Live Music Yoga Class in Bluemont VA, 12/17

I’ll be back on the East Coast for the Holidays, and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be collaborating with Turi at her beautiful Turiya Yoga Wellness studio in Bluemont VA for a live music yoga class and meditation. I’ll be adding the soothing sounds of the bansuri flute, the dholak drum, and bhajan singing to the flow of asanas guided by Turi. I get more personal fulfillment playing these types of events than I do playing bigger stages with my electrified gear, and I’m really looking forward to it! I hope to see you there! Visit turiyayogawellness.com for details.

Woodworking With White Wolf

I did a thing. I’ve been watching a lot woodworking videos on YouTube, so I figured I’d make one. It’s not intended to be a how to, but just to show the process of making a router tray/bowl. This is only the second one I’ve ever made.

I am setting up a woodshop in my new barn and do hope to supplement my meager musician’s income with woodworking, so who knows, maybe “Woodworking With Whitewolf” will become a thing?! Enjoy!

I finished editing my Badlands nature footage

The first video is under two minutes and is a “best of” of the footage I shot in the Badlands during the Spring of 2021. It is set to the music track “Mrs. Robinson” as played my favorite alto sax player, Paul Desmond. I’ve been really loving this track lately and was happy to have a chance to share it in this video.

The second video is just over eight minutes and is a more thorough edit of my Badlands footage, featuring more animals and an original music track. I actually recorded the track just after I shot the footage while staying at my friend Rene’s house in Custer SD, intending to pair the two. It is a recording of the ancient and sacred Gayatri mantra from the Vedic tradition. It makes sense to me pair sacred music with wildlife photography; I view Nature and her creatures as the face of God.

New nature video, more coming!

original footage. audio is “Nada Terma 2” by Steve Roach

I shot this original video of bighorn sheep in the Badlands during May 2022 while I was drifting around in my van, hunting for a new place to call home. I ended up buying a ranch only 2 hours away! I have been visiting and having magical experiences in the Badlands since I was 19 years old. I know the park, the land, and the wildlife quite well. It was in the Badlands that I had the most potent and daunting spiritual encounter I’ve ever had. And no, I was not on drugs. In fact, it occured on the last day of a 10 day retreat where I fasted and upheld rigorous yogic disciplines. I have so many stories I can tell about the Badlands. I have so many stories, period. I’m currently going through recent nature vids I shot, and will be posting more videos soon! In fact, I should be blogging more regularly again now that the season is over and I’m done building and fixing up my ranch. Now it’s time to hunker down, hide from the cold, and CREATE! I’m feeling much more balanced and better about life lately. Wyoming is really working out for me. My soul needed this and I’m very grateful to be here humbly homesteading on the prairie. Ain’t no trouble out here, just silence and beauty.

Horse life accelerating!

I’ve become fully convinced that the universe wants me keeping and riding horses. When I moved out to Wyoming last August, I had no intention whatsoever of owning horses; it was not a dream of mine. It was something I was interested in, but figured if I ever got into horse culture, it would be years down the road after I was well established in my new home.

Now, here we are 14 months later, and I’ve been given two horses and a saddle by my friend JW, as well as a mule to keep for awhile, and I’ve acquired a full tack setup for riding under the guidance of some new friends who have been very helpful and generous in getting me up to speed with how to saddle a horse and ride. Last week my friends Jenn and Jamie took me riding and taught me a lot, and today my wrangler friend Mason came over and guided me through preparing the horse to ride and riding basics.

I have two older mares, Jasmine and Spunky, who were also here last year grazing on my land. Rabbit is the mule. Last year there was another mare here as well, and she was really the alpha of the herd and was kind of possesive of me and kept the other horses away. Now that she’s out of the picture, Jasmine has really taken a shine to me. To me she appears to be the healthier of the two and the one I’d prefer to ride anyhow. She is very sweet to me, always comes to visit when I walk out in the pasture, she nuzzles me and rubs on me, and she’s completely relaxed around me and enjoys my pets and affection. Spunky is nice too, but she’s a lot more meek and shy. She doesn’t want anything to do with a harness or saddle. Jasmine however has no problem being harnessed or saddled, but she’ll take some work to be a good riding horse. She’s been well-trained and was a rodeo horse, but she hasn’t been ridden for quite awhile, and is kind of crotchety about the whole idea. She knows I’m a novice and sees what she can get away with. Luckily, I have these great mentors to help me along my path of horsemanship.

Yesterday and today, I rode Jasmine for the first times. It felt incredible to be riding my own horse on my own land with my own gear. I really never expected that experience in my life. Previously to this weekend, with the exception of riding last week with Jenn and Jamie, I’ve only ridden well-trained horses at professional horseback riding outfits. Yesterday Jasmine wasn’t happy with the bit at all, so I only rode for a minute before I quit, afraid she would start freaking out. Today we used a hackamore, a bitless bridle. My wrangler friend Mason could control her pretty well, but I had more trouble. She really wanted to go back to her friends in the herd, “buddy sour” as they call it, and was testing me and resisting quite a bit. At one point, I was even tossed off but I wasn’t hurt. I was using bad technique trying to rein in her head, and she backed us into the barbwire and then freaked out a bit. She didn’t buck, but did manage to spin me off. I’m cool with it though. It was a humbling lesson I needed to learn. It’s quite a learning curve for me learning how to control a horse, but it’s a challenge I accept and look forward to surmounting. Mason assures me she’s not a bad horse at all, in fact, she’s quite calm and tolerant, and certainly likes me. She’s just a fussy old mare who doesn’t really want to come out of retirement and needs a little further training and discipline. I’ll be working more with her doing ground work, and once a week Mason is gonna come out and help me work on riding and controlling her. I’m also watching lots of horse training video on Youtube. It’s all so exciting! This has been my most “Wyoming” week yet, hanging with cowboys and cowgirls, riding through the hills, and even getting chucked off a horse and into the dirt! At least I’m breaking in my cowboy boots and hat.

A Day In My New Life

I started the day well-rested, but with a light kratom hangover.  I recalled dreams about falling in love together with a spunky brunette, the success of which was somehow tied to my choosing the right fishing kayak.  Uncharacteristically, I wasted no time this morning and did the right things in the right order.  I jumped straight in the shower, less to get clean, but more to get in my two minutes of a cold soak a la Wim Hoff Method.  Staying with the method, I dried off, dressed comfortably, and sat in my comfy leather chair to do three rounds of Wim Hoff breathing.  Building on the positive momentum, I then went to my little yogic temple room and lit an oil lamp.  I sat on the floor in front of it, bowed, and then chanted nine “oms”.  After a few more vedic prayers, I changed positions into an esoteric asana and chanted the syllable “lam” for five minutes while focusing on my tailbone.  Then I sat in a half lotus position on my cushion and did six slow rounds of alternate nostril breathing, followed by another esoteric exercise which I am forbidden by my guru to share.  This led me into meditation.  I sat until my thoughts became clear,  And then they became still.  Then I disappeared into a thoughtless bliss.  Then I started to slump in my posture and I knew my energy had arched, so I chanted another five “oms”, three Maha Mrityunjaya mantras, a Sanskrit prayer for world peace, and a thrice-repeated Sanskrit prayer for universal peace.  After offering water to the lingam and incense to God’s altar, I made coffee, ate my last two eggs, and then rolled a spliff of half tobacco, half Cali-grown Sativa weed.  

The first priority of the day was to make my Dad’s birthday gift, a handmade frame of bark-lined pine containing a Vietnam pic of he and his recently deceased, best-friend, Wally.  But first I had to pick up the trash that nighttime winds had ripped from a loosely tied bag.  The trash collection gave me a good opportunity to let my dog run, fill my lungs with fresh air, my eyes with sunshine, and to level out my fresh morning buzz before jumping into a blur of sawdust, powertools, angles, rulers, and pencils, sticky glue, and smelly stain.  

The frame came out well, in fact I’m proud of it.  It’s the nicest frame I’ve made yet, although most of the credit is due to the choice piece of timber I used.  My friend, mentor, and conractor, JW, had told me that he needed to return those timbers to the mill for credit.  I had nodded in agreement as I gazed at the bark-lined piece, already envisioning a handsome frame for my father’s deeply sentimental photo.  Sorry, J-Dubs, I’m taxin’ your credit! 

After finishing the frame and basking in the glow of self-satisfaction, I smoked another spliff to prepare for the task I wasn’t looking forward to: driving possibly as far as Rapid City to buy a couple fence gates, and the material to make a slightly nicer third one.  I usually enjoy a long cruise, but I had just ventured over to Rapid yesterday to have my van windshield replaced.  It was a cold drizzly day, and I spent most of it in an industrial park sniffling with allergies, drinking below gas station grade coffee.  Today, however was a beautiful Spring day; green was simply bursting from the ground in pastures full of napping calves and watchful cows, exhausted foals and wary mares, to the tune of mating meadowlarks.  And if luck would have it, I would only have to drive half as far to Belle Fourche and Spearfish.  And luck would indeed, have it.  

The Runnings store in Belle Fourche had just the ranch gates I was looking for.  Two gangly teenagers in the awkward years helped me load them into the bed of my truck, stirring in me a reverie of nostalgia for the random jobs of youth, not to mention, I’ve always wanted to work in a hardware store.  I wratcheted down the gates and headed back over the hill to Spearfish.  I grabbed sushi and a tallboy canned margarita from Safeway, and then headed to the east side of town to grab my lumber for the third gate from the Ace Hardware where I’ve been scoping out a slender lass who works in the gardening section.  In the past few weeks she’s helped me load many heavy bags of sand and gravel.  She didn’t look happy at about it.  I hadn’t been able to decide if it was better to accept her labor, or to deny her help as a gesture of chivalry.  People are so easy to offend these days.  I decided to let her help.  She seemed kind of tightly wound anyhow, so I erred on the side of less work for me.

I navigated the social niceties of finding help and getting what I needed and then escaped back to my sanctuary on the Wyoming prairie.  My dog Karna had accompanied me on the ride.  By the time I reached home, that tallboy canned margarita had perked up my mood, and I was practicing my stand-up routine on my dog.  As usual, he was not amused.  

I rolled another spliff as a reward for my successful outing, which I smoked as I loaded lumber down to the woodshop in my basement.  Chanting the Gayatri mantra the whole time, I quickly churned out a simple and sound cedar gate with proud, jumbo, latches.  Upon arriving I had seen that my new pallet forks for my tractor had arrived and I was eager to throw them on and try them out.  The pallet forks were super solid and easy to install.  I fired up the John Deere and drove over to try and flip the giant tractor tire in laying in my yard that was filled with potting soil as a makeshift planter.  There were three flower bulbs in the tire already starting to rise.  I felt kind of bad, but flipping the heavy tire was a great test for my new forks, plus I need to move it anyhow to the corner of the fence I’m installing with JW this weekend.  

I jammed the forks under the edge of the tire and pulled up on the lever, and… the forks couldn’t really get enough grip under the tire and just ripped the earth out from underneath it.  So I begrudginly took off the new forks and tried it again with just the tractor bucket.  The bucket slid under the tire better, and to my suprise, my little John Deere was just strong enough to lift it, but not quite enough to flip it.  So I adjusted my method and lifted the tire again as I gunned the tractor forward. The tire slipped from the bucket and slammed back onto the hood of my tractor.  I wasn’t sure if it damaged it or not.  I backed up and tried again, this time gunning the engine sooner and more consistently.  The tire flipped with a womp, leaving a huge pile of garden soil in it’s footprint, littered with the three, ripped-out, flower bulbs.  Minding not to harm the bulbs, I flipped the tire three more times until it was in basic position, and then I pushed into final place with the bucket.  Tractors are fun.  I was satisfied.  

I smoked yet another spliff, don’t judge, and then got inspired to make a cedar planter box for the ripped out flower bulbs using the cuttings from the cedar gate I had made earlier.  I had several two foot by six inch-wide planks left, and quickly cobbled them into a nice looking, well-made, planter, finishing it off with a coat of polyurethene.  Later tonight I’ll add another coat, and in the morning I’ll staple in a liner made of trash bag, layer the bottom with lava rocks, fill it with the soil that fell out of the tire, and finally, plant the stranded flower bulbs.  You see?  It all comes together, it all works out.  And for that I’ll reward myself with another spliff, a nightcap of wine, and plant myself in my comfy leather chair and type all this out for whoever cares.  Then I’ll watch my programs, finish the roach beside me, and probably go to bed with good buzz again.  It’s not a drunkeness of depression, but of celebration.  I like Wyoming.  I like pallet forks and tractors and woodworking.  I like my new life. And my new dog.

Wyoming Rodeo Life

As a newcomer to Wyoming from the East Coast, it’s been kind of eye-opeing to see just how real and ubiquitous rodeo life is in Wyoming, or “rodeoin’” as they say.  I thought it was just something a few cowboys still did for tourists, but boy was I wrong.  It seems to be just what ranch kids do for fun and sport, in place of local organized sports like soccer and little league that kids do back East.  I’m sure they do all that out here too, but rodeoing seems to be more common and the activity in which kids can most distinguish themselves, and it’s one of this culture’s way of instilling values and developing character.  Perhaps it’s the Western way of “keeping kids off the streets and out of trouble”.  It’s not just kids who rodeo of course, but it’s pretty safe to say that most older competing rodeo folks grew up in it since youth.  All them boots, buckles, and cowboy hats aren’t just a look.  They’re real and practical things out here.  Pointy boots slide into stirrups well, a good wide brimmed hat will keep the sun off your back while doing ranch work, and the buckles are the trophies you win at the rodeo, big and shiny, to be displayed with pride.

When I first moved here I was excited to see that Sundance has it’s own rodeo ring in the fairgrounds.  I thought this was mostly a tourist feature, an attraction.  But it’s more akin to a highschool football field, or a regional park back East full of baseball and soccer fields  to host all the community teams and games.  The rodeo ring is more of a practical thing than the tourist attraction I thought it was.  It’s just where all the local teams compete, and most towns seem to have one.  That’s how ubiquitous rodeo is out here.  It’s boys and girls, men and women.  Rodeo life is a real, integrated, part of Wyoming life, not just some niche, nostalgic, tourist attraction that I thought it was.  Hats off to you Wyoming!  You got a good thing going out here, and I hope all the political refugees coming out from the East Coast, like myself I must confess, don’t spoil it all.  Hee haw!

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