Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

Pretty is as pretty does -- just who is the amateur?

By Julie Carter 

The pickup looked a little "ranchy" and had been re-painted several times. The last time it got a fresh coat, its appearance suggested a whiskbroom had been used to apply the faded blue paint. 

The wobbly single-horse trailer had never been painted and was complete with wood-slatted sides and the metal bows over the top - no top of any kind, not even a tarp. The gate was crooked and needed to be wired shut and one could only imagine if the floor was solid enough to hold anything heavier than a small dog. 

The oversized-palomino roping horse looked better suited to pull a plow, but the poor boy from down on the river managed to use him to compete quite handily in the calf roping. 

"Snoopy" he called him. The only explanation he would give was: "Every time someone tells me I need to get a new truck and trailer, I tell them there is nuthin' wrong with the one I got. But, I do worry about my horse a little so I'm in the hunt for some big Snoopy goggles and a Red Baron scarf for him." 

Knowing the true path to the pay window, this cowboy didn't waste much on frills but more than paid his way with skills. Pretty is as pretty does. 

The other side to that story is another story. 

It's not uncommon for cowboys going down the rodeo road to pencil their travel plans around a stop at a buddy's place. 

There, they will run his cattle for practice, eat at his table, and sleep in his bunkhouse - all in the name of a last minute tune-up before the "big one," - rodeo or roping. 

It was Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) time in Las Vegas and behind every rodeo hand that qualified, there were legions who wished they could. 

Some marketing genius decided to offer the "wish I could" ropers a place to compete, close to Las Vegas so the fun and atmosphere was a perk, but the roping was open to anyone with a pulse and checkbook. 

David and his partner, whose name I never did catch, stopped off to tune-up for this big "also ran" roping. They arrived in separate $50,000 pickups, pulling $50,000 aluminum trailers and if rig shopping was a contest, they had it won. 

The first session went badly. Missed heads, missed heels, missed dallies, missed everything, half heads, bad handle ... you get the idea. 

After a day, the unnamed header loaded up and headed for the city of lights but David stayed a little longer to perfect his uncountable imperfections. 

The first two steers that were headed for him, David completely missed the heels. 

No one is quite sure what happened next, but the resident header nodded, roped, turned off and when everyone looked David's way, he was lying in the dirt and so was his horse. The horse got up but David continued to lay there like a dead tuna. 

This was not his shoulder's first encounter with the arena floor and David was in bad shape. 

A bag of ice, some high voltage Motrin and a shot of Tennessee whiskey later, David was absolutely positive he'd never been better. 

Assured that his horse was fine, his friends unsaddled him, lifting the gear into the trailer for him because David couldn't lift his arm to poke his own eye. 

Asking "how do I get to Vegas from here, " David waved good bye with his good arm which did not happen to be the arm he needed for roping. 

A little detail like a wrecked roping arm that didn't work very well even without injury wasn't about to keep him from his dreams of winning the world. Or at least seeing Las Vegas when it teemed with cowboy hats, pretty girls and lots of possibilities. 

You gotta love'm. 

© Julie Carter 2006

Wilmeth - Ride ‘em, Cowboy!

Lessons in Reality
Ride ‘em, Cowboy!
Attitude Adjustments
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Hank and I were buds.
            Our lives were resistant to the proximity of a town. We didn’t live “in” Silver City. We lived up Little Walnut Road and our outward bearing from anything “town” was constant. Hank’s parents bought the old Hanslik place and it provided a buffer against stuff we disliked. The only shortfall to it was glancing southward and seeing humanity.
            Truly, we would have preferred the freedom of the end of 16 miles of dirt road.
            Lessons in Reality
            We even had a bucking arena.
            It was behind the barn. The chute was cobbled together out of lumber. Our pursuit wasn’t classic because we didn’t have a bronc saddle, but we did have a bareback riggin’. It was a dandy, and, speaking of Dandy, it was he, the little Shetland cross stud horse, we used as our bucking horse.  He was a tobiano sorrel paint and he was pure “D” Shetland. He was a cutthroat little beggar that would take two jumps and then wait to plot his chance to chingele you.
            We’d make a couple of rides each before we would start losing interest. Hank would invariable pull the hotshot out to get a little more action, but, by that time, we’d be ready to go on to the next big invention. Dandy would go back to plotting his next attempt to murder one of us.
            We had a big idea one time, though, when a kid’s saddle too small for us, my brother, Paul, and Dandy all lined up in one frame of reference from our lofty, heavy thinking perch in a tree.
            “Let’s see how that saddle works on that horse!”
            So, we caught Dandy, saddled him, decked Paul out, and prepared for the event. The flat between the house and the road was better suited for the ride than the rocky arena behind the barn so that is where we got our little cowboy mounted and turned Dandy loose. He immediately headed for the barn and the trot turned into a lope and from the lope he started bucking going straight away.
            “Ride him, Paul!”
            He did for several jumps but then the little horse ducked out from under him and off he went hanging in the near side stirrup. The wreck was immediately more serious. Paul was hitting the ground every once in a while and taking a beating trying to dodge flying hooves.
            Carrying our ropes, and, to make a longer and scary story short, we forefooted that horse and got him thrown while afoot without getting Paul loose. He was as white as a sheet and not anywhere near coherent when we pulled him from under the horse.
            “You’ll be alright, but don’t you go and tell your mother about this!” Hank was saying as he fanned him with his hat.
            Another lesson in reality was etched into our being. Paul survived. We all survived, but that doesn’t suggest it was always easy sailing. What I find interesting, however, are the tendencies of each and every person I have closest contact in my life who can share and relate similar experiences.
We all vote the same!
Ride ‘em, Cowboy!
Late this week, a group of us gathered to discuss issues. We do it once a month in a formal setting. We start with a prayer and pledge our allegiance to our flag and our country. As I sat there listening, it occurred to me how much I have come to respect this little band of brothers and sisters. Our being is dictated by our surroundings and the unbroken and direct links to our past. We have no problem “finding” ourselves and, without exception, don’t rally to force some contrived new wave logic on somebody else. We have more than enough to do without getting in somebody’s business.
That doesn’t suggest our lives are static, though.
On the contrary, traditional and everyday demands are now layered with other things. CRMPs, EQIP, CSP, HAACP, PILT, 8100 funds, 6011, NAP, 1099s, 1080, DR11 200PSI, dole valves, and NOAA are acronyms or code talk that are too commonplace amidst the other regulatory BS. Every one of us is in the midst of installing or maneuvering to install next generation infrastructure. Pipelines, erosion control devices, fences, brush control projects are all heavily on our minds at 3:00 AM.
“Turn us loose!” was not our plea, but we understand the implication and agree. Those words came from a sheep man from Montana in recent congressional testimony. It could have been any one of us, though, who would have been willing to belly up to the table and microphone and say the same thing in generally the same vernacular.
Turn us loose!
We have seen the world from a different perspective. We have lived through wrecks and storms that not just formed our image but shaped our entire perspective of the world around us, the natural world … the real world.
Attitude Adjustments
One can’t help to ponder, however, how much good would come out of a simple, everyday encounter for our ruling class. Take, for example, the experience Mrs. Pelosi would gain by repairing a prolapse on a high headed horned cow. Or, how about the simple task of sorting bulls in an alley by the New York Chuckster? Foghorn could be required to assist a difficult heifer birth, and Bernie could milk out a tight bagged cow before he went to town to pay his property taxes. We wouldn’t trust any of them to ride the fresh colt, though, and that is not because we care about them.
It would be the horse we worry about … we don’t’ want him ruined!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Jupe used to say that a man was not worth a damn until he was 43. None of us have figured out what the hurdle is for a politico.”

Baxter Black: Advice Column

As a fellow veterinarian, I am hoping you can help me. My wife Nancy has two cow dogs that will readily obey commands to sit and stay until they get near a cow. Then they chase the critter and can't hear a word we say. It's very obvious to me that they go deaf near livestock.
So, what's your diagnosis? I've considered cow dander allergies, pour on irritation and ear infections to name a few. If possible, send a note or RX.
Signed Anxious in Tie Siding, Dr. L.W.
Dear L.W.
I am pleased to inform you that your wife's two cow dogs are suffering from a malady that is common in Blue Heelers. It also occurs in species further down the food chain such as backyard horses, bird dogs and teenagers.
Your suggested diagnosis associates their problems to the nearness of cattle. However, research at the NASA Cow Dog behavioral Institute in Homer City, PA indicated a relationship more closely related to the proximity of the dominant figure. i.e., the greater the distance between master and dog, the less your influence.
The technical name for the syndrome is called Progressive Dumb Dog Detachment Amnesia or PDA. There are some social scientists who believe PDA is a result of a broken home, a puppyhood trauma or sucking hind tit. Others, with only a Master's Degree prefer to think it is a biological defect like damaged chromosomes, lack of a braun or too much Co-op dog food.

Lee Pitts: Let’s Sue Someone.

Hi ladies, it's me, the wife of the slob who usually writes this column. He's resting now, getting his beauty sleep and believe me, he needs all he can get. Unbeknownst to him, I'm taking over the column this week because what I have to say is much more important than any gibberish he'd have written.
Are you keeping up on all the reports of evil athletes, actors, politicians and businessmen who've been harassing and discriminating against women? Do you know who you haven't heard one peep from? The wives of farmers and ranchers that's who, and yet there is not a group in America who's been harassed or discriminated against more than us.
I consulted with an attorney who said we'd have a great discrimination case in court against our husbands but there's one small problem. In his words, "You can't get any blood out of a turnip." The attorney said we'd need to go after "deeper pockets" and suggested a class action lawsuit. To win we'd have to prove guilt in just one of the following areas:
• Hostile work environment- Have you ever been yelled at because some cows leaked through the gap in the fence you were supposed to be blocking? Has your husband ever used foul language in your presence when you accidentally slammed the squeeze chute door on his hand or accidentally vaccinated him against lepto-vibrio? Do you work in a clean environment or are you constantly being bombarded by cow poop? Has he left you in a seedy motel room without feed or water while he went to "an important committee meeting" in a saloon? Are you referred to as "hired help"or a "peon"? If so, you're rights have been violated.
• Missed meals and potty breaks – While on a bull buying trip in your car you informed your husband you needed to pull over at the next rest stop for a bio-break did he tell you to just "hold it"? That's criminal abuse! If you are not given an hour for lunch and at least two breaks lasting 15 minutes you. need to be suing someone.
• Pregnancy discrimination- Did you get six months maternity leave prior to having your last child and were you also given six months after the baby's birth? Or, instead were you given one of those backward papoose thingies with your baby strapped to the front of your body and put back on a horse or tractor one week after popping out the kid? If so, you should be squalling louder than Meryl Streep about having been abused.
• Working off the clock- I know what you're thinking, what clock?...

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Don Edwards provides our gospel tune today - Drift Along Lonely Cowboy. The tune is on his 2009 CD Heaven on Horseback.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Anglo-American Office of Sheriff

Americans' right to elect their Sheriffs comes from ancient English legal tradition.

David Kopel 

Speaking to the National Sheriffs' Association on Monday, Attorney General Sessions said, "I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been the people's protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elected process." He continued, "The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement." Suprisingly, some persons thought these remarks controversial.
Ignoramuses do not know that our American legal system grew from the English legal system. Even today, the legal systems that came from the English system (e.g., U.S., Canada, Australia) have much more in common with each other than they do with systems that grew from different roots, such as the Napoleonic Codes that are the foundations of the legal systems in much of continental Europe and Latin America. (Louisiana, thanks to its French roots, blends the English and French systems.) As Attorney General Sessions accurately stated, the "office of sheriff" is part of our legal Anglo-American heritage. Indeed, today's "independently elected sheriff" comes from America's devotion to its ancient English legal roots.
In an article in the Journal of the Criminal Law and Criminology, I examined the Office of Sheriff, from its English origin to modern America. In the English system of government, the oldest title of office is "king" and the second oldest title of office is "sheriff." The Anglo-Saxon word for what we today call a "county" was "shire." The word "sheriff" is a compound of "seyre" (meaning "shire") and "reve" (meaning "bailiff" or "guardian"). The sheriff is therefore the guardian of the county. While Americans got rid of kings, they have fortified and improved the Office of Sheriff, drawing on its most ancient roots.
... By the time that English settlement in North America began, in 1607, the Office of Sheriff had changed in some important and positive ways. Sheriffs had to take an oath to uphold the law. They also had to post a bond, as security against any malfeasance in office. Both requirements endure in modern American law. All state constitutions require constitutional officers to take an oath to uphold the constitution. Likewise, a bond is still required, although it may be satisfied by an insurance policy.
When the English crossed the Atlantic to America, they took the Office of Sheriff with them. Soon, they would begin shaping that office in a distinctively American way...
An important American innovation was that the sheriff either had a salary or could only charge fees (e.g., for executing a civil judgment) that were fixed by law. This reform recognized the problem of some of the unsalaried English sheriffs who had used their office for personal enrichment.
The American practice of electing sheriffs began in 1652, when the Royal Governor of Virginia told each county to choose its own sheriffs. The commissioners of Northampton County asked the people of the county to elect the sheriff. William Waters became the first sheriff elected in America. It was not surprising that the reestablishment of popular election of sheriffs came from a county government; other than the New England town meetings, the first democratic governments in the American colonies were county governments.
Americans came to understand the election of the sheriff as a right of the people. The 1802 Ohio Constitution was the first state constitution to formally specify that sheriffs must be elected. The large majority of American state constitutions now require that sheriffs be elected by the people of the county. Today, American sheriffs are elected in all states except Alaska (which has no counties), Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Connecticut (where the office of sheriff was abolished in 2000).
In creating what Jefferson called the "most important" of all the county offices, the American people modeled the office on the best features of the Anglo-Saxon Office of Sheriff. The Americans also included what they considered to be improvements that had taken place in the centuries after the Norman Conquest. As one historian would observe in 1930, "in America today . . . the sheriff retains many of his Anglo-Saxon and Norman characteristics. (Karraker, p. 159). Or as another historian put it, "Virtually no significant changes have occurred in the American system of county law enforcement during the past century. Most sheriffs and constables operate under the same basic laws and customs as existed at the creation of their posts." (Frank Richard Prassel, The Western Peace Officer 119 (1972)). In the American legal system of 2018, few things are so similar to 898 as the Office of Sheriff.
Today, most Americans enjoy a right that is denied almost everywhere else in the world, including England: the right of electing the chief law enforcement officers of their county. This is one application of a fundamental principle of American law: "The people, not the government, possess the absolute sovereignty." New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 274 (1964) (Justice Brennan quoting James Madison).


DOI reorganization: The public, elected officials needs more information on Secretary Zinke’s goals

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is redesigning his department to move hundreds of public employees from Washington out West. In theory, putting decision-makers in closer touch with the landscapes and people they will affect is a good idea. We are, however, skeptical about intent, because, as with the Bureau of Land Management (Herald, May 13) most of them are already there, and the most frequent challenges land management agencies face are political, philosophical and financial, not geographic...more

As you can see, this editorial is more concerned about the agencies than they are about the people impacted by agency decisions

Proximity to the West’s public lands and water resources means distance from Washington, and that distance likely will mean less visibility there and less access to Congress, its funding appropriations and the president.

Oh my, the taxpayers may save some money, and we can't have that. And just how many times does the leadership in BLM meet with the President? Like, never. 

Or does Zinke plan to lower the profile of public lands so that they can be dispersed and dismantled? Westerners, and all who care about public resources, must ensure that does not happen.

And they raise the transfer of lands out of federal ownership bugaboo. Is it good policy for the feds to own almost one out of every three acres in the U.S? Of course not. Unfortunately, there is nothing in this proposal that would lead to such a transfer. Instead of doing what he should, transfer the lands, Zinke instead is transferring employees. He's actually trying to save the agency. I doubt it will work, but I'm convinced that is the "intent" that the editorial writers are so concerned about.               

In a world first, Switzerland deems it illegal to boil a lobster

When it comes to cooking fresh lobster, the Swiss are now saying: We feel your pain. A law goes into effect March 1 that bans the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a big pot of boiling water, quickly killing the tasty crustacean. That practice is being outlawed because the Swiss say it's cruel and lobsters can sense pain. The first national legislation of its kind in the world calls for a more humane death for lobsters, by “rendering them unconscious” before plunging them into scalding water. Two methods are recommended: Electrocution or sedating the lobster by dipping it into salt water and then thrusting a knife into its brain. The same law also gives domestic pets further protections, such as dogs can no longer be punished for barking. The measure is part of the broad principle of “animal dignity” enshrined in Switzerland’s constitution, the only country to have such a provision. The constitution already protects how various species must be treated and specifies that animals need socialization. That means cats must have a daily visual contact with other felines, and hamsters or guinea pigs must be kept in pairs. And anyone who flushes a pet goldfish down the toilet is breaking the law...more

Friday, February 16, 2018

Vote for your favorite “Quiet moments on the ranch” photo today!

Amanda Radke

EDITOR'S NOTE: We've extended voting. You can now vote every day until noon February 19. In February, we have been celebrating the peaceful moments that are so unique to country living. It’s been a joy to see readers share their favorite “quiet moments on the ranch” photos with gorgeous images of colorful horizons, hard-working cow dogs and horses, mama cows nurturing their calves, quiet rides in the pasture or feedlot and families bonding together on the ranch. View the complete gallery of reader submitted entries by clicking here. Now we need your help in choosing our winners. The champion photographer will receive a pair of Twisted X driving moccasins and the reserve champion will receive a $50 VISA gift card. Plus, three randomly selected voters will receive a Twisted X hat. View the finalists’ gallery here. Vote for your favorite image within the finalist gallery or by clicking here. ;

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

TGIFF! Its Fiddle Friday and we have Hamilton Special by Aubrey. The tune is on his 2003 CD Bluegrass Fiddle Album.

Popular Dog Food Brands Recalled After Repeatedly Testing Positive for Euthanasia Drug

An independent investigation, conducted by ABC7, looking into what’s in your dog’s food was followed by recalls from a major pet food company. According to ABC7, the ABC-affiliate launched the deep dive into dog food after the death of a Washougal, Washington, dog named Talula. Nikki Mael’s four dogs all became unresponsive after eating a can of Evanger’s pet food on New Year’s Eve 2016. Distraught, the owner rushed all of her canines to the vet for treatment; all but Talula pulled through. Since Talula was in good health before the incident, Mael sent the remainder of her dogs’ food to a lab for testing. The lab uncovered that the dog food contained pentobarbital, “a lethal drug, most commonly used to euthanize dogs, cats and some horses.” The use of pentobarbital is not permitted in animal meat used for food supply, so it should not show up in any pet or human food. The FDA later cautioned pet owners against feeding their pets Evanger’s shortly after Talula’s death, but Susan Thixton, a pet food consumer advocate, told ABC7 that unusual substances can end up in your pets’ food regularly. “Consumers have no information,” said Thixton. “A consumer has to become a private detective to learn what’s really in their food.” To save pet owners the aforementioned detective work, ABC7 partnered with Ellipse Analytics, a lab specializing in food testing, to test pet food. The station tested 62 samples of wet dog food from over 24 brands for pentobarbital multiple times over several months. Only one brand of food, Gravy Train, repeatedly tested positive for trace amounts of the eutrehanasia drug. Sixty percent of the Gravy Train samples came back positive. And while the amount of pentobarbital found was not a lethal level, any trace of the drug is not permitted in pet food. Gravy Train is made by the company Big Heart Pet Foods, which is owned by Smucker’s. Big Heart Brands is also responsible for the production of Meow Mix, Milk Bone, Kibbles’n Bits, 9 Lives, Natural Balance, Pup-Peroni, Nature’s Recipe, Canine Carry Outs, Milo’s Kitchen, Alley Cat, Jerky Treats, Meaty Bone, Pounce and Snausages. The question still remains how the drug made its way into the food, since it is often only found in the systems of cats, horses and dogs put down by the drug...more


When U.S. farmers bring their crops to market this year, they will see "the beginning of gradual price increases that are expected to continue through the decade," ending the slump that began in 2013, said USDA projections. Prices for most crops will remain below their 10-year average, however, and to maximize returns, farmers will plant more soybeans, making it the No 1 crop, while planting less corn and wheat. "These projections are the first in history where soybean acreage is expected to eclipse corn acreage," said USDA in its 10-year projections of U.S. and world agriculture. USDA released a slimmed-down version of the "baseline" last November, which also projected soybeans to consistently out-run corn as the most widely planted U.S. crop through 2027. The projections were based on weather and market conditions last fall and will be updated at USDA's Ag Outlook Forum next Thursday and Friday. In 2018, farmers are expected to plant equal amonts of corn and soybeans this year, 91 million acres each, USDA says. The end of "king corn" would profoundly change the traditional line-up of the four major U.S. field crops - corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, which covered 239 million acres last year, an area more than twice as big as California...more