Opinion, Discussion and Analysis
I finally had to do it. I’m gonna have to file for semi-permanent disability. And the person to blame for it is my near, lifelong New Mexico buddy, ol’ Albie Kirkie.
Albie visited for his semi-annual short week of fine fishing in the Flint Hills and by the time he left this morning, I hurt all over. Let me share all my ailments with you. I’ve got BMS (Bass Mouth Syndrome) which has my left thumb pained and permanently disfigured. I have AKAJS (Achy Knuckles and Joints Syndrome) which makes it painful to both walk and sit down. I’m also now suffering from FHSAS (Fish Hook Stabs and Scabs) which pains me to shut my fist and to type this column.Learn more »
It was the one day that Bill hated to see. For 364 days he had the ranch to himself, doing as he pleased without the boss man looking over his shoulder. But this was the day the absentee owner paid his yearly visit.
Bill rose earlier than usual, cleaned the house and polished his boots, both once-a-year occurrences. Next, he removed a brand new shirt from its package and put it on. Even before he left the house the excruciating pain in his chest was unbearable but he knew it was all the stress. The Doctor had warned him this would happen if he didn’t “chill out.” The chest pains would go away when the owner did.Learn more »
One of the greatest feelings in the world is to see a cow loose on the road and realize it’s not yours.
I know that sounds awful. And I do feel a little guilty sayin’ it, but it’s true. Of course, I do feel bad for whosever critter it is. And many’s the time I’ve driven ’em down my lane and penned ’em up and called the owner of the wandering beast.Learn more »
Gentle readers a goal to shoot for when your occupation is “cowboy” is to be called a top hand. Meaning of course, that you can do just about anything with considerable skill when it comes to punchin’ cows or in lay man’s terms, caring for livestock a’horseback. There are top hands in the world of rodeo as well, but it’s a little different than ranch work. Hence my poem “A Top Hand.”
I try to leave preachin’ up to preachersLearn more »
One of the big and scary buzzwords of the day is GMO or genetically modified organism. Unfortunately, some retailers, restaurants and grocery chains use fear-mongering as a cheap trick to make money, and love to spout about the perceived horrors of this advancement in food production. One of the best (or worst) practitioners of fear mongering is Chipotle.
Ignoring all science, Chipotle recently announced it would no longer serve GMOs in its stores. This move hardly makes practical sense as just about everything the store serves — from soda, to the tortilla shells, to the beef itself have been produced using GMOs.Learn more »
A T-bone or a sirloin is a summer, suppertime staple at our house.
After working all day, I can easily pair a steak with a quick potato option, garden veggies and biscuits or popovers and have the meal on the table in less than half an hour. And it’s consistently good, a meal we look forward to.Learn more »
Shopping for cowboys is perennial. In days gone by, many otherwise intelligent women, usually with a college education, came out West from all parts of the compass to shop for cowboys. They still do. Kinda like turning the sheep out to pasture, springtime brings a fresh crop of young to middle-aged women.
Some maintain they’re traveling through to a national park. Some claim they’re on vacation. Others carry cameras or sketch pads and reveal they’re “artists.” They may check into the local hotel, or they may stay at a dude ranch or maybe they’re driving a mini-bus or sometimes, the more affluent pilot a motorhome.Learn more »
I stood before a bull bison who looked at me from the diorama at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kan. I thought the museum had a pretty fine taxidermy specimen on display, when I began to hear a rumble. As the sound in the room grew louder, a herd (pun intended) of about a dozen school students (perhaps fourth graders) came rushing into the small room where I stood. The kids literally fell to the floor as the rumble became louder and louder.
“It’s a massage,” the kids yelled as they lay on the floor that had begun to shake along with the rumble. On a series of four small monitors above the bison mount, Buck Taylor (you might remember him as Newly on “Gunsmoke”) and Dodge City spokesman Brett Harris shared stories of the bison that once roamed by the hundreds of thousands across the plains. When images from the film “Dances with Wolves” showing a bison hunt by American Indian hunters swept across the screens, the rumble of pounding hooves became louder and louder, the floor shook harder, and the school students yelled in delight.Learn more »
Richard Etulain combines a storyteller’s technique with a historian’s research eye in his newest book, “The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane.” This subject is one most people in the West know at least to some degree. Calamity Jane, born Martha Canary, took part is some of the iconic events of the frontier West.
Born in Missouri and orphaned when she was just 11, she found her way West. By 1875, she was at Fort Laramie, where she attached herself to the scientific expedition led by Henry Newton and Walter P. Jenney into the Black Hills. That party was escorted by General Henry I. Dodge and 400 soldiers. Whether Calamity Jane traveled with the soldiers or the freighters is not entirely clear, but she did her share of the work and as a result was written about by men who were with the expedition.Learn more »
Yep, gentle readers, as you read this Mother’s Day has just passed. It’s that time of the year when we honor and remember our Mothers.
I hope your mom is still living and you took the time to at least visit with her and NOT by e-mail or a text. I’m hoping you were able to go see her, hug her and give her some flowers. She appreciated the flowers but that hug and that “I love you Mom,” meant more than anything in the world.Learn more »
I suppose it’s common for parents to try and recreate parts of their own childhood for their children. If we grew up with a pony, we try to get our kids a pony. If we had a treehouse that we loved, we help nail one up in the backyard for our own little climbers. Of course, children aren’t necessarily replicas of the parents, but we do our best to give them that chance.
If our children take up the sport of basketball, I’ll remind them to follow their mother’s cues on the court and not my own. She’s the one in the family with the letter winner’s jacket, a couple trips to the Class B state tournament in high school, and a year of court time at college.Learn more »
No tellin’ how many good dogs he outlived. No matter how good your dog was, he’d once had a collie, a healer or gyp that did everything your dog does and more. The same for horses and pickup trucks, though the one he drove was a wreck.
The best I could tell, he didn’t have nothin’, but I’ve never seen that affect his opinion on anything you mighta owned from a purebred bull to a bit.Learn more »
I hope I never have to retire because, quite frankly, I’m not very good at it. My friends can’t understand why I don’t want to retire while I can’t understand why they worked their entire lives doing something they can’t wait to quit.
My wife and I don’t own a motor home, nor a second house, and I don’t fish, play bridge, golf or belong to any fraternal organizations. And I don’t have any relatives I’m dying to visit. I love my life the way it is and what I do best is work. Having said all that, I thought I’d retire for one day just to see what all the excitement is about. Here is my diary from that day.Learn more »
Well, our trip to the big city last weekend wuz rather pleasant as far as trips to cities go. We didn’t get run over. We didn’t run over anyone. We split the card games — men vs. women — that we played with Canby and May Bea Handy. I got to breakfast on some tasty morel mushrooms. We found some usable golf balls in Canby’s pasture that borders a golf course. My alma mater, Bea Wilder U., had a successful spring football game.
The only thing that dampened our trip somewhat wuz the chilly, damp weather that stayed in the 50s. I also wuz disappointed that the giant outdoors outfitter that I shopped in didn’t have the three things I wanted to buy amongst the hundreds of thousands of items it had for sale. I wanted to buy a Primos Boost hearing protection headset, a Zebco 33T fishing reel, and some Swimming Minnow soft plastic lures. Nada! Zip! Doesn’t handle the brands of hearing protector or the lures, and, I guess, Zebco has quit making the 33T reel that I’ve been partial to for more than 55 years. The 33T has a trigger line release that I love to use so I can seamlessly cast right-handed and reel left-handed. Dang the luck.Learn more »
What is it about living in the prairie that both pleases and repels? After all, we are part of the prairie; we don’t live on it, we live in it.
We — the six generations of my family continuously residing within the borders of the same southwestern South Dakota county — have always worked in production agriculture. The prairie is not our God, yet we surely have been formed by it. A large part of prairie living is quietness.Learn more »
It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been in Texas for a year. I never imagined that I’d live in Texas (in fact my husband and I had a conversation a few years ago and we both agreed that we would never live in Texas) so I don’t feel like the reality of living here has set in yet. However, despite still feeling like a Texas newbie, I have learned a few things about this area that I’d like to pass on.
■ Texans love their state: I think most Midwesterners know this, or at least suspect it, but I had no idea just how much Texans love their state. Grocery stores of filled with Texas-shaped merchandise, hotels have Texas-shaped waffle pans, and department stores carry at least a dozen Texas state t-shirts. Coming from plain-shaped states like Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas, I cannot understand this at all. The state shape is truly an obsession down here.Learn more »
The Agriculture Department announced the April Federal order Class III benchmark milk price at $15.81 per hundredweight (cwt.), up 25 cents from March, $8.50 below April 2014, but $1.59 above California’s comparable 4b milk price, and equates to about $1.36 per gallon, up from $1.34 last month and compares to $2.09 a year ago.
Class III futures portend a larger jump next month. The May contract settled Friday at $16.26 per cwt., June settled at $16.45, with the peak at $17.38 in November, $7.22 below the 2014 peak and record high $24.60 in September. The four month Class III average now stands at $15.75, down from $23.04 at this time a year ago and compares to $17.48 in 2013.Learn more »
Yes, sirree, it’s your rock ’em, sock ’em, double hock ’em big roping dummy here with the first ever buying guide to ropes, lassos, lariats and reatas. Here’s all the latest dope on rope.
I’m in need of a new rope so I went to Consumer Reports, typed in the word “ropes” and the only thing they came up with were two brands of weed whackers. Suffice it to say, Consumer Reports is lacking in the rope department. To fill this void, I gathered up my ropes and retrieved my namesake roping dummy made out of a saw horse and a broken broom handle. Then I put my ropes to a complex scientific test. Here are my conclusions.Learn more »
I was at a Farm Bureau meeting and scheduled to be on their program. I stepped off the elevator and a dark-haired lady greeted me in the corridor.
“Does anybody tell you that you look like Sam Elliot?” she said. “My husband just loves your stuff. Your column is what he turns to the first thing. I can’t tell you how many times he read it to me and just laughed and laughed. Now, on RFD TV, he tapes it if he’s not going to be in the house.”Learn more »
Gentle readers, last evening I watched a documentary titled “Droughtland.” It was an hour feature about the effects on agriculture in eastern Colorado due to a long-lasting drought.
This program was on public television and produced by what I would call “city folk.”Learn more »
Ah, spring. The grasses green up, the rains moisten thirsty earth and politicians polish their listen-to-me-and-I-shall-lead-you-to-the-promised-land speeches. Surveys, polls, phone calls, television, radio ads, emails, Facebook, Twitter and turmoil. There’s no limit to ways of encroaching on one’s personal space.
Every one of these intrusive interrupters insists that he or she has been anointed to guide us Homo sapiens so naturally, we should hurry to vote for him or her.Learn more »
Well, I’m happy to say that the plan I launched last fall to buy two riding lawn mowers is working out to perfection. Now that spring has sprung (at least I hope it lasts) and we’ve had just enuf rain to get the grass growing overtime, ol’ Nevah has cut her half of the grass twice with the new lawn mower, while I’ve cut my half with the old lawn mower just once.
I always say, to keep your wife happy, all you need to do is let her have more than half of everything.Learn more »
I enjoy the Denver Auto Show each year and this year the standout vehicle is the much talked about XD Titan with a 5.0L Cummins V-8 diesel.
Titan’s full-size truck was born in 2002 as a 2003 model. It is available only in V-8 automatic in two cab sizes and two bed sizes. Nissan’s target was the cream of the American truck market. Basically ignoring the work truck market, Nissan learned how much the Big Three from Detroit protected their bread and butter, truck buyers. And a lesson was learned how brand loyal American truck buyers are.Learn more »
The West is getting old. Last year North Dakota, Montana and Washington celebrated their quasquicentennials – 125 years of statehood. This year Idaho and Wyoming mark similar anniversaries.
The mountain ranges and rivers in the northern half of Idaho were formed in part from the great geologic forces of millennia ago, including the great Missoula floods. During the Ice Age, water backed up behind ice dams. When the dams burst, the water flooded across western Montana, northern Idaho and into Washington. Of course, at the time the modern-day states did not exist. The massive flood waters gouged the Grand Coulee and spread throughout the Columbia Basin. Once the floods receded, remnant lakes remained, including Lake Pend Oreille, near Sandpoint, and Lake Coeur D’Alene near the city of Coeur D’Alene. The lava flows from an earlier age can still be seen at Craters of the Moon National Monument, while wide-open plains along the Snake River attracted hundreds of thousands of west-bound overland trail emigrants.Learn more »
Do you know what this is?
Bill Ugolini of Walsenburg, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object. It is 3 and 1/2 inches long and about 1/4 inch wide and is made of aluminum.Learn more »
It is not often that you can have a chance to take a tour with an author to learn about the places that inspired a book.
So this column is a bit different as well, as it focuses on just such an opportunity.Learn more »
We might be in the new techno age where we can find any product we’re looking for online or in a “Mart” store. But watch out. Medicine shows and snake oil vendors have been on earth since Adam was a dude.
Recently I purchased a new recliner chair and decided I needed a cat-scratching post to place near said chair. My thought was to encourage my two country felines to use the post to sharpen their claws rather than the recliner.Learn more »
Bonnie Parker meets Clyde Barrow for the first time at Clarence Clay’s house.
“Mickey Mouse” comic strip first appears on January 13th.Learn more »
This past weekend I got the chance to go to a retreat down in Tyler, Texas. A good friend from college set up the weekend trip and flew down from Rapid City, S.D., to go with me.
The camp was beautiful. Though there weren’t any mountains there, the tall trees, lake and hills sure made it feel like I was back in Colorado.Learn more »
As my husband went out the door after lunch and back to his farming, he asked, “What was that stuff we used on sheep? KRS?”
That brought back the memories. When I was a young girl, we raised sheep. Most of my thoughts about them is that they butted me and tried to knock the 5-gallon buckets full of shelled corn out of my hands when I fed them. I remember shearing time and the ticks while stomping wool in the huge gunnysacks. And my first taste of sheep meat, unfortunately, was mutton instead of the milder meat, lamb. Mutton tastes just like sheep smell, and it was a long time before I got up my nerve to eat lamb. It was worth the wait.Learn more »