Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ranching, writing and painting the town

I'll be traveling to New Mexico next week to take photos and interview the Steele family on their working cattle ranch just outside Fort Sumner. It's fall work time at the ranch and everyone pitches in to help with moving and shipping the cattle.

The ranch has been run by the same family for several generations and they're doing a great job of it. The interview is for a story I'm working on for the winter issue of Range Magazine, ( -You can visit their site to see what they're all about.)

There aren't that many big, functioning family ranches left these days so getting to be a fly on the fence post during this fast paced annual event will be priceless for me.

Speaking of writing assignments, I got a call from the associate publisher of one of the major western magazines last week. He's recently taken on the editorship of a new publication for the Paragon Foundation, also out of New Mexico, and asked me to take on one of their regular features. How cool is that?

Mike finished a long overdue painting this week for our framer friend in Snyder. It's a painting of Danny's favorite cow, the Queen Bee. She's half Brahma and half something else - I can't remember what - and Danny has wanted a painting of her for years. It turned out really nice - for a painting of a cow standing next to a pond in a west Texas pasture.

The next painting Mike has going is one he's doing because he wants to. He has a couple to do for Leanin' Tree but he's still waiting for the go ahead on the sketches. In the meantime he's working on a darling painting of Bea Dunbar, an longtime family friend. Bea is in her 80's and has the most infectious laugh in the world. She lives in Clinton, Mississippi and is still as fiesty and funny as ever. She spent a week with us a couple of years ago and we took a slew of photos of her having a glass of wine on the porch. I think she's going to like the painting a lot.
Seems like suddenly we both have a ton on our plates! But then it's that time of year again. I'm working on a new calendar for Healing Reigns ( and will start on our calendar in the next day or so. We have an Open Studio and a house warming party planned for October 20th that we're really looking forward to but the invitations have to get out this week.
Mike is doing a special historical painting of downtown Bastrop to be printed into holiday cards to benefit the local Crisis Center and I've volunteered to help with their annual gala, the Festival of Trees. That event is in mid November, just about the time we have to wrap up all the doings for the Vegas show before it opens on December 6th. There's inventory to put together, posters to print, and all kinds of last minute details to cover regarding the booth.
Christi and Tina, our daughter and her partner in Austin, are ramping up their services as their business, the Lavaca Street Deli, in downtown. Since they're on a budget, Mike is helping with their remodeling project and I'm doing their holiday marketing collateral (probably at midnight!).
Kevin is thinking about moving back home for a spell while he switches from young-man-with-no-purpose to young-man-with-one. He's 25 and it's time. One thing is for sure. He can never look back and say he didn't have a chance to live wild and free after high school - because he did it and did it well. Now, it's time to get down to reality of life. It's either back to college or stepping up his profession from waiter/bartender to something with a more solid future.
As usual, fall is out of the gate at full speed and we're running to catch up. It can be overwhelming at times but we love it. Our butts may be dragging but we're draggin' them double time.

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