Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)


Cowboy Christmas shopping guide

Julie Carter

It’s that time of year when the cowboys are hanging out at the feed store shopping for their favorite cowgirl among the many choices offered.

As is for most things, gift shopping at the ranch is a pretty laid back procedure. I’m not saying a lot of thought is not put into choosing the perfect gift, but “perfect” is subject to interpretation and you can almost always factor in functional and fundamental.

The gift that wins the tally of given most often from him to her is an axe. I know that will shock many of you that don’t live down dirt roads, but an axe is essential to the time of year the gift is given—Christmas and the middle of winter.

The axes have come single bit, double bit and often tied with a red bow the size of a pickup truck in an attempt to make it festively palatable.  Some have come with a flashlight as an extra gift so wood or ice could be chopped in the dark. Often a note is attached saying, “I promise to keep this sharp for you.”

Another common feature for the ranch “him to her” gifts is the “who really wants or needs this?”  Gloves that are too big for her and fit him perfectly are regular offerings under the Christmas tree as are new saddles although she rarely rides, horses she never will ride, and that absolutely stunning truck tool box that unfortunately won’t fit her SUV. A complete assortment of hand and powers tools also fit into this category.

Never to say the gifts aren’t truly appreciated one wife I know got a new cattle guard. It was to be placed where she had to open and close a gate 15 times a day coming and going. She would not have been happier if she had gotten big blue diamonds.

And for the little lady that is shopping for her cowboy -- here is an abbreviated list of suggestions of what and what not to buy.

This year’s do not buy:

  1. Anything made of polyester.
  2. Designer socks or silk jockey shorts.
  3. Tofu anything and white wine.
  4. A sweater vest
  5. A salad spinner
  6. A George Foreman get all the fat off the meat grill
  7. Complete set of Danielle Steele romance novels
  8. Driving gloves
  9. Self-help books on how to get in touch with your feminine side.
  10. Speedos
  11. Beano—he won’t use it.
  12. A manicure set with anything smaller than #9 wire pliers and a hoof rasp.
  13. Line dance lessons
  14. A gourmet cookbook
  15. A set of instructions for anything

Sure-fire pleasers under the Christmas tree for the cowboy are:

  1. Anything from the feed store.
  2. Anything from the hardware store.
  3. Make that vest a leather, canvas duck or nylon down- filled one.
  4. Anything labeled Wrangler, Levi, Stetson, Tony Lama, Justin, or Carhart.
  5. Cast iron --especially if it’s a skillet complete with the promise of a years supply of fried steak, potatoes, okra, bacon, eggs, and even refried beans.
  6. Tools that say “life time warranty, guaranteed forever”
  7. A good pocket knife, made in the USA  and a new whetstone
  8. Lots of cammo and ammo
  9. Pinto beans by the gunny sack full.
  10. Cookbook called 101 ways to cook venison.
  11. A book called “Teach your woman to run a trap line”
  12. Heavy duty one-gazillion candle power spotlight for calving season
  13. A gift basket full of beanie weenies, spam, Vienna sausages, beef jerky and huntin’ license good for anywhere to shoot anything.

Make it merry one, no matter what’s under the tree!

McClintocks’ Saloon and Dining House Syndrome


Short Numbers

McClintocks’ Saloon and Dining House Syndrome

Quest for Reservations

By Stephen L. Wilmeth



            2020 Thanksgiving thoughts and outcome did it.

            Our government did its level best to disrupt a vestige of our personal life that should best be left for us to decide. Thanksgiving is ours to make decisions over and the edicts of authority should stay the hell away from of our firesides. They are not welcome.

            For reasons left unsaid, the thought of the ambiance of McClintock’s up there high on the slope above the freeway and overlooking Pismo Beach and the ocean best describes the rationale. It is one of the nation’s great steak houses, and, as a saloon, it is pretty fair to middlin’, too.

            Tourists and locals love it.

            It is a walk back into the ranching heritage of the Central Coast of California. It is a sanctuary of wine and spirits mixed with beef, chinks, Garcia bits, finished horses, Ortega museum quality braiding, Visalia stock saddles, and the mystery of some of the finest cow country in the entire world.

            It is also a showplace of American contradiction. Fully on display is an era, a lifestyle, and a period of independence that regulatory burdens have sought to destroy.

Only when it is gone or crippled does it become fashionable to embrace and glorify in memory.

Short Numbers

Cochise was certainly aware of the phenomena.

He demonstrated what humans invariably do when exposed to open hostilities. Pressed by enemies he protected his family and his administrative borders. Given the latitude of independence, he elevated his actions into deadly enforcement. Time had reinforced the conditions of reality and he learned he had to play for keeps. By no means could he be classified as benevolent or courteous to a greater world. Likewise, he cannot be classified as a shrinking violet that got his great and just punishment from a similarly benevolent United States government.

Promises made to him and his people were set aside when gold, demands by immigrants for protection, and a southern railroad route superseded the hallowed words of the great white father. He fought for his lifestyle and he lost.

He didn’t have the numbers.

The same thing happened elsewhere as settlers continued to rain down across the landscape and demanded protection from their Washington leadership. In every case, issues of economics or political expediency prevailed. Words, in every case, were conditional until the veil of some evolving truth was lifted.

The native Americans didn’t have the numbers.

Quest for Reservations

The ranching industry in the federal West continues to find common ground with real and perceived past foes, similarly. The storyline is as tedious as it is predictable.

The great white father and his ensemble of statesmen offered incentives as long as there was useful purpose and then systematically withdrew the conditions of freedom as the next circuitous tumult was revealed. The issues weren’t just gold or railroad routes, either.

They were and have become theoretical and much as physical.

Consider the plight of the timber industry. The spotted owl must be considered a modern proxy for gold across western forests. The characters staking their economic future on grants and or legal settlements from its protection have essentially dismantled the western logging business.

In a superior fashion, the checkerboard ownership of land of the West has accomplished the same thing. In this case, a new legion of operators has arisen. It isn’t the immigrant farmer or the prospector calling for protective help. It is the government’s own agency groups. By holding the dominion of ownership (government owns 61% of the surface landscape of the West), dominion of management has also largely been achieved.

This foothold places all land-based industry at higher risk, and, once again, Cochise’s experience and his plight are revealed. When your administrative boundaries become the objects of intended administrative control, your very existence is at risk. The target is eventually forcefully discredited and denigrated. The difference in now and then is land to pigeonhole the foe.

There is no more undesirable land to forcefully place them.

McClintock’s Saloon and Dining House Syndrome

If it hasn’t been clearly visible, the cornerstone of these United States is not the citizen. The citizenry cannot even be assured its votes will be counted.

No, the cornerstone is revealed to be the vote counters, the politically best positioned.

Individual liberties running counter to them become victims of the McClintock’s Saloon and Dining House Syndrome. It is only fashionable to honor the efforts of the past when control by the elite is achieved and the outcome mirrors the evolving agenda.

It was such that I found myself last week. I happened into the presence of a staffer of one of the New Mexico’s two progressive senators. The discussion was our ranch’s contribution to the sequestration of carbon by turf management. It is an effort we have worked very hard to improve.

For various reasons including these lands were seasonal migration routes used by the Apaches, Geronimo came into the discussion. The innuendo was my presence can be construed to be antagonistic to what happened to the Chiricahuas.

It was an accusation on which I disagreed.

The more I understand the more I have come to believe old Geronimo and I are more alike than not. The point was even made that if we all came back together to stand out in the pasture where the discussion took place, we would be arrayed and might just find ourselves as unlikely but actual teammates. Geronimo wouldn’t have been there until the conditions of the year would allow his passage. Likewise, my cows and I wouldn’t be there until the conditions allowed our presence. The rest of the year we would be absent allowing full rest for the land.

Too few people even understand those implications. Who knows? We might even have hoisted a drink together and agreed … our numbers are too short as well.


Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.

The 30 Most Famous Cowboys (and Cowgirls) of All Time

 What could be more American than the cowboy? We know this archetype mostly through movies, television series, dime-store novels, and wistful ballads.

Cowboys are among the most durable of movie heroes and have been a cinema staple since the advent of film. They have been portrayed by some of the most famous actors of all time, among them John Wayne, James Stewart, Heath Ledger, and Clint Eastwood.

But since these actors weren’t real cowboys, we at 24/7 Tempo have compiled a list of the most famous cowboys of all time. These are actual cowboys who roped steers, herded cattle, and rode high in the saddle. We looked at various lists, rodeo websites, and media sources to assemble our list.

Many of the cowboys on our list began their work life laboring as ranch hands and then shifted to a life of crime. Men such as Billy the Kid and Jack Dunlop took advantage of the wide swaths of lawless territory in the American West in the late 19th century to rob trains and banks.

Other cowboys such as Slim Whitaker, Hank Worden, and Ben Johnson parlayed the skills they learned while working for ranchers or rodeos into motion picture work as stuntmen, advisers, and doubles for stars like John Wayne. Many succeeded with their own acting careers. Johnson, a familiar face in western films, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the movie “The Last Picture Show.” These are the 30 best western film of all time.

Cowgirls also appear on our list, among them Annie Oakley, the showstopper for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. We also included Kitty Canutt, a women’s bronc riding champion, who purportedly had a diamond in her front tooth that on occasion she would hock when money got tight.

Bill Pickett is a noteworthy inclusion to our list because he was an African American cowboy, and historically, African American contributions to American West culture have been overlooked. Pickett was known for his innovative approach to wrestling steers.

On this list, no one is more of a cowboy than Walt Garrison. The Texas native competed in rodeos beginning in high school and went to play professional football for, you guessed it, the Dallas
Cowboys. Garrison continued to participate in rodeos during his football career and afterward.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Supreme Court Backs Religious Challenge to Cuomo’s Virus Shutdown Order

The Supreme Court late Wednesday night barred restrictions on religious services in New York that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had imposed to combat the coronavirus. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The order was the first in which the court’s newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, played a decisive role. The court’s ruling was at odds with earlier ones concerning churches in California and Nevada. In those cases, decided in May and July, the court allowed the states’ governors to restrict attendance at religious services. The Supreme Court’s membership has changed since then, with Justice Barrett succeeding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. The vote in the earlier cases was also 5 to 4, but in the opposite direction, with Chief Justice Roberts joining Justice Ginsburg and the other three members of what was then the court’s four-member liberal wing. In an unsigned opinion, the majority said Mr. Cuomo’s restrictions violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. In a concurring opinion, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said Mr. Cuomo had treated secular activities more favorably than religious ones. “It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. The court’s order addressed two applications: one filed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the other by two synagogues, an Orthodox Jewish organization and two individuals. The applications both said Mr. Cuomo’s restrictions violated constitutional protections for the free exercise of religion, and the one from the synagogues added that Mr. Cuomo had “singled out a particular religion for blame and retribution for an uptick in a societywide pandemic...MORE

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!


Dead mink infected with a mutated form of COVID-19 rise from graves after mass culling

Mink infected with a mutated strain of COVID-19 in Denmark appear to be rising from the dead, igniting a national frenzy and calls from local officials to cremate mink carcasses. While the sight itself is certainly terrifying for the residents of West Jutland, a region of the country grappling with confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to mink, there is likely a scientific explanation for the zombie-like reemergence from their graves. A Danish police spokesman, Thomas Kristensen, told a state broadcaster that gases form while the body decays underground, according to the Guardian. “In this way, in the worst cases, the mink get pushed out of the ground,” Kristensen said of the nightmarish sight. The nation has planned to cull all 15 million mink in the country, which produce 40% of the world’s mink fur. Because of the rushed burial, the animals were placed in shallow graves – just over three feet deep. Now, officials plan to bury the creatures in graves nearly double the depth. The area will be also monitored nonstop until a fence can be set up, the Guardian reported. But for some local officials, that may not suffice...MORE

NRA reports alleged misspending by current and former executives to IRS

After years of denying allegations of lax financial oversight, the National Rifle Association has made a stunning declaration in a new tax filing: Current and former executives used the nonprofit group’s money for personal benefit and enrichment. The NRA said in the filing that it continues to review the alleged abuse of funds, as the tax-exempt organization curtails services and runs up multimillion-dollar legal bills. The assertion of impropriety comes four months after the attorney general of New York state filed a lawsuit accusing NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and other top executives of using NRA funds for decades to provide inflated salaries and expense accounts. The tax return, which The Washington Post obtained from the organization, says the NRA “became aware during 2019 of a significant diversion of its assets.” The 2019 filing states that LaPierre and five former executives received “excess benefits,” a term the IRS uses to describe executives’ enriching themselves at the expense of a nonprofit entity. The disclosures in the tax return suggest that the organization is standing by its 71-year-old chief executive while continuing to pursue former executives of the group. The filing says that LaPierre “corrected” his financial lapses with a repayment and contends that former executives “improperly” used NRA funds or charged the nonprofit for expenses that were “not appropriate.” LaPierre has reimbursed the organization nearly $300,000 in travel expenses covering 2015 to 2019, according to the tax return, which does not explain how that amount was determined or when LaPierre paid it. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a statement this week that “the vast majority of Mr. LaPierre’s travel was undertaken in strict compliance with NRA policy.” In response to questions from The Post, NRA executives said the organization is financially strong and closely adhering to nonprofit law. “As its tax filing demonstrates, the NRA is committed to strict compliance with itsThe tax filing acknowledges that there are disputes over the alleged financial abuses the NRA blames on the departed officers, including former board president Oliver North and former chief lobbyist Chris Cox. Some of those executives parted ways with LaPierre over his leadership and are cooperating with the New York attorney general’s investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation. accounting controls and good­governance practices,” said Charles Cotton, an NRA vice president and audit committee chair...MORE

Meet the South Poll cow: the healthier, naturally raised cattle of the future?

...It’s a counterintuitive problem, considering cows evolved to eat grass. But today, approximately 97% of US beef cows spend the last four to six months in confined feedlots where they are fed grain rations until slaughter. Before that, they spend most of their lives out on the pasture, but even then some ranchers feed them grain to keep their weight up through winter or during stressful times like calving.

Meanwhile, the grass-only beef market is small, but growing rapidly, according to a report by Stone Barns Center. The intensively managed grazing Judy employs is a supercharged version of traditional cattle-grazing techniques. By moving his cows often, they do not have a chance to damage the grass by eating it too short. Instead, they encourage healthy root development increasing soil health, which some scientists have found allows the soil to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere – a process known as carbon sequestration.

This heavily managed grazing style – also called holistic grazing – is part of a growing worldwide interest in “regenerative agriculture”. By promoting multiple practices that build soil health, regenerative agriculture has been said to improve agricultural lands and ultimately sequester carbon, according to Rattan Lal PhD, an Ohio State University soil scientist and the 2020 World Food Prize winner.

But the growth of regenerative grazing systems has been slow, in part because, as the cattle industry turned to feeding grain, ranchers ended up breeding fewer cows that could thrive on grass alone, says Richard Teague PhD, a range ecologist with the Texas A&M University Agrilife Research center. Ranchers like Judy were put in a pickle, without the cows appropriate for their grass-only systems.

 The traditional ranching industry denies the charge that grass-raised cows are better for the climate than their grain-fed product. In a 2017 study by Oklahoma State University researchers found that grain-fed cattle – with their shorter lifespans – resulted in a 18.5 to 67.5% lower carbon footprint compared with grass-finished beef.

Meanwhile, a 2017 report from the Food, Climate and Research Network challenged the idea that grass-fed beef can be good for the environment at all, saying there was no evidence that grazing cattle helps sequester carbon except under the most ideal conditions.

However, Teague argues, “It’s not the cow, it’s the how.” A 2015 study in Georgia of dairy cows in an intensively grazed system recorded eight tons of carbon sequestered per hectare annually. The intensive livestock grazing systems such as Judy uses are one of the best ways within agricultural systems to sequester carbon, according to Teague. “Under decent management, sequestration exceeds emissions, and the better the grazing management, the more it exceeds it.”


Trump administration blocks controversial Alaska Pebble Mine project


The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, likely dealing a death blow to a long-disputed project that aimed to extract one of the world’s largest deposits of copper and gold ore, but which threatened breeding grounds for salmon in the pristine Bristol Bay region.

The fight over the mine’s fate has raged for more than a decade. The plan was scuttled years ago under the Obama administration, only to find new life under President Trump. But opposition, from Alaska Native American communities, environmentalists and the fishing industry never diminished, and recently even the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., a sportsman who had fished in the region, came out against the project.

On Wednesday, it failed to obtain a critical permit required under the federal Clean Water Act that was considered a must for it to proceed. In a statement, the Army Corps’ Alaska District Commander, Col. Damon Delarosa, said the mine, proposed for a remote tundra region about 200 miles from Anchorage, would be “contrary to the public interest” because “it does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines.”

Opponents said the large open-pit operation, which would dig up and process tens of millions of tons of rock a year, would irreversibly harm breeding grounds for salmon that are the basis for a sports-fishing industry and a large commercial fishery in Bristol Bay. Salmon are also a major subsistence food of Alaska Natives who live in small villages across the region.