Monday, March 19, 2018

Michael Martin Murphey's WestFest 2018

Michael Martin Murphey's WestFest 2018

WestFest returns to Red River, NMJuly 4-8, 2018
A celebration of the arts, culture, and music of the old and new west since 1987.

A Prairie Home Invasion

An old-fashioned “WANTED” poster hangs in the Capitol Hill offices of Senator Mike Lee. Rather than a notorious criminal, this one features the cartoon image of a Utah prairie dog. To most visitors this might seem like a joke. But for many of Senator Lee’s constituents in southwestern Utah, the rodent is no laughing matter.
The Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is one of five types of prairie dogs and is only found in southwestern Utah. Like other species of the rodent, Utah prairie dogs build extensive networks of burrows and tunnels, which provide their colonies shelter and a place to hibernate for four to six months of the year.
The species was pushed to the verge of extinction in the first half of the 20th century by a combination of human development and a federal extermination campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That campaign proved a bit too effective, however, and the species was listed as endangered as soon as the Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973.
With fecundity similar to rabbits, the population grew to more than 20,000 over the next decade, and its status under the act was changed from “endangered” to “threatened.” The population has exploded since then, with state surveys estimating it at around 90,000 today.
However, today’s population of Utah prairie dogs is very different from the one that existed a hundred or more years ago. The rodent’s natural habitat is semi-arid shrubs and grasslands. But these days they seem to prefer the suburbs and farmland, which provide abundant food and protection from predators. As of 2010, approximately 70 percent of Utah prairie dogs reside on private property, thanks in large part to the impacts of human development on the species.
The prairie dog’s affinity for residential and agricultural areas has predictably led to conflict. But fault does not lie with the prairie dog. The true culprit is an Endangered Species Act regulation that pits property owners and prairie dogs against each other.
That regulation broadly prohibits any activity that affects a single member of the species, even on private property, without a federal permit. However, most private property is categorically ineligible for permits. The regulation even forbids state biologists from moving prairie dogs from residential areas to state conservation lands, on pain of substantial fines and imprisonment. Consequently, the regulation blocks people from engaging in activities that most of us take for granted in our own communities—including building homes in residential neighborhoods, protecting private gardens, and enjoying public parks—and forbids the state and local governments from mediating conflicts.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Its Swingin' Monday and from their Tribute to Bob Wills we have Leon Rausch & Tommy Allsup and Honeysuckle Time In The Valley.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Frank DuBois Bronc Riding & Calf Roping - March 30

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

The siren’s song of the West

By Julie Carter

It is a song not audible and yet it pierces the heart of men in every walk of life.

Like the music of the mythological being, the siren's song of the West pulls, tugs and creates within men an unexplainable desire.

It calls them to a way of life in place where renewed hope springs eternal and they believe for a better life in a less cluttered world.

The sirens of Greek mythology lived on a rocky island in the middle of the sea and sang melodies so beautiful that sailors passing by could not resist getting closer to them.

Following the sound of the music, the sailors would steer their boats towards them or jump in the water to get closer - both ending in disaster on the rocks.

Horace Greeley, has been credited for popularizing, 150 years ago, the idea of "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country." Today, the West is still a magnet to men and women of all ages.

A study of Western culture revealed three out of five men and nearly half of women would like to be cowboys for at least a day. Many have opted for complete lifestyle changes.

In droves, they have packed up their lives and moved to the West, finding a place in the open spaces much like the 100 years of homesteaders.

The 2000 census showed eight of the ten fastest growing states are in the West, led by Nevada.

Two weeks ago, 1,200 Michigan residents stood in long lines eager to head for Wyoming's rugged, cold terrain answering a call to a job fair.

The sheer numbers dictate that not everybody can be a cowboy. But a good number will take on the trappings of the trade, buy a 40-acre ranchette, and put a rocking chair on the wrap-around porch to watch the sun set over a small barn that houses two horses, a 4-wheeler and a couple of llamas.

It is a new West and is clearly an amalgamation of the many phases of an evolving genre.

While the West does not own the cowboy, it is the cowboy that epitomizes the West in the minds of those that seek him.

Some men are born to ride and some men were born to sit in traffic. Some come to live in the West as it is now with a more modern version of the cowboy wearing sponsorship tags on his shirt and making a few hundred thousand dollars a year riding bulls or roping calves in the rodeos.

It is a West where cattle are still king and four door pickups and aluminum trailers ferry the cowboy crew miles across ranches, counties and states - a West where ranchers hang on to an ever-changing way of life necessitating better practices in order to stay on the land.

There are those who come to feed their soul from the history created by those who came west to grow with a new country.

These were men who rode hard, shot straight and died young. Their ghosts walk the boardwalks of old towns in western territories and call to a breed of modern man who find themselves living a century past their time.

While the siren of the West may not lure man to disaster, the man that heeds the call will find today's cowboy life is not in the clothes he wears or the substance of his dreams.

To this day I have not ever seen the visiting pilgrim come to the ranch, dressed out in his version of cowboy clothes, begging the boss to let him drive the feed pickup.

Now there is a sign of a complete lack of understanding about how the West is really won in this new millennium.

© Julie Carter 2006


The Bulls have It
All in a Day’s Work
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The Bulls have it.
            We worked our bull battery Friday. Each of those red hided investments was subjected to the chute to be probed, pulsed, collected, and scraped. Evidence suggests not one of them appreciated it, but it went forth with a degree of uniformity and decorum.
            As in all circumstances where bulls are concentrated, there is an ongoing balance of chaos and structure. Chaos in the fact that rank is a condition of existence and it is constantly challenged and debated. Structure in the fact that when the group accepts a hierarchy it is revealed as if each is a magnet pushed and pulled until a universal balance is achieved. Conditional tranquility then results until any disruption occurs and the entire process can descend back into dramatic and spectacular conflict.
            As a kid, my grandfather always warned me to watch the bulls. It was normally never a real issue until tighter quarters were forced and then those horned Hereford bulls would fight. We were told repeatedly it wasn’t necessarily the winner that had to be watched. It was the defeated challenger that was most dangerous when he broke and ran.
            “He’ll run right over you or anything else that is in his way.”
            The power can be spectacular. Several years ago, we penned a bull “on the hook” in our Monterrey corral only to see him leave with fence draped across his chest. He hit the fence so hard it snapped like a crystalline figurine.
            It was indeed impressive.
            All in a Day’s Work
            So, it was in starts and stops as our day with the bulls proceeded.
We presorted and divided the entire group into four subgroups. That was done to get age groups lumped together and to separate dominant herd bulls into smaller drafts to avoid conflicts and wasted time. One bull was separated completely and then sorted off into a mix of cull cows after we trich tested him. He has increasingly become more dangerous and difficult to work and his status is now confirmed. He will leave the headquarter corral only in a truck bound for a terminal harvest appointment.
Bringing him into the alley and up to the runup to the chute was, as expected, eventful. We did it horseback as quietly as possible. When we got him in our Bud Box, he challenged the nearest horse only to find himself in a position we could get the gate shut. It was because of him we recently put another rail atop the runup to the chute. He tried to jump once before he turned and ran the runup and radius into the chute where BJ’s brother-in-law caught him.
“Bang!” was the sound of the jarring stop.
No theatrics and nobody or animal was hurt in the process, but that is the way it should happen. BJ stayed mounted for two more snorty bulls before he also tied his horse and went back to the ground to work the remaining bulls to the chute. For some time, our bulls have generally been gentle, that is what we demand, and that is the way it should be. Stewardship spans many things and that includes the management of each component of the cowherd.
It continued at the chute and the work table where Drrs. Wenzel (Senior and Junior) went through their fertility and health check routine. Their microscope was on the table and each semen sample was analyzed for viability. Seven percent of the bull battery was marked for sale in failure and or marginal results of that testing (even the little cowboys who had escaped school to be part of this greater and far more practical learning experience got to view the samples under the microscope and were taught what motility and morphology was). Another, similar number of bulls were tagged similarly for other subjective reasons.
By early afternoon, we were done. Order was again established in the bull pen where the occupants will now remain until the sexually transmitted lab test results are received and analyzed.
It was then time to go out and address the ongoing ranch demands. Water had to be checked, a calf with acute laryngitis had to be treated, and another calf with multiple abscesses had to be lanced and treated. The day was far from over before evening chores. It was just another ranch day.
It was all in a day’s work.
Of course, J.R. Williams was the best of all time depicting the life of a rancher in caricature form. Williams wasn’t born to the craft, but he learned it implicitly from his investment and its life style demands during his most cognizant years. He was supremely attuned to the nuances. His ability to recreate it all on a piece of paper was simply unparalleled. In that, he was a genius.
Most of the modern world has little or no idea what we actually do. At best, it is riding the range and punching those dogies, but that resembles nothing of truth and it never has.
 A little snippet of that was seen the day before we worked the bulls. We had been to another unavoidable meeting, and, following that, the three ranchers in the group wound up transferring a truck load of protein supplement tubs. The youngest was 60 and the oldest one wasn’t, but each knew what it took to move those 200 pound tubs at any age.
When it was all over, we shook hands and told each other how much we enjoyed being together. Indeed, it was just another day, but the respect we have for each other and what we do is breathtakingly special.
We thank our Lord for that honor, and … these few lasting friends.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “The older I get the less I have in common with most people. Most of my nearby world probably agrees with that.”

Baxter Black: A Time To Stay, A Time To Go (video)

 Saying goodbye is always difficult, whether it’s to someone you love, a place with fond memories, or something else. This week on U.S. Farm Report, cowboy poet Baxter Black shares the emotions of leaving the ranch.

Lee Pitts: Poco Not So Bueno

As we continue to unwind the double DNA helix, more and more genetic diseases like HYPP, GBED, HERDA and PSSM are popping up that can turn a valuable stud into horse meat for Frenchmen. For example, I used to think highly of the Quarter Horse Poco Bueno, but not after he was found to carry the recessive gene for HERDA, a genetic skin disease found in Quarter Horses. Researchers now think that Poco Bueno's sire line, going all the way back to the legendary foundation sire King, may be responsible for the genetic disorder. In other words, Poco is not so bueno any more. Whereas he used to be referred to in hushed, reverential tones by a pedigree reader at a horse sale, even if he was five generations back in a pedigree, now a reader or auctioneer doesn't dare mention Poco Bueno's name.

Genetic diseases have also popped up in previously valuable cattle which prompted a pedigree cleansing in which beautiful, high dollar cows ended up in someone's Big Mac. What we haven't realized yet is most of our politicians and bureaucrats have also been found to carry highly destructive genetic disorders. For example…

SICKO- This genetic disorder in politicians causes them to send nude photos of themselves to young interns. These career politicians can be found laying around and guzzling from the public trough. They are inefficient, eat more than their fair share, can't forage for themselves and originally crawled out of the quagmire of New York or California.

HERDA- This isn't the horse disease of the same name but is a human disorder in which the afflicted blindly follows the herd, always voting the party line. Upon being autopsied they are found to have no conscience. They are more than willing to lay down YOUR life for their country and the disease can last anywhere from two to 65 years. They are easily identified because they refer to their colleagues as "The Honorable So and So." Even if they are only honorable imbeciles.

SPIDER- When I was in the club lamb business we bought a ewe one time to use for breeding only to find out later that she had spider syndrome, more formally known as ovine hereditary chondrodysplasia. This recessive disorder affects the growth of cartilage and bone in sheep and if you looked at the crooked front legs of our SPIDER ewe they looked like two parentheses: ( ). There are also glassy eyed, SPIDER politicians who are even more crooked. SPIDER politicians weave intricate financial webs and then spend most of their time trying not to get caught up in them.
SOB- These inbred SOB's care only about getting reelected and will do anything to keep his or her cushy job. They approach everything with an open mouth, speak stupidly and use wishy-washy words for hours on end without really saying anything.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Our gospel tune today is the 1959 recording of There's A Higher Power by the Louvin Brothers, Charlie and Ira

Friday, March 16, 2018

US reviews New Mexico land boss' concerns on border access

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is looking into concerns by New Mexico's top land manager about whether federal agents can access a milelong stretch of state land along the U.S.-Mexico border. Federal officials sent New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn a letter this month about his concerns over the installation of a border wall, infrastructure and roads on state trust land years ago. The letter released Thursday says the agency is gathering records and plans to meet with Dunn in early April. Karl Calvo, an assistant commissioner that oversees Customs and Border Protection's facilities and assets, said in the letter that the agency values its relationship with the State Land Office. "An important part of CBP's strategy to successfully secure the nation's borders includes developing and leveraging partnerships and dialogue with state and local stakeholders to ensure that the unique operational needs of each region are effectively met," Calvo wrote. The letter was sent to Dunn, who is running for U.S. Senate, after he posted signs and cordoned off the land along the border. Dunn said his office was forced to take action in early March after the U.S. government failed to respond to his previous correspondence. Dunn contends the federal government never got the needed authorization to access the state land and has not compensated New Mexico for using the property. He has called it a state sovereignty issue and said revenue earned from development or use of state trust land helps fund public education. "I am confident we can agree upon terms that will enable us to collect revenue for New Mexico schoolchildren and them to manage their national security operations," Dunn said in a statement Thursday... more

  "An important part of CBP's strategy to successfully secure the nation's borders includes developing and leveraging partnerships and dialogue with state and local stakeholders to ensure that the unique operational needs of each region are effectively met," Calvo wrote.

And therein lies the issue I'm confident Dunn is bringing to the fore. Rather than recognizing the sovereignty of the State of NM, the feds are treating the state as simply another "stakeholder", like the Sierra Club or other entities. Homeland Security has paid millions of dollars to the Dept. of Interior for the use of their lands but, so far, is not compensating NM for the use of state lands. Congrats to Dunn for bringing this issue to the public's attention.     

The photograph was taken as President William Howard Taft signed the bill to make New Mexico a state on Jan 6, 1912.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

TGIFF! Its Fiddle Friday and we bring you some Country Roots. In 1883 Theron Hale was born in Pikeville, Tenn. and originally gained recognition as a banjo player. He later took up the fiddle and formed a group with daughters (Elizabeth on the piano and Mamie Ruth on second fiddle or mandolin). They first appeared on the Grand Old Opry in 1926 and were regulars through the early thirties. On Oct. 3, 1928 they recorded several tunes including today's selections, Hale's Rag + Jolly Blacksmith. Both numbers are on the Document Records CD Nashville, 1928.