Opinion, Discussion and Analysis

Candy Moulton: Sharing the history of the Apache tribe

December 15, 2014 — 

New Mexico author Lynda Sanchez has spent more than three decades preparing the manuscript that became her newest book, “Apache Legends and Lore of Southern New Mexico: From the Sacred Mountain.”

She first received part of the manuscript in 1982, and at that time had plans to finish it in concert with Eve Ball, an author who had already developed a reputation for writing about the Apaches. The completed book includes not only that original material, but is also a general history of the Apache people. It also includes material on St. Joseph Apache Mission, Eve Ball, and has an entire chapter on Cave and Bat folklore. The book includes more than 75 photos, many of which have never been published before.

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Gwen Petersen: Mental decline with age: a poem

December 15, 2014 — 

Staying ahead of the game — nay, staying even with the game becomes a lost cause as one ages. However, slowing down does not mean going stupid. Recently someone sent me a whimsical bit about age-related mental decay, debility, deterioration. So I put the opinion in verse form.

Older people do not

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tweet, twitter or text

December 15, 2014 — 

I reckon I may just be an old foggie gentle readers. It could be that I am just jealous because I am so far out of touch with what the rest of you are doing. To me a Tweety Bird “tweets,” I don’t know what a twitter does or really what it is.

I do understand texting because too much of the time when I am involved in a conversation, someone will pull out their iPhone to receive a text. Now that annoys me greatly. I think we are becoming a society of folks that are being slowly pushed into becoming something that we thought we would never become. My kids, grandkids, relative and friends do some of the three “t’s” if not all three.

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Baxter Black: Cowboy Christmas Carol

December 15, 2014 — 

This is the story of Tiny Slim Crachett,

a genuine reprobate

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Lee Pitts: The ranch perfect neighbor

December 15, 2014 — 

Billionaires have rediscovered land as a secure investment and my neighbor ReRide and I were wondering what kind of neighbors these new ranchers will be.

“They’ll make awful neighbors,” ReRide opined. “Them and their huge ranches that cover two time zones and their pressed jeans, hundred-dollar, monogrammed shirts, with their cows all the same color. Who wants a neighbor like that? They’ll invite you over to preg check cows and they’ll have color coordinated facilities designed by Temple Grandin. They’ll use a different needle for every cow, have electronic ear tags and their hydraulic squeeze chute will be inside a building. The next thing you know you’re wife will be asking, ‘Why don’t we have one of those?’”

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Milo Yield: Cyber scammers and other holiday tales

December 15, 2014 — 

’Tis the season to be jolly, or in the case of ol’ Nevah and me, ’tis the season for attempted scamming — three times in three days.

A gaggle of cyberspace scallawags tried three different ways to convince us to send them some of our money.

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Lee Mielke: Monthly Milk Prices 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

The Agriculture Department announced the November Federal order Class III benchmark milk price Wednesday at $21.94 per hundredweight, down $1.88 from October but still $3.11 above November 2013, a whopping $3.24 above California’s comparable 4b cheese milk price (the biggest gap since May and the biggest since December 2011 prior to that), and equates to about $1.89 a gallon.

Class III futures portend another drop of $4.14 in December to $17.80, as of Friday’s settlement, which would result in a $22.34 Class III average for 2014, up from $17.99 in 2013 and $17.44 in 2012.

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

People often joke about the possibility that humans could someday become extinct if they keep misbehaving. If we look at other species on the planet who have been around for a long time, it’s hard not to notice that humans are behaving in ways that seem to be inconsistent with the way these “successful” species are behaving.

“Success” in this sense is measured in terms of longevity, because without persistence, other traits of a species matter less, if at all, after extinction.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

Ahhhh ... yes, black Monday is over and the Christmas season has begun. Joy, peace, good will towards man and women fighting over Barbie dolls, items being grabbed from other’s shopping carts, shoving, pushing, cursing and fist being thrown.

Yes, Christmas season has begun. We have to get our share, right? We can’t disappoint our kids by not giving them all that they ask for this Christmas. How about giving them a hug like the little black boy hugging the cop over his fear and concern about the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

Alas, this true tale revolves around a watch with a defective watchband. I decided to write the seller a letter of complaint as follows:

To: Concepts in Time

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

I sat down to write this column on Thanksgiving Day eve. I wondered what I could write about Thanksgiving Day that would be meaningful. Then, I opened my e-mail box and found a kindly friend had sent me the following proclamation from our first president, George Washington, establishing Thanksgiving Day in 1789.

Throughout our nation’s history, American Presidents have issued Thanksgiving Proclamations thanking Almighty God for His blessings. Here is the first one given by President George Washington. Who can doubt what he meant for this day to be? I hope you appreciate as much as I did.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

When Marvin Garrett nodded his head, no one knew that eight seconds later the Thomas and Mack Arena would be covered with goose bumps.

Marvin drew “Try Me” in the fourth round at the National Finals Rodeo 1989. He marked her out and hung the steel to’er like the rods on a Union Pacific driver! “Try Me” jumped the track! She slid, slipped and rolled around inside her skin! She punched holes in the arena dirt!

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 12-8-14

December 8, 2014 — 

I want to be sustainable, I really do, I mean, who doesn’t want to be sustainable?

It’s just that I don’t know how.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 12-6-14

December 8, 2014 — 

Winter has come and so have winter chores here on the ranch. With cattle worth so darn much, I weakened and started feeding hay when the temperature hit zero. There was still some grass in the pastures, but I figured I’d diversify the brown grass diet with a little nice green hay.

Feeding hay means depending on a tractor — a machine with all those undependable things like tires and batteries and engines — especially undependable when the weather turns cold it seems.

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Peggy Sanders: Rangeviews 12-6-14

December 8, 2014 — 

Not being a flaming feminist I still do have some observations that a woman’s touch (or engineering ideas) can be easily noticed in our world.

Take the computer ... please! No, really, have you ever hooked up a computer? I contend that women were in charge of determining the male and female connectors and receptacles. The main reason I believe it is the process of assembling the mass of cables to the machine is simple and straightforward. Each receptacle is colored and the corresponding cable’s end is the same color. You match colors, insert and voila, everything is correctly attached. In addition the non-color coded receptacles are shape-coded; that is, only one end of all the cables lying on the floor in the pile will fit into the corresponding hole. All of this is thanks to years of matching up socks and itty-bitty toy parts. It comes naturally to a woman to be practical.

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

I have been happily married these last 33 years to a true rancher. He’s that hard working cowboy type, who continues life on the family homestead and wouldn’t have any other job. Working the land is in his blood and after we got married, it didn’t take me long to figure out that country life is a non-stop 365 day AND night job. Year-round there are animals to care for and feed, corrals and fences to maintain, crops to plant, harvest and irrigate, plus the seemingly non-stop excitement of equipment breakdowns. Weather is always a topic of conversation, around the kitchen table and at the local co-op in town. Livestock prices play a role in replacing the 20 year old frig or paying for more fertilizer. Add in a few natural disasters, like a hailstorm about the time grain is ready to harvest or a sloppy wet springtime and calves getting sick ... life on a ranch always keeps you on your toes.

As any veteran ranch wife will tell you, getting away from the ranch for something other then shipping cows to market, picking up tractor parts or buying groceries, is a very rare event. Getting a cowboy to take a “Vacation” is usually difficult and I’ve learned that it takes a bit of fine finagling to make it happen. Because I knew my cowboy was looking for a new bull to buy and had liked some he’d seen advertised in Washington, I suggested we take a couple days and check them out. Our cows were on pasture and our son agreed to watch the ranch, so he decided it was a good idea. We loaded up the truck and headed west.

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Candy Moulton: Reading the West 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. At age 21, with all of her friends married and many of them already having children, Jessica fears life is passing her by. She realizes some of her own attitude might need some changing, and in this strong Christian western story, she sets out to find a new direction, one in which she is less concerned about herself and more caring toward others.

As this internal transformation begins to take place, in “A Matter of Heart” by Tracie Peterson, two men enter Jessica’s world. Harrison is a rich young lawyer who plans to travel the world and live a life of opulence. His ambitions match Jessica’s dreams, but her heart has begun to change.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

Mildred Mills Norton was born in 1902. That date, obviously, is more than a hundred years gone in the swift river of time. She grew up on a farm near the town of Cornell, Ill. In high school, she stayed in Cornell with her Aunt Eve who owned an ice-cream-drug store. In 1919, Mildred was 17 years of age. Here are some entries from her hand-written (in ink) diary. A fascinating look back at a more innocent world.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

I am hopeful that I am able to read the fine print, gentle readers, after my trip to the eye doc this morning to get my other eye cataract free.

Once upon a time, when I was much younger I read the finest of the fine, fine print on any and everything. We just don’t realize many times as we get older what a fog we are trying to view the world through. I am excited!

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

We’re experiencing “yo-yo” weather here in the Flint Hills this week. Temps have ranged from 8 above zero to a predicted high in the 60s tomorrow. The ponds are frozen over except around the edges where it’s thawed. Today it’s drizzling, but no runoff we could really use for the ponds and watersheds.

A few days it wuz just too cold to go hunting, but yesterday it warmed up enuf that ol’ Rollin Birdz and I went out and worked the dogs on a few of our quail. It wuz good fun and will surely provide some savory eating in a few days.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

There is a bridge to cross in understanding between those who live off the land (rural) and those who benefit from it (urban), but have no personal relationship with it.

Examples abound. I suspect a large portion of urbanites imagine the wolf as a gladiator of the woods. He has a family with little ones. They only eat what they are forced to kill. Sort of a “Lion King” image.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 12-1-14

December 1, 2014 — 

The much-dreaded morning arrived and I was in a funk. Even though I’m prone to being that way, this day was especially depressing for it was the day of the last sale ever to be held at the Templeton Livestock Market. The owners, friends of mine, had sold the property and the land will soon be planted in houses. I don’t blame them, I’d have probably taken the cash too.

We had been expecting this day for a long time but the sale of the property was held up by a lawsuit. It seems the neighbors went to court to stop the sale of the land because they’d grown to love “their” sale yard. These were the same people who years ago moved into the new neighborhood and then complained about the noise and the dust of the auction barn which had been there for 70 years. Now they were especially upset because it was being torn down to make way for houses. It seems they preferred cows to people after all.

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Plains Edition Mystery Photo 11-29-14

December 1, 2014 — 

Albert Barnes of Ft. Collins, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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.

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Rocky Mountain Mystery Photo 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

Do you know what this is?

Albert Barnes of Ft. Collins, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Alyssa weaver: Guess the Year 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

NYC transit fare rises from $1.00 to $1.15.

Notre Dame beats West Virginia for college football championship.

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Aluminium 2015 Ford F150, 700 pounds lighter

November 24, 2014 — 

In the old days, a new truck model would come out with about four new changes. Then Ram in 2014 came out with air ride, 8-speed automatic, a 1/2 ton diesel, larger Hemi, rear coils, air damper, and variable exhaust brake. So about 10 years of upgrades came in one year.

Now for the Ford F150 for 2015, it’s an all new truck. I lost track after I counted 10 major changes. We have all been hearing about the aluminum skin for over a year now. We also know that the 2016 Ford Super Duty will be aluminum skin. But wait there’s more, more than any other truck in history has changed this much.

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

I have yet to hear anyone applaud the concept of daylight savings time. In the first place, no daylight is actually saved, and people know this, and they always suggest that the whole thing is a bit nutty.

The “time change” forces those of us who are older and less comfortable with various electronic devices, to change our clocks twice a year, which can be interesting and frustrating in about equal measure, especially when you have a little arthritis and your fingers are getting bigger while the buttons seem to be getting smaller every season.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

Gentle readers, I am not sure when or where the phrase, “Baby it’s cold outside” was given birth, but I have to tell ya it’s certainly been appropriate here as of late. I think all of you have had your share of this really cold weather except maybe down in the deep south.

I was talking to my brother in Andrews, Texas, this past week and he shared with me that he had been out walking their dogs when it was 24 degrees! I almost “laffed” to myself. “Wow,” I said, “that’s purty cold for down there!”

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

Snake Oil is defined in Wikipedia as: an expression that originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicine but has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. By extension, a snake oil salesman is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is himself or herself a fraud, quack, charlatan, or the like.

One theory: The name originated in the Western regions of the United Sates and is derived from a topical preparation made from the Chinese water snake (Enhydris chinensis) used by Chinese laborers to treat joint pain. The preparation was promoted in North America by travelling salesmen who often used accomplices in the audience to proclaim the benefits of the preparation.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

Well, Mother Nature is making up for the late killing frost — big time. The last two days have seen night time temperatures in the low teens and day time temps in the high 20s — and the wind has constantly pumped in the frigid air from the northwest. And, it’s supposed to stay this way for at least another week, with a high possibility for snow Saturday.

However, prior to the plunge into winter, the hunting season opened and I hunted some of our pen-raised quail with my buddies Rollin Birdz and Dusty Farmer. The scenting conditions — dry and windy — weren’t the best, but we had good morning hunts over the weekend and on Monday and got the dogs back in the swing of hunting.

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