Opinion, Discussion and Analysis
Over the weekend, my sister-in-law Shelby married her college sweetheart Seth in a beautiful ceremony in Mankato, Minn. I had the honor of serving as a bridesmaid, while my husband Tyler was a groomsmen, and our 17-month-old daughter played the role of the flower girl. It was truly a family affair, and for November, we were all pleasantly surprised how nice the weather was for their picture-perfect wedding day.
Tyler and I recently celebrated our fifth year of marriage in October, and 2015 also marked 30 years of marriage for both of our parents. Needless to say, there’s a long-standing tradition of marriage — particularly ranching marriages — in our family, and as Seth and Shelby enjoy their first week as a married couple, I’ve been reflecting on what makes a good marriage and how a pair in the cattle business can enjoy a good life together, through good times and bad.Learn more »
The Amtrak train rolled into the small station at Granby, Colo., on a November morning about 15 minutes behind schedule, stopping long enough for the five passengers waiting there to step aboard and take our seats, then it moved off to the west. A fresh snowfall covered the ground creating a winter-perfect scene as we followed the Colorado River on a three-hour journey to Glenwood Springs, Colo.
I’ve only ridden a few trains — The Durango Silverton a couple of times, the Amtrak Cascades between Seattle and Portland, the Alaskan Railway from Anchorage to Denali — and now Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Granby to Glenwood. I must say, next to traveling on a wagon, this very well may be my favorite mode of transportation. The train was quiet; there were big windows so you had good views (and no need to do the driving). There was a lot of space — room for your legs (even my short ones), to recline, to read, and then there was the ability to wander around the train to the observation car or the lounge car.Learn more »
You may have heard the saying “less is more.” That is absolutely true when it comes to “Famous Firearms of the Old West” by Hal Herring. The thought of reading a book all about guns might make me yawn, but the subtitle caught my attention: “From Wild Bill Hickok’s Colt Revolvers to Geronimo’s Winchester, 12 Guns That Shaped our History.”
This is a history of guns — specific types of guns and individual guns. There are the requisite details when you write about guns such as maker, caliber and specific features. But what really sets the book apart are the stories of individuals and their personal guns. And what makes it an outstanding read is that these are superbly told stories that hook you from the beginning, weave in the gun details adroitly, and leave you perhaps wanting to find more books about these 12 people to learn more about their lives and how guns shaped them.Learn more »
Gentle readers, this column is gonna’ be sorta serious and wind up with some funny stuff ... I hope!
A couple of mornings back when I went out to feed after an overnight rain, I found my horses to be extremely excited. They were running in circles with their heads up high and constantly looking in every direction. Usually, I just give them a “c’mon boys” and they are in the corral wanting their oats. Not this morning.Learn more »
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. Warm memories, overstuffed afternoons and family. Yet rising from this cornucopia of good feelings, like a rubber chicken from a shopping cart full of cut-up fryers, is that runner-up for national bird ... the turkey.
Despite its cinder block-like intelligence, gurgling vocals and dangling snood, there is nothing absurd about the turkey being nominated as our national bird. After all, a group of entomologists has tried to convince Congress to name a national insect. Their suggestion was the Monarch butterfly.Learn more »
I know what you’re thinking. Was the big autumn drop in cattle prices the start of a precipitous downward trend in cattle prices, or was it just a chance for prices to catch a second wind before regaining air speed and altitude?
I’m the wrong guy to ask because I’m the world’s most pessimistic person ... and I’m never going to get any better. I have B-negative blood and I complain about the noise when opportunity comes knocking.Learn more »
I may be way over the hill, but I still get excited when quail hunting season begins. The season opens tomorrow and my friends Rollin Birdz and Claude Hopper will be joining me for hopefully a red-letter hunting day.
It’s humorous how aging changes one’s perspective of “the hunt.” When I wuz young, I tried to get myself and my bird dogs in physical shape before the season opened. These days I make no attempt to get my dogs in shape becuz I know I won’t be in shape and I want to make sure that we both get tired of walking at the same rate.Learn more »
The U.S. Agriculture Department announced the October Federal order Class III milk price Wednesday at $15.46 per hundredweight (cwt.), down 36 cents from September, $8.36 below October 2014, but 71 cents above the comparable California 4b price, and equates to about $1.33 per gallon.
The 10-month Class III average now stands at $15.98, down from $22.83 at this time a year ago and compares to $17.81 in 2013. By the way, the 10-month average in the severely depressed 2009 stood at $10.72.Learn more »
Sometimes I think I’m an average beef consumer. But then in the grocery store checkout line, as I put my items on the conveyer I realize my purchases rarely contain any meat. Not unlike many in the ag community, my family has a deepfreeze full of protein, so during normal weeks we’re dipping into that supply daily.
When we are out to eat, I know what the USDA quality grading system means and generally how to decipher branded beef claims.Learn more »
The term “sustainable agriculture” is frequently bantered about. When I first heard it being discussed, it seemed logical to me that “sustainable agriculture” simply meant an agricultural producer who managed to stay in business over a sustained period of time. How nice to finally have farmers and ranchers recognized for the fact that their livelihoods feed the U.S. and much of the world. It was understood that the phrase meant those who work the land had to must make enough of a profit to keep themselves in business, or in other words, their operation must be sustainable.
That seemed logical to me and of course I was wrong.Learn more »
“Don’t be leanin’ on my fender,” said the farmer to the rep.
“Take a look at this new seed corn,”Learn more »
Gentle readers, over the last 40 some odd years, I have thrown my leg over a good many horses. I couldn’t tell you the exact number but it would have to be around a hundred or so. Out of that, 85 to 115 or so, there are only six that I can recall here at age 75 that I would hazard to call a “really good horse.”
I think most cowboys have different expectations for the different horses they may be riding at the time. A good horse to me is one that I can easily catch on a cold frosty morning and when saddled and I’m mounted, we ride off relaxed and confident. I always hated to be mounted on a colt that I considered a little unpredictable or even a seasoned ranch horse that you just could never completely relax on.Learn more »
Their future has been mortgaged, the government has a lien on their life and their parent’s principles are in the pawn shop. We have a second mortgage on their spirit.
If today’s youth can run the gauntlet that is our society by defying drugs, teen pregnancy, school shootings and suicide they have an equal chance of going to jail, or off to some war-torn country most of us couldn’t even find on a map to solve the world’s ills. We have made getting an education so expensive that when they graduate they are handed a diploma and an overdue bill.Learn more »
Nevah and I got a little stir-crazy a few weeks ago and made a short vacation trip to northwest Arkansas to see our long-time friend and accountant Wright Ledger and his lovely missus.
We went down on a Friday afternoon just before the weekend opening of the huge arts and crafts extravaganza that blankets that corner of Arkansas every fall.Learn more »
As we approach Veterans Day, it is time for a shout out to the men and women who have served in the armed forces in conflicts from World War I to those still on patrol throughout the world today. Over the past year I have been working on a project that tells a story of this nation’s defense that in spite of the fact that it is visible all across the Plains, is not all that well-known.
Every day, around the clock since October 1962, men and now women have been pulling alerts in launch control capsules located 80 feet below the surface prepared to launch Minuteman Missiles at a moment’s notice. The United States Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program started in the 1950s with development of the Atlas and Titan missiles. Some of them were placed in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, managed by the crews based at Warren Air Force Base (now known as F.E. Warren AFB). Those large missiles were liquid fueled, making them slow to launch, and with an inherent danger associated with the fuel.Learn more »
Damon Gates is in a heck of a fix, sitting on the back of a horse with a noose around his neck. He knows the men surrounding him don’t have an ounce of mercy and that unless some miracle happens, he’s likely to swing from the tree holding the hangman’s noose. They believe he’d rustled the herd of cattle he was moving, and would not listen to his repeated statements that he had proof they weren’t stolen.
Lucky for Damon Gates, a gunman faster than the would-be hangmen appeared; and luckier for Damon Gates, Kellen Malone also happened on the scene. Those two gunmen give Gates another chance at life, and also a mission to help a family he has never met, but one that clearly could use a helping hand to hang on to the land they’ve claimed in the middle of a big cattleman’s range.Learn more »
For rural families that are struggling, it is often hard to get access to food. The CARES (Christian Aid Resources and Emergency Services) food bank is trying to meet that need for families along the I-70 corridor East of Denver, Colo. It is one of the only rural free choice food banks in the state. Unlike many food banks, this one doesn’t hand out boxes of food, it allows people to have a more store-like experience and pick only foods their family will eat.
This October the bank helped 300 families with a total of 925 individuals.Learn more »
Lunatics demand Ellen DeGeneres remove leather from clothing line! Oh, no!
Care2 gathered more than 1,800 signatures! To the dismay of animal rights activists and vegan martyrs, her “luxury lifestyle” brand of clothing has added a $250 pair of Brazilian shoes.Learn more »
Gentle readers, I wanted to be a cartoonist long before I became one. I have always enjoyed drawing any subject, just as long as I could be drawing.
At 19 I sent some illustrations to the local paper there in Texas hoping they might, just might have some use for them in advertising. Little did I know how awful they really were and that was not how one goes about getting started in a career in art.Learn more »
“Why are you walking with a limp?” I asked my friend ReRide.
“It’s a long story. Basically it’s because Honey Bunch and Archibald came for their annual visit.”Learn more »
A friend of mine, ol’ Freeman Speaker, is in big trouble with his wife. A few days ago, he came home from the field and found his wife outdoors in a sweat pulling weeds in her flower garden and raking leaves in the yard.
He wuz hungry from his day’s work, so he casually asked her what they were having for supper.Learn more »
Once a person reaches 21, age doesn’t seem to matter a lot ... until you get up there in years.
Russell Wyatt, my dad, is 89 and still working full-time as a rural land appraiser, the work ethic in him has never faltered. Neither has his memory. He can tell every car he ever owned and what he paid for it; every job he held and his wages. The price he paid for his first cattle and the number of implement dealers that used to be in Hot Springs. He easily tells stories of “the old days” with enthusiasm and makes them interesting.Learn more »
John B and I were discussing how hard it must be for an auctioneer to say somethin’ good about every thing that walks through a sale barn ring. For the novice, we offer the following explanations for these rather ambiguous descriptions.
■ “Ain’t she the mama kind!” (If you ain’t got a good sortin’ alley or a horse and a long rope, you better not try and get close to her calf!)Learn more »
I have written about old Lester on several occasions in the past. As I was thinking about what it takes to be considered a “good man” these days, my thoughts turned to Lester.
To refresh your memory, Lester had been a cowboy for over 60 years working on large panhandle Texas ranches. He had been on the LX’s for over 50 years and was well-known in the area around Amarillo as the real deal. Lester was not much bigger than a whisper, wore a large tall crown hat, much like you would see in the 1920s and ‘30s. He wore a large hearing aid in each ear as he was really hard of hearing.Learn more »
I’m glad to see that men are growing more beards, mustaches and sideburns because growing facial hair is one the few things left in this world that women can’t do. At least most women.
With the sissification of our society I find it refreshing that hairy men are saying, “By gosh, I’m a man and I will grow a Duck Dynasty beard, soup strainer or a cookie duster if I want to. I’ll leave my bed unmade, watch Sports Center, ride shotgun without telling the driver how to drive, leave the lid up, go to the restroom without a support group and take my shirt off on a hot day if I want to and I dare you women to do likewise.”Learn more »
My county ag extension agent buddy, ol’ Avery Ware, returned with a dandy, humorous story that happened to him during his recent week-long vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota to Mount Rushmore and continuing to the east front of the Colorado Rockies to see his three grandkids.
Here’s Avery’s story as he told it to me between bouts of laughing at the recollection of it all.Learn more »
Hyndsight Vision Systems, the versatile on board camera you’ve been waiting for. We tried it out backing to a trailer, monitoring horses inside the trailer and watching traffic behind the horse trailer. I’m a fan of wireless cameras. About the most useful tool you can find.
We’re getting use to the backup cameras on the new trucks I review. But they don’t stay on, as soon as you go forward, they shut off. Hyndsight stays on so I can watch my bed cargo and the straps flapping in the wind. At the Ford Super Duty 2017 reveal at the State Fair of Texas, Ford showed us seven cameras on the new truck. Five of the cameras are for the trailer, including a camera for the rear of a trailer.Learn more »
The induction of members into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame recognized a large number of men and women who have spent their share of time in the saddle. Meet a few of them here.
■ William D. Hackett was 14 years old when he left home to begin doing various odd jobs around Gillette, Wyo. He ended up at the Wagons on Ranch where he learned to break colts and work cattle. In 1953 he married Billee McClure. Together they continued working for several other ranches including the Greenough Ranch, TY Ranch (on the big Powder River), and various others. In 1971 they bought their own ranch on Bitter Creek where they still live today. He continues to work as a farrier, while she has logged hundreds of miles horseback and often cooked out of a sheep wagon or a tent.Learn more »
Holly Beumee of McFadden, Wyo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object. It has “CIN’T-PUMP CO.-Cin.,Oh.” on the handle and each part is numbered 21, 22 and 23.
If you think you know what this is, then send your answer to the Fence Post Mystery Photo Contest. Please include your address and phone number.Learn more »
Guess the Year for October 26, 2015October 26, 2015 —
A new Instrument of Government is promulgated making Swden a parliamentary monarchy.
Keyboardist Rick Wakeman quite rock group “Yes”.
Rumor’s government in Italy resigns.
Bundy victim Georgann Hawkins disappears from UW, Seattle, Wash.
IMF establishes its “oil facility,” a special fund for loans to nations whose balance of payments have been severely affected by high oil prices.
The Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs the Houses of Parliament in London, injuring 11 people and causing extensive damage.
First extraterrestrial message sent from Earth into space.
The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
Fall of earth and rocks kill 200 (Quebrada Blanca, Canyon, Colombia).
Petty thief Peter Leonard sets fire to cover burglary that torches “Gulliver’s” nightclub killing 24 in Port Chester, NY.
Bundy victims Janice Ott and Denise Naslund disappear, Lk Sammamish, Wash.
Bob Gibson becomes second pitcher to strike-out 3,000.
US performs nuclear Test at Nevada Test Site.
Greek military dictatorship collapses.
Supreme Court unanimously rules Nixon must turn over Watergate tapes.
US President, Richard Nixon admits he withheld information about Watergate break-in.
Explosion and fire destroy Great Northern RR yard in Wenatchee, Wash.
Richard Nixon resigns US presidency, VP Gerald Ford swears oath of office to become 38th US president.
Hurricane/floods ravage Bangladesh, 4,000 killed.
On August 20th, Supernatural actor, Misha Collins is born.
John Lennon reports seeing a UFO in NYC.
Can you Guess The Year? ❖