Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Apologize first 

 by Julie Carter

Like most of the critters at the ranch, some cowboys are smarter than others. Tom happened to be one of the smarter ones.

He and Sue Ann worked together almost every day on a big ranch. He had figured out that at some point during the day the cattle, the horses or the hired help would do something that would require him to yell at Sue Ann.

I've mentioned before that a cowboy has this tendency to bark orders or some random correction at his wife so that the people that need to hear it won't be offended but will still become informed.
Sue Ann's historical reaction to this tactic wasn't something Tom recalled with pleasantries. In view of the fact that most days she was the best help he had, he considered several options of minimizing the effect of his methods.

One morning at breakfast he decided to "pre-apologize" for any mistakes he might make during the day.

A pre-apology could and would cover almost everything, save time during the working day and enable him to be comfortable in his recliner at day's end while she fixed supper instead of using that time to soothe her at the saddle house.

What goes up must come down is not a solid physics theory when it comes to cattle, and especially yearlings. Sometimes the mistake of parking a semi-truck of cattle to be unloaded with the trailer pointed downhill makes for an exciting moment. Nothing short of a thunderbolt will stop the stampede before they get to the bottom.

Give those same cattle a hill or mountain to climb and they'll find the top and take up permanent residence without any intention of coming back down unless, first, it becomes their idea. When it's their idea, especially if you get a bunch of them gathered up on the top of the hill and pointed downward, refer to the previous paragraph and thunderbolt theory.

On this particular day, Fall was approaching. Tom and Sue Ann had started moving the cattle from the high country to shipping pastures at lower elevations. The hired help had gathered up as day was breaking, slickers tied to the backs of their saddles for the inevitable afternoon showers.

Tom, Sue Ann and crew worked their way up the mountain trail to get above the cattle. 

Yearlings can be pretty snakey in the brush. They have been known to sneak around behind the riders or even end up on the side of a cliff-like place where the only method to get them to move is the very un-cowboy method of throwing rocks at them. That is one of those cowboy skills you don't hear talked about much.

When a sizeable bunch had been collected to a clearing, the hands started moving the cattle down a steep ridge top complete with plenty of rocks and deadfall. Sue Ann was riding point to the left of the front of the herd, charged with keeping them headed in the right direction.

As will happen, something that nobody but the cattle saw or heard, spooked them and the race was on. At a dead run downhill they ran but, of course, not in any direction they needed to be going.
Sue Ann jumped up in the front of her saddle and rode hell-bent-for- leather through the treacherous steep terrain trying to head the cattle. In a effort to not kill herself or her horse in the rescue, she did have to pull up in a few places and select a less lethal path through a natural gauntlet of dangers.

Finally, a little further down the hill than Tom had planned, everything came to a halt. Tom, already calculating the pounds and dollars that just ran off the cattle, simply couldn't help himself even when he knew better. He rode over to Sue Ann and asked her why she let the cattle run and why she didn't get them stopped sooner. 

It was good thinking on his part that he had already pre-apologized.

Julie, counting cowboy apologies on one hand, can be reached for comment at

Pedro and Tommy

Pedro and Tommy
White Signal Intercession
Closed door Resolution
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Pedro and Tommy are as close to identifying these yesteryear characters as we are going to get.
            The story starts long ago at a Fourth of July celebration in Silver City on a table at the old Monterrey Hotel where Pedro was hoisted to demonstrate his prowess of dancing the jig. The band had taken a break and the famous local Hays, he of Kansas birth, had reckoned that young Pedro had learned enough of his dance steps that an exhibition was needed.
            So, the two began the Hays jig.
            The crowd reaction was apparently sufficient to stimulate the duo into a more vigorous rendition only to have Pedro crash into the beer barrel. Off the table and onto the floor the beer barrel rolled spilling its contents. The enthusiasm of the crowd was immediately dampened and the dancing duo was forced to retreat as the growing dismay was multiplied by each roll of the barrel.
            There is insufficient evidence to discern where Hays escaped, but Pedro found safety in the second story room where his cohort Tommy was expanding his own celebratory exercise. There he sat in an open window with a water pitcher calculating and perfecting his aim at unsuspecting passersby on the sidewalk below.
            During another episode, Tommy secured a sack of firecrackers and was testing them out front of one of the theaters on Bullard. As the testing continued, word got out on the police net, and, since the chief was close, he cruised by to affect a remedy.
            Shortly thereafter, witnesses saw Tommy leaning against the car chatting with the chief. The conversation seemed friendly with both the chief and the young cowboy smiling while conversing.
            As he left, he was heard to say, “Remember you light another one of those and I’ll have you tossed in the tank.”
            “Yes, sir, you don’t worry about us, Chief,” Tommy assured.
            About that time, young White Signal Pancho walked up and asked the boys what was going on. He was informed that they had taken an opportunity to check the fireworks ordinance.
            “What did you find out?” Pancho asked.
            “The Chief said the ordinance has been waived and you can shoot these anywhere,” was the response. “In fact, we’re finished and goin’ in to see the movie. Here, you can have ours.”
            In less time than it took Pedro and Tommy to hand their sack over and walk into the theater, White Signal Pancho lit his first one. In about the same amount of time, a siren was heard coming back up the street from city hall.
            Pedro and Tommy
            There are a number of other stories about the two, but one is their contribution to sobriety. The story took place at the previously mentioned White Signal and its famous dance hall. In those days, it was the practice to line refreshments up in preparing for breaks in the dancing. In this case, it was a line of beer being poured into paper cups in anticipation of rhe pending rush. Tommy, the elder statesman of the two, concluded the beer needed sampling before it was served so they slipped under the long table and made their way to the expanding line of cups all the while being covered in their mission by the long table cloth. They secured as many cups as they could handle and slipped back out the same way they came. Out back, they sampled each cup in turn, but Tommy got to worrying that maybe somebody might have counted the cups and he didn’t want to leave any evidence of their taste test operation.
            They resorted to an ingenious plan. They took only a couple of swallows from each and then refilled the cups with the only thing they had that would match the frothy texture and golden color of the beer. They then carried the cups back into the hall and replaced them in the line of fresh cups, and retreated to an advantageous position to observe the results. Their claim was that they cured a number of folks from ever drinking beer again.
            Wouldn’t it be nice if a similar lesson could be passed along to Congress?
            Those characters are absolutely without adult leadership. They are being whipsawed like a bunch of White Signal Pancho clones. Their predicament is made worse by the nearly 2.2 million Pedro and Tommy counterparts that fill government employment rolls. Being built without sight of any relief, this system of government with its layers of self protection has become an immoveable, seething monster. It is self perpetuating and its defenses are proving to be incalculable.
            The indefensible cadre of acting leaders is the party in the majority position. The other cast of characters remain true to their kaleidoscope of constitutional destruction, but the party in power is making a mockery of their promises.
            We are shaking out heads.
            Closed Door Resolution
            It is time for a closed door GOP resolution session.
            Since White Signal has become a theme this morning, a trip down memory lane 32 miles south of the dance hall is the example. It was there that a stable of agents from the old Border Patrol concluded an internal review by pulling the shades and locking the doors of their Lordsburg office. They commenced to work their differences out and didn’t emerge until there was an agreement.
            When it was over, nobody said much.
            The place was a bit worse from wear and tear with broken desks, windows, numerous lips and at least one arm, but the slate was cleaned. Order was restored and the team agreed to work together. Balance was achieved and the job got done.
            That is what congress needs, and, then, they need to appoint a chief that can handle casts of unaccompanied minors.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “There will be some who can unmask these characters, but it won’t be me.”

Baxter Black - Grandpa’s Time

A friend and I were reminiscing about our old folks. Simple farmers. Life today is more complicated today, we observed, more stressful.

He talked about his Grandma keepin' house in the hill country of Texas. Simple, he said. No electricity, no phone, a hand pump outside for water.

Saturday was wash day. A big kettle over an open fire, the men sliverin' homemade lye soap for the kettle. Washin' clothes in the boiling water and ringin'em out in the gas powered Maytag. Goin' to church on Sunday. Grandpa choppin' wood, doin' chores, whackin' cedar for spendin' money.

I remember my Dad's family. Milkin', cannin', choppin' cotton. Grandma lived for 85 years in a house with no runnin' water. Killin' a chicken for Sunday dinner. Musicals anytime a fiddler rosined up. Plowin' with a span of mules. Sellin' eggs in town for pocket money.

Yeah, the good life.

I look around at the pressures of farming today and on the surface, it does seem more demanding. Government programs, environmental considerations, public land use, the EPA, unwanted horses and the I.R.S. Commitments to home, church, county and country, the Soil Conservation Service, the P.C.A., school board, Stockgrowers Assn., and the Fair Board. Kids with band practice, basketball practice, 4-H meetings, car payments and peer pressure. The constant barrage of national issues that the television insists we be concerned about!

But, do we really work harder and worry more than Grandpa did?

I ascribe to the Coyote Cowboy Proverb: "Be it work or worry, people expand to fill the vacuum."

Lee Pitts - Cover up

Every dry cloud has a silver lining. I have been very lucky these past seven years in that it hasn't rained and I haven't had to cover the hay! I have a friend who hasn't been so fortunate. John lives in a wetter climate and he and his wife got divorced last year and he blames all their arguments on having to cover the hay stack. 

Recently the ducks have relearned how to swim around our place as the storms have been coming every other day. This means of course that the hay has to be covered every other day after loading the feed truck. During a recent break in the weather I took the time to explain the proper method for covering the hay stack to my recently divorced friend in case he should ever want to remarry.

"The trick to spreading the tarps while balanced precariously atop a hay stack in the strong winds that always precede a storm is tires," I explained to John. "Basically you need three things to cover a hay stack; heavy tires, a good tarp and an even better wife. With our proven method I get on top the stack while my wife stands in the bed of the truck and lifts the heavy old truck tires up to me. Then I strategically place them on the tarp to keep it from blowing."

"But why not let the wife be on top of the stack and you lift the heavy tires up to her?" asked my stupid friend. It's no wonder his wife left him!

"Because my wife is afraid of heights," I explained. "Oh, sure I used to put her on top of the stack but that was before the little incident when she discovered a mice nest in the top of the hay stack and tried to run from them. It was a nasty fall and she had to take the rest of the afternoon off to do housework. Ever since she's been afraid of heights."

"I can certainly understand that," said a sensitive John. "Have you ever considered building a hay barn?" he asked, as if I was made of money.

"Yeah we're getting tired of covering hay. The worst part is about the time you get the hay all snugged down and covered up it's time to feed and all the hay is underneath the tarp that is covered with heavy tires. One by one I have to drop those heavy tires off the stack. Here's a handy hint for you, John. If you decide to use the tire method please be advised that it is never possible to get the rain water out of the tires so when they hit the ground it's like a ten megaton water bomb. I can tell you from personal experience that your feeding partner does not want to be standing too close when they hit."


Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1813

Our gospel tune this morning is I'm Going That Way by the Darrell Webb Band. The tune is on their new 2017 CD Lovers' Leap

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Inside the Trump admin's favorite conservation coalition

Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter

On Ryan Zinke's first full day leading the Interior Department, he hosted top officials from more than a dozen sportsmen's groups — some of which were returning to the secretary's wood-paneled suite for the first time in years. The gathering provided a glimpse of both how Zinke's conservation priorities will differ from his predecessor's and which organizations he's most likely to consult. All but four of the 19 groups represented that day had one thing in common: They are part of American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP), a little-known consortium of sportsmen's groups that is poised to wield considerable influence at Interior in the coming years. Some of the partner groups that sent executives to the meeting have deep ties to President Trump and Zinke. The National Rifle Association, which had little high-level contact with Interior during the Obama era, spent more $30.3 million during the 2016 race in support of Trump or targeting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. That was more than any other outside group, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a money in politics watchdog organization. During the same election cycle, the Safari Club International donated $10,000 to the campaign of Zinke, who until earlier this month was Montana's lone Republican House member. Other partner groups, such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), count Donald Trump Jr. as an active member. Along with the rest of AWCP, they will be pushing Interior to support overhauling the Endangered Species Act, reining in environmental litigation and streamlining environmental reviews of timber projects. Those were among the policy recommendations to "conserve our fish, wildlife, and habitat resources long into the 21st century" that the consortium's 47 partner organizations sent to presidential candidates last year. Though all the groups — from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies to Ducks Unlimited — signed on to AWCP's "Wildlife for the 21st Century" report, some may push particular policies included in it, while others may stay silent. "It's pretty clear that Trump and Don Trump Jr. and Zinke all value the importance of the sportsmen community," said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh, who was also in the room with Zinke on his first full day in office. "We have access, and we're in a good position to make our voices heard in this administration."...more