Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Convenient information

 by Julie Carter

In general, men have a built-in gene making them masters at forgetting to mention important details that often dictate the outcome of a situation, up to and including the moment they could lose their lives or an important part of their anatomy.

The obvious incidents include forgetting to mention the existence of a wife, or some wild tale about why they didn't arrive home until the day after they were expected. However, cowboys specifically have those as well completely different types of "Did I forget to mention that?" stories.

Ranch stories of this nature will sometimes involve a simple request to the wife along the lines of "Could you go get our black bull out of the neighbor’s pasture today?"

What the head cowboy may have forgotten to mention is that once she finds the black bull in the four-section brush pasture, she will likely have to break up a fight between him and the neighbor's resident bull.

Then she will have to persuade the black bull to prefer leaving the neighbor's young heifers so she can drive him back to his ranch home. On the way out, she'll have to repair the fence that he tore up running away from home.

Being a sensible wife, she will know that the black bull, which is usually cooperative, will need to come to the pens at the headquarters, to discourage the same scenario from happening all over again.
These kinds of projects are common to the status of "ranch wife" who is not usually surprised by the omission of finer details of the request. Instead, a fair amount of get-even plotting will occupy the span of time it takes for the ride over to the neighbors, as well as the return trip.

When calves are shipped from the ranch, a permit from a state brand inspector is part of the process. The inspector in this case was about 5 feet tall and wore a pistol that came down almost to his knees. His demeanor indicated that he failed to recognize he was not God.

The ranch boss asked his wife to go help the brand inspector count and sort the calves, penning the heifers and steers separately. The calves, at one end of a long corral alley, began to file by the little woman so she could determine their male or female status before directing their destination.
  ers. A couple of hundred calves were sorted very quickly this way, with no slowing of the steady stream of cattle down the alley.

When it was all done, the inspector told the cowgirl he'd never seen anybody, male or female,
 sort cattle that quickly. What he had failed notice was that all the heifer calves were specifically earmarked. To make her call, all she had to do was glance at their heads as they came toward her.
She figured it was information he didn't particularly need, so she "forgot" to mention it. Thereafter, she enjoyed a reputation as a very astute and competent cattle woman. No mention was ever made that she shared the same "forgetfulness" indicative to the male species of her profession.

That quiet fame happens a lot at the ranch.

Julie can be reached for comment at


Gentle on My Mind
I Wish I Was 18 again
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            My uncle sent us the new Allison Krauss album, Windy City.
I had been listening to SiriusXM Roadhouse recently when she was being interviewed and, intermittently, the host would play a track from it. One of those featured songs was the great John Hartford creation, Gentle on My Mind, sung originally be Glenn Campbell.
            Knowing how much he liked Ms. Krauss, I tried to hook Uncle Bill up on the phone to listen to at least part of the song, but, between the new feature in the pickup cutting off the radio play with a phone connection and wanting to hear the song, I quickly abandoned the call and listened to an absolutely angelic performance. I called him immediately afterward and told him he had to get the album.
            He not only got himself one he sent us one as well. It is a sensational compilation of work. If you are a child of the ‘50s and ‘60s, it will flood your senses with memories.
            Gentle on My Mind
            We first saw Glenn Campbell in the fall of 1968 at the New Mexico State Fair. Just two kids not yet 18, we were already too far in love to know any better. I was staying with my uncle and aunt and she was staying with her aunt and cousins, but our quest was the state fair for the first time and to see Glenn in concert. We had been dropped off and the fair was ours to see on our big night. We didn’t have tickets to the concert, but we naively expected to be able to walk up to the ticket booth and buy two.
            The concert was in the rodeo arena and we could hear Glenn already singing as we learned that the concert had been sold out long before it started. Standing there no doubt looking forlorn we caught the attention of an older gentleman serving as an usher at the event. He asked us what we were doing and we told him we had wanted to see the concert and had no idea there would be no tickets available. He reaffirmed the fact the show was sold out and there were no seats.
            I think we asked if we could just stand there on the concourse and listen, and he started to say no before he paused and said, “Just a minute.”
            He climbed the stairwell and was gone just a short time when he reappeared and motioned for us to follow him. We got to him and he escorted us to an entrance and directed us to a stairway into the arena and told us to go sit down at the end of the stairs against the arena rail.
            “Promise me you will stay right there,” he instructed.
            “Oh, yes sir,” we both said. “Yes, sir, and thank you so much, sir!”
            “You kids have a good time,” he smiled.
            Glenn was singing Gentle On My Mind as we sat down in the wonder of that magical moment. No more than 50 feet from us on a portable stage that was slowing turning, he looked at us and we knew for a fact it was us he acknous wledged. He smiled, but I am sure our smiles were larger yet.
            It’s knowing that your door is always open and your path is free to walk he sang only to us we were sure.
            Kathy and I saw Lex and Arlene at a Las Cruces gun show a couple of years ago. We had not seen them in years, and it was Arlene we saw first. We hugged her and visited before we asked about Lex. She said he was somewhere in the hall carrying an old automatic rifle around trying to get somebody to notice it and buy it. We found him and gathered together. It was as if we had seen them yesterday. Lex was the same guy that day as he was all those years more than a half century ago when he and I first met. Always marching to his own beat, he could be hilarious.
            Without a doubt in my mind, he was the most talented athlete in our class. He was also the most talented little leaguer in the Silver City league we played in as kids. We never had an official little league field, but played in an old field on the eastern edge of town dubbed “Sticker Stadium”. The goat heads were as thick as a lawn and the field was rough enough to strike terror in your heart trying to field hot grounders while avoiding wicked hops that’d take your head off.
            As little leaguers, the ‘glory’ positions were catching, pitching, playing first or short stop, but not for Lex. He wanted to play center field and roamed the deep outfield just hoping to shag a deep drive. Seldom was a ball hit out by 10-12 year olds and there were some years not a single one was driven out.
            I really slapped one one night and stood there and watched it in near Babe Ruth fashion just sure it was gone. The sails were emptied just as quickly, though, when Lex came out of nowhere, leaped high, and caught it against and over the fence in deepest center field. It was a spectacular catch. It was more so for a 12 year old kid. I walked dejectedly back to the dugout and started putting my gear to catch when Mr. Mortensen sat down by me, patted me on the leg, and told me only Lex could have caught that ball.
            Catch it he did, though. Lex and his Elk’s Club team were always competitive. They weren’t deep in talent, but they had the best player in the league. The only time we actually played together was on an all star team that was defeated by the eventual state champion team in an extra innings 1-0 game.
            Later, when playing football and basketball filled our lives, Lex was never part of those teams. I assume he didn’t want to play or maybe it was his propensity to walk to his own drum and snare deep hit fly balls. He continued to play baseball, but would have been a sensational wide receiver in football and a slashing forward in basketball. He could run like a deer, jump out of the gym, and his eye hand coordination was superb. He was the only one of us who had the talent to play division one or even professional sports. With a bit more intensity and killer instinct, there is no telling what could have happened.
            It was Dusty who told me that Lex was sick. We tried to see him when I spent a day last year with Dusty looking at his Flying A Ranch. Lex and Arlene had bought some acreage on the Redrock Road where they built their home, and, on the way to look at a new solar unit Dusty had installed, we stopped. No one was home, and I suspect now the couple was in Tucson or wherever Lex was being treated.
            I never saw him again, but … we will return home to Silver City and be at the celebration of his life this very afternoon at 2:00.
            I Wish I Was 18 Again
            That your waving from the back roads by the rivers of my memory ever smiling ever gentle on my mind the stanza ended.
            I’ll suggest Glenn smiled at us again, but it has been too long ago to really remember anything but the charm of the lady who was to become my life’s mate and friend as she sat next to me holding my hand and listening to that song. We have endured and succeeded as did Lex and Arlene. We have two daughters as do Lex and Arlene. We have beautiful grandchildren as do Lex and Arlene.
            But, where on earth do these years go?
            I could be nostalgic and quote Louis Armstrong or even Ray Price and wish I was 18 again, but I won’t. I don’t want to be 18 again. It isn’t just because it is impossible, but why should we want something uncertain when proven broad shoulders march ahead of us. These are the same, familiar shoulders that flood our memories when things like this happen or when we hear the words of songs that were ours when we were 18 and going where we had never been before.
            Indeed, we were children of our own world. We were together when we didn’t know much about anything outside of Grant County, and, now, we mourn together when one of us leaves. That is what we share, and, in the end, isn’t that great among earthly gifts?

                Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “William Alexander (Lex) Schadel was called to his Heavenly Home on Good Friday, April 14, 2017.”

Baxter Black: Pick it out — at the Starlite

...Music has always been a part of my life. My family emigrated to Oklahoma from Texas. Grandpa played old-time fiddle. He taught his kids. I’ve been seconding good musicians as long as I can remember.

And it’s still goin’ on! I married into a nest of Okies who play the same good music I grew up on. They sing and play and let me hammer and pound along behind ’em. I’ve never really minded playin’ second fiddle. You can’t be good at everything. But there was a time when I shined.

Workin’ cows in the fall is somethin’ I’ve always enjoyed. Some of these ranches I worked were a hundred miles from a K-Mart. It might take several days to preg check 2,000 head so when I showed up, I’d take my guitar. There weren’t VCR’s and satellite dishes in the old days. I was a welcome diversion.

After a day’s work, we’d clean up, have supper and then make music and tell stories in the cookhouse. Sometimes there’d be a cowboy who could sing or a day-work uranium miner who’d played the mandolin. We had a high ol’ time every night.

Now days, I’ve gotten to know folks like Ed Bruce, Red Steagall, Michael Martin Murphy, Charlie Daniels, Reba McEntire, Larry Gatlin, Riders in the Sky, Mo Bandy, Vince Gill, Chris LeDoux and other, not quite so famous but just as talented. I admire their ability, but I don’t envy it. Even if I’d had a portion of their gift and ambition, I suspect I’d still be playin’ at the Starlite Inn in Idaho Falls six nights a week.

I’d have spent my life chasin’ fame instead of chasin’ cows. And I’d have missed all those nights singin’ in the cookhouse to a bunch of cowboys starved for entertainment.

Lee Pitts - The dog’s house

Nineteenth century Indians had some great ideas. The Cherokees didn't waste money on lawyers and messy divorces; a Cherokee woman could divorce her husband merely by throwing his stuff out of the teepee. That's what my mom did. Then she put the old dog to sleep and skipped town. It's not so simple now.

Alaska became the first state to require judges to take into consideration the well being of pets in making their divorce decrees. From now on Alaskan divorce court judges will have to treat pets just like kids. Admittedly, this is currently already happening in most homes in America. The decree was a little contradictory however because it implied that pets should be treated just like members of the family and with respect. So which is it.

With the institution of marriage being held in such low regard these days, where the only thing semi-permanent are the tattoos that decorate our society, I'm sure other states will follow Alaska's lead. Henceforth, pets will be considered property just like the ski condo in Aspen, the Bentley in the driveway or the diamonds in the safe. I assume this means an Alaskan judge can assign custody of the pets. What a difference from the days when the wife took the kids and the house and the husband got the mistress and the money. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some poor schmuck is already paying $3,000 a month alimony for a Shih Tzu and there's a 5000 square foot home in the Hamptons that some pooch won in a divorce. Talk about a dog house!

Alaska's decree raises many questions. How will a judge determine custody, will the dog go to whoever purchased it, fed it or scooped up its poop? Some have suggested that the pets should stay with the children but I don't know if this is for the well being of the kids or the Beagle. There will also have to be a value assigned to pets, but how do you value a Doberman or Chihuahua? Is it worth more, or less, than the 72 inch TV or Ford F150?

I wonder if the Alaska law applies to other animals such as a horse? I can see this happening although I'm sure it will NOT apply to cows. Many wives get divorced because of cows: they want no more washing machines that smell like a feedlot or being used to plug holes in fences.

There could be some positive results as a result of this law. The divorce rate will go down if couples know there's a possibility they could lose custody of the Border Collie. (Good cow dogs are even harder to find than a good husband!) I know one couple who are just staying married because of the kids. Neither one wants them

Ranch Radio

The gospel tune on Ranch Radio today:  Vern Gosdin - Toe To Toe With The Devil

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trump Clamps Down On Spending At Interior, Energy Depts

by Michael Bastasch

The Trump administration is clamping down on grants and subsidies handed out by two federal agencies overseeing energy and land management programs.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sent out a memo in early April initiating a thorough review of the Department of the Interior grants and cooperative agreements planned for this year. Interior hands out $5.5 billion for such things every year, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

“In order to help me to understand the immense impact grants and cooperative agreements have on the mission delivery of the Department, I am directing implementation of the following temporary procedures for processing grants and cooperative agreements,” Zinke wrote to top Interior officials.
Zinke wants to review all planned grants and cooperative agreements totaling $100,000 or more before they can be approved. Other federal agencies have undertaken similar reviews of spending.

During the Reagan administration, at the Assistant Secretary for Land & Water level, we initiated a policy that all grants of $10,000 or more must be approved by the Assistant Secretary. When the final reports came in I noticed something fishy in Montana. Two different grants, each for $9,900.  The BLM state director had split the grant between two closely related groups because he knew it would have never been approved.

Secretary Zinke better have somebody really bird dog this for him. When it comes to giving away money to their buddies or favorite outside interest groups, bureaucrats can be very persistent and creative.

How Humans Spare Nature

by Linus Blomqvist

Humanity has, by most measures, done extraordinarily well over the past century. People on average live longer and eat better. The share of the global population living in poverty is lower than ever before. But supplying food, energy, materials, and water to a growing and increasingly wealthy population has come at a steep cost for the natural world. Humans today use at least half of all ice-free land, mostly for farming and forestry. Habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution, and other environmental impacts have on average reduced wildlife populations by more than half since 1970. Hundreds of species of birds and mammals have gone extinct over the past few centuries, and many more are threatened today.

But there are glimmers of hope. Even as biodiversity continues to be lost, there are signs that economic growth and human welfare are becoming increasingly decoupled from environmental impacts. While many of humankind’s environmental impacts have grown in absolute terms, several have started to flatten out or even decline. Per-capita impacts have in many cases gone down, in large part because the technologies used to produce goods have become less environmentally harmful. If these decoupling trends continue, it is possible that human impacts on the environment will peak and decline this century, even as the global population approaches 10 billion and people around the world become more materially rich and secure.

“Peak impact” offers an inspiring vision for global conservation. It can be achieved by accelerating beneficial economic and technological processes while continuing to use protected areas, payments for ecosystem services, and other conventional conservation tools at a landscape levels. Here is how it works.

Taking A Burden Off Nature

While population and per-capita consumption have added to humanity’s overall burden on the environment, technological shifts have for the most part reduced it. These shifts can be reduced to two mechanisms: substitution and intensification.

The substitution of tractors for horses eliminated the need to dedicate about one-quarter of all U.S. farmland to feed draft animals. The introduction of synthetic nitrogen meant farmers no longer needed to keep as much as half of their cropland in fallow to replenish soil nutrients. Together with agricultural intensification in the forms of rising crop yields and greater efficiencies in meat
production, these technological advances have allowed the area of farmland per capita to fall by half over the last half century, even as diets have gotten richer. While global farmland area has increased by about 10 percent since 1960—causing widespread habitat loss—it has barely grown since the early 1990s. During that period, global population rose by more than 20 percent and GDP per capita nearly doubled.

The transition from fuelwood to fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydro as sources of energy has also contributed to flattening global demand for wood. In fact, per-capita wood consumption has declined so much as to offset the concurrent increase in food consumption, such that the total per-capita demand for biomass has stayed constant for more than a century. Today, it takes on average less than one hectare to provide food, energy, and living space per person, compared to an estimated four hectares per person among early agriculturalists some 7,000 years ago.

Through similar mechanisms, farmed meat and fish have taken pressure off wild populations. Petroleum- and plant-based substitutes for whale oil spared global whale populations—not just in the 19th century when kerosene replaced whale oil in lighting, but also in the 20th century when innovations made whale products unneeded for lubricants, soap, and margarine. Shifting from coal to natural gas to nuclear and hydro—and wind and solar power more recently—has gradually reduced the amount of carbon emissions per unit of energy, even as total global carbon emissions have continued to rise. As humans shift from harvesting goods in the wild—such as bushmeat hunting or whaling—to farming them, or to producing goods in factories, the amount of environmental harm per unit produced tends to fall.

In other words, in most cases, the more synthetic our consumption, the less nature we destroy. We spare nature by using less of it.

This Earth Day, Remember How Often Environmental Alarmists Are Wrong


 Today is the 47th annual Earth Day. On this day, it is worth reflecting on how completely, totally wrong environmental alarmists often are. Few things tell us more about the environmental movement—where it’s been and, more importantly, where it is now—than its dismal track record in the predictive department.

Case in point: Paul Ehrlich, who is as close to a rock star as you’re apt to find among environmentalists. Ehrlich is most famous for his 1968 book “The Population Bomb,” in which he famously predicted that, during the 1970s and 1980s, humanity would suffer mass famine and starvation due to overpopulation. “At this late date,” Ehrlich wrote, “nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”

Spoiler alert: Ehrlich was wrong—so wrong, in fact, that not only did his doomsday predictions fail to materialize, but the exact opposite happened. Readers who were alive during the 1970s and 80s will recall that there was plenty to eat, there was no mass die-off, everything worked out fine, and humanity’s lot continued to improve as it had throughout the rest of the 20th century.

Ehrlich Is Still Making Incorrect Doomsday Predictions

This kind of humiliating embarrassment would be enough to cow even the proudest of men—unless that man is an environmentalist, of course. Incredibly, as NewsBuster’s Tim Graham pointed out this week, Ehrlich was still making his doomsday predictions in 1989—well after the point when it was clear his previous predictions had been utter failures. Ehrlich claimed that, during the 1990s, “We’re going to see massive extinction;” he theorized that rising ocean waters meant “we could expect to lose all of Florida, Washington D.C., and the Los Angeles basin.”

...This Earth Day, consider reflecting on the bizarre dichotomy of (a) Paul Ehrlich’s mortifying history of predictive failures regarding the environment, and (b) his continued relevance in the field of environmental studies. Reflect on what that tells you about the environmental movement as a whole, particularly its hysterical climate change wing. And then consider the possibility that you can safely ignore the hysterics and simply live your life without worrying that Tampa, Florida is going to be washed away sometime over the next few decades.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Nevada jury is signaling trouble in deliberating conspiracy charges, will resume deliberations Monday

A jury in Nevada is signaling trouble in deliberating conspiracy charges against six men over an armed standoff that stopped government agents from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy's ranch in 2014. Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro didn't read their question aloud but convened jurors Thursday to tell them they can decide there was a conspiracy even if they find the defendants didn't take part in it. The judge instructed the jury to keep deliberating. The issue echoes one in a related case in Oregon, where jurors last October found Bundy's sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and five others not guilty of all charges in an armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife refuge. The acquittal in Oregon included a similar count of conspiracy to impede federal officers...A federal jury in Las Vegas ended a half-day of deliberations without a verdict in the trial of six men who brought assault-style weapons to a standoff with government agents near Cliven Bundy's ranch in April 2014. A court official said Thursday that jurors adjourned shortly before 12:30 p.m., and will return Monday for more deliberations in U.S. District Court...more

Pesticide makers claim endangered species science 'flawed'

Lawyers for Dow AgroSciences and two other pesticide manufacturers are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw scientific reports that were provided to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the effects of those pesticides on endangered species. The reports were one of the final acts of President Barack Obama's administration and were submitted just two days before President Donald Trump's inauguration. The letters, accompanied by a study sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, refuting those EPA reports claim the government research is "flawed" and are addressed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt...more

Why scientists are marching on Washington and more than 400 other cities

The March for Science is not a partisan event. But it's political. That's the recurring message of the organizers, who insist that this is a line the scientific community and its supporters will be able to walk. It may prove too delicate a distinction, though, when people show up in droves on Saturday with their signs and their passions. “We’ve been asked not to make personal attacks or partisan attacks,” said honorary national co-chair Lydia Villa-Komaroff, in a teleconference this week with reporters. But Villa-Komaroff, who will be among those given two-minute speaking slots, quickly added: “This is a group of people who don’t take well being told what to do.” The Science March, held on Earth Day, is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to the Mall, and satellite marches have been planned in more than 400 cities on six continents...This is not simply a reaction to President Trump's election, Holt said. Scientists have been worried for years that “evidence has been crowded out by ideology and opinion in public debate and policymaking.” Long before Trump's election, people in the scientific and academic community raised concerns about the erosion of the value of expertise and the rise of pseudoscientific and anti-scientific notions. Science also found itself swept up into cultural and political battles; views on climate science, for example, increasingly reflect political ideology...more

Not partisan, but political. Translation: Larger appropriations, fewer strings attached.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day

TGIFF! Its Fiddle Friday and let's give a listen to Chubby Wise fiddlin' Gotta See Your Mama Every Night.  The tune is on his 1973 album Chubby At His Best.