Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gilmore On Going In A Privy

Reprint of a funny post by a funny guy…

Perhaps one day I will tell you about my own experiences.  David Gilmore does a great job and he deserves to have his time in the bathroom alone…so here goes!


Life 2010 Forward

the subgenius musings of David Gilmore

Posted by: facetothewind | November 28, 2010

On the banks of the San Pedro River – my thanksgiving in Cascabel, Arizona

Somewhere over of the Rincon Mountains southesat of Tucson, on the thorny banks of the San Pedro River, there exists a precious and small community called Cascabel. I’ve only visited twice and have come to know it through the eyes of my Radical Faerie friends who live there. In spite of what appears on the surface to be harsh living, they live with a sense of purpose and joy and respect for the earth. They make incredible meals from the garden with food they trade with neighbors. It might be called simple living but it is anything but simple. Living in the desert requires a lot of craftiness and commitment to provide themselves with the services we press buttons and pull levers for. Erik who has lived here for a decade is a master builder, gardener, plumber, electrician and does it all with an extraordinary sense of grace.

I spent my thanksgiving there with the boys, mostly in the hammock reading and babysitting the chicks. The stone cottage Erik built by hand is set into the east-facing canyon wall and is kissed daily by the sun. Solar panels attached to two car batteries provide lights, music and refrigeration. The crisp, starry nights dip below freezing but the days are almost always pleasant.  They cook with a solar oven and a propane stove. It’s a beautiful if isolated place about 20 miles from the nearest small town. Coyotes, javelinas and rattlesnakes crisscross the saguaro flanked dirt road access. Here you have a real sense of the wild west and you learn what it is to be a pioneer when you’re out in the middle of the night fixing water lines from the well to the house.

Here are landowners Erik and Shreevie (left and middle) and guest Orchid (right) on the land by Shreevie’s trailer.

Erik harvesting greens for thanksgiving dinner…

while Shreevie catches grasshoppers to feed to the chicks for their thanksgiving feast. I tried my hand at it but was only able to catch the giant ones by throwing my handkerchief over them. Erik then cut them into pieces for the chicks. I was slightly horrified by the whole process as frankenhoppers kicked around without their heads. Compassion for the little ambulatory mandibles fades when you consider the damage they do to the crops. Not to mention how much the chicks go CRAZY for them.

Shreevie with the chicks on the sofa and Orchid (who is a chef in San Francisco) manning the oven. Someone really should invent chicken diapers b/c the chicks are fun to play with but they’re all too happy to leave wet surprises on your lap. And speaking of poop, here’s the big story of the weekend…


M Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G   P O O by David Gilmore

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m one of those people who likes to have a perfectly controlled and serene environment for my morning constitution. I’m what you might call a high maintenance pooper.

So on my first visit to Cascabel, my precious poo-ness crashed head-on with the hilltop toilet — what I call “Poo with a View.” Yes, from this toilet you can see about 30 miles in any direction. And if the neighbors were in possession of a telescope, they could see you perched there on the little white toilet seat placed over a composting pit. This, I might add is the only toilet seat you will find on the land. And so those of us with sensitive sphincters need to brace ourselves at least once a day for one of those shitty showdowns — the need to get the deed done versus the need to do it in privacy and with dignity.

My post-thanksgiving visit to the throne was anything but dignified. Let me explain.

A little back-story about the Radical Faeries is necessary. On the Faerie sanctuaries, there are what they call the “shitters” — an inelegant term for the latrine.  The Faeries pride themselves on being fabulous in all things except in my estimation, when it comes to the toilet. It usually consists of a few toilet seats on a bench deploying a design aesthetic seen only in German concentration camps and military bivouacs. There are no feather boas twinkly lights or delicate privacy screens at the shitter…not even an elegant name for the facility.

The other notable principle of Radical Faerie-ness is that on the sanctuaries there is only one rule and they will yell it at you loud and clear: NO PISSING IN THE SHITTERS! OK, OK, I get it. Put away your magic wand and tie dye, I promise I won’t piss in the shitter. The reason of course being that the urine mixed in with the soon-to-be humanure ruins the process by adding too much moisture and urea. I don’t understand the whole process on a scientific level. I simply know that you don’t dare violate that basic tenet when visiting the toilet. Pee on a tree somewhere else before you do number two is all you need to know when stay with the Faes.


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nd so keeping that in mind, I set forth after my morning tea to Poo with a View to relieve myself. But somewhere on the way to the toilet in my urgency to take care of business, I forgot the only rule. It was probably the fact that it was about 35 degrees and windy.

I perched atop the toilet seat and then quickly jumped up realizing the seat was not in fact one of those Japanese heated toilet seats. No, the seat was probably just above the freezing mark.

I decided instead that I would squat on the seat to avoid the shock of an icy seat on my thighs. But rather than squat indelicately on a toilet seat with my shoes on, potentially soiling the only smooth white surface in the desert, I thought I should at least kick off my shoes. And so stepping aboard in my socks, I aligned myself over the hole with my shoes placed neatly on the ground below the throne.

And then I began to focus on the relaxation process. I focused on the neighbor’s house. Wrong. I closed my eyes and felt a frosty wind tickling hairs that usually don’t blow in the wind. I clenched. I squatted there with my hands huddling around my legs for warmth, hoping for the inspiration needed to trigger the series of events necessary for me to accomplish my manurey mission. I imagined being at home in my warm bathroom with my silk rug at my feet. And then it happened.

I did it — the Business part of my business happened. And then as always happens the waterworks were about to begin when I remembered that wicked Faerie rule: NO PISSING IN THE SHITTER! Crap. I needed to stop it before it started and we all know that once #2 has launched, there ain’t no stopping #1.  It’s an autonomic response to just let it all go. All systems were indeed Go and I was gonna be in big trouble for ruining the next batch of humanure. Someone would no doubt be emptying the pit months from now and would get whiff of my urine and they would trace it back to me and I would receive some sort of Radical Faerie pipe bomb in the mail for my toilet transgressions.

The nice thing about being a man is that you do have one fail safe method to avert the stream. It’s called pinching the hose, much as you would cut the flow watering the rosebushes with a garden house. You simply grab hold and squeeze. And so I thought, no problem, I’ll just reach around my right leg and pinch hard to stem the tide. And I did.

Trouble is I still hadn’t done the toilet paper part. Of course now I was going to have to do a left-handed wipe, which is a bit out of my natural dexterous inclinations but I could probably pull it off. Just then a nice canyon wind whipped over the hill and blew the toilet paper off the throne. So I would have to get up and run after it and all the while trying not to smear the pudding in the process…if you know what I mean.

But there was one problem: I couldn’t stand up. I had my right arm wrapped around my right leg, deployed in pinching the hose. Imagine trying to get up from a squat position with your right arm wrapped around your leg while holding your junk tightly in one hand. It’s the sort of thing that only a player in a game of Twister could imagine. Only I’m trying to stem the flow, and chase down a toilet paper roll and preserve my dignity on a hilltop with the neighbors watching. I began to imagine that neighbor hooking up their webacam to the Poo with a View and recording it for a show on the world’s stupidest humans. “Honey come here, you won’t believe this.”

It was at this point that I realized the only way to retrieve the toilet paper was to let go of the hose and try to aim the now high pressure stream off the throne and THEN waddle over to get the TP. So I let go and managed to relieve myself of my full bladder and the last remnants of my dignity all over my shoes neatly placed at the base of the throne. Lovely. Now I have pee-soaked shoes and pudding crack and have no doubt gone viral on the Internet toilet cam.

But hey, I was now free to waddle with my pants around my sock feet into the thorny desert to chase down a much-needed roll of baby soft double ply toilet paper. I was just hoping that no dingleberries would drip off into my pocket and into my iPod.

I finally managed to retrieve the roll, waddle back to the throne dry my shoes, pat the pudding and pick thorns out of my socks. I returned to the house frost bitten and humiliated but triumphant that I didn’t PISS IN THE SHITTER! I pissed all over it and my shoes, but not IN it.  The fact that I managed to do anything at all was a big congratulatory moment for me.

So when I saw Erik I told him the story of what went down on the hilltop. He chuckled and said, “You know, in Arizona, because it’s so dry here, you can actually piss in the shitter.”

Well, you learn something everyday, don’t you? I learned that homesteading ain’t for sissies.

I am checking now for the webcam broadcast.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bluffs Hunting Club at Valhalla Bijou is a Wing shooters Paradise!

Article first published as  First Class Wingshooting At The Bluffs, first published on technorati  N3UW7XC87265

When I was a kid I wanted to own a big ranch so I could go hunting and fishing. The only problem was, I didn't have the 2 million bucks it took and I didn't have any rich uncles in my corner. Thirty years later, I can say, some things never change.


If you can get to Denver, Colorado, you don't have to own a large cattle ranch in order to enjoy a premiere hunting opportunity. There are a few private ranches and hunting clubs that provide access to Colorado's best hunting habitat. The Bluffs Ranch, near Byers, Colorado, is first rate.
 bluffs header iism
The MacLennon family started ranching along Kiowa Creek in Eastern Colorado over 50 years ago. They named their ranch the Valhalla, “the home of champions”, and soon had a top-notch herd running. later, the MacLennon's acquired a second grazing property at the confluence of the East and West Bijou Creeks near Byers, Colorado, which they call the Bluffs.
 if the lord is in your heartsm

The Bluffs name comes from Large land forms which tower above the eroded creek-bed to create the "bluffs".  The ranch house is located on this feature and gives guests a chance to drink in golden sunsets of the front range, including Pike’s Peak to the south and Long’s Peak to the North, while tasting fresh Colorado air. This is prime pheasant and Bob-White quail habitat which are native to Northern Colorado.  The cover is grassland, dry creek bottoms, and mature cottonwoods, which is also a place where deer like to roam.  All of these species are subject to harvesting from carefully managed hunts.


If you are new to hunting and don't recognize the critter when it flies up in front of you, don't be surprised. The ranch also nurtures populations of chukar and Hungarian Partridge to give the hunter a little variety.  You may need to study up on your species to know just what it is you are shooting!


Since the ranch augments the bird population, bag limits are higher than they are for a normal hunt. Essentially, the hunter is harvesting a bird that would not have been on the property but for the efforts of the Bluffs.   State law excuses hunting licenses for properly augmented species.  That comes in handy for non-resident hunters who don’t have time to buy licenses as they pass through Denver International Airport only 40 miles away from the property.  A busy executive can be in the fields hunting within an hour after landing at the airport!

The facilities at the Bluffs are nothing short of first class.  There is a 6,200 square foot modern lodge that approximates a country mansion.  There are six bedrooms and four baths that can accommodate twelve people in modern  comfort.  In addition, there is a large “club house” perfect for meetings and family fun a few steps from the lodge.  The facility is perfect for a corporate meeting with teamwork and leadership in mind. 

Sue MacLennan and close friend
Pheasant hunts benefit through team work as the birds are famous for running through the cover of the fields.  Four hunters working together can flush the birds.   Two of the hunters might stand at the top of a hill while the other two flush the birds to higher ground.  When the birds reach the end of the cover they fly.  Working the field from the top down rarely works as the birds will often fly before the end of the cover and may fly well out of range.  A single hunter might work a field alone and miss many opportunities because he can’t flush a savvy pheasant moving into deeper cover.

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The MacLennon’s encourage you to bring your bird dog along.  There is access to the Valhalla Kennels.  This is great horse-back riding country, as well.  With up to 3,000 acres available, there is plenty for non-hunting guests to do while the hunter hones his skills.
The cost of a charter membership is listed at $35,000 with annual dues of $1,500.  A lesser costly option may be available under the annual membership program which is listed at $2,500 per year with no large buy-in fee.  Instead of monthly dues, members pay $100 per gun per hunt and a fee for every bird.  If you get skunked you only pay the minimum hunt fee.  Considering hunters frequently encounter 100 birds per hunt, you would have to be a really bad shot to go home without fresh game in your bag.

club house

 The Bluffs is located at 76201 East 96th Avenue, Byers, CO., 80103.   Don’t let the address fool you, the ranch is hard to find without directions and a wrong turn can lead you onto impassable country roads.  The Lodge telephone number is 303 822 8479 E-mail:   Russ MacLennon will help you out if you have questions.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Spence Hot Springs Getting Spanked

Article first published as Spence Hot Springs Near Jemez Getting Spanked on Technorati.

pool techno

Spence Hot Springs near Jemez Pueblo in the Santa Fe National Forest remains spectacular in it’s beauty, yet marred by misuse of this gift of nature.  A few who come to the famous hot springs are ruining the area for everyone.


wasted paper techno

The springs, which maintain a constant temperature of about 100 degrees, are collected in various pools on the side of the mountain in the Santa Fe National Forest near Los Alamos, New Mexico.  



There are two basic pools, one perched atop the other.  Water gently cascades from the higher pool to the lower, leaving the lower pool slightly cooler.  The views of the valley beyond are as soothing as is the water.  What a great opportunity to enjoy H2o from Mother Earth in nature’s spectacular back yard. 


bridge grafit techn

Spence Hot Springs has likely always endured heavy use, even by the early indigenous inhabitants of the region.  Perhaps, they too, struggled with the best ways to keep it pristine and a jewel for the generations who follow.


ana techno Over the years, efforts have been made to construct other pools to alleviate congestion and to provide privacy of which there is little.  However, most of these additional pools seem to go dry.



A sincere effort has been made to control erosion on the access trail, to construct a foot bridge over the river and to keep the foot paths in usable shape.  These efforts aside, there have been few changes to Spence Hot Springs since my first visit in 1983.  Some things should always stay the same.


distant parking lot through boulders of pools

Despite being an easy 15 minute hike from the highway right-of-way, Spence was the place where swimming suits were few and far between.  Literature about the area warns intolerant bathers to beware.  However, during the most recent 6 years, a no-nudity policy has been in place.  Some rangers reportedly insist on adherence. 


forest sign techno

In an odd way, requiring visitors to wear more may be contributing to the damage to the spring.  Naturists, as those who prefer to bathe in the suits they were born in are called, have a certain code of conduct. 


crossing arroyossm

As Allen Campbell who owns the Wilderness Hot Springs near the Gila Cliff Dwellings points out about his own spring, “Nudists keep the riff-raff out”.   They frown on inappropriate sexual activities in public and are sensitive about the concerns of parents with minors. 


abel and martha i love you sm

In addition, most naturists take great care of the springs they use, since there are not many places that cater to the lifestyle.  One must wonder about the wisdom of giving the informal care-takers of this great resource the boot.



The USDA web page warns “Nudity is a violation of state law and you can be cited”.   How much do you want to bet the mother of one of those rangers spent some time skinny dipping in Jemez Springs?


ft bridge in paradise

The Forest Service has also tried to limit use of the spring to day-time only, another failed plan.  It only takes one graffiti artist painting his signature late at night when others are prohibited from being at the springs to destroy the experience for others.  Constant use means constant guardians. 


going home sm

It is not how many people use the spring that affects the success or failure of the nature experience.  It is how the spring is treated by those who use it that counts.  The current care-takers, especially those who use it, have a lot to learn.


two pools

The spring is located about 7 miles North of the pueblo of Jemez Springs on State Highway 4 between mile marker 24 and 25.  There are other springs in the area including private springs like the Jemez Bath House which is owned by the city of Jemez Springs.