Opinion, Discussion and Analysis

Rocky Mountain Mystery Photo 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

Do you know what this is?

Betty Kirchenschlager of Yuma, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Mr. Truck 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

This summer I turned 57. I know, I can hardly believe either. Now I have a different view of manual labor. Since I use trailers in all my truck and SUV reviews, manual trailer jacks became an issue. Sometimes I hook and unhook loaded trailers three times in a day. My Gooseneck trailer has a hydraulic jack, but I have three bumper pull trailers. Ultra-Fab rescued me with the Ultra 4000. Yes that means it’s a 4,000 pound capacity tongue jack which should lift the tongue of about any conventional trailer made.

It was easy to install (about 30 minutes if you don’t use a camera). Just drop the trailer tongue on jack stands. The old jack just unbolts from the top with three bolts and the nuts are generally welded under the coupler. On my Logan Coach horse trailer, the tongue jack has a double brace for the jack. This keeps the jack from moving around when on the ground. And this horse trailer has a dressing room where I installed the battery.

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

According the Black Bear Society (BBS) of Colorado, our state had about 11,000 black bears in the 2011 bear census, which also found no Grizzlies. By 2013, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CP&W) estimated the black bear population at between 16,000 and 18,000, again with no Grizzlies, despite various sightings that were perhaps enhanced by the desire to see the great beasts. In any event, it appears that black bears in Colorado are doing pretty good, even though 300 to 450 bears are put down each year due to attacks or incidents.

Black bears are generally not inclined toward human company, and the number of black bears that have to be euthanized each year due to aggressive behavior are a relatively small percentage of the total population, and often the incidents in which bears are aggressive are not entirely their fault.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

One of life’s most enduring treasures and pleasures is spending quality time with friends. Last week I got to spend quality time with New Mexico friends, Albie and A.B. Kirky. They came for their semi-annual jaunt to the Flint Hills for four days of non-stop fishing.

The fishing wuz average at best, but Albie garnered the biggest game fish — a 7-pound channel catfish and A.B. scored the biggest bass of the week — a near 4-pounder who fell to an enticing grasshopper skewered on A.B.’s hook. My Flint Hills friend, ol’ Saul M. Reeder, who joined the fishing party two days, took home the “biggest fish” caught during the trip — a 7-1/2-pound carp that had found its way into a watershed lake and greedily sucked in Saul’s grasshopper.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

I’m not proud of this but I take 20 pills per day to stay alive, which goes a long way in explaining why my writing may appear loopy. Every time I go to a different specialist they ask me what drugs I’m taking, which would be no problem if the drugs had simple names. But no, the drug companies want to make it difficult so the docs write prescriptions in handwriting you can’t read, for drugs none of us can spell. Or pronounce. They aren’t even words. That could be a deadly combination and you could end up with an 88-year-old lady taking Viagra instead of her blood pressure medicine.

Making it worse, every drug has at least two names, its own and a generic. Gabapentin is generic for Neurontin, Benazepril is generic for Lotensin, Gemfibrozil is generic for Lopid and on and on. It’s as if they are trying to impress the FDA with their big sounding fake words. Why don’t they speak English? What are they trying to hide?

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

Over the years the number of large animal veterinarians has steadily declined. It is most evident in rural America and Canada. Many factors have contributed to this decline; the greatest is the change in the profession itself.

The cost of schooling is daunting. The severe decline of male students til they are only 20 percent of the enrollment. The low number of “farm kids” that are interested in vet school, and the changing attitude of the graduates themselves.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

You may have used a Judas steer yourself if you have ever found yourself taking care of a bunch of yearlings, especially yearling heifers, with a little ear on them.

Let me explain a little more clearly when I say a “little” ear. That term doesn’t reference that the ear is small, quite the contrar, it means that the animal has a somewhat larger than normal ear unless we are talking “bremers.” A “bremer” is slang for Brahman. So, most cattle referred to as having a little ear usually have some Brahman blood in them. It has been my experience after running these crossbred yearlings that have some Brahman breeding for many, many years is that they can be a little hard to gather on occasion.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 9-29-14

September 29, 2014 — 

No fiction can match what people actually do, experience, dream up. This tale is about a cowboy romance. Most of it is true. Names? Call her Thelma. Call him Joel.

Joel is a cowboy’s cowboy, which means in this case, that he loves to rodeo. He’s a heckuva hand with a rope, ditto at bareback, bronc and bull riding.

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Plains Edition Mystery Photo 8-6-14

September 29, 2014 — 

Do you know what this is?

Betty Kirchenschlager of Yuma, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 9-27-14

September 29, 2014 — 

Just a week or so ago, the sharptailed grouse hunting season opened up in North Dakota. I didn’t get out for the opener to look for grouse on the ranch because I was in Fargo, N.D., looking for Bison at my old home, the campus of North Dakota State University.

I was there to see ESPN Sports broadcast their Game Day show, and there was a big herd of Bison (fans) roaming Broadway in downtown Fargo. Game Day was fun, but there was still a part of me that yearned to be pursuing the upland game of grouse back home in our pasture.

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Amanda Radke: A Cowgirl’s Perspective 9-27-14

September 29, 2014 — 

The old adage, “If I can’t be a good example, then let me serve as a warning,” certainly applied to me last week.

I was approached by the Huffington Post to be a part of an online video discussion about the Meatless Mondays campaign infiltrating our school lunch program. This is a hot-button topic and one that I have covered widely in my blogging and through social media posts.

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

If you travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, I recommend taking a visit to an outstanding museum that offers all types of interesting and intriguing exhibits. The Natural History Museum of Utah is situated at the Rio Tinto Center in the University of Utah. You won’t miss finding it on a sunny day ... it will be the stunning copper-clad building glowing beneath the nearby foothills. Built as a “Green-building” and rated gold quality by Architect Digest, its features make it both beautiful and sustainable.

The day I visited, public relations director Patti Carpenter welcomed me in the museum’s breathtaking “Canyon” lobby, its two-story picture window looking out across the Salt Lake Valley below. She shared some history of the building and that there are five levels of the museum, each with exhibit galleries and sky walk terraces. The rooftop terrace houses an active weather station, run by University students and where climate, astronomy, weather and the sun are interpreted.

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Candy Moulton: Reading the West 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Genealogy and the Victorian era are two of the drawing cards that have pulled North Carolina writer Sherry Monahan deep into the history of the American West to the point that she not only researches writes about the region, but has also become the new president of Western Writers of America.

In her writing she has focused much of her attention on Tombstone, Ariz. But she looked beyond the oft-times male dominated stories and instead writes about more important issues, you know: gambling, vice on the frontier, libations and food.

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Black Ink 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

“It made me mad!”

That’s what a Montana rancher told me when talking about the first carcass data he ever got back.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Cowboy songs: Touted as tunes sung by cowboys night-herding a bunch of cattle bedded for the night on a long trail drive. So, where did all those songs originate? Look up the history and you find that most of the melodies started off in the British Isles, Europe, and well ... from all over. Folksongs ditto. Actually, folksongs and cowboy songs are interchangeable, depending on where you are or what you’re doing while warbling.

You could be on horseback on the trail following the south end of a bunch of cattle. You could be in Girl scout or Boy scout camp singing around a campfire. You could be pickin’ your guitar, your mandolin, your banjo or your teeth while chirruping Streets of Laredo or I Ride An Old Paint or Annie Laurie or a bazillion other choices.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Gentle readers, it’s that time again and we ain’t talkin’ Howdy Doody Time. Nope, old man winter is just peekin’ around the corner.

Yes sir, at this writing it is snowing in the Dakotas and we are expecting a “skiff” of snow here along the front range of the Rockies. I’ve been slowly but surely getting myself and the O-NO ready for whatever comes our way. Yesterday I unhooked, unplugged and wrapped the swamp cooler until next May. All of my firewood is neatly stacked and the propane man came by yesterday and filled my tank.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Horses and cowboys go together. There are occasions when a cowboy and a horse are spoken of as one. In the heavenly world of cutting horses, Buster Welch and Little Peppy shine on each other. Charmayne James and Scamper are carved into PRCA history by winning the World Champion Barrel Racing buckle 11 times. We could also include Trigger and Roy, Seabiscuit and his trainer Sunny Fitzsimmons or Robert E. Lee and Traveler in this list of well-known horse and rider combinations.

And when you get in the shallower end of the pool there are up and comers who might someday be associated with that one horse that put them in the spotlight.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Jim Rogers, a financial wizard who retired at 37 recently told the Progressive Cattleman, “In our history there have been long periods where the financial types were in charge followed by long periods where the people who produced real goods were in charge. In the past 30 years finance has been the masters, or the Kings of the Universe. In my view this is coming to an end.”

Guess who Mr. Rogers believes will be the new Masters of the Universe? Farmers and ranchers that’s who! Oh my, the changes we’ll see.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 9-22-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Sometimes the opportunity presents itself for pulling off a practical joke that you just can’t afford to go by.

Such an opportunity presented itself to one of my young neighbors, ol’ Will Prank, who is the proud papa of four great kids. Plus, the kids are the proud owners of a friendly little Chihuahua house dog — Bernie.

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Peggy Sanders: Rangeviews 9-20-14

September 22, 2014 — 

I almost feel sorry for people who live where it rains a lot. Do they think of the rains as a blessing as those of us who live in arid climes do?

Here in southwestern South Dakota if it rains on the day of a picnic, we sit in the rain and don’t complain. When I was in college in Iowa I bought an umbrella since it rained frequently. Later I brought it home and tried to explain to my younger sister and brother what rain is. It wasn’t quite that bad, but for eight years, during the last drought here, it was nearly that extreme. You know how rain emits an aroma, one of life and cleansing, even if it falls miles away. That is a heartbreaker during a drought when you can smell it, but it doesn’t fall on your fields and pastures. This summer it has been raining, in good doses, off and on. We are so thankful and we don’t take it for granted.

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Peggy Sanders: Rangeview 9-13-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Have you forgotten September 11, 2001? One Army officer who hails from West River, S.D. certainly has not.

While on a visit to Ft. Carson, at Colorado Springs, Colo., I had the privilege of hearing first hand the details of that day and how close the plane that crashed into the Pentagon was to him — 75-feet. He said that the area near his office had recently been steel-reinforced and had bulletproof glass doors installed. Those improvements kept the fire and heat from coming on in where he was.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 9-13-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Somewhere along life’s path, I became a runner. I’m not exactly sure why, but I suppose there are worse habits that I could’ve picked up when I was a kid.

Running was a sport that I could do without driving to town for most of the practices. I could just lace up my shoes and run down the gravel roads and trails around our ranch.

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Lee Mielke: Monthly Milk Prices 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

The Agriculture Department announced the August Federal order Class III benchmark milk price September 4, at $22.25 per hundredweight (cwt.) up 65 cents from July, $4.34 above August 2013, $2.29 above the comparable California 4b cheese milk price, and equates to about $1.91 per gallon. There’s more likely to come next month as the September futures contract settled Friday at $24.28 before heading back down in its seasonal descent. The 2014 Class III average now stands at $22.49, up from $17.72 at this time a year ago and $16.23 in 2012.

Looking beyond September, the October contract settled Friday at $22.67; November, $20.49; and December, $19.47. That would result in a 2014 average of $22.24, up from $17.99 in 2013 and $17.44 in 2012.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Who sez old folks can’t have a party? Ol’ Nevah and I survived (barely) a doozie during our four-day “50FEST.”

We had more than 100 folks at the “Handshake and Howdy” reception and around 45, mostly extended family members, for the post-party in our huge garage. That party broke up shortly before midnight. We feasted, imbibed and gabbed.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

Consumers don’t make the connection between cows and all the great things they provide. Here’s my top 10 list of the things I love most about cows.

No. 1 Hamburgers: Ever since burgers were first introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 Americans have had a hamburger habit. Sixty percent of the beef consumed in this country is in the form of ground beef, and rightfully so. Put a burger between two buns, add some lettuce, tomato, a slice of cheese and you have the perfect meal! Ground beef is also a major ingredient of my all-time favorite form of sustenance: Mexican food. No fish tacos for me, if it’s not beef you can throw it back in the ocean as far as I’m concerned.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

BEWARE CONNOISSEURS! A new discovery may change the way America eats! Love your broccoli? Savor your home-grown tomatoes? Would give your eye-teeth for a blueberry pie?

This discovery could create sweeping protests and black markets like marijuana has never seen! PLANTS FEEL PAIN! That’s right, PLANTS FEEL PAIN!

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

As probably everyone knows, Dr. Seuss wrote humorous verse on a variety of subjects. He wasn’t a Doctor. He was a publisher, writer, cartoonist, artist and all-around raconteur. Seuss was his middle name, Hence: Dr. Seuss. Usually the tales had a bit of a moral or some wise advice attached.

Dr. Seuss’ story poems have inspired me to express an opinion about today’s bizarre craze of people having themselves tattooed — everywhere on their bodies, including the latest choice — the knuckles. Used to be that only criminals and fanatics inked their knuckles, usually “love” on one hand and “hate” on the other. One walked carefully around such individuals.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

As a general rule, gentle readers, I consider myself to be a happy person most of the time. I really do. Of course I have those days when Murphy’s Law takes over and it’s hard to find a happy place until things turn around. You’ve been there, ain’t ya?

I have mentioned in the past those little things that bring me joy like the other day I’m doing a little prowling on ol’ Nugget, my fairly new horse. I have a handful of big steers on my place for the grazing season and I cut one out of the bunch to see how much cow ol’ Nugget had in him. I had moved them around a little in the pasture before but never honed in on one to drive. I cut out a big ol’ roan steer and to my joy Nugget followed him like a kid after the ice cream truck in August in Atlanta. Happy Jack. Yep, that was me.

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 9-15-14

September 22, 2014 — 

One of the better bear stories I’ve ever heard took place in Glacier National Park, told in one of the Glacier lodges in front of a roaring hearth fire, by the park ranger involved. The theatrical setting added to the merits, as well as the drama, of the tale.

A troublesome Grizzly needed to be re-located. The park ranger tracked the bear for about a week before getting a lead on the bear’s habits. About mid day, he located the Griz, trying to get into a trash bin. Glacier had not followed the policy adopted in Yellowstone of open pit garbage dumps that allowed bears to continue feeding on food discarded by humans. The Craigheads, twin brothers who researched Grizzlies extensively, determined that bears had feasted on food tossed by humans in Yellowstone for so long that it had become a necessary part of their food web. To remove human food suddenly risked extinction of the Grizzly.

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 9-8-14

September 8, 2014 — 

In my last story I invited you to visit Lander Wyoming’s Museum of the American West, which is a great stop while exploring the West. What I didn’t share was the fact that right next door (1443 Main Street) is the Fremont County Pioneer Museum. Open Tuesday through Saturdays, here you can discover the history of ranchers, rustlers and range wars, outlaws, lawmen and Native peoples. Lander Valley has had it all, including Wyoming’s first oil well. Here are unique collections of artifacts and exhibits from the area that truly depict the life of its residents from 1840 to the mid 1900s.

With a warm welcome from the front desk docent and free admission, I stepped through the museum’s main doors, ready to explore. One of the first artifacts I saw was a lighted display box, inside of which was the skull of Harvey Morgan, found in 1908 when a town water pipe was being laid. It wouldn’t have had much significance expect that after burying the rest of his bones, the locals decided to exhibit the skull to display the hardships of local pioneer life and the wild west. A simple one-room log cabin was built to exhibit Mr. Morgan’s skull and thus, a museum was created. Who would have imagined the finding of one skull would lead to today’s spacious two-story Pioneer Museum building, finished in 2009.

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