Happy Holidays!!!

Wishing you and yours a warm, happy, and joyful Holiday Season!

“The Farm Dog” acrylic on canvas 24″ x 36″ by me
(Max, Leopard Cur)

It’s nice to be back on the farm and in Ohio!

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Thanksgiving II

Maple leaf study water color pencil on bristol board
By Leah Graham

Leaves fall at the speed of light
And the creek runs orange.

Unearthed coal is slag-heaped;
It’s sulfur diluted from it by rain
Running orange into the creek.

From a tree left standing amidst pits of clay
A death stick is drawn and missiles its way
Through skin, ribcage, heart, ribcage, and skin again.

The pulse of the earth flowed upward
Into the big doe for an instant
And, then, brought her, crumpled, down to it.

That lone tree amidst unearthed mud and rock
Drew the deer in for a final reunion of plant and animal

Her orange-mudded feet are cord-tied together,
And she sways to and fro,
Suspended from a horizontal tree-pole.

Feathers from an arrow protrude from her side.
Her head hangs cold and lifeless.
Her eyes bulge; her tongue drips blood.

Two massive human frames carry her
from the orange, man-made mud desert.
Her dripped blood mingles with the unearthed coal and sulfur.

Tracks that she made coming in are walked-over and obliterated.
A cigarette smolders in a hoof print.

By J.D. Graham

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Ole Frackin’ Red is Dead

Ole Frackin’ Red is Dead

They fracked all the oil and gas out of the deep Marcellus and Utica shale in beautiful Carroll County in Eastern Ohio, going even as deep as the Black River formation, which they said they’d  never do.  Many of the poor country folk became rich and moved away to Vegas and Miami…for a while.  But, now, their money is gone, gambled away, spent frivolously on spirits and good times.  And, now, those folks, penniless again, are moving back to their roots, hoping their relatives who stayed behind would take them back.

But, what is left? The countryside is barren.  The cattle are glowing like neon lights on Antiqua Road  from all the radiation that has been released into the top crust by the fracking deep below. THEY said, promised, even guaranteed  that it wouldn’t  happen.  But, it did.  Who is to blame?  The people are deformed and cancerous.  Toothless in a teeth-gnashing world.  Helpless in a chemically-polluted and irradiated environment. Having to import even their drinking water, once their most unknowingly valuable commodity.

But, perhaps the most personally depressing feature: my coonhound, my joy, my buddy… is dead.  And he died young.  Poisoned by the iridescent, frothy water that he vigorously and innocently lapped-up one night while running a one-eyed, three-legged, simulated mutant of a raccoon.  Big Red died young, way before his time.  And I, left with only his collar and leash, sit here wishing that Chesapeake, and Rex,  and Sierra Buckeye would have never left Oklahoma and come to drill in our beautiful Carroll Hills.

Perhaps, in a generation or two, the planet will right itself and self-heal this deep, fracking scar.  Perhaps a distant relative of mine, simple and humble, will be privileged enough to once again hear that wonderous Silvertone bawl of a descendent of Big Red, as his pups will hopefully live-on to produce yet another generation of hunter…  and Hunt on, Ole Frackin’ Red!

Written for: The wonderful Carroll Hills of Eastern Ohio

By: J.D. Graham, the Old Word Whittler of the Carroll Hills


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Ole Frackin’ Red

Ole Frackin’ Red

There’s some folks, mostly my wife, Ole Marth, in these parts of Tuscarawas and Carroll counties that figured I should have bought me a new pickup truck or even one of those new trendy condominiums in the mountains of Appalachia with my frackin’ money. But after considering all the possibilities I figured I’d just go on ahead and buy me a good dog. Something that wouldn’t rust and that I didn’t have to pay property tax on.

So while the oil people were measuring up to drill my well deep into that Marcellus shale, I just went ahead and bought me a Redtick Coonhound named Big Red. And, yes sir, I bought him on credit because the bank told me that my lovely county of residence in the foothills of Appalachia was going from one of the poorest counties in the state to the richest, and that transformation would be swift and long-lived. Hallelujah! Let the fracking begin.

And, now, I want to be ready to spend all my anticipated leisure time in the woods at night with that good dog. Because, you see, I plan to give-up my day job. No need to add loose change to that big pile of frackin’ money. And following that hound in the woods at night will give me plenty of exercise and allow me to keep my sanity, not to mention my youthful figure. Ha! Yes, Big Red is just the ticket for me to stay grounded amidst my new found wealth on this little piece of Earth I call home. No need to travel to Florida or Vegas. I won’t be able to listen to that beautiful Silvertone Bawl there and I certainly have no need to gamble any longer. No need to go to New York or even Paris. All the culture I need is right here where I can gaze into those soft, loving, houndy eyes and rub those droopy velvet ears. The culture is in the intriguing fall woods that I follow him through.

Out here in God’s country, people won’t complain when Big Red lets the world know he’s on a coon track, because they know and appreciate a classy bawl mouth when they hear one. In fact, there’s even a petition being circulated around town to have his name changed to Ole Frackin’ Red, Carroll County Coondog. And what a classy example of our new found wealth he is. And, hunt on my brothers and sisters enriched by the discovery of gas and oil deep within these beautiful, rolling Appalachian foothills of Eastern, Ohio. Hunt on, Ole Frackin’ Red.

For: My fellow Carroll County Coonhunters and Frackin’
partners, and of course, mostly Ole Frackin’ Red.

Written by: J.D. Graham

Side Note: This is written about the angus beef farm my dad hunts on in Carroll County where they have started fracking. No fracking has begun on Lone Willow Farm and none is planned as of yet. (Although like most places in Ohio, my parents do not own the mineral rights to their land, they were sold off long ago to the coal companies. As a reminder of this, orange water flows into our pond from the back 40 acres that were strip mined.)

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Coon Pie: A Recipe for an Appalachian Delight

Coon Pie: a Recipe for an Appalachian Delight

In the Appalachian foothills we have recipes handed down from generation-to-generation for concocting our favorite dishes.  One of mine happens to be what I  like to call Coon Pie.  Not the kind of pie you eat, mind you, but the kind that feeds your hillbilly soul, nurturing it and making it hum like a Junebug on a screen door.  The kind that makes both man and child dream at night, eagerly awaiting the coming of fall when the cool night air browns the corn stalks and turns the wild grapes sugar sweet.

Now this is the time of the hunter.  This is when we prepare to make our Coon Pie and gather the ingredients.  The first of which are the hounds.  They are all-important, for, without those long-eared, saggy-skinned rascals there would be no flavor to the hunt.  Those lovable canines are the main ingredient for the pie – the filling, if you will, as well as the spice.  We want them to be trustworthy, to run no off game, to handle and be tree minded, and to be good hunters with beautiful mouths to entertain us and light-up the night woods with celestial mountain music.

The woodlands are our next additive, our top crust, you might say.  Ideally preferred is a mixture of forest and cropland, coupled with creek bottoms and an occasional pond to keep Mr. Coon healthy, happy and wise.  We must have a nifty quarry to fulfill our dream of the hunt and give the hounds fair and challenging chase.

And to bake our Coon Pie we have an old-fashioned wood stove like the one Grandma had in her kitchen on Thanksgiving.  And that warm oven is the Good Company of our hunting party.  This must be as solid as steel, a marriage of sorts, for we will bake our Coon Pie in the sturdy souls of those who are privileged to follow our good dogs on the hunt.  Let it bake in the minds, hearts and souls of these diverse yet compatible, respectful and humbly grateful folks.  Those who are appreciative of the absolute privilege to carry a rifle and be able to follow their hounds over greenbriar ridges and steep, slippery, carved-out sandstone hollows together and let the feeling of the hunt, the night sky, clean air and the baying of the hounds mesmerize them and lead them to fascinating places they would never otherwise go.

Leading them ultimately to The Third Eye, to that ethereal place where they can be freed from all their worldly concerns and become one with the raw simplicity of nature and the night woods.  To become, themselves, just a footprint in the darkness, or, if only for a moment, a breeze on a hillside that caresses a crimson maple leaf and then lightly swirls across their faces leaving an invisible but deeply penetrating touch of joy.

This is our Coon Pie.  Cut yourself a slice and enjoy.  And Hunt on.


J.D. Graham

Written for hunting buddies: Bud Steinmetz and Tyler Shuman, Keith, Bruce, Bryan and Makenzie Burgett; Luke Cosart; Leah and Adam Graham; Jim, Jake and Matt Fondriest And for anybody else simple-minded enough to tag along.

Also written for the hounds:  Fog, the Redbone; Sammy, the Treeing Walker; Gin, the English Redtick; and Misty Blue Lady, the Bluetick pup.  May their trails be hot ones and their trees glowing with shining eyes.

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If Dogs Could Talk: “Mmmm, Bacon….the Maple kind?!?”

One of the funniest videos!!

What would your dog say?

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COONHOUND sets new record: Longest Dog Ears in the World!!

Move over all you Bassett hounds, there’s a new floppier-eared dog on the block. Harbor, a Black and Tan Coonhound from Colorado has just taken the Guinness Book of World records for longest dog ears in the world!

Typical soft, velvety, long, floppy ears are common trait in scent hounds. The floppy ears waft scent from the ground up to the dog’s nose aiding in the chase.

“Hear’s to Harbor, Congratulations Pooch!”

Couldn’t resist to show Chunk’s floppy ears blowing in the wind at Arches National Park on our drive cross-country.

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