the wolves, coyotes, and bears can fight over my bones; G-d knows I have been hard on those guys. In a year or three, I will be wealthy or dead broke, I don’t care much which way it goes. In either case, I will be in the mountains with a few good mountain horses and a couple of catahoola dogs for friendship and may G-d let the wind blow.

    There will be a book and Castle on the Peace will definitely be a chapter in the book. The stories will no longer have a political slant but more of a moral slant or a lesson that people can use for survival in the cities of the 21st Century. Responses like yours indicate which stories people like. I grew up living these stories and still reading the stories of London and the poetry of Service an neither one of those gus actually lived their stories. Service was a teller at the Imperial bank of Commerce in White Horse and London spent one winter in the North and nearly died of scurvy. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great story tellers and I am not one to say that a story doesn’t get better by the telling; but I was there my friend M&M and I will die there.

    If you go back into my previous article you will find a story about Barb Wire Johnny, that is a humorous and touching look at life in the mountains, you will enjoy. Keep in touch my friend there will be more stories in the future, I have a time element and an exhaustion factor that slows my writing down, other than that it is fun to write for people who enjoy reading our stories.

    G-d speed my friend.

  17. 19


    I agree with MM. You keep writing, Skookum. It sounds like you’ve led quite an interesting life, the kind filled with stories folks just love to read and hear.

    My OT wasn’t “writing”, per se, in my opinion. (Thanks, Missy + Skookum.) That was ranting. I seldom pursue Writing, as it involves too much thinking. 🙂

  18. 20


    Why thank you Snookum-you got the city part right but I guess I’ll never grow up, am about to hit 60-I sent your story to my son in law, 34, and he loved it. You’re dead on about the fascination us urbanites have with life away from the tall buildings and freeways.

    Now Golden, CO, where I live ain’t exactly the big city but it sure isn’t wilderness either. My big city days are over and I’m looking to get even further up into the Rockies.

    Keep up the excellent work man

  19. 21


    Donald Bly, I lived two days North of the border by truck or a month by horse back. Currently, I live on a small farm in Southern California but the Western half of North America is my stomping grounds, at least for another year or three.

    I had no idea there was a Skookum Casino or possibly a Skookum Reservation, I honestly thought the word was Canadian Indian. This is very interesting for me. I like your ideas for fruit cakes, I will keep that in mind.

    You must be a good poker player to continue playing. My dad was very good, but didn’t consider it ethical or in alignment with G-d’s will to take other men’s money. I had a friend who was the best poker player perhaps in the world. He was a horseshoer on the race track and couldn’t read or write a lick; but he could play high stakes poker all night while drinking from a fifth of whiskey and tell you the sequence of every card played, who bet how much, and what cards were not played. He took tens of thousands from those jockeys, trainers, agents, and high rolling gamblers. He was a genius of types and a good friend.

    I see you have written an article on a great subject, I will make time to read it in the near future and look forward to the read. I am working for the millionaires of Marin Co right now and under a lot of pressure to get these horses lined out. Keep them coming my friend, we all need to oil our keyboards and sight in our creative powers. This is a serious job we have ahead of us.

    G-d speed my patriot friend

  20. 22


    Taq man, let me know when you come unlaced and decide to do some serious thinking and writing. I think it might be better to do it sooner than later.

    G-d speed my patriot friend

  21. 23

    Donald Bly

    Thanks for the short bio!

    I too have lived in Canada, back in the early 60’s as a child. My father managed one of Canada’s largest cattle ranches. They literally drained entire lakes to create pasture land. Way before the age of enviornmentalism. This was in a small town called Tomahawk in Alberta Canada, population 206. I remember one night going to bed and waking up in the morning only to see that the forest behind our house was now a massive open space with the poplar and alderwood trees bulldozed into giant heaps. It is amazing what a Catepillar D9 can do overnight.

    Canada was where I first gained experience as a budding entreprenuer. My father had a shoe shine box and I would busy myself on Saturdays shining the shit encrusted boots of the 30 some “cowboys” that worked at the ranch, before their big night out. Cowboys are very particular about their boots and I learned quickly, the rewards were great when they could see their faces in the shining leather where only mud and grime had resided before my efforts. I was astute enough at the tender age of 10 to never set a price. “Pay me what you think it’s worth”. I made a killing.

    During the warmer months I “green broke” horses. I was paid $35 for each but would have done it for nothing it was so much fun. Later in my youth, upon returning to our family cattle ranch in Washington, the experience would pay off for me with a 4th Place finish in the bareback bronco event at the first ever Washington State High School Rodeo Finals which I am also proud to say, I played an instrumental part in organizing. I also rode bulls that year… but only once and was lucky enough to NOT get kicked in the head. The horses did that to me often enough.

    Now days I just play a lot of poker. I am Director of Operations for Global Poker Federation and own an amateur poker league that plays in bars and taverns. Our membership is in excess of 7,000. So, for me, poker is a no lose proposition. In November I won the Washington State Poker Championship and followed that up with a first place finish in the November Seniors Championship with the National League of Poker. I just recently qualified for the December Senior Championship so wish me luck.

    I don’t have the memory to remember cards like your friend. Hell, half the time I can’t remember what my hole cards are 5 seconds after I look. But I guess that has it’s advantages. If you can’t remember, you have no tells. My preference is to play the player and not the cards. That way I don’t have to have to wait for a good hand in order to win a pot, although that helps.

    I am currently writing a book… my first stab was basically a sequel to Atlas Shrugged but I scrapped that idea for I could never do Ayn Rand justice. My wife and I had previously written a screen play that involved a plane crashing into a building but on 9/11/2001 we threw the manuscript in the trash. Someday, I may ressurrect the plot line because it had some very interesting twists and exposes of life in Utah.

    Well my friend… I look forward to reading more of your adventures.

  22. 24

    Donald Bly

    I never take another man’s money. They give it to me.

    Now if a person is cheating, that is unethical. I have found that in two hours of poker playing I can learn more about a person’s character than most people will discover after years of non-poker playing friendship.

    I never play house backed games, as you say, they’re a losing proposition. I only play tournament No Limit Texas Holdem, I know the total amount I’m going to spend before I get involved and i play mostly as a social outlet. Never play limit Holdem, it’s a suckers game.

  23. 25


    Donald Bly, I’d sa you are a fairly dangerous poker player, the kind that would have been serious competition for my dad and my friend. It is nice to hear from someone who has lived the life so to speak. I sometimes wonder if people think I walked in from a hundred years ago, especially with the people I work for. The shoe shine story could make an excellent political analogy and I am sure you have many other stories of ranch life.

    I used to think I could rule the world with a D9 but I wasn’t really that good of a cat skinner.

    Thanks for sharing. I worked for a person at Universal and she told me they were looking for musicals about five years ago so I bought several books on ballet at the used book store and wrote a musical screen play based on ballet, they told me they liked it and that was the end of my screen plays.

    Oh well, with self publishing things are a lot different for writers, the odds are with us in the book area. I assume you know that. Right now, I am finishing a career with horses and trying to help my country by this political writing. Stories of the outdoors are only a matter of having time and energy for me, I have never suffered from writer’s block.

    Good luck with the card playing, I was lucky enough to be shown the ropes of gambling by a friend who owned an illegal casino. He explained how the games are set up and how the money goes to one side of the table and unless you have a unique talent, gambling is a losing proposition. Since then, gambling holds no fascination for me. Although, I have seen many big time gambles go down on race tracks with fortunes won and lost within a few days. I haven’t even begun to open up those stories.

    Write on my friend, i must get back to my four legged friends.

  24. 26


    Skookum, once again you’ve delivered an excellent story. Just as impressively, it seems you bring out the best, and most engaging, commentary. I look forward to reading your adventures, and thank FA for allowing you the space. Keep up the good work, sir.

    I recently also commented on the previous Skookum story-post, or should say that I tried to, but the spam filter must’ve got me.

    Old Trooper, I would like to echo something Skookum wrote, that you are a true hero. I loved the line “11 Tangos at room temperature” and appreciate that good news. Please relay the thanks and well-wishes to your Marines and associated friendlies.

    I do look forward to Skook’s posts, and the community of souls that gravitate to them.


    p.s. Skookum, how about a pic of a “catahoola”? I’d like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable as to dog-stuff, but I’m scratching my noggin on that one.

  25. 27


    jeff, thanks for the kind words. The catahoola is actually the oldest dog registry in the world. Check out Curr, Cur or Kur they are from Wales and originate from the time of Shakespeare four hundred years ago. They came to the US and of course the mountain boys of TN and Alabama along with the cowboys of Texas and Louisiana had to liven up the breed a little. The pit and certain hounds were favorite crosses. Now the breeds are known as the Mountain Curr, Tennessee Curr and Black Mouth Curr. I am partial to the Black Mouth Curr and will try to get the Missus to send a picture of my 8 month old, since I am on the road. I currently have a pit crossed with a grey hound and a Black Mouth, but of course they stay at home. They are very well behaved, but if another dog snaps at one of them it will probably be off to the promised land within a few seconds. These are not the dog for every pet owner. They work wild cattle that have dealt with wolves and grizzly. You don’t really need to worry about locking the doors at night because both the pit and the Cat are the most loyal dogs on the face of the earth. Usually just ranchers and cowboys have the cats because of their fiercely loyal disposition. They are a one man dog to the death. As you may be able to tell, I love them. The males will be 80 to a 100 pounds, the females about 20 pounds less. A good Cat is worth three men on horseback working cattle. They don’t quit and they don’t die easy. The stuff I admire in a man, horse or dog.

  26. 28


    Google is your friend, but I’d still like to see a photo of your dog.

    There are a few farmers down in Missouri that have these dogs. My daughter has a Healer/Boxer mix and my son has a Shepherd/Boxer mix, Until seeing these pictures, I thought they could have been Lab/Boxer, now I know what they are. Wonder if they have them because of the cougars.

    There are other farmers down there with Pyranees in with their sheep, I’ve seen in dog magazines that they are dubbed “gentle giants.” They may be gentle with their family members, but you don’t even want to approach that fence line if their sheep are anywhere near.

    One time we stopped at a home, hubby went in the house to talk to the farmer and I sat in the car with my 4 1/2 pound poodle. I had my window down and one of the Pyranees wandered over and stuck his huge head in the window, drool dropping all over my lap and he didn’t smell to pleasant.

    Then my smarty pants dog lept up and bit at him and the Pyranees started to growl, KiKi wouldn’t back down, he thought he could handle him. I had to hold him back with my left hand and try to roll up the window with my right hand with that big head in the way as this moose of a dog was grumbling at the little idiot. Finally got the slobbered up window rolled up far enough that he pulled his head out.

    One of my friends down there kept a donkey in with her calves for protection. When they were in the pasture near the barn she had to lock up her cats, she said the donkey was territorial and would kill the cats and anything else that strayed in there. The calves were ok because she put them all in there at the same time. She always shared amazing stories about her animals, they sold and moved away, sure miss her.

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    Missy this is my pit greyhound cross, fast, fiercely loyal, unbelievably affectionate, but deadly for aggressive dogs and intruders. The Blackmouth has all those qualities, but even more so. They are easier to train, but their feelings are devastated if you point your finger at them and stare, so training is a delicate balance. The pit is not so delicate toward its owner. They are as good as a weapon, but must be well trained. I will try to get a picture of my Black mouth. Us country types just call them Catahoola.
    591K View Download

    This is the pit cross.

    Hope this works.


  28. 30


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    I too have a pitbull mix, although his other half is Aussie Shepard. Mine also is a fiercely loyal companion, very affectionate, and great guard dog.

  29. 31


    JohnGalt, I am glad to hear about your dog. I hate to encourage people to get the pit ad pit crosses, it takes a rea animal person to manage and handle the pit or Cats. I have five grand daughters and when I was in Calgary for the Stampede, I was being careful with my dogs, just to be on the safe side.

    I heard my pit wimpering, an unusual situation as you can imagine, I went to investigate and found my two year old grand daughter pulling the dog by the eyelid.

    Looks like I should have been watching my grand daughters instead of the dog.

    I am a dog lover. My life has been measured with the life spans of good dogs. I’ve had hundreds of horses, but only one that belonged to me was a soul mate. Many horses that belonged to other people, tried to follow me home, but I didn’t own them, very sad indeed. They were often extremely expensive.

    But I have owned and loved a multitude of good dogs and several times they have saved my life, may G-d bless the dogs, they are truly man’s best friend.

  30. 32


    Strippers of Melbourne, your winter will be coming on in a few months, remember to dress warm, we have had some devastating colds here in North America.

  31. 33


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    I agree with you about dogs being man’s best friend. I too am a dog lover and between my time on my own and time living with the parents, I have always had dogs around, and many different kinds as well. My wife was a cat person when we first married, but I’ve since broke her down enough on dogs that she now works for the local animal shelter and talks more about the dogs there than the cats they take in. We currently are fostering a hound mix that was brought to the shelter in very bad condition, very mistrustful of people, and not a friendly sort at all. Between myself, my wife, and Loki, my pit-mix, the foster has come out of his shell and is almost ready to go back and get adopted. He will make a great companion for someone, I have no doubt. Always nice to talk with fellow dog lovers and especially those who see the good in the pitbull mix and not what they are portrayed like on the news channels.

  32. 34


    John Galt

    What a grand avocation, caring for dogs at a shelter. My present pit came from a shelter. She was a wild one; they told me they had been waiting for someone like me to adopt her, since she was two weeks past her maximum time and was too much dog for the average person.

    What a blessing she is to my life; my previous dog, a pit Akita cross was hit by a car and the accident nearly destroyed me. I never had to say anything to him: he always knew what I was thinking. I didn’t want to get another dog because it seemed like cheating on your wife; but I finally took the advice of other people and went to the shelter and found her.

    Please tell your wife that she has a special place in my heart for helping the dogs. Someday, I hope I can do something, so noble!

    I read Rand’s books 40 years ago, unfortunately, I don’t remember that much. I will need to do a refresher read.

  33. 36


    PV, a great looking dog. I had a lab years ago, she would walk down my 1/4 mile driveway with the kids to catch the school bus and walk down to meet them when they returned. In bear country, the extra insurance is a real advantage. It was a job she figured out and took on by herself. She was also a pretty fair sled dog.

  34. 37


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    I thank you for the kind words on behalf of my wife. She is sleeping now as her job is very rough at times.

    As for Rand, I don’t much go in for her “Objectivism”, but the truth in her words on socialist societies reaches me like no other. When I read Atlas Shrugged, I did so to learn what the fuss was about in people talking about “going galt”. Once started, I found that I couldn’t put the book down and was continuously amazed at the parallels between the story as it unfolded and the events happening today. In my honest opinion, it is the BEST book I have ever read, and I read upwards of 50-60 books a year, most fiction, some non-fiction. The terms Looters and Moochers are ever in my mind when I read or see the news happening now.

  35. 38


    John Galt, interesting overview of Rand’s work. I remember being aggravated with myself for not being able to put the books down while attending college: ‘moochers and looters’, the books are probably more appropriate now than they have ever been.

    It’s time for work! Adios.

  36. 39



    John, this is the shelter that I volunteer at, they have about 50 dogs but some have to wait to be put in the cycle:

    Sometimes I just walk the dogs, sometimes they have me just sit in a rocker and hold nervous puppies so they adjust to human contact, the skittery dogs go with me to a quiet corner and I just pet and talk to them, it reminds me of daycare.

    Right now we have three dogs with heartworm and they can’t find medication to treat them, all vets in this area and northern Illinois are out of it. Poor Gypsy, the chocolate lab has it and is also pregnant, she was fostered out but had to come back because of all her problems, now she gets walked twice a day and is caged for the rest of the time. She reminds me of my Springer, showing signs of separation anxiety, hope she gets a home that has someone home with her all the time.

    You get attached to all of them, there’s not dog in that shelter that I don’t want to handle. I want to eventually foster one but we are waiting for a young female because of my husband’s aggressive little Schweiner.


    Beautiful dog Pat. Someone dumped a yellow lab and a black lab mix off at our farm, I wondered if it was lab/boxer or lab/pit. After seeing Holly it definately was lab/pit, their head shape, eyes and snout are the same. He had a personality that wouldn’t quit, if we lived down there I would have kept him, we named him Ace, it fit. He was dignified, playful and you could tell he going to be a loyal dog for someone, hope whoever adopted him appreciated what they got.

    Drove those dogs all over the county trying to find out if they belonged to anyone, no one claimed them. Knowing they’d be shot, I had to find somewhere for them, in two days. Finally called the sheriff and he told me about a new shelter 40 miles away in Maryville, MO, they were a no-kill shelter and they took both.

    Had my dog and my son’s with me on that trip, both on Frontline, both came down with fleas. Hubby took care of the car and our groomer took care of the dogs, she said we couldn’t put anymore poison on them because of the Frontline so she kept bathing them until she got rid of the fleas, she’s wonderful!

  37. 40

    Donald Bly

    Atlas Shrugged changed my view of the world and is my all time favorite book. Each year I buy about 10 copies and give them to people that need to have their eyes opened.

    On a lighter note… Every time someone mentions Greyhound, I naturally think – Korean fast food.

  38. 41


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    Yes, it and the others are more appropriate to today’s world than ever before, but I believe it is due to the lack of interest in her work at the time. One has to wonder what would be different if her work was given the intellectual honesty it deserves.


    Interesting that you volunteer at a shelter as that is how my wife got started. She now works full time at the shelter here in central Indiana. I asked her about the heartworm medicine and was told there is no shortage here, and not only that, but her and her co-workers and the board members work very hard to get charitable sponsorships for not only the medicine but the food as well.

    Mr. Bly

    I like the fact that you give out copies of the book every year. I couldn’t afford to do that myself, but have been satisfied by recommending it to people I know, several of whom now have it themselves and are in the process of reading it.

  39. 42

    Donald Bly has Atlas Shrugged for $7.95 in paperback version so I’m not spending much. I feel it is a small price to pay if the reading can affect a persons viewpoint as much as it did mine. The one thing that I ask of those to whom I give the book, whether it has an impact on them or not, please pass it on to someone else when they are done reading.

  40. 43


    SKOOKUM top story again,i know you will favor the people of FA when the books will be ready to be sold and as you know i already gave you an order for one,but talking withi my nice neighboards the farmers they want one to so i commit to 5 more for myself that make 6 total take not and if others commit their request it will give you an idea of how many copies you want to order to begin,and the pricing decision you will have to decide on the first btch,of course you probably know already that ,take care bye.

  41. 44


    Bees, you seem to be a natural salesman. To sell something that doesn’t exist yet, takes a special talent. I hope the Democrats don’t recruit you for their Health Care Fraud!

    Yes, i will be proud to take orders from you and many of our friends. I am sure it will be an involved process that will take months to complete. My advertising will be with FA; hopefully, that will be enough.

    I get a kick out of you Bees, don’t ever slow down! Skook.

  42. 46


    Dear Commit Matrimony, I am at a loss to know what I am supposed to know or at least be familiar with. Trapping, hunting, fishing, camping, endurance, horses, and survival in extreme conditions are things that I know fairly well. Weddings and wedding plans are concepts that scare me death.

    You should check out Frenchy’s Mail Order Bride, (located in my bibliography, just hit Skookum in the banner above one of my articles to view my complete list of articles, that one and Unintended Consequences, both are centered around committing matrimony ) these are stories that you may be able to relate to and make more of a personal evaluation as to me being familiar with the subject matter.

    Thank you, for reading my articles, I hope you enjoy some more in the future.


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