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Boy Howdy

Welcome to a new edition (and a redisgned format) for Boy Howdy, a blog about the Lower Desert in Central Oregon. The redeisgn is especially suited for reading on a phone, something people have asked for.  I have been finding quite a bit of news for future articles, so stay tuned.   This month I will introduce Rick Steber, author, poet, photographer and gallery owner.  But first, let's talk about a little-known cemetery in the desert that carries on a modern story.

Twenty years after the Civil War settlers arrived and founded a farming and stock raising community that endured until the Depression brought the era to an end. It was called Grandview.

Everything is gone now except the Cemetery and the silent voices that whisper from the trees.  In 1968 I came across the Cemetery, overgrown with sagebrush and filled with both marked and unmarked graves.

Fifty years later I decided I wanted to write a book about the Lower Desert.   As I began my research I returned to the Cemetery, and uncovered more than I ever hoped for.

There is an  annual gathering that occurrs Memorial Day weekend at Grandviw Cemetery.   Once it slipped into the memories of yesterday but now  comes to life at this annual gathering for families, friends and interested guests

In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, before National Parks, it was common for families to gather for picnics in Cemeteries.  Families and extended members  gathered to picnic on Sunday after church as a way to maintain family bonds and pass on stories and traditions.


That tradition continues on at Grandview Cemetery in Central Oregon on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  The land for the cemetery was donated by Nick Lambert in the late 1800's and both marked and unmarked graves date back to the late 1800's.

Dispatches from the Dry Side

Culture, Curiosity and Character

about the Oregon East of the Cascade Mountain Range

Dispatches from the Dry Side features Prineville author, photographer and poet, Rick Steber.  Keeping the West alive continues to be a source of inspiration with his readings, story telling , poetry and public appearances.


Discover Makers in Prineville

Thirty Five years ago I held a booksigning at the Photographic Image Gallery in Portland for Rick Steber.  The occasion was a signing party for one of his first books.

Imagine my pleasure to re-connect with him in Prineville at the opening of his new gallery, Makers.

Through his books, the gallery, and many public appearances he has established himself of one of Oregon's premiere storytellers and poets keeping the West alive.

I'm always curious about the creative process, and I think you are too.  Over the years I have reviewed the works of many artists, both hopefuls and accomplished. It always leads to an internal focus and the drive to be always going forward and deeper.  Whether it's as a writer, artist, dancer or filmmaker, everybody has an internal voice that needs to speak.

I posed that same question to Rick.

I grew up in the Klamath Basin. There were a lot of "real characters" living there back then. I loved to listen to those old timers spin stories. But like a lot of kids who grow up rural, I thought I was missing something by not being in the city.

After college I moved to Portland. But every time I came home, back to the east side of the mountains, I'd find out more and more of these "old timers" that I had known as a kid had died. It slowly began to dawn on me that they were taking all those fabulous stories to their graves. The stories were being lost. And then one day I saw a quote that changed the direction of my life. That quote was - "Every time an old person dies it's like a library burning down."

I made the decision to dedicate my life to interviewing the old timers and saving the stories that would otherwise be lost. Over the years I've interviewed about 20,000 people, taken a couple million photographs and written more than fifty books.

One time I was asked why I write what I write. Charlie Russell, the famous western painter, was asked why he painted what he painted and he said, 'Because I wanna get it all down before it's gone.' And I guess that's why I write what I write - "I wanna get it all down before it's gone."

One of Oregon's best known authors and cowboy poets, Rick is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Golden Spur award for Best Western Novel.  He currently has over 40 titles in print, sales of of over two million books, and four have been optioned by film companies.

Visit Rick's website

Try one book and you'll be hooked

His podcasts, The Western Way, can be heard on KSJJ in Redmond and also at

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