Opinion, Discussion and Analysis

Mystery Photo for March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015 — 

Do you know what this is?

Jim Nees of Elizabeth, Colo., is wondering if any of our readers know anything about this mystery object.

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Guess the Year for March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015 — 

South Pacific Rail Road offers to bring Liberty Bell to Exposition for free.

Smallest earth-moon distance this century is measured at 356,375 km, center-to-center.

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Mr. Truck: Unique custom truck art

March 30, 2015 — 

I like truck art — you know, the unique accessories you put on your truck so you can find it in a Walmart parking lot. That’s why I have decals. My tailgate is made of horseshoes from Montana by Custom Cowboy Creation, and I have a giant barb wire headache rack from Arizona by BigBarbs.com and a raging Longhorn bull hood ornament from Colorado by HayWireArtStudio.com.

Having a local artist design a hood sculpture was exciting. I should have had him sign my hood to improve my trucks resale value. Cody Howes is an all-around artist from sculptures to paintings. I also like longhorn and buffalo skull art. My “raging Longhorn bull” is powder-coated red for my white hood. It’s unusual to see a Longhorn Bull leaping into the air. I chose pewter so I can bend the horns back when I run into trees blowing across the road. Cody can also make hood ornaments from plastic, aluminum or bronze. I think my next one will be painted gold.

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Shelli Mader: Texas farm goes non-traditional

March 30, 2015 — 

I'm not a person who likes to take risks. I generally like to sit on the sidelines and do the safe and predictable thing. However, a farmer I recently met here in Texas is all about facing challenges and living outside the status quo. His entrepreneurial spirit has definitely paid off for him and his family. His pick-your-own farm, Fall Creek Farms, is a popular area attraction.

Cullen Crisp grew up in Mansfield, Texas, a small town near Fort Worth. He envied the kids he saw in ag class that lived on farms and ranches and knew that he wanted to have a place of his own someday. Crisp wasn’t raised on a farm, but his grandfather Dave grew fruits and vegetables in the Granbury, Texas, area.

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Candy Moulton: Best of 2014 Western Writers

March 30, 2015 — 

This time of year is always fun because the award announcements come out about the best films, books, songs and other writing of the previous year. “The Homesman,” the critically acclaimed movie based on Glendon Swarthout’s 1988 Spur Award-winning novel, won the 2015 Spur Award for Best Western Drama Script, while Jerome A. Greene’s “American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890” won for Best Nonfiction-Historical book, Western Writers of America has announced.

Actor Tommy Lee Jones wrote “The Homesman” screenplay with Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver. Jones also starred with Hilary Swank in the Ithaca Films production, which is about a frontier woman and a claim jumper who escort three women driven insane back to civilization in the 1850s. Greene’s book, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, details the tragic confrontation between the 7th Cavalry and Lakota Indians in South Dakota.

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Milo Yield: Over thinking simple problems

March 30, 2015 — 

I stopped in for a burger at a little restaurant in Emporia last week. While I wuz sitting there waiting for my meal to be delivered, four bright looking college kids came in and sat at the table across the aisle from me.

I noticed that they were wearing those stick-on name tags and, apparently, judging from the name tags, they were attending a Mensa convention for college youngsters. Just in case you aren’t familiar with Mensa, it’s a national organization for people who have an IQ of 140 or higher. They’re smart folks.

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Lee Pitts: Old auction barn shines like new

March 30, 2015 — 

I don’t get out much these days and the other day I went to the auction market for the first time in a long time. At least I thought it was the same auction market. There was a freshly painted sign out front, the auction barn was sporting a coat of fresh paint, the parking lot was covered with a fresh layer of asphalt and it was full of brand new pickups and Cadillacs. Was I lost? Was this a dairy auction barn?

I saw an elderly couple in the parking lot that looked vaguely familiar but it couldn’t be my longtime friends Ma and Pa Wilson because they were getting out, or trying to get out, of a brand new, four-wheel drive truck that was four feet off the ground. It couldn’t be the Wilsons because they always bought their pickups from farm and repo auctions. But both of them waved at me like they knew me. It sure looked like the Wilsons.

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Baxter Black: Coast-to-coast differences

March 30, 2015 — 

I was back in New York last winter speaking to the Beef Producers Association. I have been on the East Coast often and have developed a good sense of how their urban neighbors look at the ag industry.

In turn I have spoken 200 plus times to ag producers on the West Coast, and have got an idea of how their urban consumers, especially those from L.A., San Francisco, Portland and Seattle treat their farming neighbors.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Truth be told in Texan tall tales

March 30, 2015 — 

As you might suspect, gentle readers, since I am a native Texan, I sure can catch some flack from some of the locals here at the T Bar Inn. By the way, I would never apologize for being a native Texan and have lived there the first 45 years of my life.

Yes, I know, Texans have a reputation for spreadin’ the bull quite frequently and quite far in many directions. Well, let me tell ya what, I have met my match here in Colorado. I can’t hold a candle to some of these hombres that I have come in contact with when it comes to telling colorful stories. Actually, if the truth were told, it would fit the story line much better than what was told as being the truth. And guess what? Some of these guys are not even cowboys and have never been. Doesn’t stop them from being pretty fair bull shippers.

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Ryan Taylor: Shocking procrastination

March 30, 2015 — 

The weather has warmed up considerably in our neighborhood, making it feel like spring. That’s an odd feeling for us in North Dakota as the solstice turns to spring, to have our actual weather match the officially designated season.

It makes the kids want to play catch and ride their bikes when they get off the school bus. It makes me feel like being outside, working in our shop where the inside temperature is perfectly synchronized with the outdoor temperature, and catching up on a few assorted projects that I started a while back.

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Peggy Sanders: Medical miracles

March 30, 2015 — 

A recent Facebook challenge asks individuals to list things that have positively impacted their lives. When I go into my way-back time machine, the first thing I am thankful for is scientific research performed on animals.

I was an Rh factor baby, which means that my mom and my dad had incompatible blood types where the problems would cause death if not properly treated. The experimentation had been done and perfected on Rhesus monkeys and I would surmise that is where the nomenclature “Rh” originated.

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Gwen Peterson: Division of labor a mental feat

March 30, 2015 — 

For any one engaged in agriculture, the plethora of rules, regulations and really dumb mandates could drive a person up the wall, over the edge and down the drain. It’s enough to make a grown man or woman of country persuasion yelp with frustration.

Sometimes all one can do is treat certain situations with humor. When my neighbor, Clyde, described a visit by a government agent, I contrived a sorta poem to elucidate the silliness. Clyde, of course, is not his real moniker. Consider this poem a “work in progress.”

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Milo Yield: Unearthing treasures from the past, passing them on to the future

March 23, 2015 — 

I’ve mentioned before that living at Damphewmore Acres for nearly 11 years has been like living smack dab in the middle of a minor league archaeological dig. Between my tilling the soil for gardens and wildlife food plots and the chickens’ vigorously scratching the soil, constant wind and the occasional downpour, a steady stream of “days-of-yore stuff” has emerged from the ground.

Mostly, I find only rusty nails, screws, nuts and bolts laying on the soil surface. Also, pretty frequently I unearth mowing machine sickle sections and guards, abandoned spark plugs and oil filters, and door hinges.

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Amanda Radke: Bachelor Chris Soules puts national spotlight on agriculture

March 23, 2015 — 

ABC’s “The Bachelor” wrapped up recently with Iowa farmer Chris Soules giving the final rose and proposing to fertility nurse Whitney Bischoff. But before he made his final decision, Soules took his soon-to-be fiancé in a ride on his combine, explaining to her the ins and outs of harvesting corn.

While a little hokey at times — ABC’s prop department went a little crazy in decorating the barn for the final rose ceremony — it’s very rare for agriculture to have an opportunity to be in the spotlight in such a big way.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Quotes for Cowboys

March 23, 2015 — 

Gentle readers, have you ever stopped and wondered who said or wrote a quote that you found to be of some interest?

For example, here are a few quotes that I remember that just sort of jump out at me right now. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” “The harder I work the luckier I get.” “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” “The older the violin, the sweeter the music.” “Either lead, follow or get the heck outta’ the way.”

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Black Ink: Feeding the 'Millennial' generation

March 23, 2015 — 

A decade ago I was in college and heard the same sad story over and over: young people just didn’t know how to cook, and that was sure to spell disaster for beef demand. Industry professionals would tell stories of how their mothers slaved in the kitchen all day, and they verbally mourned the loss of domestic skills as women entered the commercial workforce in large numbers.

Then I’d go home from lecture and my roommates and I would whip up home-cooked meals in our trailerhouse kitchen. I thought we must be anomalies.

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Lee Pitts: The muddy concept of dirt tasting

March 23, 2015 — 

Wine tastings are so over. The trendy thing now in California and Europe are dirt tastings in which folks with seemingly too much money and not enough to do swirl a muddy concoction of dirt in a glass, hold it up to the light, stick their snout in a soil slurry full of humus and then make sophisticated statements such as, “It’s a bit dusty but I taste an echo of loam with just the right notes of compost. And was that a hint of clay on the mid-palate?” Or, “I simply love the creamy and complex texture, with a surprising vegetative nose and a barnyard finish that is simply divine.”

And you thought eating snails and bugs was bad!

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Baxter Black: Calving season gets muddy

March 23, 2015 — 

January 1980 is a month I’ll never forget. It all started out about January the 7th. The previous spring I had a big hand in selecting the bulls we were gonna use on Albert and Louie’s heifers. Albert had 400 head and we decided to artificially inseminate (A.I.) them one cycle, then use clean-up bulls. After much discussion with the local A.I. man, I chose a Brangus bull - an easy calver, the book said. For Louie’s 125 heifers, I bought him six brown swiss bulls.

That fateful morning I called Albert on the phone.

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Gwen Peterson: Rural perspectives of fun

March 23, 2015 — 

This is a true story. Only the names of the guilty are changed. A friend, who resides in a Midwest big city, sent me an e-mail detailing the many activities she enjoys. She described going to a variety of city attractions such as an eatery surrounded by a gorgeous flower garden. Diners sit at wrought-iron tables artistically set amid blooming blossoms. She included a photo — and I happily admit the setting was spectacular.

My friend also mentioned several events — these amazements to be found only in an upscale, sophisticated environment such as where she and her life-partner live. She finished the communiqué — with a not-too-subtle hint — that she felt a trifle sorry that I live such a dull life in the country where “there isn’t much to do.”

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Candy Moulton: Exploring homestead history

March 16, 2015 — 

When my grandmother arrived in Wyoming in March of 1903 and moved into the two-room cabin her first husband had built, she must have believed her life in the American West would be better than what she would have found in her homeland.

Certainly they had more land on his homestead than they could have imagined in Bruges and the surrounding countryside of northern Belgium. Peter Verplancke had been the first of the Belgian immigrants to claim land along Antelope Creek in southern Wyoming. He was on the Wyoming land by 1893 and found other homesteaders already living in the area.

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Candy Moulton: Presenting the Wranglers

March 16, 2015 — 

“The Poacher’s Daughter,” by Michael Zimmer, will receive the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for Best Novel during the 2015 Western Heritage Awards in April. The book is published by Five Star/Cengage Gale.

First presented in 1961, the Western Heritage Awards were established to honor and encourage the legacy of those whose works in literature, music, film and television reflect the significant stories of the American West. The awards program also recognizes inductees into the prestigious Hall of Great Western Performers and the Hall of Great Westerners, as well as the recipient of the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award, named in honor of the museum’s founder.

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Peggy Sanders: Acquiring a family farm dog

March 16, 2015 — 

When it comes to pets our family has a long history with collies.

My great-grandmother, Hattie, wrote a long article concerning their trip from Iowa as they moved to homestead in southwestern South Dakota. They started the trip with their standard collie named Bruce. On the first leg of the trip the entire family, their animals, wagon and all their possessions were in an emigrant car on the train. During their train transitioning, the men had to check on some things and walked away from the train. The dog followed. Somehow he got separated and he had not shown up when it was time for the train to move again. That was such a blow to the family.

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Shelli Mader: Ridge Roberts wins first place at Colorado Fiddle Championships

March 16, 2015 — 

I’m always amazed when I meet someone who is not only talented, but also has the hard work ethic to back it up.

Ridge Roberts is one of those people. Not only is he wildly talented, but he is also one of the most determined, charming boys I’ve ever met.

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Lee Pitts: Mailbox rivalry goes postal

March 16, 2015 — 

Column writers, publishers and dogs who like to bite mailmen have a love-hate relationship with the post office. They keep us occupied, but at an ever-increasing cost.

People have always complained about the post office, from the constant postage increases back to its inception when folks complained that it cost the same to ship a one ounce letter from New York City to Troy, New York, as it did a barrel of flour over the same distance. But postal delivery has gotten better over the last 165 years, at least that’s what I’m told. In the 1850s, mail service was so poor that in the time it took the mail to go from Washington D.C. to San Francisco notifying a politician he was a new congressman, he might find his term of office was over by the time he got to our nation’s Capitol to serve.

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Baxter Black: Vegetarian's guide to cowboys

March 16, 2015 — 

Many myths have been promulgated that have fostered a misunderstanding of cowboys by herbivores. It is incumbent on me to shed some light on this subject for my vegetarian readers.

Myth No. 1: Cowboys are mean to cows.

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Milo Yield: Bucket calf not a sure bet

March 16, 2015 — 

This true story happened quite a few years ago. A young rancher, Bill Melater, had crafted a reputation as a sound businessman. He wuzn’t what you’d call “tight” with his money — more like “savvy frugal” — willingly to spend money when necessary, but not until after “more frugal” alternatives were weighed.

Well, it happened that ol’ Bill had a couple of children who had arrived at an age when they wanted to show a 4-H Club bucket calf at the local county fair.

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Mad Jack Hanks: Warm days nudge spring along

March 16, 2015 — 

Yep, I know, gentle readers, I am a little premature on the subject of spring. I reckon that I am jumping the gun because I see bright sunshine and we will be in the 40s today and maybe in the 60s in the next few days.

Heck, I even wore my straw hat to coffee this morning. I am doing my darndest to nudge spring along as fast as possible.

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Ryan Taylor: Good help need good equipment

March 16, 2015 — 

I’ve been planning a trip to Boston for a couple of months. Actually, the invitation was for a meeting that was supposed to be held in February when they got their first epic blizzard and it was rescheduled. I think they’ve had an epic blizzard every week out there this winter. It makes me glad to live somewhere with a reputation for nice winters ... like North Dakota.

Being gone for a couple of days when we’re feeding cows means maintaining good relations with my wife who’ll be feeding cows by herself in my absence. It also means maintaining good equipment to make sure the work goes as smooth as possible while I’m gone.

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Farm benchmark milk prices well below a year ago

March 11, 2015 — 

The Department of Agriculture announced the February Federal order Class III milk price March 4 at $15.46 per hundredweight, down 72 cents from January, $7.89 below February 2014, $1.68 above the comparable California Class 4b cheese milk price, and equates to about $1.33 per gallon, down from $1.39 in January. It is the lowest Class III price since May 2012’s $15.23.

Class III futures indicate this will not be the bottom for 2015 as the March contract settled Friday at $15.42. The turnaround would begin in April, which settled at $15.50 and peaks at just $17.32 per cwt. in October, $7.28 less than the 2014 peak which occurred in September.

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Lee Pitts: Driving 25, going on 70

March 9, 2015 — 

I’m starting to feel older than dirt. And I swear there is soil in our garden that I knew when it was rocks. Oh, how a few decades can change your outlook on life.

At age 25 ... “Sure I can ride that horse. Haven’t you got anything tougher than that?”

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