Opinion, Discussion and Analysis

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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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

There’s an old saying that “A cowboy is born, not made.” However, I’d like to propose that if you’re hirin’ a cowboy to help you take care of your stock, you might look twice.

You can’t necessarily assume that because he’s got a black hat and is broke, that he’s a cowboy. He might need a little educatin’ to your way of doin’ things. Even a team roper can be taught to check cattle.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 11-24-14

November 24, 2014 — 

Some market reports show bred heifers selling for $2,700 and young pairs fetching $3,300. And these are commercial cattle! I remember when a whole Gooseneck load of them wouldn’t bring that! These prices are giving cattlemen problems they’ve never had before, like having to hire an accountant and paying income tax. Next thing you know the wife will want to quit one of her jobs in town!

It certainly makes one pause when preg checking. Say an old crippled cow limps into the squeeze chute, is safe in calf but looks like she could die any minute. Do you keep her and take your chances, or do you pay three grand to replace her? I know what I’d do.

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Amanda Radke: A Cowgirl’s Perspective 11-22-14

November 24, 2014 — 

As I write this column, I’m still on cloud nine after attending the Garth Brooks concert in Minneapolis in early November. My husband treated me to tickets for our anniversary, and I was anticipating an awesome night watching my favorite singer perform live from row 13. Little did I know the concert was going to offer a teachable moment, too.

The energy in the stadium was charged up, from the moment Garth walked onto the stage until three hours later when he tipped his hat goodnight. Garth had the same energy and pizazz that he’s famous for, and his top-charting hits like “Standing Outside The Fire,” “Calling Baton Rouge,” and “Friends in Low Places,” made the crowd go wild.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 11-22-14

November 24, 2014 — 

I found myself singing a little lullaby to our 6-year-old daughter the other night, one that my mother used to sing to us as children, and I wondered if anyone else in the world knew the song?

So, as we do these days, I ‘Googled’ it. The way we sing it here, it’s ‘Shoo shoo shoo sha lie la’, and we make up verses and choruses for it as we go, depending on how sleepy, or not, the subject of our singing is. Turns out the actual title was “Shoo shoo shoo sha la la” and it was a fairly famous recording of Canadian country singing yodeler, Wilf Carter.

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Peggy Sanders: Rangeviews 11-22-14

November 24, 2014 — 

Jury duty is a civic duty no one asks to do but when called, good citizens step up for many reasons. One is the thought that if you or I were the one on trial we would want to have jurors who take it seriously. A second is we would also want jurors who were intelligent yet don’t use that intelligence to get out of serving.

After going through the jury selection process it was heartening to see the frank responses to questions, yet nearly every person in the pool said they could overcome or overlook their own experiences and deliberate fairly. That’s all you can ask.

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

If you have ever traveled along Interstate 80 near the Wyoming-Utah border, headed southwest towards Salt Lake City, you have to drive through Echo Canyon. I’ve been through here hundreds of times. It was supposedly named by the early European settlers because of its unique feature that voices and sounds echo here, bouncing back and forth across the canyon walls. Located on the cutout corner of northeastern Utah, it is a long rough red-rock canyon and a link in the chain of America’s history.

Taking an exit off Interstate 80 just inside the canyon, (No. 168-169) I turned onto a frontage road, looking for the little town of Echo City. Just off the road I stopped to read a historic sign, the red rock formations towering above the roadway and railroad tracks. This was the route taken by thousands of people headed west to find their destiny ... where pony express riders carried the mail, east to west and back again ... where telegraph lines and railroads paved new communications across America ... and where the rustic Lincoln highway gave average folks the chance to see lands via their automobile ... all of this these red rock walls were witness to. With a deep breath and the windows down, I headed west up the narrow paved road of “history.”

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Lee Mielke: Monthly Milk Prices 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

The Agriculture Department announced the October benchmark Class III milk price November 5, at $23.82 per hundredweight (cwt.), down 78 cents from September but $5.60 above October 2013, $2.88 above California’s comparable Class 4b cheese milk price, and equates to about $2.05 per gallon. That puts the 2014 Class III average at $22.83, up from $ 17.81 at this time a year ago and $16.98 in 2012.

Class III futures portend more drop to come. The November contract settled Friday at $21.86 and December at $19.18. That would put the year’s average at $22.45, up from $17.99 in 2013 and $17.44 in 2012.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

I’m starting this column on the evening of the full moon — and it’s beautiful on this cool, crisp autumn night. Our view of the heavens and the skies out here in God’s country are wonders to behold.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge Of Common Sense 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

In the land of Nod a movement sprung up to build houses without the use of power tools. The advocates of organic construction (OC) supported the movement because it prohibited the recovery and use of the carbon coal and oil.

To be OC any lumber used must be hand-hewn, saws must be manually operated. Mule power is approved. Machine made tools must be made by a blacksmith and made from stones, dug and formed by hand.

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

I have always had a problem with sex. Just last week I was in the grocery store and spotted the cutest little newborn baby I ever saw. “Isn’t that a beautiful baby boy,” I remarked to no one in particular.

“I’ll have you know that is not a boy ... it is my daughter,” replied an upset shopper in the produce aisle.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

“Hang and rattle,” is cowboy slang for doing everything you can to stay on a bucking horse when it appears you may just lose the battle. But hey, don’t we all hang and rattle over and over as we stumble and struggle in our daily lives?

We just got through “hanging and rattling” by having to listen and watch all of those mostly stupid and insulting political ads. Wow! I’m glad that’s all over for a while.

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 11-17-14

November 17, 2014 — 

In my small Montana community we have established an annual event to honor all military. Our third Salute to Service Men and Women will take place February 21, 2015. It’s a benefit musical variety show — the proceeds split between Big Timber’s Crazy Mountain Museum and Big Hearts Under the Big Sky (BHUBS).

BHUBS is an organization that partners with Montana Outfitters and Guide Associations to bring wounded warriors, breast cancer victims and children suffering life-threatening illness to Montana. The individuals and their families are treated to an outdoor experience of their choosing — camping, hunting, hiking, fishing, trail-riding.

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Peggy Sanders: Rangeviews 11-15-14

November 17, 2014 — 

What is it about living in the prairie that both pleases and repels? After all, we are part of the prairie; we don’t live on it, we live in it. We — the six generations of my family continuously residing within the borders of the same southwestern South Dakota county — have always worked in production agriculture. The prairie is not our God, yet we surely have been formed by it. A large part of prairie living is quietness.

Those of us accustomed to the silence, labor ferociously to protect it. Others, not used to the same silence find it deafening, even frightening, because it is different, new, and uncomfortable — the same reasons some of us are disturbed by unaccustomed noises on occasional forays into cities.

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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 11-15-14

November 17, 2014 — 

When your life doesn’t turn out quite like you plan it to, it’s not easy to be thankful.

I thought that by the time I was in my early 30s my husband and I would have a nice little cattle ranch in Kansas. The kids and I would team pen and rope on the weekends and we’d all help my husband out with ranch chores during the week. I would be the successful author of several books and fly to exotic locations to speak several times a year.

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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 11-10-14

November 11, 2014 — 

Cowboys are known for doing things that make a person wonder, sometimes. Like the cowboy of this tale — known only as Buck to protect his identity — who roped a bear. On purpose.

Being a retired farmer, I am occasionally reminded that farmers invented barbed wire to keep cows out of their fields. Ranchers did not invent barbed wire to keep their cows contained. In fact, I have been known to suspect that some ranchers would prefer their cattle ran freely over the countryside and were gathered occasionally when a bit of money was required to pay bills.

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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-10-14

November 11, 2014 — 

Whew! This has been a busy week on a lot of fronts. On the sports front, my Kansas City Royals came up 90-feet and one run shy of sending the World Series into extra innings.

However, the Boys in Blue are still the American League champions and the future looks bright for the team. Perhaps next year.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 11-10-14

November 11, 2014 — 

Country folks, as my friend and fellow columnist, Lee Pitts puts it, are “folks that live at the end of dirt roads.” How true and some of that is changing. I can see it almost every day.

There are a number of folks that are beginning to realize the value of “folks that live at the end of dirt roads,” and they want to be a part of that way of life. Not all are able in this economy to get out of the city and all that makes for higher blood pressure and move to the country and still be able to make a living. I so wish that everyone that wanted to live that lifestyle could do so.

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Baxter Black: On The Edge of Common Sense 11-10-14

November 11, 2014 — 

Skip, whattya doin’ now days?”

“Oh, I’m doin’ a little day work for Irsik and ridin’ two green colts for $50 a month. I think I’ve just about sold that load of salvage lumber I traded Mr. Jolly out of. Some guy came by the other day and wants me to audition for the Marlboro Man. Said they pay pretty good even if they don’t pick me. I’ve put down on some lease pasture. If my pardner comes through we’re gonna turn out a few steers. I’ve got some other deals workin’, playin’ guitar with Butch and Jim on Fridays, shoein’ the odd horse now and then. Ol’ Man Gammon pays me to irrigate his yard every other Sunday. Other than that ... not much.”

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Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 11-10-14

November 11, 2014 — 

Realizing they have an untapped resource for making money, many ranch families have extended their operations to include income streams besides livestock. Some have resorted to wrangling dudes, guiding hunters or renting out their ranches for weddings. After all, there is a certain symmetry, whether you’re trying to find a buck or you’re getting married, both have about the same odds for success. You also have to have a license for both and there is a bag limit, so to speak.

As with a contractor who builds a house, the real money to be made in marrying or hunting is in the “add-ons” you can charge for. For example, if you have to be at the scene of the accident anyway, you might as well get paid to be the one who marries the lucky couple. Granted, it does require some sort of certification but the barrier to entry is quite low. When my sister wanted me to marry her, not in a literal sense, I got my certification from the Rose Ministries of Las Vegas, Nev., for $35. And I got to pick whether I wanted to be known as Pastor Pitts or Reverend Lee. (For a few dollars more I could have received a framed certificate instead of the cheap plastic card I settled for.) After the wedding at the reception you could charge for being the DJ who spins the country western music. (I’m assuming the young couple aren’t going to want hip hop or rap music, and I use the word “music” with great reservation.)

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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 11-10-14

November 11, 2014 — 

My friend, Samantha (Sammi for short), and I rendezvoused so she could edit and proof my manuscript: “Older Than Dirt, the Musical.” We met in The Hot Diggity Café, located in the wee town of Widespot, Mont., halfway ‘twixt Timbuctu and Sammi’s abode.

As she edited and proofed she noted that I’ve used the word Vicissitudes on the back cover as in: Songs of Hilarious Merriment About the Vicissitudes of OLD AGE!

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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 11-8-14

November 11, 2014 — 

Most cattle ranchers have had at least one experience with a trouble-making cow. When I was growing up we had a few cows that jumped fences and a few that would crawl through fences or feed bunks. We had a few mean cows that wouldn’t let you get close to their calves. But I’ve never heard of a more trouble-making cow than Jumper.

Jumper is a southern Colorado cow owned by Fred Vollmer. Fred has been ranching in Colorado for over 40 years. During that time he’s been around thousands of cattle, but he’s never had one more frustrating (or expensive) than his Black Angus cross, Jumper.

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Ryan M. Taylor: Cowboy Logic 11-8-14

November 11, 2014 — 

It looks like the skies are going to cloud over and we’re going to get some real fall weather. But we had a string of days that make a person glad to be alive and outside in the northern plains with the leaves turning, the geese flying, the sun shining and the air cooling just enough to feel crisp but not frozen.

As if that kind of weather wasn’t enough to bring you closer to God, I tripled down on one of those beautiful Sundays this fall and visited three saints here on the prairie. The day began with me serving as the guest pastor at two Lutheran churches in northwest North Dakota. My sermon was based on the week’s lesson from the 22nd chapter of the gospel of Matthew, rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and rendering unto God what is God’s.

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Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 11-3-14

November 3, 2014 — 

I had to run into the big city the other day and being a good ranch wife, I agreed to do some errands for my cowboy. It is almost hunting season so he wanted me to pick up some ammo for his hunting rifle. Now, I am NOT a big shopper but a new outdoor store opened recently so I decided to check it out and get my errand done at the same time. Little did I know that it was going to be an Adventure in shopping!

Standing on the cement walkway to the entrance of the store, I was surprised to see several life-sized bronzes of US presidents. Here, sitting quietly on a bench, Abraham Lincoln, his coat and hat setting beside him, casts a faraway gaze. Nearby, wearing a western shirt and cowboy hat, Ronald Reagan smiles as he relaxes, one booted foot up on the low brick wall. A family walking by, stopped, put their little boy next to Lincoln on the bench ... snapped a photo and continued into the store. I wondered if there would be a sighting of ol’ Abe on Facebook soon.

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