Cal Cumin

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The humble pack rat is an adversary to be reckoned with


Stumbling around my kitchen preparing my doxies’ breakfast (crunchy dog food, vitamins, medicine and yogurt), I noticed that the peaches on the counter top had funny marks on them. My first thought was that my cat Bud had decided to add some citrus to her diet, as I noticed the marks in not just one peach but three. But the marks didn’t fit either Bud’s much smaller teeth or her sharp, fine claws. I examined some plums nearby and found one had been half eaten. Not the cat, not the doxies, with marks too big for mice. Continue Reading →

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The chief and the chickadee


Chief Plenty Coups, last of the great Crow chiefs, in battle wore the legs and feet of the chickadee braided in the long black hair behind his ear. After listening to an early vision received by this future chief, the Crow Elders told Plenty Coups, “The chickadee is your medicine. We must be wise like the chickadee.” And he honored this tiny bird throughout his life. Power from and communication between species is something most people don’t believe in now—or even try to understand. (more…) Continue Reading →

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The Yellowstone River: much to hear for those who listen

Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River speaks to those who listen, but most people don’t hear her whispers. It’s an old adage that in order to experience miracles, one has to be open to them. Her voice is such a phenomenon—quiet, elegant, pervasive, primal and spiritual. (more…) Continue Reading →

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A precious outing, even with a bum leg


If it weren’t for a pinched nerve making my right leg unreliable, I probably would be wearing a silly grin, one of just pure happiness that I get when I’m doing something I really enjoy. Today it’s returning to a small pine and sandstone canyon to get some photographs needed for an article I wanted to complete. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Up Alkali Creek: Good-bye to a special place


The artist stepped back to study the imprint of her hands on the grainy sandstone surface above her head. She was satisfied and added nothing else. The red berry dye reflected her slender hands well. As she had lifted her fingers, she trailed them slightly upward, elongating each finger—reflecting the radiation outward of her personal power. She thought the simplicity elegant. Continue Reading →

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Before it’s too late, a paean to a remnant of pine and rimrock

Just north

There’s a place north of the Heights—maybe the latter is called North Billings now—that is the last bastion of prairie rimrocks and pines, an outlander piece of land. About a half mile west of the Roundup Road, the area has remained off-track, probably because of its location in the middle of someone’s active horse pasture. I’ve always thought it would be a great place for a homesite if other homes could be kept away, and even dreamed of purchasing it somehow and placing it in a non-development conservation easement—except for my house, of course. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Young’s Point a landmark of history, geography


Not many people can look from their home and point to historic locales along the Yellowstone River. Friends of mine bought a house just above Park City and nestled along the river. Their southern view is dominated by the several-hundred-foot-high rocky outcropping of Young’s Point. This area historically and geologically marked—coming from the west—the beginning of the broad and fertile valley of the lower Yellowstone River. Here begin the foothills that extend west to the Crazy Mountains, the Beartooth Range and the Yellowstone National Park uplift. Continue Reading →

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3-war warrior had varied Air Force career

The tattered plastic box had an Army post office box number from Vietnam that didn’t exist anymore. Inside was a tape recording of an F-100 Super Saber pilot flying out of Bien Hoa (pronounced Ben Waah) Air Base in that country; it was a way of keeping the pilot’s wife and family current with his combat tour activities. It was Jan. 13, 1970, the pilot with the call sign “Bobcat 2” was Air Force Col. Robert Laliberté (La-liber-tay), and this was his third war. Continue Reading →

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