Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tom Named By Horse – Author's Note

Tom Named By Horse – Author's Note

Howdy Friends,

As many of our friends know I'll be publishing "Tom Named By Horse" in January. I wanted to tell a love story set in a time of change, confusion and conflict. As the final edits and friend's reviews neared completion there were a few questions as to what were true historical facts and characters and who were my fictional characters ... To that end I wrote an author's note that will lead the readers into the story, and I thought it would be fun to share with our Coffee Clutch friends.  I hope you enjoy "A Note From Dutch Henry."

A note from Dutch Henry

This is an historical novel set in the late 1860’s in what is now known as the American Midwest. While most of the characters and locations are fiction some are actual locations, occurrences and historical figures. In some instances just the historical figure’s name is used and the stories and characters surrounding him are fiction. The historical figures are Chief Red Cloud, Bill Cody, Bill Hickock, General Sheridan, Chief Smoke, Chief Spotted Tail, Standing Elk, Chief Dull Knife, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Grandfather Mystery and Grandmother Earth.

Tom Named By Horse is, at its core a love story, and just as love can be powerful and at the same time confusing, so were the times just before what some refer to as the Great Plains Indian Wars. Parallels between Tom Named By Horse's awakening and brutal changes washing over the great plains weave together tell the story of a time of struggle, conflict and confusion. While most of the characters are fictional, the struggles, love, hate, confusion and desperation are true. Tom Named By Horse's birth on the day of Chief Red Cloud's powerful vision of this terrifying change sweeping over Grandmother Earth bind the two together in powerful ways.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"A Christmas Story – Part 2"

Howdy Friends,

Welcome to "A Christmas Story" Pt 2 ... I wrote this little story as a thank you and Christmas present to all our Coffee Clutch and Facebook friends 2 years ago. I figured it might be a sweet tradition to share each Christmas.(You can read Pt 1 here) -  I hope you'll enjoy readin' it to your youngin's and grandbabies. Ravishin' Robbie and I, and all our critters wish you all a love filled and HAPPY CHRISTMAS! –Dutch

A Christmas Story (pt2) ~ by Dutch Henry 

Only two cows in milk right now, so milking didn't take very long, or give even half a pail. Clover, the youngest was due to calve any day, and her milk would surely be welcome. 

Milking finished and still no sign of Jed. Sarah checked on Jessica all snug in her nest of hay, then busied herself giving hay to the cows and horse. The chickens hardly stirred, few even pulled their heads from under their wings.

Worry kept her busy. Finished the feeding, Sarah found cloth and strained the milk, a job usually done on the tiny table in the cabin, but she dreaded the trip back through the wind and biting ice crystals, so she did it right there in the barn. Besides, somehow the barn seemed a better place to be tonight, Christmas Eve. Her mind kept busy fretting over Jed. Was he lying in the bitter cold somewhere, hurt? Or worse? She began to build a plan to go search the vast openness that lay between them and the orphanage. That would have to wait for daylight. But wouldn't his horse have found its way back to the barn? Jed's horse, Scout was a big, powerful horse and very smart. Surely had something happened to Jed, Scout would have come home?

Nervously she nursed baby Jessica, to the unsettling sound of relentlessly raging wind tearing at the walls of the tight barn. Gathering Jessica she moved closer to the cows so the sounds of them peacefully chewing might sooth her worried heart. She nestled into the straw next to Clover and rocked gently. The barn was a peaceful place but tonight even its warmth and embrace could do little to sooth her. The ride to the orphanage and back, even with a first class Christmas party should only have taken Jed and Scout about six hours. He should have been home well before dark.

Weary with worry, Sarah almost drifted off.

Her horse pacing and nickering in its stall roused her. "It's okay, Goldie, the wind can't get us in here."

Knowing she must check the fire and the stew in the house, she carefully tucked tiny Jessica safely back in her nest of hay. "I'll be right back, you sleep tight." She kissed her cheek, and wiped a tear from her own. Turning to the cows and Goldie she said, "You all watch over her while I'm gone."

She snatched the lantern from its peg and made the dash from barn to cabin, the never-ending wind at her back. Inside she found the fire nearly out, but the stew still delightfully warm. Building the fire back up, stirring the stew and gathering another blanket to swaddle Jessica took only moments, and through the bitter, blinding darkness she ran for the barn, shielding her face from the stinging snow.

Fighting the wind to pull closed the heavy door, for an instant the wind's roar was blocked. Was that a bell? Did she hear ringing bells? Or were her ears simply ringing in the wail of the wind? She strained her eyes in the direction of what she imagined was the ringing bells. Is that a light? Could that be a light? But what could there be out there moving in this horrible wind? It didn't appear to be a horse and rider, so her hopes sank as quickly as they'd soared. 

The bells stopped and the light vanished. Sarah pulled tight the door, made fast the latch, then hurried to Jessica to add the extra blanket.

Clover mooed, Goldie stomped and whinnied. Before Sarah could react, from the outside, above the wind, came an answering whinny.  "Scout? … " Sarah yelled, tears streaming her face. Terrified of the possible answer she yelled, "Scout, is that you? Is Jed with you?" Bells, did she hear bells again? With wings on her feet she flew to the door, only to have the latch yanked from her grasp.

Stunned she starred into the darkness, and there stood Jed flashing an ice covered smile as wide as the mountains themselves, holding Scout's rope. Behind Scout were two horses harnessed to a wagon with canvas stretched over it. "Brought ya a few Christmas visitors Sarah!" Jed waved a hand toward the wagon. Sarah's knees melted, she crumbled to the ground.

"Hey now." Jed scooped her up with a hearty laugh. "We can't have this, we have us a Christmas Eve party to put on for the young 'ins!"

Jed, Shorty and Jake fought the wind to swing open the big barn door, Martha led Scout and the team right into the barn. Every hand worked together to pull the door closed behind the wagon. Martha flipped down the wagon tail gate, and one by one giggling and laughing children slid out.

Sarah's knees went weak again, she grabbed onto Jed. He could see the love, relief and questions in her eyes.

"Well," Jed started, "When I rode up to Martha's the wind already yanked the roof off that old shed they call home. Jake, Shorty and me didn't take too long to figure out there was no fixin' that rickety old building. Nobody knew what to do next, not only did they all need a place to live, but heck Sarah, this is Christmas Eve and we got songs to sing and presents to open … so we hatched a plan to stretch this canvas over the wagon, nail 'er down with boards and haul the entire outfit right here." 

With a grin and tip of his hat, Shorty yanked the sack of presents from the wagon seat, and held it high.

The children had settled down in a circle holding hands, except for little Jane, who had discovered baby Jessica. "Look Miss Martha, it's just like the story of baby Jesus, lying in the manger with all his friends in the barn."

Gitty Up and Merry Christmas ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"A Christmas Story – Part 1"

Howdy Friends, 

I wrote this little story as a thank you and Christmas present to all our Coffee Clutch and Facebook friends 2 years ago. I figured it might be a sweet tradition to share each Christmas. I hope you'll enjoy readin' it to your youngin's and grandbabies. Ravishin' Robbie and I, and all our critters wish you all a love filled and HAPPY CHRISTMAS! – Part 2 HERE.

A Christmas Story ~ by Dutch Henry 

With a piece of kindling, Sarah scratched ice from inside the lone cabin window. Cupping hands against her face she squinted through the tiny pane to see blowing, swirling snow. Nothing new to see, except the darkness moving in. She shook her head. "Can't even see the barn now."

If he wasn't getting home tonight, and her hopes were fading, she'd better bundle up and tend the animals in the barn. Jed had been sure to load the wood box before leaving the day before. Load the box? She chuckled at the heavily laden box with wood stacked halfway up the wall. "Wood enough for a week," she remembered him assuring her, even though he was planning on being gone only a day.

This would be the first visit to the orphanage she'd missed since they'd wed three years ago. But this year, with a month old daughter of their own, and the threatening skies, Sarah thought it best Jed make the ten mile ride without them. So he'd set out in the shadows of early morning alone.

She bent over the black kettle filled nearly to the brim with simmering duck stew. Stirred it thoroughly and swung the black arm out from the fire to hold the kettle just near enough to the hot coals and gentle flames to keep the stew at the perfect temperature. She'd have a Christmas feast waiting for him when he returned.

The orphanage sat way outside of town, on a little farm well off the beaten path. Out of sight. Out of mind. Run by old widow Martha Bowman, and two ancient broken down ex-cow pokes, Jake and Shorty. Jed had grown up there. "Poor kids." Jed told her once. "Not only don't they have families of their own, but most town folks don't even want to see 'em. They'd just as soon forget 'em."

Jed never forgot them. Each Christmas he'd visit and carry a feed sack of toys to share with the children, usually numbering around ten. Toy horses, he'd whittle, a fishing pole or two, and dolls Sara would sew. Of course a few scarves and mittens too.

Not being able to see the children this Christmas Eve had Sarah's heart a little heavy. She'd grown so used to the singing, laughing and playing. And the happy faces. Even the old cow pokes would join right in and sing along. Jed had a way of really throwing a lively Christmas Eve party.

Sarah tended to the fireplace, wrapped the baby in their warmest blanket, grabbed the milk pail, the coal oil lantern and started for the door. Forcing the door into the wind took all her strength. The gale hit her full on, slamming the door closed behind her, nearly sucking the very breath from her lungs. Leaning low she sheltered the baby, pushed into the wind and hurried for the sheltering barn. Tiny frozen flakes pelting her cheeks like stinging bees. It was a journey of only fifty feet, but tonight it seemed a mile. The snow wasn't deep, but the wind halted her every step.

Cold, full hands made sliding the barn door latch nearly impossible. She could set nothing down for fear it blow away. Struggling with an elbow and the back of her hand she managed to pull back the thick, black, frozen metal latch. The wind ripped the door from her grasp slamming it wide open. She hurried to the far corner, past the cows, the horse and chicken coop.

Inside was a different world. Jed had labored a full summer four years ago to build the barn out of logs instead of boards. "Harder to be burnt out that way," he'd explained.  They'd lived in the barn a full year after that while together they finished their one room cabin. She settled the baby snugly in a bed of hay. "There now," Sarah soothed the sweet girl, "you sleep easy, Jessica, while I milk the cows, and I'll bet Daddy will be home before I'm through."

She battled the raging wind to pull shut and latch the heavy door, hung the lantern on its crooked peg in the center of the barn and paused a moment to look around. Three cows and a horse make plenty of heat inside a barn as tight as this one. The wind howled and raged but could find no way in. She settled down on the milking stool and started milking the first cow. Snug as they were in the sturdy barn, her mind was on Jed. The first streams of milk rang out on the pail side. She tried to time the ringing sound of milk hitting the metal bucket to "Silent Night" as she squeezed in rhythm to the hymn she hummed.

"Why isn't Jed home yet?" Worry began to creep into her thoughts. 

(Read Part 2 HERE ) 

Merry Christmas & Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Dr. Falconer, DVM, Certified Veterinary Homeopath – Vaccinations, Natural Diets and More"

Howdy Friends,

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Falconer, DVM, Certified Veterinary Homeopath for my column "Holistic Hall Of Fame" in "Natural Horse Magazine." What a dynamic, knowledgeable and caring man he is. For 22 years he's been providing a truly 100% homeopathic services for his clients. He has a large internet business as well and blog where he shares easy to understand, and implement, natural care, diets and health care for our animals. He also conducts phone consultations. On his website www.vitalanimal.com you will find recommended diets, thoughts and practices for your animals proven to promote top health and vibrancy. You can read my story in the upcoming April/May/June issue, but I had to chat about him here on the Coffee Clutch.
Dr. Falconer teaching a class
Practicing as a veterinarian for seven years in the 1980's had proved both rewarding and satisfying. He had even become a partner in the large and small animal practice. He loved helping, but he realized there had to be a different way to practice. He yearned for answers to the cause and effect of the illnesses he saw in his four footed patients. His search led him to Dr. Richard Pitcairn and his Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy. Dr. Falconer was part of the very first course ever organized.

Dr. Falconer promotes healthy, natural care giving and diets for our pets and horses. "We need to look to their natural way, evolution and lifestyles and do our best to provide that. For our horses that means no stalls and forage diets. For our cats and dogs it means raw, not canned, bagged and processed feeds full of unnatural chemicals, toxins and worse." To those who say we've changed the makeup of our domesticated animals by breeding Dr. Falconer has this advice. "We have bred for appearance, not digestive changes. Our pets and horses have the same nutritional needs and digestive requirements that have, for thousands of years, evolved to serve them perfectly. It is folly to believe we are doing them justice by changing what they must eat for our own convenience." Friends you can read much more on this on his website. and his Facebook Page.

I do need to share a bit of our conversation on vaccinations. I have long been in the camp that believes we over vaccinate our children, our pets and especially our horses. For those folks who insist that repeated vaccinations are a must because the veterinarians say so – and homeopaths, and holistic vets and people who worry about it are just spouting theory without proof, Dr. Falconer, DVM looks at and shares the "proof."

For decades now Dr. Falconer has worked with veterinarian immunologists, those who do the research and have no axe to grind and no financial gain or interest. "Most vaccinations for horses are for viruses, and veterinarian immunologists have proven scientifically that once vaccinated for a virus resulting immunity lasts a lifetime." Dr. Falconer explained that repeated vaccinations not only confuse but often cause the immune system to turn on itself, and even attacking healthy red blood cells. "The horse is the most over vaccinated animal, even more than dogs and cats, and repeated vaccinations does more damage than any other management practice."

Over vaccination causes a plethora of ill effects that people fail to connect from allergies, to skin conditions, thrush and even temperament. These are long lasting effects that take their toll. "If people would just have one awakening in their journey to have a vital animal, I wish it could be that they would understand we now know, all vaccinations for viruses last a very long time, perhaps a lifetime, and repeated vaccinations to an already immune horse adds nothing, but it does compound the ill effects."

In his twenty-two years as a full time practicing homeopathic veterinarian the one treatment he sees that does the most harm, causes the most trouble is vaccines. "People simply do not relate or understand the harm that repeated vaccination does to the system. If there were one thing I could wave a magic wand and fix, it would be the attitude toward vaccinations." Dr. Falconer explained that repeated vaccinations impair and confuse the immune system.

Dr. Falconer's homeopathic practice and website, is devoted to teaching people to feed naturally, and get out of vaccines and poisons, such as flea, tick and fly control, so they do not need to call on him as a doctor and they can keep their animals healthy. He has done much to change for the better many lives and I hope you'll visit his website.

Gitty Up  Dutch Henry