Opinion, Discussion and Analysis

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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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

This true story from a few decades ago falls into my Mental Home Video category. If you picture it happening in your mind, it will be even better than a current-day YouTube video.

This story comes from an eye-witness friend of mine, ol’ B.A. Ryder, who wuz working in those days as a cowboy for a prominent Flint Hills rancher, ol’ Baron O. DeHeard, whose family wuz one of the early pioneers in the Hills.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

Wow! I gotta’ tell ya gentle readers, it is hot outside this morning. I have been trimming horses feet and had to quit. That’s hard on an old guy like me whether it’s hot or not. Now, those are just the facts. I didn’t color around the edges and did my best to stay inside the lines.

What in the heck are you babblin’ about? You may ask. Well, I had a reader confront me about a recent column. He thought I might have been a little ambitious with some of my reporting on what some states dole out in the way of welfare. Now we all know that cowboys are many times guilty of adding a little flavor to their stories and that’s what will make a good story a better story much of the time. In this case I was reporting facts that even I found hard to believe and you may have as well as the above mentioned reader.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

It is my highly respected opinion of myself that the reason that we in the United States have the highest divorce rate in the world is because of deodorant, mouthwash and perfume.

Now, you may find this subject matter stinky and offensive but hear me out.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

Who would like RFDtv off the air? Or U.S. Farm Report? Who would like Farm Bureaus shut down, along with the National Cattlemen’s Association, the Pork Producers, the Egg Council, the Northern Ag Network, Range Magazine, the Delmarva Farmer, the Farm Journal, the Beef Checkoff, the Brownfield Ag Network? Who would like to make it illegal for movie stars, sports stars, heroes, singers and baby calves to be pictured with a milk moustache?

ANSWER: Any person or group that does not want people to know “Where their food comes from.” The first one that comes to mind is Humane Society of the U.S. (not associated with the local Humane Society in your home town). They make a living attempting to make farmers and ranchers look bad. I don’t question their motive, it’s a job, it’s how they pay the bills. They come to work each day and send out letters asking for the “Cash” so they can “fight the evil farmers and ranchers.” As long as they can keep their donors misinformed, blindfolded and mislead about the whole truth, the “Cash” keeps comin’ in!

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

Sasha and Sam own a summer camp located high up in a gorgeous wilderness area. In summer, as soon as most of the snow is gone, Sasha and Sam take guests up into the high country to camp, fish, ride, hike and generally become acquainted with the glory of Nature.

Sasha is also a writer and poet and we frequently trade bits of writing back and forth for editing purposes. Thanks to today’s amazing technology, we can exchange comments even if she’s horseback and herding dudes in the hills. Which is a long string of words to say that I emailed Sasha with a question about this week’s column.

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 8-4-14

August 4, 2014 — 

Getting on is about recognizing, and acknowledging, your inner old man or inner old woman. All of us who are lucky enough to have lived long enough get old will have to do this.

It’s interesting to note that in 1960 the population of the U.S. was 177 million. In the 1960s, over 70 million baby boomers became teenagers, meaning that almost half the population of the U.S. consisted of boomers. No wonder this group, now retiring, thinks it is so important: when the boomers came of age, almost ever other person in the country was one of them.

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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 8-2-14

August 4, 2014 — 

I nearly cried when we pulled into the entrance of our new gated community in Granbury, Texas. Maybe it was the 10-1/2 hour drive from Scott City or the stress of weeks of packing and saying goodbye to friends, but something in me snapped. In the moment, driving through that gate felt like burying my dream of living on a ranch forever. The security guard in the booth may as well have been the grim reaper announcing that I was bound to a life of living in the city for eternity.

I seriously considered refusing to go through the gate and instead sitting down on the curb with my dog and having a pity party. Thankfully though, my husband and kids were in the pickup ahead of me and the last shred of good judgment I had at the time told me that they would have probably been scarred for life if I caused a scene. So, I did drove through the gate and the half mile to our new rental.

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Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 8-2-14

August 4, 2014 — 

This time of the year “degrees” makes us think of how hot or mild it is outside. Another use of the word has nothing to do with temperature but concerns what most of us call “small world” stories about degrees of separation. That is, when visiting with people who are not relatives, you will soon find a third person that both of you know. That is one degree of separation, the smallest of small world stories.

The degrees signify the number of people it takes to find a common acquaintance. It works like this: At a Christmas dinner party with seven people in attendance, three of whom are from New York City, my husband learned that the NYC gentleman’s uncle was known by my husband some 45 years ago, here in South Dakota. According to the theory first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy that is just one degree of separation.

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Mr. Truck 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

It’s a big year for Ford Trucks, last week I was in West Virginia driving new 2015 Super Duty’s towing big trailers in the Appalachian mountains, this week I was in Detroit covering more news on the all new 2015 F150 that comes out closer to Thanksgiving.

The new aluminum skin F150 also has a new engine, the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6. While shedding over 700 pounds on the F150, even with the same displacement engine as the Toyota midsize Tacoma, the F150 with the 2.7L V-6 is rated to tow 8,500 pounds. Twin turbo 2.7L V6 EcoBoost with 325 horsepower and 375 pound foot of torque, Auto Start-Stop shutting of the engine when you stop and starting again when you let off the brake and the first gas engine from Ford to use a compacted graphite iron cylinder block, as used in Ford’s 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine. Wow twin turbo’s, engine block from the diesel and more power than Fords 3.5L V6 Ti- VCT engine! The other two engine options in the 2015 F150 are the famous 3.5L V6 EcoBoost the 5.0L V-8. That’s three V6s and one V8 engine to choose from. Then when you move up to the Super Duty, you only get two choices, the 6.2L V8 gasser and the 6.7L V8 Power Stroke diesel.

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Rocky Mountain Mystery Photo 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

Do you know what this is?

Deanna White of Kiowa, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Plains Edition Mystery Photo 7-26-14

July 28, 2014 — 

Do you know what this is?

Amy Bashtovoi of Sidney, Neb., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Candy Moulton: On the Trail 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

Right up front I will admit one of my very favorite places to experience Old West history is in Montana — Virginia City and Nevada City to be precise. The first time I went to Virginia City years and years ago, I was on a press trip with Travel Montana. We’d been tooling around Western Montana for several days visiting various locations, always looking for ideas for future articles.

When we drove into Virginia City, I knew I had found the Old West in all its glory. The buildings, now owned by the Montana Historical Society, are original. There was the Bale of Hay Saloon, Fairweather Inn, Rank’s Mercantile and other businesses. The Virginia City Players present a melodrama during the summer; the fire truck gives tours.

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Candy Moulton: Reading the West 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

Those two words send the fictitious Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett out on one case after another in the new collection of short fiction by C. J. Box that includes 10 stories, several of them featuring the character of the best selling novels.

If you read C.J. Box regularly, you might have seen some of these stories as most have appeared in previous anthologies or limited edition releases, but three of them are included in this collection and published for the first time. There are four stories featuring the novel characters Joe Pickett and Nate Romanowski, the master falconer who lives under his own rules.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

People have asked, “Where do you find ideas for humor?” Or: “What’s your inspiration?” “What do you think is funny?” And so forth and so on.

Most of the time, it’s a matter of choosing. Given the horrors happening all over the globe, one could become chronically depressed. While not suggesting serious matters should be ignored, I prefer to “sing about what is good and decent and enjoyable.” I don’t know where that quote originated, but it resonates in my brain.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

An interview with several dud wranglers and packers showed they have accommodated the increasing number of large people. Using Belgians, Percherons and their crosses are mentioned often. Draft horses are gentle beasts by nature and most wranglers are ready with a hefty footstool to assist in mounting up. This is done out of respect for the infrequent rider whose needs must be met. I admire the wrangler’s willingness despite the increase in cost to shoe, maintain and feed the heavy horses. The object is to give the customer a “good experience.”

Can you imagine an airline sending out a memo to all agents, flight attendants, telephone operators and bag handlers to make a significant effort to give the customer a “good experience?” As much as I depend on the airlines in my business, I cannot picture five or six airline executives sitting around the table debating how to serve them a better snack while on a three and a half hour flight.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

I’m not what you’d call a real people person. I like being alone with myself and enjoy people only in small bunches. I get the heebie-jeebies in a crowd or the big city and, like Owen Wister, author of “The Virginian,” I like the feeling that “each breath you take tells you no one else has ever used it before you.”

Other than my college years and one year on the outskirts of Albuquerque, I’ve always lived in, or near, a small town. For the past 30 years we’ve lived next to a sprawling state park on the outskirts of a town called Los Osos, where an onslaught of people has yet to arrive. I get my mail in a neighboring town because 30 years ago no post office boxes were available at our Post Office and some weeks, due to high demand, their allotment of one roll of stamps per week was sold before I got there.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

Gentle readers, I came across a really neat human intrest story and wanted to sharing with y’all.

I intend no malace towards anyone in this story which is a true story. Here we go ... it appears we have the arresting police officer on the witness stand being drilled by the defendant’s lawyer.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 7-28-14

July 28, 2014 — 

I cannot believe the low temperatures brought into the Flint Hills by the so-called “Summer Polar Vortex” or the “Summer Polar Incursion.” This week of July is usually one of the hottest, and yet, here I am, waking up to low temperatures in the 50s and enjoying highs in the 70s. All in all, I appreciate this short little phase of global warming.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 7-19-14

July 21, 2014 — 

I’ve always tried to do my part when it comes to benevolent causes in my community and around the region. I work hard to raise money for student scholarships through our Dollars for Scholars chapter, I’ve donated a little of my time as an entertainer to help people fight cancer at Relay For Life events, I agree to donate blood whenever I can and I always buy raffle tickets, popcorn, candy bars, fruit and most anything else kids sell to support their FFA chapter, 4-H club, scout troop or church group.

But I’ve never been asked to be the target at a dunking booth ... until last week. As the country song says, everyone’s kind of famous in a small town. I guess I was the closest thing to a local celebrity they could think of in my nearby town of Rugby, N.D., when the Lutheran church was recruiting victims/honorees for their dunking booth at the Pierce County Fair.

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