Opinion, Discussion and Analysis

Mr. Truck 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

The Heavy Duty Ram for 2015 has only one change. But it’s embargoed for another week. You have to come to my website MrTruck.com to found out in September. Meaning this review will help even for the 2015 Ram. I was part of the PickupTrucks.com Ultimate HD Challenge published last week. We had three new 3/4 ton gas trucks towing trailers around Detroit for a week of hill climbs, brake tests, 1/4 mile racing and MPG tours. Then two weeks later we were towing my trailers in the Rockies from Dillon to the tunnels on I-70.

The winner for the heavy duty gas engine trucks was the 2014 Ram 2500 with the Hemi 6.4L. Then I had the same truck for my review in the Front Range. I towed my Logan Coach combo trailer with full water totes weighing 12,000 pounds. The 6.4L Hemi has 410 horse power and 429 foot pounds of torque. More than famous little brother 5.7L Hemi and the peak torque starts lower for quick off the line starts and hill climbing power. This engine impresses me and is the fastest gas 3/4 ton truck this year (2015).

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Rocky Mountain Mystery Photo 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Do you know what this is?

Vern Betz of Golden, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Alyssa Weaver: Guess the Year 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Apple announced iTunes at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, for organizing and playing digital music and videos. Now widely used by Windows and Mac users.

The 27th People’s Choice Awards: Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts win (Dramatic Motion Picture) and Drew Carey and Jennifer Aniston win (TV).

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Pioneers and emigrants have always held a special place in my heart. Their strong beliefs in their dreams and then the courage to make those dreams come true have always been remarkable to me. I am proud to say I am a descendent of an adventurous young man who helped drive horses to Oregon and Washington, braving the hardships of the trails and the challenges of venturing into new unsettled lands. Because of this love of pioneers, I was delighted to discover the Museum of the American West in Lander, Wyo. Located at 1445 Main Street (near the end of town) the museum site is really more like a quaint pioneer town, nestled in the green Lander Valley below the mountains. With the help of volunteers, many of whom are descendants of the original pioneers, and generous private and public donations, this area has developed into an outstanding historical and educational site. Here you can step back in time and envision life as it was for the earliest Wyoming pioneers.

Stopping at the museum’s log cabin, circa 1902 visitors center (free admission), I picked up one of the wonderfully illustrated free brochures, which shares the history of the buildings and monuments on display throughout the site. As it was a crisp late morning, I decided to take the self-guided walking tour but in chatting with the friendly docent, he told me if visitors would like a more in-depth tour, they are welcome to accompany one of the Tour Guides, who are known to share interesting anecdotes about each of the buildings, as well as fun local history.

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Candy Moulton: Reading the West 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

As an old newspaper editor, who back in my early years in journalism spent a considerable amount of ink providing editorial leadership to the small community in which the paper was located, I understand rabble-rousing. In those days (late 1970s-early 1980s) it was expected that every week (it was a weekly paper), an editorial would provide some direction for the community.

While most of the editorials I wrote involved such topics as the need for paved streets, sewer system upgrades and other general municipal items, one time I took on the local business community suggesting that if they wanted people to “shop at home” for the Christmas holiday season then the businesses needed to make that possible. In a ranch community you could not close the shop door at 5 p.m., I argued on paper, because ranchers would not be able to be in town that early in the day. If you want people to shop at home, stay open late at least a night or two each week, and have longer hours on weekends.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Ol’ Nevah and I stretched our “country comfort” boundary a bit last week and went to Kansas City twice in five days.

The first trip wuz to Platte City, Mo., to overnight with our friends Canby and May Bea Handy. We arrived after a stop at the Cabela’s store to allow me to restock on fishing and hunting gear and supplies for the fall seasons.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

This past weekend poets and pickers — after sayin’ their poems and pickin’ their songs in the 29th Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous — rode off into the sunset. Not to worry. Most of ’em — plus newcomer poets — will hit the trail to Lewistown next August. Gathering organizers are riding at full gallop to create an out-of-the-chutes rodeo of cowpoets and cowpickers to mark the Gathering’s 30th birthday! Red Steagall — the cowboy’s cowboy — will be the headliner on the night show.

This year, due to assorted conflicts, I was able to participate only one day and evening. Next year I’m clearing the decks and saddling up to be there all three days. Besides the satisfaction of reciting poetry to appreciative audiences, I do believe visiting with folks you haven’t seen in a year is a huge reason for wanting to return every August. The stories you hear! Cowboy yarns are like no others in the entire universe. What other profession’s everyday labor involves horses, dogs, cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, varmints, fencing, irrigating, haying, roundups, branding, shipping, driving temperamental machinery, going to town for parts, cooking for crews — to name a few of a rancher’s daily tasks. Add to that raising kids who will participate in 4-H and FFA and the circus never stops!

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

There seems to be organizations looking out for the civil rights of every thing and everybody these days. Gays, bisexuals, old folks, black folks, toddlers, dogs, horses, priests, prisoners, fat people, skinny people, tall people, short people, Muppies (mature urban professionals) and Puppies (pregnant urban professionals) all have their own guardians. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, no group is looking out for cats.

Cats are second rate citizens and are routinely discriminated against and I’m not going to put up with it any more. People will cross the street rather than share the sidewalk with a black cat and did you know that cats aren’t mentioned once in the Bible? You can hear the disdain we hold for cats in our speech when we use words like catty, cataclysm and catastrophe. We need to eliminate such words from our vocabulary as it is very disrespectful.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Jeff needed a workin’ pen for his little herd of cows. He decided all he needed was some panels and a head gate. He rounded up some 16-foot panels of continuous fence, a metal head gate and two 8-foot posts.

Part of his intention was to involve his family with the cow project. Let them get a sense of what it takes to raise and manage cows. To teach them by example about the work ethic and Christian behavior. Jeff was qualified; he was a dealer for one of those companies that sell cattle handling equipment. Of course, he decided he could cut costs and labor because he knew the short cuts. He only had 20 cows, so a second-hand head catch would work. Some of the panels were damaged at the store, he could use them. On roundup day he was ready.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 8-25-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Gentle readers, I had never heard the phrase “on matters and such” before until I was driving around Buckhorn canyon with friend Dave who had a small ranch nearby.

“We got to stop and see Eddie,” says Dave. “He is one interesting character as you’ll ever meet.” Now, let me stop you right here and be honest. Are those the exact words Dave said? I ain’t sure as it was over 25 years ago, but it is darn close.

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August 25, 2014 — 

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-18-14

August 25, 2014 — 

I mentioned last week that the Chase County Fair has come and gone for 2014. I also mentioned that for the first time in more than 30 years, ol’ Nevah and I actually made some official entries in the fair.

Now, this week I’ll mention that our fair entry efforts were not in vain. Ol’ Nevah earned a grand championship purple ribbon for her framed needle-punch entry in the senior crafts division.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 8-18-14

August 25, 2014 — 

I’m ashamed of myself and admit that I’m a sicko. I sit for hours in a dark and secluded room with strained eyes staring at farmer porn in magazines for men with page after page of sexy hard bodies in alluring poses. And I simply can’t get enough.

Oh no, don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking at naked women or anything like that. I’m looking at advertisements for tractors, trucks and equipment in farm magazines. It’s my big secret, well not now that the “CAT” is out of the bag. See what I mean, I can’t even go two paragraphs without referring to big yellow diesel machinery.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 8-18-14

August 25, 2014 — 

When someone tells me they grew up on a dairy farm I say, “You have paid your dues, my son.”

The offspring of a dairyman that follows in his father’s footstep is as scarce as a second generation Nobel Prize winner, bomb dismanteler, or president of North Korea! So it is with pleasure that I congratulate those dairymen who are havin’ a heyday this year.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 8-18-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Just now, gentle readers, I plucked a lemon drop out of the fruit jar on the kitchen cabinet ’cause my sweet tooth told me to. I like things that are colored yellow. I love lemon pie and lemon pudding. I like a good lemon cake but lemonade gives me heartburn. Go figure.

Little Miss Martha is partly responsible for me liking the color yellow. It was her favorite color. She preferred yellow roses over red roses. She always wanted our house to be painted yellow. Just recently I decided I would do exactly that. I had several shades of yellow in little cans that I got from the big box store that I was applying to my house so I could make an informed decision on which one would be the right one. My daughter, Sunni, has a degree in interior design and she suggested that I try several shades as to not overdo it. As I was applying the different shades this huge, I ain’t makin’ this up, yellow butterfly came floating by. Back and forth, back and forth, just fluttering as if it had to get my attention. I paused long enough to name it Martha. Martha was like a butterfly. She was soft, mellow, graceful, beautiful and non threatening. I am almost sure Martha was part of that yellow butterfly or just maybe it had been sent by her. At least I like to consider those sort of things ... do you?

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 8-18-14

August 25, 2014 — 

When you spend a lot of your life working outside, as those of us in farming and ranching do, you get to watch a day start, unfold and end. Sunrise to sunset, and all the small changes of light and temperature in between. It’s no surprise that talking about the weather is a reliable topic among farmers and ranchers — almost as reliable as the topic of various ailments among those of who are “getting on.”

In Colorado, and over most of the Colorado Plateau, there is almost always a monsoon season in late July, which usually rains on second cutting hay, and this monsoon is followed by some evenings and early mornings in August that give us a hint of the upcoming fall. There is a slight nip in the air. As one old timer puts it, “On a mid-August morning, the breeze has whiskers.”

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 8-16-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Some gifts last a month, others might last a couple years, but if you buy the right kind of gift, made of durable materials, and if the person who receives it likes it so much that they take good care of it, it could last a lifetime.

Such is the case with a saddle. I like good saddles and I like to buy things made of real leather. Maybe it’s a little self serving since I raise cattle who, along with tasty beef, produce a durable, leather cattle hide.

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Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 8-16-14

August 25, 2014 — 

Nearly every acceptance speech known to recent man includes the words, “I am humbled by this award.”

As sometimes happens, the word is incorrectly used, likely for the simple reason that ‘everyone is doing it.’ Someone said it, and the phrase had a nice ring to it and the mistake was repeated.

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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 8-16-14

August 25, 2014 — 

The other day I vacuumed up a lizard tail on our living room carpet. Six months ago this would have totally freaked me out (and it did when we first moved here) but now that we’ve lived in Texas for a few months, I’ve become a little desensitized.

Lizards and bugs are not my thing, but my 5-year-old son Garrett likes animals of any kind. He has been loving it here in Texas — there are so many things to catch. Grasshoppers were about the only thing he could seem to find in Scott City. My husband took him to a thrift store a few weeks ago and got him an old 10 gallon fish tank. The tank has already housed a variety of lizards, geckos, toads and crickets.

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

Sometimes life takes you on adventures you never thought you would have and one such side road in Wyoming led me to a legendary trail of wonder. I was returning home early one morning traveling along Hwy 120, between Thermopolis and Cody, and noticed a small sign for an archaeological site which I had never noticed before. Since I was ahead of schedule and the morning was sunny and nice, I took the turn onto Hot Spring County Rd 10, following the little direction signs. The road took me at 5 miles, where another small sign pointed to turn right onto a gravel road, Cottonwood Creek Rd. I followed it at 2.7 miles, all the while thinking I was just headed out into the prairie, when it curved to the left and through a small gate. I continued along and soon the road headed downhill, where I noticed a new little log building and nice covered picnic area. There was no one in sight but a large RV was parked nearby and before long, a caretaker came out and greeted me, “Welcome to Legend Rock State Archaeological Site ... it’s a nice day for exploring.”

She invited me into the log visitor center, where she soon had me immersed in the history and information of this unusual and sacred Wyoming site. For centuries, this area has been a place where Native Peoples have come and carved images into the tall rock faces along the creek bed. These fascinating images provide a glimpse into the physical and spiritual lives of those who lived in the region. Sites like these are said to be sacred places, to be honored by the descendents of those who created the images. The petroglyphs here at Legend Rock are thought to be over 11,000 years old, surviving both the effects of weather and time. Many native peoples still believe that the spirits of the images, even now, reside here within the rocks.

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Candy Moulton: Reading the West 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

Mountain man. Indian trader. Frontier businessman. Community Founder. Family man. Explorer. Rancher. All these are labels that can be attributed to John Baptiste Richard — whose name is sometimes spelled Richeau, other times rendered as it is pronounced — Reshaw.

A contemporary of Jim Bridger and Kit Carson, Richard is not so well known, but he is perhaps as important as those two men. Richard started his career as a fur trader, but he quickly found it was more lucrative to sell whiskey to emigrants and trade it to the Indians, all while eluding the watchful eyes of Indian agents. Richard first headquartered near Fort Laramie, making trips to Pueblo for supplies including the whiskey he traded at his post.

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Lee Mielke: Monthly Dairy Prices 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

The Agriculture Department announced the July Federal order Class III benchmark milk price Wednesday at $21.60 per hundredweight, up 24 cents from June, $4.22 above July 2013, and equates to about $1.86 per gallon. While the uptick reversed two months of decline, Class III futures portend a turnaround in August. The August contract settled Friday, August 1, at $21.47; September, $21.57; October, $20.82; November, $19.92; and December at $19.48. That would portend a 2014 average of $21.74 per cwt, up from $17.99 in 2013 and $17.44 in 2012.

The July Class IV price is a record high $23.78 per cwt., up 65 cents from June and $4.88 above a year ago. The Class IV seven month average stands at $23.19, up from $18.27 at this time a year ago and $14.84 in 2012. The Class III average now stands at $22.52, up from $17.69 a year ago and $16.01 in 2012.

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Robyn Scherer: From the Edge of Ring 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

In my many years of raising livestock, I have had the opportunity to witness hundreds of animals breathe new life. Each time I deliver a baby, I marvel at the miracle that has taken place and am grateful for the opportunity to share time in this animal’s life.

This summer has been no different. Near the end of July, my sow Peyton was due to farrow. She farrowed right on time, and I was there with her every step of the way.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-No Ranch 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

I received a cute snake story from Ross from down the road a ways.

He related how when he was a young man he helped a feller, an older gent, stack hay out of the field and then restack it in another location. This all took place in the foothills west of the O No. It seems that there were usually two hay trucks in the field getting loaded at the same time and then unloaded and stacked in a barn. Mr. Cope, the older gentleman came out to the hay field to see how the boys were getting along with stacking and moving hay. He apparently decided that he would jump in one of the trucks with one of the young bucks that was moving the hay and just observe how it was all going. Ross says that it wasn’t long before Mr. Cope bailed out of that truck and took off running to his pickup. It seems the young feller driving the truck ask Mr. Cope if he wanted to look in the glove box at the baby rattler that he had caught and put in there. Apparently not!

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

Except for memory failure, body parts collapsing, inability to jog, jump or do the limbo, old age is a blast. People open doors for you, help you climb up steps, ramps and hillsides and address you as “Ma’am.”

My current blast effort is completing the manuscript to what will undoubtedly become a classic show (bragging rights come with advancing years). I’m speaking of “Older Than Dirt, the Musical.” So far I’ve got 22 songs — parodies and original tunes — on the subject of dotage. Not sad, not woe-is-me, not full of wise clichés — heck no. Older Than Dirt, the Musical is meant to entertain, evoke laughter, and celebrate that wondrous ride called: Life! The following is a parody. Read it, but don’t weep.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

When you hear cowboys tellin’ stories, it’s common for a listener to say, “It’s a wonder you weren’t killed!”

“Well, all I did was rope that sorry, no good, fightin’ bull with the crooked horn and tie him to a post in the corral, then throw another rope on him and tied it to the other side, then pulled him tight ’cause I was by myself, you know. I had him out there in the middle of the corral sort of stabilized to where I thought I could sneak up and lance that abscess. He was fightin’ it of course, but I figgered I could at least take a stab at it, but I must have had too much slack in the line, or I underestimated how strong he was, ’cause when I got within a body length, he charged!

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

My Grandpa wanted me to be a lawyer because as a child I was argumentative and always on the lookout for an easy buck. But I never wanted to wear a suit or be cooped up all day with crooks and ambulance chasers in some courtroom.

I still enjoy a good argument though and seldom do I let an opportunity pass to practice. Such was the case as my wife and I were ripping out our front lawn which I’d groomed meticulously for 25 years. Across the road two hikers, Mr. and Mrs. Greeny, got out of a hybrid SUV wearing spandex and hiking boots and unloaded two wolf-hybrids that eyed me suspiciously. I’m used to this because we live next to a huge state park where people like to hike. I don’t know why, because danger lurks around every turn with rattlesnakes, mountain lions and lost Sierra Clubbers all ready to pounce.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-11-14

August 11, 2014 — 

The Chase County Fair wuz this week and, as usual, the best part wuz interacting with a large slice of the aggie population of the county and getting column material from them.

Here’s a sample:

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Guess the Year 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

Congress ratifies peace treaty between US and Britain.

William Herschel announces star Lambda Herculis as apex.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

One of the new, exciting developments in agriculture is the potential for unmanned aerial systems to give farmers and ranchers a bird’s eye view of what’s going on with their plants and animals.

Maybe that’s what our 10-year-old had in mind when he bought a model rocket launch set with money he had been saving. Kind of a next step into UAS technology for the Taylor Ranch following up on 4th of July bottle rockets and parachute fireworks.

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