There is a game of thrones afoot in South Africa, as the newly inaugurated Zulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini faces challenges to his succession. The new King hunted and killed a lion in a ceremonial rite of his ascension — but it was probably the easiest aspect of his journey.
The 48-year-old King is already in trouble. He is embroiled in the first and most bitter royal succession contest in a century, waged in a province of South Africa that is flood-ravaged, violence-prone, and has only just emerged from a failed insurrection. It is also suffering the economic consequences of a disastrously and corruptly managed Covid outbreak.
There is considerable instability in South Africa currently, which the article lays out clearly. That land, one of the great frontier zones, continues to be beautiful, rich — and troubled.
Speaking of troubled lands, I came upon a quote from the late, great chronicler of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Charles Bowden, that resonated powerfully with me:
I am by nature a person suspicious of the economic machine that feeds me. And yet I am a captive of that economic machine, and my mind is structured by its lessons and demands. I consume its wealth with zest. I drive a truck, watch a color television, and write on a computer, but I cannot overcome the feeling that these objects and the industrial culture that produced them are temporary things, a kind of fat beast feeding on the bounty of the earth that will starve to death within the next century, or at least be severely diminished.
It’s been some time since I’ve read Bowden, and I feel like the times are calling me to revisit his work.
For the Stuff That Works file:
For many years I’ve taken my coffee every morning in a hand-thrown mug made by Ken Merrill of Canyon Creek Pottery, whose studio is less than a block away from my office. Lady Marilyn, too. And we have a giant bowl and some serviceware. Ken is a fine feller and a true artist; everything is handthrown on the potter’s wheel, and his glazes are unique, vivid, and rich. There is something grounded about drinking that first cup in the morning from a hand-made piece of work that looks and feels like it could have been thrown 300 years ago.
Canyon Creek Pottery has now jumped into the world of e-commerce, which means that Frontier Partisans far and wide can access his trade goods via internet trading post. You can now order his work online at https://shopcanyoncreekpottery.com.
Doug Reynolds recently began advertising his Bähko Eyewear through The Nugget Newspaper. I met him at a Farmers Market in Bend — and outfitted myself, Marilyn, Ceili and Jarod with his glasses. Obviously I liked the product (and the price point) but more importantly I greatly respect the man. We are simpatico.
Like me, he grew up running around in the woods in a place that most folks don’t associate with that kind of action — in his case Connecticut. Life outdoors means everything to him. Unfortunately, he suffers from a rare genetic ocular degeneration that is robbing him of his eyesight. In battling this, he discovered that he had also suffered some scarring from UV exposure. Long story short, he became obsessed with developing high-quality sunglasses that are functional for outdoorsmen (while still stylish) and effective at protecting the eyes.
Rugged, lightweight frames; 100 % UV protection; shatterproof lenses. Polarized with crisp vision. And, because he’s essentially a one-man show, they are affordable. My Skyliner 2.0 were $60. I’ve worn Ray-Bans forever, and these are far better for hiking, etc. They’re so light and comfortable you forget that they’re on your face, and they don’t slide around when the going gets sweaty. And the sight picture is crisp.
His “Waylon” series is sold out. Of course I asked him about that. Yes, they’re named for Waylon Jennings. Like I said, we’re simpatico. He tells me they’ll be back in about nine months…
Yeah, I’ll be getting a pair.
I am impressed by Doug’s story and his passion for his work — but the bottom line is these shades are Stuff That
Works. You can order online at https://bahkoeyewear.com.
Reckon I’ll be picking this up.
The latest in the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor Mystery Series from the “master storyteller” (Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author) follows Cork in a race against time to save his wife, a mysterious stranger, and an Ojibwe healer from bloodthirsty mercenaries.
The ancient Ojibwe healer Henry Meloux has had a vision of his death. As he walks the Northwoods in solitude, he tries to prepare himself peacefully for the end of his long life. But peace is destined to elude him as hunters fill the woods seeking a woman named Dolores Morriseau, a stranger who had come to the healer for shelter and the gift of his wisdom.
Meloux guides this stranger and his great niece, Cork O’Connor’s wife, to safety deep into the Boundary Waters, his home for more than a century. On the last journey he may ever take into this beloved land, Meloux must do his best to outwit the deadly mercenaries who follow.
Meanwhile, in Aurora, Cork works feverishly to identify the hunters and the reason for their relentless pursuit, but he has little to go on. Desperate, Cork begins tracking the killers but his own skills as a hunter are severely tested by nightfall and a late season snowstorm. He knows only too well that with each passing hour time is running out. But his fiercest enemy in this deadly game of cat and mouse may well be his own deep self-doubt about his ability to save those he loves.
Looking for an authentic 17th/18th Century maritime meal? Serve up some Salt Beef, Shark Stew and Turtle Omlette.
Gunpowder & Gold continues its dive into pirate material culture with a treatise on maritime meat: