au veau bébé

by admin
breathe sweetness...

breathe sweetness…

Concrete ties…

Cow mom cries

Dinner bell gong

Home Head Song

Minds Connect

Lives do Part

faith protects

love of heart.

Udderly belle pavé

Trapp bouquet…

Mon p’tit choufleur…

Je t’aime beaucoup.

Quelle Surprise 

pour le weekend! 

           -Mama Cow

a website? Chapter One: Branding.

by admin


Why the website?

A woman from a Topeka design firm, that once filmed ‘the boss’ for an ad, described it in saying, “one need’s a presence.” She was familiar with rural systems, and she knew where I was coming from.

On a dark day I might say it this way,

“I just might die out here and no one will ever even know I existed!” 

**note: many women with photo albums who take the pictures feel this way. I’m confident I’d never be in mine if it were not for my mother, and now my sister and daughter taking photos, though Jack’s now good for a few.

A city slicka’ lak mahself bein’ or-rig-on-alee from kan-sa sidday mahgt jes add,

“I just might die of boredom out here if I don’t find my next project.”

Oh? The Rancher’s wife thing? Yes, there was and always will be impromptu cooking and Branding and weaning and the need to be always there. That’s not a full-time job after the critters were ‘done grown up and gone.’  And, in a family business with three brothers….well, it’s important to remember where a wife’s business ends and where another person’s business begins. At least at the XIT.

So we began with full support. My personal first “real” website designer Shawn took all my pages of what is called “cartooning”. This was the site menus and my numerous page layouts. I was attempting the urban cowgirl architect edginess, my (at-that-time) completely wrong words. He visually twanged it up a bit. He said,

“I get it, Paula. Edgy, urban, slick cowboy design-architect thing, but no one wants to go ‘back at the ranch’ for that. Everything that you have brought in and laid out is like a scrapbook, a journal.  See it as that.”  He did not even know me, my web way albums, my French sketchbook, architecture school. Poor Guy, he didn’t know what he was in for, nor did Tracy when he quoted that bargain price of $1200.00 over the phone.

And, at the end of a day I am a classicist, old school, whether it is in Paris or on the Plains. And, aren’t Levis actually ‘de Nimes’?  It’s only as simple or complex as we want it to be at the moment….So, I came full circle and I know now he is brilliant. 

So, the quest for

  • the next client (Steve Revare…any churches you need to adaptively re-use…?),
  • the next historic building along a Kansas highway (Citysearch…Susan Ford…KDOT…, you there?)
  • the next “egg money”  [as my mother from Hays termed the income that rural women around Hays, Kansas earned that was their own and not their husbands]. This is what I did, but it was teaching and design. 
    • My contributions to family were more in the way of driving, cooking, sweat equity with house maintenance, and in choosing an unorthodox lifestyle, not something that floated the boat.
    • Beef was why we were there, not health or lifestyle.

Branding was only once a year.  I thought. 


A cock and bull story.

by admin

He'll be as useless as tits on a bull.

I can’t really remember what exactly was the issue here,

you’ll have to ask the Boss.

But, I do remember

that there was a female involved.

Dirt and Wind and Paula’s XIT Princess Palace.

by admin

Make many footprints, the wind blows hard. One day you will get it right and be dust.

-Paula Graves Adams, December 5, 2010.

The Worst Hard Time

"My neighborhood"

At the peak, the Dust Bowl covered a hundred million acres and more than a quarter-million people fled in the 30s.


"Cimarron Chronicles"

Cimarron Chronicles: Saga of the Open Range, Carrie & M.W. Anschutz

The picture on the cover of this book was taken on the Cimarron River during roundup on the XIT (Former XI) Ranch.

The effects of the dust bowl were not so severe on the XI and XIT Ranches along the Cimarron River as they were for farmers. The rolling land was untillable and unplowed. It was meant for cattle, not crops.

But still, Mary Anschutz Finney, granddaughter of Carrie Schmoker Anschutz, told me of putting wet towels around the windows to prepare for Black Sunday. Mary Finney was the wife of Tom Finney, the foreman of the XIT for Raymond Adams, Sr., Jr., and John Adams’ manager from 1982-1996. Tom Finney’s father had cattle around Paxico, Kansas. His father lost everything after the market crashes of the 30s. It was after that when Tom came to work for Raymond Adams, Sr.

H.G. Adams (Raymond Adams, Sr.’s father and Raymond was the youngest child of six with two older brothers) bought out William Robert’s interests in the southwest Kansas landholdings in 1923, but died 10 years later in 1933. After this time, his three sons operated lands in Maple Hill, and the two ranches in Southwest Kansas.  The youngest brother and his father before his death had formed the Adams Cattle Co. They prospered in being the earliest cornfeeders in Kansas and there is a picture on my website of their concrete silos which were the first to be built in Kansas.

Being the youngest brother, Raymond Adams (Sr.)  was given the least desirable land of the holdings of the land in the West upon the death of the father when the brothers divvied up. This was thought to be the east ranch in Oklahoma. But, though he did not live there, Raymond Adams (Sr.) ventured into some early wildcatting for oil on this ranch in Oklahoma. The specific proven field which is still producing is the South Woltz. I lived on this ranch when I was married from 1982-1996.

A tangent for runner. Provides ranch scale concept vis-a-vis suburbia. And illustrates the value of training on dirt roads against high winds without water with a dog that runs very fast. 

At the time, one of my rural coping skills was training for a marathon. When I would need to do a 12 mile run, I would loop through the south Woltz so that I would not have to backtrack. The other loop required running 28 miles. So my first actual “marathon” (26.2) was actually padded a bit in distance. It was on the ranch on a day when the wind changed, with no water. But I did run with our faithful German Short Hair pointer, Lapsley. He was given to us by the now Kansas Sec’y of Commerce Pat George. His name is George Lapsley Waugh, taking in two special people as his namesake.

But, my point is that because the pre-marathon training was so grueling, the actual race was a piece of cake. The “first” was that usual deplorable time, maybe like 3:52. In my first real marathon with Kathy Kindred (Avon in KC), my time was 3:36:12. In fact, it was so good that after the following entire summer of training, my second KC Marathon in the fall only beat this time by 14 seconds. I was a little depressed. But my Dean-the-Machine-and-Marine-Father-runner-of-51-marathons told me that shaving off even the least little bit from here on was very difficult. His advice was that speedwork and lengthening my stride were key.

So, this is when I hung up my running shoes to put this time into things that were not quite as isolating and meditative. There was always plenty of time for that regardless.

Raymond Adams, Sr. re-located Tom Finney from where he was working for him in Maple Hill to western Kansas to be his foreman. Tom lived on this ranch and managed many cowboys. It is here where he met the girl up the crick, Mary Anschutz.

The point is, he and his wife, Mary operated the XIT Ranch in western Kansas for more than four decades for the Adams (as if it were their own) in many many ways. They moved from the Oklahoma Ranch upstream to the Kansas Ranch where I later lived in 1968. This was after this west ranch (XI Headquarters) was purchased back from the widow of older brother Alec by Raymond Adams, Sr. and his son Raymond, Jr.

From then on, this west ranch would be known as the XIT Headquarters.  XIT was the Adams Cattle Co. brand and that which Raymond Sr. adopted when the original cattle of his father, H.G. Adams, were divided between the brothers and he had to easily change the existing hide brand. Brands are registered by state, and there was not an XIT in Kansas. A single bar creates each letter of the brand to keep it from being muddied, so this only required the additional two strokes.

"XIT Storm Cellar."

Paula, Ginny, John, Tom Finney. XIT East Ranch Storm Cellar, sum 1983.

This was taken when restoring the 1934 adobe home for John Adams and Paula Adams’ home.

John’s Grandfather, Raymond Adams Sr. had these three adobe structures built on the east ranch in Oklahoma in 1934.  He secured skilled workers from New Mexico familiar with adobe techniques. They were were brought to this ranch on the Cimarron and used soil and hay from the ranch to mix and bake the adobe bricks on site.

This is a view of one of the adobe stucco'd houses on the East XIT Ranch in Oklahoma. You can see the huge Cottonwoods and get the feel, but you actually only see the left corner of the house that we fixed up in which we lived from '83-'96.

Our home had a stamped “1934” in a rectangle at the gable of the south leg of the L-shaped structure. It was formerly a three-bedroom house, but not organized as one would think. There was a bedroom, living room, later added bathroom, dining room and kitchen for a married couple on the east end. But a solid adobe wall ran along the west side of the kitchen dividing this part of the house from the other two west rooms. These two west rooms shared a later added tiny bathrooms, but each room had it’s own door on the south side which opened off into the covered porch.

Tom Finney, John Adams, Paula Adams. In frame doorway with brick partition during early construction.

Kitchen (after) shot. This was era, had seen the cabinets in Santa Fe in a Wayne Nichols House. Jenn-Air range. Paula in hideous running attire.

You can imagine the context. That is, the open range had closed and ranches had formed with outside capital to provide fencing (invention of barbed wire 1874) and windmills for water in the latter part of the 1800s. Trail drives over, the lifestyle of the transient Cowboy had changed and he had settled down. So, a couple provided some stability as well as services in cooking and possibly cleaning (?) for the two single men. The discussion of historical “Cowboy” as single man and women in this landscape is for another day.

View to northeast from my office. I felt guilty about having this great office off our bedroom in a former screened in porch but a) John didn't want it because he could not see the front cattleguard or barn and b) I had the computer. The photo at right with my father--in-law Raymond Adams by the door is the former open covered porch to the south. The "front door" was the sliding Pella door at this west end. To the right on the north wall you can see the doorway which led to the west "extra cowboy" room. To the left of the white stucco banquette that I added later, you can see the second "extra cowboy" bedroom door which was filled in below to make a window out of this bedroom. The two doors were unnecessary. This is when everyone had just started doing the brick butted up against each other (no grout) that was set in sand. The buffalo rug on the floor was given to John from my father. He had a client for whom he'd done architectural work who had a small buffalo herd. Dad did a partial bartering of services in exchange for the hide. The Navajo Flag pictorial is a gift from my dad to John.

You can envision the time period and the context of blistering heat that so beautifully incorporated the open southern porches in ranch homes. And, the teeny later bathrooms as Rural Electric had only just made it to Wabaunsee County in the Flint Hills in 1946.

An Indoor Plumbing and Rural Electric Tangent. 

In fact, the folklore is that John’s Grandmother Jessie was responsible for getting electricity down to the XIT employees in exclaiming something like, “You CANNOT let them live like this! You WILL pay to run these lines in!”  The Adams men tend to be conservative in keeping their costs low. And with no immediate or ever return in a ranch domestic structure, these things tend to get tabled until absolutely required (translation: demanded by wife). Don’t get me started on yellow shag carpeting…

So back to this first house, Paula’s dream house and anyone’s at age 23 and actually at any age. XIT East Ranch, Beaver County, Oklahoma.
Dean Graves, architect.
Henry Rempel, contractor.
Tom Finney, project manager until he started picking finishes and was demoted by Raymond Adams who appointed

Paula, project manager and interior designer, pre-architecture school.

It is one of the first of many successful renovation-restoration projects using the Adams-Graves merging of education and design with a sense of place and history that had been associated with the Adams family for over a hundred years.

There is a wonderfully restored adobe bunkhouse for which Dean Graves did plans on this end of the ranch for John’s Grandmother, Jessie Stewart Adams for her use when she would visit. It was beautifully executed and was done right. This small building had to be trenched below to re-pour footings for stabilization. The re-built bunkhouse and concrete pour for the floor incorporated radiant heating so the tile floors were always warm. These were always great experiences for me, because on all of these projects there was not a general contractor. Owner (and his asst. moi) would act to coordinate subs and work. 

The house had Pella windows, brick floors set in sand, Wood-mode contemporary oak cabinets for which we chose the horizontal strip “pull” band at top to be Maple, corian counters with integrated bowls, Talavera tile. The walls were textured sheetrock in the one part where the stucco had crumbled beyond repair, but in other areas, there were beautiful soft cracks that would have to be periodically patched. I loved this, it gave it character.

Finishes. John and Paula. Paula and Dad (Dean) Graves. Pass-thru to kitchen.

The ceiling was original. It consisted of built up beams to resemble heavy timber, stained a very dark brown that was almost black. Tongue and groove spanned these beams. I left them dark on the recommendation of a decorator who wisely told me to not follow the current trend at that time of making all wood light or painting them white. He explained that the dark would cause the 8’6″ ceilings to recede to give the illusion of greater height.

I really cannot believe that this was my first house, for it was a dream and I was a Princess.

My first trip to the XIT Ranch after my engagement. I flew from Albuquerque to Liberal after a trip with my mother to Santa Fe. This is the sign south of the Cimarron River Bridge on highway 23 which runs north-south and divides the east and west ranches.Love the knee socks and I'm serious.

And back to wind, it has been a very dry year. Ranchers in Kansas experienced this in all corners. Many weathered it, continuing to endure, but it was a devastating year for many people.

This is how it works when one is in business with God and it is a part of that wonderful spiritual relationship that some say is trying to “control” the land. Any steward knows much more than the rest of us that the only thing one controls is oneself, one’s work, and one’s management of whatever resources are at hand  and gained with whatever hand one is dealt. But that everything is really just under the employ of Him. Agriculturalists do an excellent job that is very hard, that many would not choose to do. But we all get to look and see these landscapes as we drive across beautiful America.  I feel gratitude for this.

Here is a picture of the house pens by the XIT Headquarters on the west ranch in Meade County. This was on a windy day about a year and a half ago. Pray for rain.

Pipe pens just west of barn. XIT Ranch Headquarters, Meade, County.

Sampler: 29 years of Adams Custom Christmas Cards…

by admin

Well, I didn’t get a Christmas Card out this year. And I won’t be able to see those you have sent over the holidays. But I know they are all beautiful pictures sharing kind sentiments and interesting news from old friends and new to the Adams Family. Thank you! I’m sure they are in a big bowl in the living room with everyone watching over Dexter episodes.

My job was staging the picture, a thankless one that I now realize my mother has always had to bear. One year we had a professional photographer, Robert Love, Ivanhoe Love’s brother (the Liberal Mayor). I cannot find that card. We were all wearing white, very posed and a bit stiff with our hands placed upon each other. It was nice, but I thought we all looked pretty uptight.

I loved doing card design. As did Jack and Lacy. I was the coordinator, printer, and database.  Jack will remember the year we were both so challenged with the avery label print merge on my Dell that the final file was labeled Merry fre@k!ng Christmas labels (or some version of that). It was used for the next several years without computer corrections to the database because it was so hard to do.

Many years I would get help with stamps and labels, but as most mothers know, it is often easier to get them out yourself. The last Mexico card was ready the week of Thanksgiving and I still think it barely made it by New Year’s. Doesn’t matter, a couple of the years the Christmas Cards became Valentine’s Day cards. I always think it’s fine to skip a year if nothing inspirational comes to mind or if it might send one (me) over the precipice. You’ll notice we had very few the 8 years of getting Adams kids through high school in cities afar, working, and commuting to ranch.

So here are a few….

Map from Meade, Kansas to the East Ranch in Oklahoma on Cimarron River.

This was a map with landmarks along the dirt road that took people from 15 miles south of Meade to the ranch house on the East XIT Ranch in Knowles, Oklahoma.

I have to admit it that you are missing a card which was a classic that I am very embarrassed to have sent out. Fortunately I cannot find it in the scrapbooks. John and I are on a horse,  I have on a Laura Ashley dress with a white apron, and John is holding our male pug Winston. Winston, by the way, was later eaten by a coyote…”the dingo ate my baaaybeh”. This was a real eye-opener for me about (wo)man in nature and kill or be killed.

Christmas Card from 1987, the Christmas before Lacy was born.

Christmas 1988. A Blessed Child is here. I knitted the sweater and you can tell she was born a happy horsewoman.


Lacy and Mei Rose. Lacy had pony print pants and I painted her in these, so I'll stick that picture in, too. It was kind of a theme that year and Christmas.

Well, here's the painting and the pug.

And here's Lacy in the pony print pants with her red high top sandals.


We had lots of paper dolls, so this was the Cowboy Santa Paper Doll Card with Lacy's Dear Santa list on his legal pad.

John, Jack, Paula, Lacy Adams. Jack Adams looks like he is smiling but it was FREEZING and he was really crying. I guess that is why dad is laughing. Boys will be boys.

Now here Jack is really happy I think, but again, winter winds in SW Kansas are colder than a b!tch's wit.

 Here is one of those late Valentiner’s. I think it’s actually pretty nice because people actually have time to look at the card as it’s not amidst 500 others.

Love this one, green red blue. I think this was taken Christmas Day because Lacy has her kitten Midnight. Lace cut a picture of a tabby out of a magazine and John scoured southwest Kansas until he saw that exact kitty. Midnight was born a barn cat and stayed a barn cat and mouser. She lived in a tree and one time caught a rabbit and drug it up into the tree, very tough cookie.

Lacy and Jack Adams by carvings at rock outcrop. 1995

Seaside, Florida. 1997.

Lace's drawing of the newly restored Rock Island Depot in photo collage.

Lacy did this great perspective drawing with a light table of the Liberal Rock Island Depot. It was adjacent to the  Grier Eating House (like Harvey Houses but on Rock Island Line) that received ISTEA Grants from KDOT for Restoration-Renovation of the two buildings.

I worked in various areas: schematics, grants, historical significance, and did fundraising so it was a baby for me.  I am proud to have been associated with work of so many many others and there is a great Italian restaurant if you need a bite to eat when traveling on 54 west.  Jack and Lace spent some time there, but rollerblading not allowed on the quays of the tracks so the card is in defiance of city rules.

Oh, Home on the Range. Lace did this drawing and I added the boots. They are over at the guest (bunk) house in that kitchen. They are also pictured on the horses riding outside of the window.

Bob Bernquist skateboarding picture that Jack drew. Then he put into Adobe Photoshop and colored in the fields. Bob is flying on the hilltop over the Cimarron River where I would run everyday on the West Ranch. Get the Mood, Dude! Brilliant, Jack.

This should be Christmas of 2000 or 01 and Jack would have been 9. His pictures were always total action.  The complex twisted body poses always convey the exact movement. He still has this ability to see how people use their bodies to a T and dances and moves like a cat.

He sees it in his brain because he seems to memorize so easily upon seeing and imprints that snapshot in his brain without having to see a picture. Same way with math. Don’t know where he gets it. I wish I had this abililty to see and master foreshortening. Look at Bob’s hand curved back in the air!

For the caption on the back, Jack wrote, "Lacy, what do you think Dad is going to say?"

This card was the Christmas after a summer we went to Chicago. We walked Michigan Avenue with Randy & Heather Knotts and their family taking pictures and lounging along the way around the Cows on Parade.

So this is Cows on Parade on the uplands along the Cimarron River.

Lacy, Paula, John, Jack in New York City, Thanksgiving after 9-1-1. I think we are outside of one of Lidia's restaurants.

Here’s another that became delayed as I was at long last finishing my last tech. arch. studio in Lawrence while John and kids held down the fort at the ranch. Mostly what I remember is that the apartment at Meadowbrook had a pull-down bed and it had to be up most of the time for all the models and projects at my drafting table and it was very lonely for I missed my family, but worth it and necessary for later events to unfold for our family for high school. Believe it or not, the Adams family would come up to visit and we would all sleep in the room together.


I know we’re missing quite a few in here. But, these were the years when we got the Adams children a genufied citified high school edumacation. And it was grueling, and we survived, but personally only by the skin of my teeth. And maybe I’m going to have to be the one to say it to all of us, but… we got’er done! And well-done at that. Fait Accompli, the bulk of our work and work and driving and driving and driving and working and working was over. I’m sure all parents feel this way in some form or another, rural or urban. Of course, it was also the bulk of too much fun!

Jack, Lacy, John, Paula Adams. Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. sum 2010.

So, you may have seen this last card on Facebook the other day. This was a vacation we took in Puerta Vallarta the summer of 2010.  We really had only taken one beach trip like this in that decade to St. Croix the year that Lacy graduated from high school, so it was a real treat and it was a lovely trip. We waited until the last night, I ordered up jeans and black and it still hadn’t been taken after dinner and lots of wine. But what did God send but this beautiful orange stucco wall with tiered steps and I think it is really our best family Christmas Card.

Many happy memories!

Calving Part III: Anomalies in Agriculture at the XIT Ranch.

by admin

My last and perhaps best Paul Anka selection. Distracting and counter-intuitive to my motives, but makes the post, hang in there until 1:05 at least. But then, you won’t want to leave.  And what mutual conclusion did John and Paula have about Anita, Paul Anka’s singing partner in Europe, after viewing her forearms…? So I think we were right on with Paul being big with the drag queens.

Tonight’s essay is about anomalies. The boss (only works part-time on Sundays) threw me a bone. He helped me with organization of my thoughts and photos. So, you can thank him for connecting the dots that were related in my brain to identify my point before I had one.  Yes, it very often works this way with the Adams…

Sink and mini hot water heater station in calving zone of barn.

John pointed out the hot water heater Friday night.

Paula: “That’s so nice of you, I bet they like the warm water.” But I hadn’t ever noticed any post-labor rinse-off for the girls before…?

John: “That’s for me.”

I was sympathetic after other night in the pens when it was below freezing. There is only a small space heater in the barn, and this was only added in about 1996 when we moved to the west ranch.

I guess cold water is a real shocker after all that hot pV$….well, I don’t say these words, my father might be reading, let’s just say steaminess. See Part I.

So, hot water heater in the barn is anomaly one. Like a rancher with a cadillac, this is pretty high status for the XIT.

Mother and baby twins, born Jan. 22, 2011.

Anomaly Two: Baby twins were born Saturday night.
This is always fun. But, the mother cannot nurse two children, so John’s brother-partner brought over a cow from the e. ranch who had lost her baby. This is so the extra calf can “mother up” to the mother who no longer has her calf.

Anomaly Three: That girl is a freak.


John is speaking about a cow that never had any contractions. Being on the same team (females) as the cow and two weeks overdue with my own children, I have other theories for this. For example, she is such a good mother the children don’t want to leave, the calf might actually need more time in the womb, or she’s tired of men pushing her to fit their schedules and going to be difficult.

The point is, for rancher this is a pain:

Inconvenience: he has to stay up in the middle of the night either way.  He can

  • haul the girl himself to Ashland (72 miles one-way), wait for the c-section, then drive her home the other 72. This is probably a good 4-6 hr time commitment in the middle of the night.
  • Or bother the people you value the most, his great vets in Ashland, to do a housecall at the ranch.

The vet is expensive (to John the money guy). And a word about vets…The Ashland Veterinary has the best large animal and K-state grads in the region, and also great for cats and dogs.  And cheapest, maybe $175 for labor, $75 for mileage and time. It would be twice as much from Liberal.

  • One of a Cowboy’s many fine motor skills at the XIT is that he can stitch. They can handle a prolapse. This is when everything in the region from where the calf resides falls out. It gets shoved back in, she is stitched up and her life goes on.  If life at stake, the vet called regardless, even if she’s going to town to the auction block the next year or the next day.

And if there is any perceived harshness about mothering tendencies in the video, it’s not perceived; if you’re barren, you’re out after the first year.

Last, I just couldn’t figure out the hanging stirrup from the ceiling conundrum from Part I. If you’ll remember the visual stirrup of a horse and word connection reminded me of the OB/GYN so I was really trying to figure out how she got her legs way up there by the ceiling…Finally, as I did with so many engineering confusions I had in classes at KU, I had to ask.

John illustrates the function of the stirrup in the last frame.

Anyway, anomalies are good. I wouldn’t want life any other way.

The mounted roadie: Ride Tall, He’s always watching.

by admin
"Went to see a horse about a man"

Went to see a horse about a man.

Taking a roadie is taking a break. I think we may all do it, always have, in all times and places, by whatever mode of transportation is available. And times, it has only been in my mind.

The restlessness, the need for freedom, I think, is a part of who we are, or at least who I am. Being a 5th generation Kansan and a 4th generation Jayhawker, it might not seem as though I’ve left home. But I have lived in Paris and traveled quite a bit, in the states and across the state. And we all leave home in different ways. Through the books that I read, adventure is only as far away as my thoughts. And I always return home, wherever that may be, with a new perspective.

"Location:  ridge in the home pasture"

Location: ridge in the home pasture

Sometimes taking a roadie is by horse. In the aerial, you can see that I’m in the home pasture on a ridge (the line) about a mile north of the headquarters, on the north side of the Cimarron River. As it goes, really not very far from home. But it’s the concept that counts.

I’m going to include this photograph that my father-in-law Raymond Adams took, for it is far better than mine. He said one time,”if want to get close to God, you get up on that grey horse and ride up that hill behind the house and you will be about as close to God as you can get.”  And another thing he said, “I am one helluva cowboy.”

Ride tall, he's always watching.


Calving Part I. Babies is comin’: 4 the girls & men that did it to them

by admin

She's not very happy and he not too with her.

First, a little music for you to read by.  I was a childbride, but childless & footloose for five years. A favorite courting technique, John would break into song complete with face and head gestures to serenade, emphasis on the “baay’ beh”. Even not funnier at 8 months. After a four versions on utube, I’m just starting to appreciate it all. Your selection for tonight: Classic Paul in Patchwork and Bowler.


It’s the first week of calving season, John’s week on call as baby dr., so I tagged to barn at 10:30.  Heifers are teen (I hope not really) cows having first calves who sometimes need a little help. They are brought in from the pastures to hang out together in the pens.

Second, the excuses. It’s dark, pics in pens limited, only lights on a pole. With camera broken, I’m filming a blackberry video (I keep forgetting I can’t turn the camera sideways since u can’t rotate videos, I’m sure Steve Spielberg had to learn this too). New skills are all I can do to get unedited to utube, but this is a point in history.

Re-location from pens to delivery room: the calving barn.

I really apologize mama. My style: no cameras and leave me alone when in pain; John seized the opportunity for his usual efficiences to wash the car, pick up groceries, stop by the vet when I thought he was outside having a smoke. But, he was there at Lace’s debut at my head of the table.

"new baby calf"

Pass a new baby en route to barn. Mother licking to clean and I scare but she'll be back.

This is more talking about childbirth than I could ever tolerate from about 28 on. All it takes is one long-winded, detailed story relayed by some duo couple in a social situation to be enough for life.

"calving chute"

Calving chute, looks medieval I know.

Construction by D. (Dave Holden) and M. (Mike Simmons), circa 1982.

A stirrup, right? Have to think on how this is going to work hanging up here...hmmm...

A stirrup, right girls? Hmmm....way up there? Think, think, Paula, before you ask engineering question. I know I can figure out the mechanics.

Pretty much everything designed, mostly homemade and welded right here when it comes to stuff like this.

Pretty busy, so I keep quiet and don’t ask questions.  Here are more pictures…

She's not very happy and he not too with her.

"cow in calving chute"

Got her in a headlock.

Dennis Knudsen, former army dr., obgyn extraordinare and Renaissance man I think would secretly love one of these for a few of his clients. A relative on John’s side out here told me (in 80s we took these funny lamaze classes pre-Lacy at local community college) he said , “ooh…kay, that’s enough of that” when she commenced with some loud hee-haws as he arrived for the delivery.

Chapter Two tomorrow. The birth and some videos, more Paul. I’m sure he quit singing a while ago.

Music commentary:  John’s time is limited on computer, but he heard Paul singing and had to come in.

Paula:  “that woman’s voice sounds strange…crazed…techno”

John:  “she’s just happy. see? she’s agreeing with him.”

Thanks, Paul for opener that kind of steals my show, but if someone made it this far…


Tales from the XIT: The Broken-d!ck Bull.

by admin

My children have had absolutely no sex education whatsoever.

And in 1997, they were 6 and 9.  So I’d say it was pretty much unnecessary in any home with a TV and grade school-age children to have to get into it. Most kids were probably relieved. They knew it already, and it’s always so embarrassing and gross when parents talk about sex.

But my point is, our children in 1997 were not only introduced to sexual relations by Mr. President himself, they learned some new techniques with all the surrounding dialogue.  In fact, the class was entirely eliminated from the Meade Grade School curriculum.

But mainly, they were raised on a ranch. And there’s a good lesson from this story.

It has been said that, when a man dies, he can only hope to come back as a bull on the X I T.”


Not The Broken-d!ck XIT Bull.

But then, there was The Broken-d!ck Bull. So here’s the story…

One day I was riding with the boss past the pipe pens and noticed a bull with a particularly misshapen member.

“John! What is wrong with his hangin’ johnny?” I exclaimed. (this expression is actually George Carlin’s, I think I used the proper anatomical term.)

So this was his ‘splanation in my words, my best shot as I don’t really listen to all the details.

As I’ve overheard some male friends say, “men are pigs.”

So, the same goes for bulls when it comes to sex, “bulls are pigs.”

Whereas female bovines, unlike other mammals, only desire the “pig bull doggy style” during a particular time period.

If the bull chooses to mount when he is unwelcome, the female has her own internal weapon of defense.  I didn’t get into specifics, but I envision it as something like a very, very strong o-clamp.

And, I’m sure this must cause ‘some kinda pain’ for the unlucky Taurus. Little does he know as he tries to escape, hell has only just begun.  He probably would have been better to gnaw it off himself like those animals with their leg caught in a bear trap.

So, that’s the story of The Broken-d!ck Bull.  And, I apologize for having no photograph. It just seemed like a triple insult to document his plight.

And, a word from the mama-money makin’ machines on the XIT.  I would re-phrase the expression to say when a man dies, he can only hope to come back as a SMART bull on the X I T.”

And if some dumb bull slipped through the cut, and didn’t hear it the first time,  he’ll find out just what part of “NO” that he didn’t understand.  And, there he goes.. to town…completely jobless…good for nuthin’ but burgers, cowboy caviar and swingin’ beef.

To my memory, I’ve only seen one Broken-d!ck Bull on the X I T.

Toejam at Paddy O’Shay’s Sept 2nd, SMEast ’78, Harold Epstein.

by admin

Harold Epstein, Musician. SMEast Class '78

I have a way of not getting to the main point, so here it is. Harold Epstein’s Band Toejam (or whatever etiquette is to indicate collective ownership of a group of musicians but Harold is who I know. When you google it he has all the important businessman titles: General Manager and Booking agent) is playing at Paddy O’Shay’s Labor Day Weekend.

  • So, what would anyone have to do that could possibly be better than seeing a committed creative of (40 years? …when did you start playing Harold?) in our class at East to celebrate that we’re 50ish and shouldn’t be laboring so hard?
  • Or, as I see it, play is indeed work and takes some effort.
  • So, get in the car (Julayne Ramsey is driving 600 miles from Minnesota…I’m not giving up on Eugene Bridges as he needs some fresh Kansas air being down there is smoky moutains all summer), hop on the plane, ride your bike on the bike path on I-435, whatever you have to do.  It should be fun.
  • I’ve heard there will be a former recluse or two from my neighborhood putting in an appearance.
  • Dave Wood (and Denise Gatzoulis) called me a month or so ago and at that time we committed to seeing Harold play next KC visit, so he motivated me. So, I’m hoping they’re both in town. All the outdoorsman can sit together at one table and talk hunting and fishing and Cabela’s.  I’ll pass on this for the fashion and art and photography with Julayne and Lisa Revare Hickok. I’m name dropping on my homies being there, have no idea of their social commitments that Friday as we’re all too busy to talk.
  • no one comes to these things if they are true dyed-in-the-wool pills or assholes.
so here’s the data:
Paddy O’Shays
Sept 2, 2011
9 pm to 1 am
135th and Nieman
As I haven’t seen Harold and didn’t hear him play in high school, I have no idea of music genre. In my mind, this could be anything from Led Zeppelin to the Monkees, but I’m sure we can find a way to dance to whatever it is. I intend to dance a lot, mostly with the girls.
So, that’s about it. Toejam, is of course, front and center. But, I do love these opportunities for high school friends to get together.  I realize that it may make me a bit of a loser to think back about high school. Whatever…But two things…
stop here for 99.9% of readers. The rest is just Paula’s attempts to get some of the thoughts about high school and friends role in later life that are constantly spinning around her head, onto paper and into her blog therapy. This is done for numerous reasons, one being her goal to talk and burden/bore others less about such randomness in casual conversation. I’m going to rehearse before I go Friday evening, can’t promise anything.  
  • I know I always have mixed feelings of good and bad about this time in my life. And almost 30 more years of real life, different people, different experiences, different jobs and places certainly makes this just a little sliver and maybe not the most interesting facet. But, it was the slice when we were transitioning from being girls and boys to women and men (hormonal). And that is a common bond. And, I’m thinking and hoping that amidst all the $h!t of probably not the greatest sex and fumbling, parents and family life, competition, drugs and alcohol and trouble and and self- discovery and Carolyn Howard, that there was a lot of joy and fun for everyone. This is what I like to remember with friends.
  • On a personal note about friends and I’ll get to the point after a bit of background…. I married 6 months after graduating from KU to an incredible man who went to a private high school in KC and was in a frat at KU. But, he grew up on a ranch in the Flint Hills. I should have realized that the Brooks Brothers and penny loafers were just a small part of this guy. But, the gritty cowboy thing was and of course, will always be extremely alluring, as you can imagine it was for a Johnson County Girl. This John Adams was really is the main show.  I was confident that since I was creative, love and I would figure out the rest. I threw myself in and have never regretted it.
    • So, right after we were married, we moved to the XIT ranch in his family’s cattle business down on the Cimarron River in very rural Meade County, Kansas, 30 miles from the closest city.  He’d go there to brand cattle for two weeks in the summer. But, he had never lived there full-time, so we shared the adventure. It is about as diagonally opposite from Johnson County as you can get in Kansas and about as diametrically opposite from Johnson County as it comes.
    • So, I’m getting closer to my point about old friends, places, and memories of key things to build upon that were my foundation and are my mother’s milk. These are for me: my family, my school friends, creative expression we all have and do in different ways, and France.
    • The isolation of living on the High Plains was often very challenging  for someone like me who a) likes to work for days on end and needs the solitude to do this, b) is efficient and isn’t going to drive 30 miles to town in a lonely moment just have coffee with a female and pick up the milk and c) is at heart a social person. But, I did it, I lived it, and the wandering in the Great American Desert to find self (as the High Plains was labeled when Europeans started to explore America) is me. And maybe we all have had or still have this in some form, whether in our truck or at our computer or in suburbia or at a cocktail party, or out on the beautiful ocean of the hi plains in Kansas…those moments when the blissful Alone can at times be lonely and we go inside our minds to find a companion with a common past that knows us and we don’t have to say a thing.
    • The point:  you were always on my mind and will be there for me, both at happy times and dark moments when there is no one else around and I am weary of being alone.  


I look forward to seeing anyone who can make it on Friday, 2nd.  Go Harold with the artful life! Paula.