Opinion, Discussion and Analysis
The first hot-air balloon flight in the U.S. lifts off in Philadelphia, piloted by Jean Pierre Blanchard.
French King Louis XVI sentenced to death.Learn more »
The Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail came to quick prominence after men traveling with Lt. Col. George A. Custer found gold in the Black Hills in 1874, and like others in the region at the time Martha Canary traveled the first leg of its route from Cheyenne to Fort Laramie. For a time the girl had worked at the road ranch six miles west of Fort Laramie operated by Adolph Cuny and Julius “Jules” Ecoffey.
Exactly when she came by the moniker Calamity Jane isn’t certain, but men along the rail line, and in the military knew her as Calamity in the 1870s. She was at Fort Laramie in 1875 when the Black Hills Expedition under direction of Walter Jenney and Henry Newton organized. That party was charged with determining the quality and quantity of gold in the Black Hills, charged with adding detail to the Custer reports of the previous year.Learn more »
Three weeks sounds like a long time to a kid waiting for Christmas or to a very pregnant woman.
My husband had a mid-life crisis that caused him to miss the farm work for “only” three weeks. At 51-years-old, it was the first time my husband, Russ, had driven a motorcycle — and I think, it will be his last. He crashed on a hilly corner. Afterward, when he walked into our house, I first thought he had hydraulic oil on his face from a burst hose. Then I realized it was blood. After all the x-rays were sorted out, he had a broken right ankle and a broken left wrist. As the ER doctor was assembling the adjustable splint for the ankle, the doctor asked the nurse for a screwdriver. When the nurse hesitated, Russ said, “I have one,” and pulled his multi-purpose tool from his belt pouch! That added a bit of levity to the situation. Obviously he couldn’t use crutches. He spent the three weeks in a wheelchair looking out from various windows watching our then 20 and 22-year-old sons put up hay and build fence.Learn more »
If you have read any of Craig Johnson’s Longmire books, or if you have caught any episodes of the television show “Longmire,” you will already know that Sheriff Walt Longmire is a tough-as-nails Wyoming sheriff. You may also realize that he has a bit of a soft spot at times.
Most of the time Longmire is busy solving the mystery of a crime, often with the aid of his side-kick, Henry Standing Bear. But in the newest Longmire story, Henry is not present, nor is the feisty deputy Vic Morretti. Instead Johnson takes us back in time, to an earlier period in Walt’s career, not all that long after he won the first election as sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County over Lucian Connally.Learn more »
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
~ Robert FrostLearn more »
The Washington (DC) Redskins have raised the ire of part of the collective descendants of East Asian migrants who crossed the Bering Strait thousands of years ago. In my conversations with some descendants (formerly called Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous, First Nations, American Indians) there is a broad degree of “offendedness” between individuals and tribes.
It is not for me to be insensitive to those who want to pick their own racial description as listed on the census form. Some of the race consider the term Redskin as offensive as the N-word is received among the formerly called Negro, Colored, African American, Brother, Homey or Black. The N-word is now acceptable only in rap music or Hollywood movies.Learn more »
By the time you receive this column it will be December! Amazing! Today, however, it’s a week before Thanksgiving and it is 13th, a fairly strong wind out of the north and on occasion, snow fluries. Man, it is cold!
The weather is one thing that has not changed so much over the years regardless of the “global warming” faithful.Learn more »
Those who don’t like Thanksgiving must be lonesome on the day everyone else is over-eating.
Here’s a thought: Without ranchers and farmers, the Thanksgiving table would be shy of beef, ham, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey ... fill in your own blanks.Learn more »
I frequently do a little bizness at the “takes-me-back-to-my-youth” hardware store operated by ol’ Nutson Boltz. One of the features at the store — in addition to fine service and the occasional biting political repartee amongst the customers and owner — are two mostly-Border Collie dogs that sun themselves in the front window and bark to greet customers entering the store.
But, it’s the sign that hangs in the window near the front door that gives me a chuckle every time I see. It reads “Ignore the dogs. Beware of the owner!” That’s perfect.Learn more »
Evasive maneuvers are part of towing trailers in traffic. Cars coming up on-ramps can cut you off in your right towing lane, side winds can push your trailer hard, and then there’s bad weather. Sometimes you can control some trailer sway by using the manual lever on your brake controller. But what is your reaction time, will you remember what to do in an emergency in less than a second? Tuson Sway Control is also like stability control.
Tuson RV just introduced a little box that attaches inside of your bumper pull trailers nose. The module in the box connects to your trailer brakes, left and right. The module learns from your trailers movements and controls your trailer in a sway event. Similar to how your newer pickup trucks Electronic Stability Control, controls your truck when it goes a different direction than your steering wheel on slick roads.Learn more »
Ol’ Nevah and I had a BIG pleasant surprise last week when old friends from Iowa, Mr. and Mrs. Leevin Winter, stopped by Damphewmore Acres for a visit on their extended trip to Apache Junction, Ariz., where they will spend December through March in warm weather.
When I say BIG, what I mean is that our friends showed up in a huge Suncruiser RV bus-type motor home, towing a Jeep behind it. With just a little improvising we found ample room to park their motor home.Learn more »
Buyers and sellers are two different fellers. That’s how the old saying goes. When it came to our calves and yearlings, our family has always been a seller, and, more often than not, the cattle buyer was a man named Art.
Now Art and Dad, or Art and I, may have been different fellers, as buyers and sellers, but we always felt he treated us fairly, and he was our friend. There was a lot of loyalty in Art, and he got a lot of loyalty in return. Other cattle buyers would look at our area as a pretty tough place to break in and make a deal. For years, Art bought most of the cattle.Learn more »
My family and I visited our old hometown, Colorado Springs, Colo., a few weeks ago to celebrate our son’s fifth birthday. He wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese like his sister did a couple of years ago, so the Springs was our closest option.
The timing was good for us to take a trip to the Springs because our future in Kansas is a bit up in the air. My husband may transfer jobs next summer, so we wanted the opportunity to look around and talk about the possibility of moving back to Colorado. We both love so many things about the Springs — the shopping (my husband just enjoys all the pawn shops, but I don’t miss them at all), good friends, our old church, the closer proximity to my parents’ and brother’s houses, and the beautiful mountain views. Anyone who lives in or has visited the city knows that the place has so much to offer.Learn more »
At present I am waiting for the firewood guy to deliver me a load of wood. He’s obviously running a little late so I thought I would get my column written.
I was standing on the front deck a few minutes ago taking in the early morning cool air and just admiring the snow capped peaks of the Rockies off to the west. I’m thankful for that view. It’s an awesome site to take in when a body feels the need. I’m thankful that I live in Colorado, my adopted state that I have come to love so much. Of course I am most thankful for my family. My children and their children whom I adore so much as any dad or “grandpa” could. I live for them and through them. I am thankful for my good health and my good friends and my little place out here on the prairie.Learn more »
It’s difficult these days to talk about wheat without getting into gluten. Many places that sell and serve food, we see Gluten Free options, even though it is the gluten that gives wheat products much of their flavor and food value.
Fear of gluten is partly due to Celiac Disease. Data indicates about 10 percent of the U.S. population, or as many as 30 million people, have Celiac Disease. Those affected have an auto-immune response in the small intestine to the gluten complex: gliaden, and three peptides present in prolamin, that results in inflammation and digestive disorders, including failure to absorb calcium and Vitamin D.Learn more »
And then there’s the current obsession with what’s called an “obesity epidemic.” Look around. Fatty folk are everywhere. They don’t want to be tubby. They don’t want to raise overweight children. And yet ... at Halloween, kids harvest sacks full of candy. Stores, banks, offices keep bowls of assorted candies to offer to children, adults and passing strangers.
Processed foods give you “low-fat” goodies making you think you can eat without adding more blubber to your hips. Except fat is what makes things taste good. Remove the fat and the taste is like licking cardboard. So ... replace the fat with sugar and there you are — back to tasty, but trapped in sugar. It’s everywhere. Even a slice of bread has four grams of sugar. A can of any kind of soda has the equivalent of eight teaspoons of sugar. Imagine putting eight teaspoons of sugar on your oatmeal or your Rice Crispies (which, by the way, are already laced with sugar) ... well, you’d gag wouldn’t you? Not to mention the empty calories that rush to your thighs. Daily overdosing on sugary foods can make one pudgy, chubby, tubby, chunky, flabby, overly round, stout, hefty, plump and ... obese.Learn more »
I was the second of three children, the much dreaded “middle child” and by the time I was ushered into this cruel world the newness of motherhood had worn off on my mom. That is why my early history is rather vague as recorded in my baby book. Or, should I say, not recorded? It is of great personal torment to me that I don’t know what the very first word I spoke was, who gave me my first dollar, or the exact date I began to lose my hair.
In my older brother’s baby book every act of his young life was fully documented, such as the date he was potty trained and the celebration that followed. Whereas the only thing written in my baby book, other than my name, was under the heading, “People Who Inspired Me.” Only one person is listed, my Uncle Mac. No, Mac was not really my uncle in a genetic sort of way; he was more of an honorary uncle.Learn more »
Did you ever wonder if being horsey is hereditary? Twenty-five years ago a fellow veterinarian invited me into his office and showed me a picture in a livestock book copyrighted in 1882. It was a drawing of a bay stallion. It was labeled “Black’s Hambletonian. One of the finest and best blooded trotting stallions of the day. Property of S. Baxter Black, Compassville, PA. Cost when a weanling colt, $3,500. Sired by Rysdyk’s Hambletonian; dam, Kitt, out of Long Island Black Hawk.”
I was taken aback! Aunt Effie always told me that my great grandfather, James Black (b. 1833) was Pennsylvania Dutch, from Erie County Pennsylvania. His son, my grandfather, was E. Baxter Black. (b. 1866). According to the U.S. Trotting Registry Black’s Hambletonian was foaled in 1868. It’s beginning to look suspicious.Learn more »
“It’s better to know the country than to be the best cowboy.”
I don’t know who first uttered those words but he or she was sure cow savvy. I remember the first day working on a ranch after I graduated from college when the owner started barking out my instructions for the day. “I want you to close the gate to Green Field and bring in the bulls from Dry Springs.”Learn more »
The annual hunting season means an annual harvest of hunting stories. The following is a totally true tale.
Outfitters Samantha and Sylvester operate a terrific mountain camp. On this particular day, Samantha (or Sam if you’d rather) began cooking the evening meal to feed a passel of hungry hunters and guides. They’d all returned early after filling their elk and deer tags.Learn more »
I’ve got a veterinarian friend, Dr. I.N. Jector, who’s apparently not very happy with the way Obamacare is going to affect his practice’s health insurance program. At least I gather that from this e-mail that I received last week from him.
Here’s Dr. Jector’s cyberspace message:Learn more »
The Mountain West as pictured by the European immigrants in the days of Lewis and Clark, was covered with immense healthy forests that had recycled themselves naturally for centuries. They grew from seeds, matured, reproduced, died, burned and prepared the land for a fresh seeding. Fire was not the enemy.
Explorers first saw the forests holding their place in the bio-system of the West. Settlers came and built forts and fences, houses and dams, cities and freeways. Forests were harvested for fuel and construction. They had to be cleared so man could build on the ground.Learn more »
I can give you advice. Your friends can show you what’s working on their ranch. You can read articles and learn from your local team of experts — Extension specialists, veterinarians, nutritionists, and so on.
But when it comes down to it, you’re the one who needs to make the decisions. You have to determine what’s right for your cowherd.Learn more »
Let me take you on a trip to Amarillo, Texas.
The last time I went through Amarillo their welcoming sign coming into the city had the two L’s in Amarillo replaced by cowboy boots. Amarillo has always been proud to be called a “cowtown.” There is a significant wealth in the Amarillo area that comes from agriculture and yes, lots of livestock.Learn more »
I realize we’re only a few short weeks into November, but I’m itching to put up my Christmas tree. We received 3-inches of snow last week, and now that my pumpkins and Halloween decorations have been buried with the white stuff, I have lights and garland dancing in my head instead.
As a homemaker, the picture-perfect snow outside my window makes me want to cozy up in front of the fireplace, sipping on a mug of hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies while I wrap presents to place under the tree.Learn more »
Why is it when you milk a cow, you take milk from her, but if you water a cow, you give water to her?
Why is it if we want to go in haste, we hasten, so if we want to go fast, why don’t we fasten?Learn more »
Autumn has such a special and unique pallet of color other parts of the year lack. I love the sun-yellow leaves of the aspen, the reds of the wild plum and the golden glow of the cottonwoods, all in contrast to the dark green of the Douglas fur, cedar and lodge pole pines. The mountain tops are dusted white, hinting the coming of winter snows and the crisp air echos the calls of migrating geese and sand hill cranes.
Sometimes work takes me out on the trail to places I have traveled before. No matter how many times I have ventured through the Lolo Pass in Montana, it always seems to reveal some new beauty and snippet of history I haven’t noticed before. Here, along U.S. Highway 12, the winding road follows a crystal clear stream, running smooth and quiet in places and rugged and rough across boulders in others. These waters flow through lands touched by centuries of cultural change. Once the home to the Nez Perce and the Salish people, the native peoples referred to the creek as “No Salmon waters, named during their beginning-time stories. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through here on their way west and in their journals called the stream “Travels’ Rest Creek.” In 1810, David Thompson wrote in his travel journal that he had met a free trapper known as Lolo (Lawrence Rence) who lived up along the creek in the canyon. The Salish, who also lived in the area, pronounced Lawrence as Lou Lou or Lo Lo and so the creek became known as “where Lo Lo lived.” I find it interesting, that years later, Lawrence Rence, killed by a grizzly bear, was buried beside another stream not far from Lolo Creek and it became known as Grave Creek, because of Rence’s nearby grave ... one man who touched history because of two mountain streams.Learn more »
The October Federal order Class III benchmark milk price is $18.22 per hundredweight (cwt.), up 8 cents from September but $2.80 below October 2012, $1.40 above California’s comparable 4b cheese milk price, and equates to about $1.57 per gallon. That brought the 2013 Class III average to $17.82, up from $16.98 in 2012 and compares to $18.25 in 2011 and $14.36 in 2010.
Class III futures settled Friday morning at $18.84 for November and $18.27 for December. That would result in a 2013 average of $17.93, up from $17.44 a year ago and compares to $18.37 in 2011.Learn more »
Life is full of stuff, and an amazing amount of it tickles me. A whole bunch of years back in time, I wrote an opinion in verse about the vicissitudes facing a young gal who is hoping to attract a handsome cowboy dude at a country dance. (Young bachelor cowboys tend to travel in pairs. Always one is a heart-throb, the other a candidate for frog king).
After all these years, a Montana symphony director is putting the poem to music. Imagine that! So, here’s the poem (shortened some from the original for efficient translation to a musical score).Learn more »
Wheat was first identified by humans in the Fertile Crescent and Northern Africa about 12,000 years ago as a grass plant that could be gathered with other seeds and fruits for food. Because wheat is self-pollinating, it was possible for humans to breed and select certain individual plants, and, over time domesticate wheat as an important crop to early human agriculture, starting about 8,000-10,000 years ago.
The great ice age of 15,000 years ago began to recede about 12,000 years ago, and the combination of increasing temperatures and lots of moisture from the melting ice led to the massive spread, as well as speciation, of grasses. What we now think of as wheat was a mutant grass with large seed heads tightly bundled and aligned at the tip of the stalk.Learn more »