Opinion, Discussion and Analysis
When it comes to attitude the eyes have it.
I recall when researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada came to the conclusion that the more visible the color white is in a cow’s eye the wilder she is. They found that the color white ranged from 20 percent white being visible up to 50 percent. I was not surprised with this finding because I seem to collect cows with white eyeballs.Learn more »
When my old Texas friend, retired engineer Sly Drewel, wuz visiting last fall, we lamented the loss from language usage of many of the old down-home, colorful sayings and curious expressions that he and I grew up hearing in our rural communities and that we both still use today.
We both feared that many of those kinds of sayings that had agrarian roots would go into the language landfill because most of the millennium generation will never hear those sayings and phrases, nor understand them if they hear them uttered.Learn more »
Jobs, jobs, jobs.
There’s a lot of talk these days about job creation. I know a few old timers who shake their heads whenever they hear people talk about “creating” jobs. Our older generations usually didn’t worry about somebody creating a job for them. They found a job or made a job.Learn more »
Music has been with us since man decided he could kick up his heels, or so I opine. I love a lot of things about life and two of those things are little children and music.
You most likely won’t find me rattling my bones to rap music. Rap music is not in my wheel house.Learn more »
“I’m ticked off, I’m furious, I’m spittin’ nails!” grumbled Savannah.
“Oh, oh,” I said, knowing that when Savannah has a mad on, I’ll get to hear about it. “What’s goin’ on?” I asked.Learn more »
“We can expect to see extreme cold with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”
~ The President’s science and technology advisor - January 11, 2014.Learn more »
Not to slight schools, teachers nor formal education, but there are times that students who aren’t attending school can learn more, in a practical sense, than sitting in a classroom. Parents who use this choice wisely and discriminately can boost their student’s knowledge far beyond their years.
One 9-year-old missed school when she went on a bull-buying excursion with her parents. It was a trip that necessitated her “skipping” school and seemed a positive way for her to expand her horizons. Bridget has grown up on a ranch, has heard the financial discussions and knows the basic ins and outs of ranching.Learn more »
Do you know what this is?
Ken Kirkwood of Price, Utah, is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.Learn more »
Do you know what this is?
Jim Holm of Sutherland, Neb., found this curious item and is wondering if any of our readers can identify what it might be.Learn more »
Dr. John H. Watson is introduced to Sherlock Holmes.
Ancient Egyptian obelisk “Cleopatra’s Needle” erected in Central Park, New York.Learn more »
Valentine T. McGillycuddy, weak and on the verge of becoming an alcoholic after a stint as a doctor at the Wayne County Insane Asylum in Detroit, started a new career as a topographical engineer and cartographer when he was in his early 20s. He worked on surveys of the Great Lakes and Chicago following its great fire in 1871, and first saw the Great Plains as a member of the Northern Boundary Survey in 1872.
McGillycuddy was with the United States Northern Boundary Survey team from 1872 through the summer of 1874 as the topographical engineers worked their way west 860 miles from Lake of the Woods in northern Wisconsin to the Rocky Mountains at what is now Glacier National Park in Montana.Learn more »
When Lottie Allbright, director of the county historical society and undersheriff in a rural county in Western Kansas, responds to a middle-of-the-night call to find a dead man floating in the clean-out wash pit at a cattle feedlot, you know Hidden Heritage by Charlotte Hinger is not your routine novel.
Allbright combines her historical interests with her inate investigative sense as she sets out to find out what happened. Admittedly when she was standing by the stinky wash pit (imagine for yourselves how it would be given that the pit is where the cattle trucks washed out once they’d unloaded), she did not see that the man had a slash across his neck. Sheriff Sam Abbott saw that little detail, not immediately revealing it to feedlot owner Dwayne Weston, who identified the dead man as Victor Diaz, a hard-worker who had climbed his way up from the ranks to become the feedlot foreman.Learn more »
When toy haulers first appeared, I knew they would be big. You can haul ATV’s, motorcycles, snowmobiles and golf carts. Toy haulers also make it easier to ship your stuff to trade shows. RV’s have less trouble with police and the questions of being commercial or civilian. So why not use a RV toy hauler to haul horses, the first off road transportation?
Stable Boy’s inventor Tony Distelrath thought the same thing and built a module stall for horses in his toy hauler. He used it hauling horses and his home away from home with one vehicle. You’ll see folks using expensive horse trailer Living Quarters or towing a horse trailer with one truck and a travel trailer with a second truck or SUV.Learn more »
When I was a young high school graduate, the thought of going to an expensive eastern Ivy League school never even crossed my mind. If it had crossed my mind, I’m sure I’d have chased the thought away from our modest and mortgaged ranch.
With my two siblings, we were the first generation in our family to even have a chance at college. Dad left school and began work after the 10th grade, Mom graduated high school but knew that was as far as she could go in her immigrant Norwegian family.Learn more »
Heard this funny true story last week. During the cold weather, a mother, her kindergarten son, and two family friends were playing a board game at the kitchen table.
As play progressed, the kindergartner wuz leading the game by a wide margin and wuz bragging loudly about his prowess at the game. That’s about the time the kid’s father walked into the room, saw the status of the board game, heard his son’s comments and made this comment of his own, “You’d better learn to be careful how you treat and talk to women, son.”Learn more »
Gentle readers, that big bright light that I have been keepin’ an eye on today has me lookin’ ahead.
Yep, the ole sun is out and warming up Mother Earth and melting all of this snow that lays in bunches all over the place. You most likely will have a hard time choking this down ... but I had a robin fly into one of my pine trees just outside the window on February the 10. It was one cold, froggy, nasty day with frozen fog and snow on everything including ole Clancy, my dog and Howdy, my fat paint hoss. It was also my deceased wife’s birthday and was a sort of sad and gloomy day for me until I saw that robin. I finished my coffee and started in on a good spring cleaning of my house. That’s how much it perked me up. Our spring should come forth with lots of green grass and hopeful hearts for what lays ahead for the summer. I know, I know, we still should have another four to six weeks of snow and cold on occasion, but, February is almost over.Learn more »
My wife and I once leased a ranch whose western boundary was a busy highway. Quite regularly I used this opportunity to ride along the fence on my trusty steed, Gentleman, to show the passersby what a real cowboy looks like. Gentleman and I cut quite the impressive figure, even if I do say so myself. As I admired my centaur-like shadow I was jealous of the motorists who got to see such a muscular stud, with a dinner-plate jaw and masculine extremities. And that was just my horse, I didn’t look too bad either in my faded Stetson that looked like it had been run over by a herd of buffalo with loose bowels. Every now and then a rental car would squeal to a halt and a tourist from one of the Scandinavian countries would jump out to take a snapshot to take home and show his or her friends that the American west was alive and well.
It was during my HighwayMan years that I was flooded with requests from ranchers to borrow my wonder-horse to breed to their mares. OK, so only one person actually flooded me with requests, and that was my friend and neighbor Jeep.Learn more »
On the north side of Denver abides the city of Commerce City. There, last fall, U.S. officials dumped millions of dollars worth of ivory tusks, carvings, and jewelry into a steel rock crusher and pulverized it into dust and tiny chips.
The officials’ objective was to reduce the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants each year.Learn more »
Read or hear the initials NRA and immediately one thinks National Rifle Association and Charlton Heston. Regardless of anyone’s stance on the question of gun ownership and regulations of same, there’s another constitutionally guaranteed tool that could be misused in the wrong hands.
I’m speaking of Hammers. It is positively criminal the way hammer manufacturers and hammer dealers are allowed to sell, dispense, market and supply these dangerous implements to anyone, no matter the purchaser’s age or competency. Any nutcase can buy a hammer at any hardware store — and with NO background checks!Learn more »
The Agriculture Department announced the January Federal order Class III milk price this week at $21.15 per hundredweight (cwt.), up $2.20 from December 2013, $3.01 above January 2013, the highest level it has been since August 2011, and equates to about $1.82 per gallon. It is 84 cents above California’s comparable 4b cheese milk price.
Class III futures settled Friday, pointing to an unseasonal peak for the year at $22.87 in February and would be the highest milk price ever. The March contract settled at $20.72; April, $19.44; May, $18.81; and June at $18.78.Learn more »
Gentle readers, on rare occasion I get a little philosophical and words and phrases seem to flood my vacant but curious brain. This happened in the near past and rhymes and reason wouldn’t leave me alone. So I penned this poem I call Rhyme and Reason.
If it gets a little to deep for ya ... go shovel some snow.Learn more »
This month’s issue of National Geographic magazine has a very interesting article about new high-tech ways that scientists are delving into the very mechanics of how the human brain works.
Without getting into deep details, using powerful computers to analyze data, scientists have sliced off microscopic slivers of brain tissue and looked at them under an electron microscope. They’ve taken 3-D pictures of brain cells (neurons) and the dendrites and the axions that transmit the brain’s chemical/electrical messages from one cell to another by “jumping” through a gap between axions called synapses.Learn more »
Do you believe in climate chaos?
As suggested in earlier columns, the climate has always changed, so belief may not be as important as understanding. I prefer the term climate chaos, which points to extremes of weather, which we notice directly.Learn more »
We have lots of folks come through our office and home. We try to be hospitable. While cleaning up the office, I found a pair of glasses. They were the frameless kind that make you look like Benjamin Franklin. I asked around the office, yet no one claimed them.
In the midst of all this I had been trying to buy a pair of glasses on the Internet. I had actually bought several pair on Craig’s List but since I have astigmatism in my left eye it was hard to find one with my requirements. I did get a pair whose right lens was for astigmitites (or whatever optometrists call our handicap).Learn more »
There had been some weird things happening at the ranch. One day I had a perfectly straight hay stack and the next day it had fallen over. I found hay feeders broken to smithereens and the shop door was mysteriously left ajar. All of a sudden water troughs were overflowing and gates were left open. There was only one logical solution to this mystery.
You might suggest that it was just wild animals, the Abominable Snowman, or even perhaps that I may in fact have left the shop door open myself. Or perhaps the water troughs needed repair after 60 years.Learn more »
On farms and ranches, tradition is developed by repeated activities that do not change over the years. Yes, new tools may be introduced to deal with chores; better and quicker communication systems come into play — such as cell phones, iPod/Pads/drones and politician’s promises. The basics of country life, however, remain pretty much the same year in and year out. Country women certainly know so ...
You know you’re a country woman living on a farm or ranch when:Learn more »
We all have decisions to make, some easier than others. The hard ones may take a little more time because much is at stake and we need to know more first.
One of the first things folks do these days is to see what others think by using some kind of online web search. People across the country could have faced a similar situation and written about their decision.Learn more »
Solomon Butcher first saw Nebraska in 1880 when he joined his father in claiming homestead land in northeast Custer County. He had been working in Ohio as a traveling salesman, but joined his father, brother George, and brother-in-law J.R. Wabel when they migrated from Illinois to Custer County. Not unlike other plains homesteaders Solomon’s first home was a wagon cover stretched over a hole in the ground.
Pioneering did not suit him one iota and within just a couple of weeks, he turned his claim back to the government. He returned to Minneapolis, attended Minnesota Medical College, and met Lillie Barber Hamilton. They married and in October of 1882 returned to Nebraska where he started teaching school. As a young man he had worked as an apprentice to a tin-typist, learning about photography. Now back in Nebraska he saved his money and purchased a photographic outfit.Learn more »
When I was a kid I really wanted to be a feedlot pen rider. It’s not a dream that most people have, but I couldn’t think of a better job to do when I was a teenager. Working calves on horseback was (and still is) one of my favorite things.
Unfortunately, though, there weren’t any feedlots near my house when I was growing up, so I never got to be a pen rider.Learn more »
To the U. S. Census Bureau, South Dakota is in the West North Central Midwest. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, “The western North Central States include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota.”
In the eyes of the American Society of Travel Writers, the state is in their Central Region and their West Region ends with Wyoming. Ditto for “Sunset Magazine.” What could possibly be more western than Deadwood, S.D.?Learn more »