Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Meet me at the county fair

by Julie Carter
It is county fair time across America. Spending a day at the fair is as much a lesson in history and anthropology as it is an excuse to eat homemade pie and see cute bunnies in their best fur coats.

County fairs nuture the roots of rural life. They are one of the few places left that bring the generations of agriculture together to experience a culture and a heritage that has been left behind by most of the population of this country.

Yet the fair is a teaching tool as well. One of the reasons it exists is to provide today's youth with a glimpse into the lives of the generations before them. 

Local 4-H clubs and FFA chapters champion agricultural education and community service. The members work on several projects throughout the year and come to county fairs to show off their accomplishments.

Fair projects can include anything from baking and knitting to crafts and photography, but at most fairs, showing off farm animals the youth have been raising is the focus. The majority of the fair's events are livestock contests in which 4-H and FFA members display their animals and receive prizes based on which animal shows best conformation, grooming and obedience.

Fairs are about families.  You won't find any bawdy acts or provocative contests at any local fair that I’m aware. The raciest event in one county fair was the Momma Lamb and Poppa Pig Showmanship contests. While the term “showmanship” might indicate a serious competition, this one is strictly for fun and what was seen cannot be unseen.

In this contest, full grown, seemingly responsible adults who have youngsters entered in the fair or are FFA advisors and 4-H leaders purposed to make fools of themselves for the merriment of the crowd and the resigned embarrassment of their children. The inaugural event had people laughing so hard they couldn’t walk or talk. It’s been a few years, but it is still talked about today.

What you don’t see when you arrive at the fair is the hustle, bustle, cram, jam and near panic that goes on for the last weeks prior to the fair.

Sometime just after the Fourth of July the fair families look up at the calendar and gasp. Only four weeks until the county fair! They begin to give a serious eye to the livestock that up until that moment simply got fed twice a day and not much else.

Exercise and nutrition plans take on a scientific edge with the only comfort coming from hearing the neighboring 4-H’er say, “I still can’t catch mine.” Then the crunch to get every animal in the county clipped and trimmed before the fair puts the extension agent and the ag teachers on the road 24/7.

You can spot them easily. They are carrying at least one set of hog scales and two trimming racks in the back of their pickup. They spend long days crisscrossing the county to clip the next set of lambs or spend hours fine tuning the coiffure on a couple of fat steers.

Show boxes are sorted and re-oganized, show ring wardrobes planned and the last minute rush is on to finish braiding, welding and baking projects.

Then finally the fair becomes about relaxing, having fun and showing off a little of what has been learned and accomplished. Lifelong memories are made annually as another generation passes through the show ring.

See you at the fair!

Julie can be reached for comment at

Our (Trump) Speech - Given in Absentia

Sons of the American Southern Border
Our (Trump) Speech
Given in Absentia
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I stand before you as an endangered species.
I am an American rancher. There are not a lot of us. In fact, less than one percent of every man, woman, and child in this great land is classified amongst our ranks. In my case, you could also say I am an American border rancher because my lands lie within sight of the Mexican border in Luna and Dona Ana Counties, New Mexico.
            Whooey, look at this place!
My goodness, this hall is immense. I’ll bet you could stack 50,000 tons of hay in here if you could stack one. Stacking hay is something we understand. It is a fact of life in our role as the real land stewards of the West.
            If you don’t mind, I am going to leave my hat on while I speak. That is something I normally wouldn’t do. My grandmother wouldn’t approve and I’ll beg her memory for forgiveness in this lapse of etiquette, but I want you to look at me in the image of all my colleagues who couldn’t be here.
             I am here tonight to support the presidential candidate who isn’t owned by the system. I am going to support the one that actually realizes that American citizenry exists or attempts to exist between the 77th and 118th Meridians! I am also going to support the one that understands there is a Constitutional mandate to protect our international borders and particular the one 30 miles south of me, our southern border.
            Let’s talk about that.
            This fellow in the Whitehouse keeps telling us that American border security is better than ever. He’s not telling the truth. We live with the reality of what actually goes on, and any suggestion this border is sealed is utter nonsense. We no longer listen to his rhetoric. Rather, everybody who has investments, duties or responsibilities on this border knows the real truth and we trust only our own community and the information we experience firsthand.
            The conversation between cowboys and vaqueros across the border fence offers much more reliable intelligence. At least it is couched in honesty. The Mexicans know who controls the smuggling corridors. The corridor directly to our south is now reserved for drug crossings. We see very little evidence of large scale human trafficking. It is too valuable to draw attention of elicit human crossings. The Juarez Cartel has dibs on this corridor, the Potrillo Mountains. Designated by the same fellow in the Whitehouse as one of his legacy national monuments this area is becoming a hugely valuable drug trafficking corridor. It has every characteristic of the dangerous Arizona class corridors. It has north/south oriented drainages. It has strategic, high points of observation. It has major east/west highways both north and south of its mass. It has fewer and fewer American ranchers living on its remote locations. It is rural with few numbers of Americans present at any time. It is managed by a federal land agency without any vested risk to federal employees, and, with the new designation with its restricted access rules, it is a mosaic of safe haven and managed wilderness safe zones.
            Ask yourself this. How can private citizenry identify the very characteristics that make this border monument so dangerous and yet our political leadership and our federal bureaucracies operate as if this border is a nature park of pastoral bliss? This is nuts. It is not as if the risk is not there. The state of New Mexico has a policy that when state employees venture into this area to certify livestock scales, those employees must be accompanied by armed escort.
            This area represents a doormat to a national crisis of immense proportions. At any time, there are unit trains parked along its northern boundary awaiting priority clearance east and west. There is also a major east/west natural gas line paralleling that rail line, and, of course, I10 lies immediately north with upwards of 17,000 vehicles a day running east and west.
            Mr. Trump, you need to understand the consequences of this looming disaster!
            Days ago, my neighbor to the south and within the monument found a bundle of carpet slippers used by drug runners to cover their shoes and thus their tracks of entry within a few hundred yards of his home. This was preceded by the discovery of a female corpse at one of his remote livestock waters. He consistently hears cartel ultra light aircraft at night and Border Patrol agents park in his front yard when they unload their ATVs to disperse on patrols. He is increasingly surrounded by illicit activity in the presence of the Border Patrol even though his home is 17 miles north of the line of demarcation where the public has been told the Border Patrol will interdict all invading illegals. We were all told that when the two New Mexico senators tried to get the monument passed as a legislative package. They told us the same thing after the monument was created by presidential proclamation.
            The problem is that was a lie as well. There is no hope that this border will be secured under the conditions of protection imposed on American citizenry and Homeland Security. Like so many other issues, we have become the undeclared enemy regulated from access and defense of the border not the cartels or the human traffickers.
            Mr. Trump, you and the leadership that intends to perpetuate this Union must gain a new perspective. The cornerstone must be this border! The methods of control that have proven to work like boots on the ground, technology to provide surveillance and detection of entry, the authority to go anywhere at any time without restriction, and manifest to allow duty to prevail rather than politics must be granted to the Border Patrol.
            You must also put Americans vested with those investments, responsibilities, and duties back on the border as well. Start with our American ranchers. They have always been the first line of defense. They are the eyes and ears that are constantly on duty. Make them a purpose alongside border protection and national defense when interpreting, improving, or crafting new legislation. You have no idea how important it is to have Americans with investments at risk to be there in support of not only their livelihoods and investments, but the contributory impact they provide for border protection.
            Don’t continue to allow regulatory suffocation and environmental agenda creep to promote the forced departure of these citizens. Support them in their infrastructure improvements for the real benefit for the environment and the humanitarian contributions of their presence. It has always been their water that saves the invading army of illegals. It is their presence that offers sanctuary of life to people who are overwhelmed by the horrific conditions of the expanses of federal lands along the border. Allow them reasonable regulatory relief that at least gives them an opportunity for success and a better future.
            Give them hope, too!
            Allow them to start planning longer term for their investments. Install policy that offers longer horizons for investments and infrastructure improvements. Make it a benefit to be on the border, on the land, rather than an increasingly hostile place to live, produce, and exist for both illegals and legals alike! Recognize the consequences that local communities have suffered under the rules, decrees, and the interpretation of policies by this federal government. The very ingress of drugs and illicit activity are becoming manifest in border communities. This must stop!
            Nobody knows the border better than the Americans who live here and want to be here on the basis of individual and family choice. Again, you must recognize the border is a cornerstone of American rule of law. There is no better place to refocus the originality of our great experiment than right here. We don’t ask for guarantees, but we do expect our government to uphold their obligation to protect our border. At the same time, we ask for a level playing field for our enterprises and our existence. Our presence is not only symbolic it is greatly important. La Frontera is an appropriate term of our view of the Mexican border. Donald Trump, you be the leader that brings law and order to this part of America, La Frontera. Never has this soft underbelly been fully addressed, but never has it been more dangerous.
            Energize your campaign by pledging to these American citizens that you will do your part if they pledge to stand their ground and remain committed to their lives and their historical task of land stewardship in this most critical corner of America. Start right here, right now, and make this the genesis of the great American reawakening!

                Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “A border populated by resident Americans with their cattle and their investments at risk is the best foundation for a defensible border.”

It's the Pitts


by Lee Pitts

 In the May 30 edition of the Auction Exchange, there was an ad celebrating the Midwest Auctioneer Roundup contest in Shipshewana, Indiana.

There were pictures of the winners, contestants – and one precious little 3- or 4-year-old girl with her hands covering her ears.

My sentiments exactly.

I’ve spent my adult life around auctions, and I loved every minute, but I’m paying the price now. As a youngster I could hear a bug walking across the kitchen floor, but I’m losing my hearing now and I know why.

It was having my head right next to speakers for 43 years. I knew it would happen, but what could I do? Auctions put food on our table.

My wife noticed it before I did. She’d say something, and I’d reply, “Not today, maybe next week.”

And then she’d yell, “I asked you if you fed the dog.”

So now my standard reply to everything she says is, “Huh?”

 I’ve worked with a lot of different auctioneers in my life, and I’ve noticed that the younger they are, the higher they turn up the volume. I would just remind beginning auctioneers: The clock that ticks the loudest doesn’t always keep the best time.

Idaho deputies who shot, killed rancher won't face charges

BOISE, Idaho – Two Idaho sheriff's deputies will not face criminal charges for shooting and killing an armed rancher in a confrontation about putting down a bull that was injured in a car crash and threatened emergency officials, state and federal officials said Friday. The Nov. 1 shooting divided the tiny town of Council in western Idaho and put a focus on the interaction between ranchers and police in the state's rural areas, where it is common for vehicles to strike livestock and for the animals' owners to come with guns to euthanize them. Jack Yantis, 62, had arrived with a rifle as Adams County deputies decided to shoot the injured 2,500-pound bull because it was charging at emergency crews working to get the driver and a passenger out of the car. Authorities have said there was an altercation, and Yantis and two deputies all fired their weapons. Yantis' family has said the shooting was not justified and filed a legal notice of their intent to sue the county earlier this year. The notice is a precursor to a wrongful-death lawsuit seeking $500,000. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who acted as a special prosecutor, wrapped up a four-month investigation and said there "is no other way to describe what happened that day as anything but tragic and unfortunate for the Yantis family and the entire community." Wasden reviewed more than 5,000 pages of reports, lab results, witness statements and other materials. His decision came the same day U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced that her office would not pursue federal charges. Olson said Yantis' death was a tragedy, but the evidence did not show the deputies intended to break the law...more

Lawsuit accused environmental group of discrimination

by Mateusz Perkowski

An environmental group opposed to public lands grazing was accused of age discrimination by a former employee who has since dismissed the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed against the Western Watersheds Project, which has fought multiple legal fights over grazing, by Mary K. Fite, the nonprofit group’s former biodiversity director.

She voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice, allowing it to be revived, within a day after filing it.

Capital Press was unable to reach an attorney for Fite as of press time and Western Watersheds Project is not commenting on the lawsuit.

Fite alleged that she was fired in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws by the environmental group in early 2015 at the age of 60 after previously being demoted and having her pay reduced.

The complaint claimed that Fite’s problems began after the Western Watersheds Project, which is headquartered in Hailey, Idaho, hired Travis Bruner as executive director in 2014. The group’s previous chief, Jon Marvel, had retired the previous year.

Fite alleged that one of the group’s directors told another employee they were seeking to “make the organization younger,” and that at least three employees over 50 years old were terminated under Bruner.

Old West era town made by Catron County man opens

CATRON COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The Town Of Gabriella, an American Western town made by a Catron County man, is now open to the public. The town was built in Datil, New Mexico from scratch by 70-year-old Larry Iams who followed his nearly life-long dream to create this town, by hand, with the help of a friend. Iams has envisioned the town as a venue for weddings, birthday parties and even gun fight reenactments. He even hopes that people could one day book a room in the “Horse Peak Hotel.” The Old West era town is open to the public Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The town is on Iam’s property at #23 Frontier Trail in Datil, New Mexico. People have even be encouraged to bring their dogs.  KRQE

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1671

Our gospel tune today is On That Road by Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours.  The tune is on their 2012 and hard to find CD Generations.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Video - Florida concludes Zika is being spread there by mosquitoes, a first in the continental U.S.

Florida and federal officials on Friday announced the first local spread of the Zika virus through infected mosquitoes in the continental United States. Gov. Rick Scott made the announcement following a health department investigation into four suspected cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Scott said transmission was confined to a small neighborhood just north of Miami and involved one woman and three men. “We learned today that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite," he said during a press conference. "All four of these people live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, and the Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of this virus could be occurring in one small area in Miami." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been closely coordinating with Florida and sent a medical epidemiologist at the state's request, made the same pronouncement a short time later. "The cases are likely the first known occurrence of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States," its statement noted. The CDC said state officials have responded rapidly with mosquito-control measures and a community-wide search for additional Zika cases. Because the virus can have devastating consequences for a fetus, the CDC recommends that pregnant women or women thinking about becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika-affected regions. But the current situation in Florida does not warrant travel limitations to the Miami area, according to the CDC statement...more

Utah Governor calls tribal monument proposal a 'political tomahawk'

Both sides in the Bears Ears fight have called for compromise. But it increasingly looks unlikely they’ll find middle ground following a rowdy U.S. Senate field hearing Wednesday in Blanding. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, hosted the field hearing at San Juan High School. He backs legislation as the best means of conserving eastern Utah’s landscape, traditions and archeology. Lee knocked the Obama Administration for skipping Wednesday’s hearing, as well as the tribal coalition behind the monument proposal. “We hope that the Bears Ears Coalition will reconsider,” he said in an opening statement, “and will meet with us to discuss how best to preserve Bears Ears.” Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, gathered stakeholder input over three years for his Public Lands Initiative, or PLI, and used that as the foundation for the legislation. But critics say it allows too much development and too little protection -- even though the legislation includes national conservation areas. Gov. Gary Herbert praised the PLI for having local buy-in. But, because it relies on the Obama Administration to declare a new national monument that the tribes would help manage, the governor criticized the tribal coalition’s proposal. “If this is not some kind of political tomahawk to be used, no pun intended,” he began, “if this really is about the Bears Ears region, protecting, conserving the land, the PLI is by far the superior way to go about doing it.”...more

Opponents of Utah monument dominate hearing

Hundreds of people who oppose the proposed Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah showed up at a Senate field hearing to voice their displeasure for the plan that Gov. Gary Herbert called a "political tomahawk." San Juan County residents shouted "doodah" and wore shirts and stickers with the Navajo word that means no, the Deseret News reports. Navajos said they're worried they'll lose their ability to do sacred ceremonies and gather medicinal herbs. Ranchers expressed concerns about losing grazing rights. Farmers say they would lose their lands. Willie Grayeyes, chairman of a tribal coalition pushing the proposal called Utah Diné Bikéyah, said in a statement the hearing was a "thinly veiled effort to make it appear that there is more opposition than truly exists." U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said monument proponents and federal officials declined his invitation to participate in the hearing, which he said proves he didn't purposely set up a one-sided hearing...more

The enviros will participate in public hearings where they can control the agenda and even bus people in for dramatic effect.  But an official Senate hearing where they would testify for the record and be subject to questioning?  Forget it.

Finicum, Bundy supporters discuss aftermath of Oregon standoff

The Bundys and Robert “LaVoy” Finicum were once again the center of focus when a group of people gathered at the Best Western Abbey Inn of St. George on Thursday for “The Feds Versus The Ranchers.” The night’s event, hosted by the Dixie Republican Forum, was held to update the public on what has taken place since LaVoy had been shot and killed on Jan. 26 and rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested. In attendance was Jeanette Finicum, LaVoy’s widow, and Kanab resident Shawna Cox, who was in the back seat of LaVoy’s vehicle when he was shot. The women discussed the event’s leading up to the Oregon standoff, starting with the 2014 armed confrontation with federal land managers near Bundy’s Bunkerville home. This was the incident that led to the arrests of Bundy and several family members. Now the death of her husband has led Finicum to have her own independent investigation done. “That’s the only way I’m going to be able to believe the evidence coming my way,” said Finicum, adding, “I have no faith or trust in the federal government, in the FBI or Oregon State Police.” According to Finicum, she has begun the proceedings of a lawsuit and has started by filing a notice of claim. From there she plans to gather and request evidence under the Freedom of Information Act...more

U.S. Chamber spends big to defeat conservative

Less than a week before the Republican primary in Kansas’ 1st Congressional District, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support behind physician Roger Marshall in his bid to defeat Rep. Tim Huelskamp. The chamber’s political arm is spending $200,000 on ads to support Marshall and another $200,000 on ads to oppose Huelskamp. Huelskamp, first elected in the tea party wave of 2010, is a rare Republican whom the chamber is working to defeat. “I can’t think of an example where we have actively and aggressively opposed a Republican incumbent in Congress,” said Rob Engstrom, the chamber’s national political director. Tuesday’s “Big First” race is one of the most competitive primaries in the country. The candidates are in a virtual tie when it comes to polls and fundraising...more

 So why would the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose an incumbent Republican  in the primary?  Is he a big spending liberal who wants to grow the size of government?  Not hardly.

Last year, Huelskamp voted against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, a federal credit agency that helps U.S. companies export their goods overseas. Conservatives call it a form of “crony capitalism” that props up large companies such as Boeing. He was one of 65 Republicans to oppose the FAST Act, the first long-term transportation reauthorization bill in a decade. Republican Reps. Mike Pompeo of Wichita and Kevin Yoder of Overland Park also voted against it. Huelskamp also opposed budget and spending bills the chamber supported. He opposes a comprehensive immigration overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for those who are in the U.S. illegally.

No, they're going after a tea party type Republican who voted against subsidies for big business like the Export-Import Bank and against huge new spending proposals like the transportation bill (see U.S. Chamber Plans $100 Million Campaign Against Conservatives). The chamber is pushing hard for the big spending establishment.

Judge in Taunton casino case: 'This is not a close call'

In a major blow to Taunton casino supporters, a U.S. District Court judge Thursday ruled that the federal government overstepped its authority when it took land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. “[Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell] lacked the authority to acquire land in trust for the Mashpees,” Judge William G. Young wrote in his 22-page ruling siding with a group of East Taunton residents opposed to construction of the tribal casino in their neighborhood. At issue in the case, the judge said, is whether the Mashpees legally qualify as “Indians” as defined by the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. If not, the Bureau of Indian Affairs would lack the authority to take land into trust on their behalf, according to the judge’s ruling. The judge said the “plain meaning” of the law is that the Mashpees would have had to have been recognized by the federal government at the time the law was enacted in 1934 for the Bureau to have the authority to take land into trust on their behalf. The tribe was officially recognized in 2007 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “With respect, this is not a close call: to find ambiguity here would be to find it everywhere,” Young wrote in his ruling. The tribe broke ground on the Taunton casino in April...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1670

Webb Pierce & Wilburn Brothers - Sparkling Brown Eyes is our selection today.  The tune was recorded in Nashville  on Feb. 23, 1954 for the Decca label.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wolf Species Are Part Coyote

Gray wolves, pushed to near extinction in the 1960s, have roamed North America alongside two other wolf species—the red wolf in the southeastern U.S. and the Eastern wolf in the area surrounding the Great Lakes. But an analysis of their genomes has revealed a surprise: they are all actually one type of wolf, with varying amounts of coyote DNA, a study reported this week (July 27) in Science Advances. “Wolf biologists and others have been waiting for this sort of definitive analysis for years,” says Susan Haig, a wildlife ecologist at the US Geological Survey in Corvallis, Oregon, told Science. Robert Wayne, a geneticist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed the genomes of 12 gray wolves, six Eastern wolves, three red wolves, and three coyotes, plus those of dogs and wolves from Asia, The New York Times reported. The team found a surprising amount of coyote DNA in purported wolves: the Eastern wolf was about 25 percent to 50 percent coyote, and the red wolf, 75 percent coyote.  Even the gray wolf itself wasn’t purebred—it had traces of coyote genes, Science News reported. The analysis also revealed that coyotes and the gray wolf diverged far more recently than experts previously believed—around 50,000 years ago...more

Are Some Wolves in Danger of Losing Protected Status?

To the casual observer, one wolf might look the same as another but to those in the know, there are crucial differences between the various species of wolf. A recent study, however, suggests eastern and red wolves—previously thought to have different ancestry from other gray wolves—might be hybrids of gray wolves and coyotes. The potential hybrid nature of the wolves could pose a problem for how they are viewed by the Endangered Species Act (1973). It could also be the justification for keeping gray wolves on the protected list. Researchers from Princeton studied the genomes of a variety of wolves and coyotes. They found that eastern wolves are 3/4 gray wolf and ¼ coyote, while red wolves are a ¼ gray wolf and ¾ coyote. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, suggests that eastern wolves and red wolves are not separate from gray wolves as previously thought. The study also casts concern about the Endangered Species Act, which does not protect hybrid species. That’s because when it was passed, interbreeding wasn’t thought to be as common as it is now known to be. Although the results of this study contradict previous studies, the primary issue centers on the lack of protection of hybrid species. The red wolf, previously protected because it was thought to be a different species, could lose its protection. Or, if both the eastern and red hybrids are recognized and protected as gray wolves, their small numbers could help keep the overall gray wolf numbers low, which would ensure the gray wolf remains protected...more

New Mexico state engineer on dealing with Mighty Mouse

As if being the man in charge of water resources in one of the nation’s driest states were not a0l employees are fencing off areas, such as stretches in the Jemez Mountains in the Santa Fe National Forest, to protect the mouse’s habitat from intrusion by cattle on adjacent federal grazing allotments. “They are fencing off streams that were available to livestock,” Blaine said during a presentation Wednesday morning to business leaders at an Economic Forum meeting at Hotel Albuquerque. “That places me in the middle. The ranchers want me to remove the fences. But that’s not in my playing field. I have no authority to move fences to make that water available to ranchers who are grazing the land. And ranching is a huge industry in New Mexico.” Blaine said that what he can do is pipe water from fenced-off streams to places where the water is accessible to livestock, an effort that was not necessary before the mouse was listed as endangered. “I can make sure the ranchers get the water,” he said. “But environmental issues are becoming more and more constraining on projects. It takes longer and longer to get things done.”...more

Talking with Bill King, one of the newest Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) members

Bill King presides over the Bill King Ranch near Albuquerque, New Mexico, a place he's enjoyed for 45 years. He's a fourth generation cattleman with a fifth and sixth waiting in the wings. "My grandmother's parents settled here in 1908; my granddad's parents arrived in 1917. We've been raising beef cattle and farming in New Mexico for over 100 years," he said. "It's a family business." I asked about the history behind the ranch. “My grandparents started dryland farming and raising cattle. In the 1950s we drilled irrigation wells. I farm about 4,000 acres now, with irrigated crops under pivots. We run about 900 registered cows of three different breeds - 350 registered Hereford cows, 350 Angus cows and 200 Charolais on 40,000 acres." His three daughters work alongside him in the family business. Becky and her husband, Tom Spindle, help him with cattle breeding while Jenny and Stacy keep records and books. Bill's grandchildren are also following in the family tradition through 4-H, FFA and college ag studies. King's ranch includes a cow-calf operation and feedlot. "We have 1,200 to 1,500 stockers and 1000 cows. We raise bulls and breeding cattle," he said. "We grow corn, hay and wheat on 4,000 acres, too." "My first CBB meeting was in March and I was appointed to the Innovation Committee," he said. "I was delighted about that. I think our industry is in a good place. We're a very sustainable business - turning grass into good, nutritious meat. We take products that grow naturally and give people something good to eat. “Beef needs to be in the forefront," he said. "We need to develop new products that appeal to consumers. We need to match new products to the needs of the new consumers.”...more

Stone is NM CowBelles' 'Man of the Year'

Preston Stone, of Capitan, New Mexico, was named the New Mexico CowBelles’ 2016 Man of the Year at the group’s recent mid-year meeting in Ruidoso. “We are pleased to honor Preston with this much-deserved award,” said NMCB President Anita Hand, of Datil, New Mexico. “His dedication to agriculture, the beef industry, and the New Mexico CowBelles, is much appreciated.” Stone, a long-time Capitan area rancher, was nominated for the award by the Corriente CowBelles. His nomination recognizes his willingness to stand up and advocate for rural residents and agriculture, both locally and across the state. He has also helped the Corriente CowBelles with countless fundraisers, service activities and educational programs. “He is a true champion for our industry and lifestyle,” the group concluded. Stone serves on the Lincoln County Commission, and over the years has served the community on many boards including the Upper Hondo Soil and Water Conservation District, the Otero County Electric Cooperative and the Capitan Municipal School Board...more

And he was key to helping the Cibola ranchers who were arbitrarily kicked off the forest.  Congratulations Preston!

Floyd Traynor - I Wonder

This was written in the late 1960's, but still applies today...FT

I Wonder 

I wonder what a man would think
Of America today,
If he came from days gone by
Through history someway?

If Jefferson was on the scene
And saw our plight today,
Would he still pen those words so great
That set us on our way?

If Washington was still around
I wonder if he'd stay
Across the sea in Vietnam
Or turn the other way?

If Lincoln saw the blood that's shed
And newly mounded graves,
I wonder id he'd fight a war
To try and free the slaves?

Now, men are men, and it's a fact
The world keeps turning 'round
I wonder if our Fathers loathe
This land they helped to found?

Written and copyrighted 1968 by Floyd Traynor.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1669

Our selection today is  Gene Autry - I'll Be True While You're Gone.  The tune was recorded in Hollywood on July 28, 1941 for the Okeh label.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Study Shows Cloned Animals Can Live Long, Healthy Lives

It's been 20 years since research that gave birth to Dolly the sheep began. Just three weeks after the scientific world celebrated such a feat, researchers from The University of Nottingham released their own study of sheep from the same cell line as Dolly, saying that it's possible for cloned animals to live long and healthy lives. Called Daisy, Dianna, Denise and Debbie, the Nottingham Dollies are now 9 years old and are part of a flock of cloned sheep cared for by Kevin Sinclair, a developmental biology expert from the university's School of Biosciences. They were cloned from the same mammary gland cell line as Dolly while the other clones were from fetal fibroblasts. Published in the journal Nature Communications, Sinclair and colleagues' study is the first to detail a comprehensive assessment of non-communicable diseases related to age in cloned animals. At 7 to 9 years old, the Nottingham Dollies and the rest of their flock are 60 to 70 years old in human years. And at that age, the cloned sheep were shown to exhibit no long-term detrimental effects to their health...more

...feds turn up heat in fight against drones interfering in wildfires

Firefighters battling wildfires will soon have another tool in their arsenal to attack a growing problem: interference from drones. Illegal drone intrusions during wildfires such as the current Sand Fire in Los Angeles County are creating hazards for firefighting aircraft, but a new technology could literally ground the unmanned flying machines and make the skies safer again. "It's been a problem each of the last couple of fire seasons, and we continue to see incursions," said Stanton Florea, a fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service. The U.S. Interior Department said it was partnering with several drone industry companies and "activated a prototype warning system that provides real-time alerts and geo-fencing alarms to prevent drone pilots from interfering with firefighting operations." This move comes as the incidents of drone intrusions over wildfires has more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, according to the Interior Department...more

Can a 747 be reborn into a wildfire-fighting supertanker?

In the summer of 2000, Cliff Hale, a Boeing 747 pilot, was on vacation visiting his family in Albuquerque, N.M., when a drama suddenly appeared on local television. There was a big forest fire raging out of control near Los Alamos, and a World War II-era aircraft that had been converted to a tanker was being loaded with fire retardant at the Albuquerque airport. A few minutes later, Hale heard the plane flying over his house. Forty minutes later, television crews picked up the propeller-driven Douglas DC-4, a plane first launched in 1942, lumbering over Los Alamos, preparing to drop about 2,000 gallons of the gooey, red liquid over the fire. The fire was eventually put out, but this was just the beginning of the drama that soon took over Hale's career. Hale recalled in a recent interview that he was thinking that if the 747 he had just parked in New York could be converted into what pilots call a "fire bomber" -- a passenger jet converted into a tanker -- the big, wide-bodied jet could have gotten to the fire in half the time and dropped almost 10 times the amount of retardant. Old jet airliners are like old generals: They almost never die, but gently fade away into the air freight business, where their capacity, strength and speed were making the airline Hale was working for -- Evergreen International Aviation -- rich. Hale, who specialized in training its new pilots, recalled that a temporary lull in the air freight business had left a lot of used 747s sitting on the ground...more

Lee, other Utah officials hosting Bear Ears hearing

Concerned about the likelihood that President Barack Obama will declare a new 1.9 million-acre Bear Ears national monument in eastern Utah, Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and other state leaders are meeting in Blanding Wednesday for a congressional field hearing to ask for more time to pass a legislative alternative. Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and others are slated to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is holding its field hearing just two weeks after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spent four days in Utah and came away saying she had concerns about the lack of protections for an area rich in archaeological importance and considered sacred to many.  Lee, like the majority of the state’s Republican leadership, has backed the Public Lands Initiative developed by Bishop and Rep. Jason Chaffetz as an alternative to monument designation. Arguing their bill would better balance development and recreation with new protections, the two congressmen say they held more than 1,200 meetings with stakeholders to craft legislation that would allow more local influence on what happens in the area around Bear Ears, along with some 18 million acres of federally-owned land spread across seven Utah counties...more

Forest Service announces national policy on saw use

Washington – One policy on the use of chain saws and crosscut saws on National Forest Service lands has replaced nine regional policies and certification requirements, the U.S. Forest Service recently announced. The new directive went into effect July 19, and applies to all uses of both types of saws by Forest Service and other government employees, volunteers, training consultants and cooperators...more 

Thank goodness they finally addressed this vital issue.  

"Blowdown" damage being cleared in forest

WASHBURN COUNTY, Wis (Wisconsin Radio Network) - Progress is being made in the clean-up of the severe damage done to the Washburn Ranger District of the Chequamegon National Forest during a wind storm last Thursday. The U.S. Forest Service has sent heavy equipment operators and saw teams into the region to clear roads, trails and campgrounds...more

I sure hope they are complying with the new saw rules.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1668

Here's a bluegrass classic by Don Reno & Red SmileyWall Around Your Heart.  The tune was recorded in Cincinnati on November 14, 1958.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Challenging the climate change bullies

A few months ago, news broke of an astounding assault on free speech. No, the media didn’t present it that way, but that’s how some conservatives, myself included, characterized it. And with good reason.

The assault in question came via a group of Democratic attorneys general. This group of 16 had banded together as “AGs United for Clean Power.”

Who could object to that, right? We all want a clean planet. But these lawyers weren’t encouraging better ecology. They were announcing plans to investigate, for evidence of criminal wrongdoing, groups who dared to question assertions of man-made global warming.

“The bottom line is simple,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “Climate change is real.”
Mr. Schneiderman has every right to believe that, and for the purposes of this column, let’s say he’s correct: Climate change is real, and it’s a man-made crisis. (I’m not saying that, but let’s stipulate it for the moment.) By what right does he assert that no view to the contrary is to be tolerated?

Actually, Mr. Schneiderman can assert that all he wants. Unlike him, I believe in free speech for all, even those I disagree with. What I find abhorrent is the idea of using the power of government to compel groups who express a politically incorrect point of view to open their files for investigation.

Can you even imagine the outcry that would ensue if a group of Republican attorneys general announced a campaign to investigate those who insist that climate change is not only real, but man-made? The air would ring from declarations that it was the McCarthy hearings all over again. But when it’s Mr. Schneiderman’s group investigating the opposition? Oh, that’s fine.

Indeed, his inquisition has the backing of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who back in March told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she has discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against “climate change deniers.” Worse, she said she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”

Study: Green Energy Is 5 Times More Expensive Than Conventional Power

Electricity from new wind and solar power is 2.5 to five times more expensive than electricity from existing conventional power sources, according to a study published Tuesday by the free-market Institute for Energy Research (IER). IER’s study found that new solar and wind power are nearly five and 3.5 times more expensive, respectively, than electricity from existing nuclear reactors. IER also found green energy systems become more expensive and damaging to the power grid the more they’re used. “Much of our existing coal and nuclear fleet could continue to provide affordable, reliable electricity for decades to come if not for policies like the Obama administration’s carbon regulations or the deal struck in California to shut down Diablo Canyon,” Thomas Pyle, the IER president, wrote in a press statement...more

The Colorado River’s unexpected carbon footprint

by Lyndsey Gilpin

When water rushed over the dry riverbed of the Colorado River Delta for the first time in two decades, thousands of bubbles popped up in the sand. Alongside the bank, a group of scientists stood in awe, theorizing that oxygen and nitrogen trapped in the sediment were the cause. But nearly two years later, in early 2016, the team discovered those bubbles were actually composed of  greenhouse gases – methane and carbon dioxide – that dissolved into the water, traveled downstream, and eventually made their way into the air.

The Colorado River supplies water to 40 million people. It is used so heavily by farms and communities in the West that it rarely reaches the ocean, so where the river should meet the Gulf of California, only a dry delta exists. In 2012, Mexico and the U.S. hashed out the Minute 319 pact to allow for a one-time pulse flow to restore water in the Delta so scientists could study the regenerative capability of the floodplain ecosystem. So in 2014, the U.S. released over 100,000 acre-feet of water at Morelos Dam near Yuma, Arizona, to restore wildlife and native plant habitats in the Delta downstream. But a new study by University of Florida, University of Arizona, Yale University and University of Washington researchers shows the water also caused the ground to rapidly emit carbon stored for years beneath the riverbeds, which could have an impact on the global carbon cycle and affect future river restoration.

“It’s still a big unknown on the true magnitude of these fluxes, but these large river(beds) are turning out to have really high concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane,” says David Butman, an environmental science and engineering professor at the University of Washington who worked on the study. “Looking at the exchanges of carbon gasses between landscapes, the atmosphere, and water as we look to restore these disturbed ecosystems may be important.”

The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, is a step toward understanding carbon balance in water systems and the impact it could have on carbon levels on land and in the ocean. It’s still unclear why carbon was released, but the study documented that 30 percent more greenhouse gases came out of the riverbed and dissolved into the water at one site during the Minute 319 flow than before it (they’re still working to determine how much was released into the atmosphere)...

'Blanco Roble' becomes a ghost town (White Oaks)

The Old Abe company continued operations until 1907, when they shut down. The new shaft was at a depth of 1500 feet at that time and had the distinction of being the deepest dry mine in the world, an honor it held into the 1920s. When it was shut down in 1907, the Old Abe mine had a recorded production of $1,000,000 in gold. The shutdown of the Old Abe had a bad effect on White Oaks but was partly offset by the new operations being started by the Wildcat Leasing Company. The town dwindled to about 500 people, although it remained at that figure for many years. The last newspaper was printed in White Oaks in 1906, the last of six different papers once published there. The others were White Oaks Daily Golden Era, New Mexico Interpreter, Lincoln County Leader, Old Abe Eagle, White Oaks Eagle, and The Outlook. In 1907 the Exchange Bank moved to Carrizozo. In 1912 the Wildcat Leasing Company had made enough money from the mines that they were able to build a light plant up at the coal mines and springs, it cost $40,000 and within two years was furnishing electric power to Carrizozo, White Oaks and other towns over near Ruidoso. This was the first electric power in Lincoln County. The Wildcat Leasing Company continued operations for many years after this, with Ed Queen running the mines, Dave Jackson managing the mill and Allen Lane taking care of the machinery. As the United States entered the First World War in 1917, tungsten became scarce, and the price increased. An Eastern mining concern got a lease on the Old Abe Mine and began to develop the tungsten deposits in the mine; about $40,000 was produced in the several years of operations. This was the last mining done in the Old Abe....more

Valiant Rogue shows dominance in record $1.2M Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs

RUIDOSO DOWNS – Wyok Ranch, LLC’s Valiant Rogue emphatically showed that he is a horse to be reckoned with after destroying his rivals in the record Grade 1, $1,224,488 Rainbow Derby on July 23 at Ruidoso Downs. It is the 10th consecutive year that the Rainbow Derby has set a new record purse. Valiant Rogue made it look easy. The Tanner Thedford-ridden gelding was on top within a few jumps and the 440-yard classic was over in :21.545 while facing an eight-mph headwind. “In the trials he ran big,” said jockey Tanner Thedford of fastest-qualifier Valiant Rogue. “Today they false broke in the gate and he stayed still. When we broke he stayed on his task.” Valiant Rogue’s work resulted in a one-and-three-quarter-length win over Boogies Special Dash while Stevie B First Cash was third, one-half length behind Boogies Special Dash. First Valiant Sign, the 4-5 favorite, finished fourth. The Judd Kearl-trained Valiant Rogue is now undoubtedly one of the premier three-year-old quarter horses...more

Family alleges wrongful death in Adams County rancher shooting

Citing wrongful death, assault, false imprisonment and emotional distress, the family of Jack Yantis is taking legal action against the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and its two deputies who shot and killed Yantis nearly eight months ago. Yantis’ wife, Donna, his daughters, Sarah and Lauretta, and his nephew, Rowdy Paradis, have filed a tort claim against Adams County, Deputies Cody Roland and Brian Wood and Sheriff Ryan Zollman. A tort claim is a precursor required by Idaho law to filing a lawsuit against a county or government agency. Here is what the claim says happened during the Nov. 1. shooting of 62-year-old Yantis, which took place on U.S. 95 in front of his ranch: A bull strayed from the ranch and was hit by a car. An Adams County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher called the Yantis house and asked Jack Yantis to take care of the bull. Jack, his wife, their nephew and a family friend, Joe Rumsey, were at the house when dispatch called. All four went down to the highway to assist. Yantis stood on the highway behind the bull with his rifle aimed at the back of the animal’s head. “(W)ithout any warning, provocation or justifiable excuse — Deputy [Cody] Roland suddenly stepped up behind Jack, grabbed him and jerked him around and backwards,” the claim states. “[Deputy Roland and Deputy Brian Wood] immediately unleashed a hail of bullets. They shot to kill. It is unknown how many times they fired. ... (N)o reasonable deputy would have feared for his safety. It was obvious Jack was not committing a crime and posed no threat to anyone. The deputies did not ask Jack to put the rifle down. They did not give him any other requests, commands or warnings. They did not fire any warning shots. They did not fire any non-lethal shots. They did not even give Jack enough time to regain his footing after Deputy Roland assaulted him.”...more 

HT: Marvin Frisbey

University team confirms presence of New Mexico meadow jumping mouse in the Jemez

By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer
 A 10-person team of researchers from Northern Arizona University confirmed that the Santa Fe National Forest is home to New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.
Also, U.S. Forest Service crews have built a fence to protect critical habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse in the Jemez Mountains.

NAU School of Forestry professor Carol Chambers and her crew surveyed 10 sites in or near suitable habitat for the mouse and confirmed its presence in eight of the 10, according to a Forest Service news release.

...Simultaneously, about 50 Santa Fe National Forest employees, students working on Youth Conservation Corps crews and a handful of people representing grazing permittees on the forest’s Cebolla-San Antonio allotment joined forces over three days to construct 2.8 miles of fence in the Road Pasture.

The new Road Pasture fence, approved as part of the May 2016 habitat protection project for the mouse, will help keep cattle out of designated critical habitat for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.

“While we have obligations under the Endangered Species Act for the conservation of the mouse, we also understand that the ranching tradition runs deep in New Mexico,” Santa Fe National Forest Supervisor Maria T. Garcia said. “Our intent is to protect the mouse while continuing to allow grazing on the impacted allotments,”

“We appreciate the help of all our partners, particularly the grazing permittees, for working with us to achieve that multi-use objective.”

Fig newtons for ferrets, or Do black-footed ferret's lives matter? Drone'em says USFWS

Black-footed ferrets, among North America’s rarest mammals, have been listed as an endangered species since 1967 and are a top priority for conservation efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After 20 years of trying to rebuild ferret populations from Mexico to Canada, the species, of which only 300 were known to live in the wild in 2015, has been ravaged by sylvatic plague. It’s not only lethal to ferrets, but has also been killing off their main source of food, prairie dogs, according to the Wildlife Service. To stop the spread of the deadly disease, which is made possible via infected fleas, the Wildlife Service is proposing a novel plan to use drones to spread peanut butter-flavored vaccine pellets to save the prairie dogs and thus the ferrets. According to the Wildlife Service, the plague is the primary obstacle to recovery of the ferrets and has been previously treated by using flea-killing pulicides, but “flea resistance to chemical control has recently been suspected and is a growing concern for usefulness of this plague mitigation tool.” Not only are fleas possibly becoming resistant to certain chemicals, but also spreading the vaccine by hand to prairie dog colonies is a labor-intensive process, taking a single person an hour to cover three to six acres depending on the terrain, according to the Wildlife Service. “The time and labor force required for such treatments by hand on foot would be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve and sustain over long periods of time,” according to an assessment by the Wildlife Service.  Enter the drones, which if modified to distribute the candied vaccine pellets in three directions simultaneously every second, could cover 200 acres in a hour with a single drone, according to the Wildlife Service’s proposal. “It is anticipated that this approach, when fully developed, will offer the most efficient, effective, cost-conscious and environmentally friendly method to apply SPV (sylvatic plague vaccine) annually over large areas of prairie dog colonies in support of black-footed ferret recovery,” the Wildlife Service states. The Wildlife Service would like to begin using the drones in August, but as Wired reports, development of the candy-shooting drone is still in the “noodling” phase...more

One More Official Exposes Real Goal Of Climate Scare

In recent years we've documented the true motivations that are driving the global warming scare.
Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change, who aspires to be U.N. secretary general, has admitted that the goal of environmental activists is to destroy capitalism. One-time U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Rajendra Pachauri acknowledged that his "fight" against global warming is his "religion" and "dharma." Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the IPCC working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015, has conceded that the climate crusade is an effort to shackle capitalism and establish a global welfare state. Now we have Bank of England Governor Mark Carney revealing a deeper objective when he talked about how stopping climate change will provide capital markets with as much as a $7 trillion investment opportunity...more

EPA won’t regulate logging road runoff

Dirt and crushed gravel from the West’s hundreds of thousands of miles of logging roads often erodes into nearby streams, where it can harm water quality and fish. State regulation of road runoff varies, so a 2003 Oregon lawsuit sought to require federal regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (“Oregon ignores logging road runoff, to the peril of native fish,” HCN, 7/27/12). Despite some success in lower courts, in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA is not required to control sediment from such roads...more

California Wastes Tons Of Wind And Solar Power Due To Lack Of Energy Storage

by Andrew Follett

Solar and wind forced California operators to waste enormous amounts of power by cutting green energy from the grid in mid-July, because there’s nowhere to store the power.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out Friday the best way to store the electricity generated by wind and solar power is still a century-old technology that involves moving large amounts of water. Reports by the state’s utility, California Independent System Operator (CAISCO), confirm wind and solar power were wasted due to lack of storage capacity.

The only economical way known to store power is to literally build a giant facility designed to push water uphill, and then let gravity move the water downhill through hydroelectricity turbines to provide extra electricity when needed. Currently, America has about 1/1,500th of the energy storage capacity necessary for wind and solar to provide “100 percent green energy,” according to an analysis of federal data by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

This is typical of government planning - subsidize the hell out of a product that is incapable of reaching the market.  Regulate, tax and stomp on those products that can.

Failed IOA Ranch becomes Lubbock County farmland

The IOA Ranch, owned by the Western Land and Livestock Co., was established in 1884. The company chose the IOA brand because a number its major investors were from the state of Iowa. During 1884 and for several years afterward, the IOA ownership pieced together a continuous block of property stretching 14 miles-by-30 miles. The main portion of the ranch contained roughly 420 sections (250,000 acres) of land. Additional piecemeal acquisitions in the northern half of the county brought the total ranch property — owned or leased — to about 330,000 acres. The rectangular-shaped main portion of the IOA filled the southern half of Lubbock County. The original block consisted of both purchased and leased lands. And, because it was not was not involved in later court proceedings, the far-western half of the large spread probably represented a significant portion of the parcels leased from neighboring landowners. The IOA headquarters was located in the southeastern part of the county on the first three sections of land the company purchased from Zach Williams in 1885. From its beginning the IOA struggled. Thus, in 1887, the Western Land and Livestock Co. sent Frank Wheelock, a great-nephew of one of the ranch’s principal stockholders, Stillman Wheelock, to monitor and manage the floundering cattle operation. Despite Wheelock’s best efforts, the ranch proved unsuccessful. Plummeting beef prices, a drought in the mid-1880s and viciously cold and bitter winters during those same years led to a collapse of large ranches all across the West. The IOA was one of hundreds that failed during the late 1880s and early 1890s. When it was apparent the ranch was not going to succeed, corporation leaders determined to jettison the land and cattle in as orderly a way as possible. They directed Wheelock to sell the cattle during a three-year period between 1893 and 1896...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1667

We missed Monday, so today we'll have a Swingin' Tuesday with Arthur 'Guitar Boogie' Smith sawin' out Oklahoma Fiddler.  And no, I haven't confused him with Fiddlin' Arthur Smith.  The liner notes on the album say, "The amazing versatility of this great Musician is ably demonstrated in this recording where Arthur Smith, who won renown as a guitarist, shows that he can play the fiddle with remarkable dexterity also."  The tune is on the 1964 Starday album  The Greatest Country Fiddlers Of Our Time.(Caution: you may need to turn your speakers down)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Always a new face at the table

by Julie Carter

Sam Thompson was the most inconsiderate human that ever lived and could go further on a nickel than anyone in my recall.

He owned a big, very remote, spread in the Texas Panhandle that was a half-day’s drive from the nearest civilized settlement. Sam lived in that little town so as to keep an eye on his numerous other investments that included a partnership in a nearby feed yard and pasture cattle scattered around the landscape.

When it was cattle working time, he’d round up a crew from his neighborhood to help with the job.
He had a foreman residing at the ranch that handily had a wife who would cook a meal for any crew Sam brought to the ranch. But that didn’t include breakfast.

The collected cowboy crew would load up their horses and head up to the ranch the night before the cattle working, utilizing a ramshackle camp trailer to roll their bedrolls out for a few hours of shut-eye.

Long before daylight they’d rise and breakfast was usually something as substantial as a candy bar. One time the candy bars had been forgotten, so after a head count, the package of Honey Buns was shared. Each cowboy got one and a quarter Honey Buns for breakfast along with some instant coffee.

Still in the dark of the morning, they’d head to the backside and start gathering pairs. About lunch time they were back at headquarters with the cattle. The foreman’s wife was up to her elbows in getting lunch ready to set out when Sam says to his foreman, “Think we ought to take these cattle on to the hill pasture before lunch?”

With the smell of brisket, beans and fresh bread out of the oven wafting through the air and homemade pies waiting on the counter,  the foreman begrudgingly agreed they could move the cows now, be done for the day and then eat.

One of the cowboys on his first trip to Sam’s place thought this pasture was probably not far off and likely his grumbling stomach would survive a little longer.

They drove the cows, drove the cows and drove the cows, crossed a creek, drove them down the creek bed and finally got them up the other side and continued driving them.

It was several hours later before they finally arrived where they were going, settled the cattle and started back. Sam decided to take another route on the return to headquarters and the new cowboy was thinking, “If there’s a shorter way back, how come we didn’t bring the cows that way?”

As it turned out, the route home was longer and no one really knew why Sam decided on that route except likely out of pure meanness. It was near on 5 o’clock when they finally got back to headquarters, took care of their horses and at last, got to eat. The honey bun and a fourth was more than long gone.

The foreman’s wife fed the crew “pretty darn good” and there was plenty of it. However, it became abundantly clear why there were always new faces at the table every time Sam brought a crew to work. The new cowboy on this trip determined he had made his last trip.

Ranch hospitality is legendary, second only to Southern hospitality. It just sometimes takes a little longer to get to the place where one can enjoy it.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Children of ‘51

Medicare Arrives
Children of ‘51
By Stephen L. Wilmeth
            It surely doesn’t seem very long ago since the smell of grass under the Friday night lights at James Stadium filled our senses. That place was our connection to every football field across America. Few of us had manicured lawns growing up in or around Silver City, but we had the best of grass on which to play. It was the same field the WNMU Mustangs played on Saturday afternoons and we were the beneficiaries. At half time, we clattered up the stairwell into the same athletic facility that Mustang heroes such as Nick Chintis, Paul Hunter, Moose White, Bob Agnew, Mack Pace and Tim Brancheau discussed halftime strategies. Those were hallowed halls.
            The field was always immaculate.
            The boys of ’51 made their first appearance there in 1964 when we paraded as 7th graders to the middle of the field and were introduced over the loud speaker system as future Fighting Colts. All of the originals were there. Phudley, Carl, Mark, Casey, Eloy, Mike, Jerry, and the rest poking each other and trying to behave as best we could under strict orders not to act like a bunch of hoodlums.
            We were all there, too, late in the fall of 1968 when we played our last official high school football game together on that field. John, Frank, Pete, Tim, Dale, Louie, George, and others had joined our ranks and had become our brothers and comrades. By that time, we no longer dressed nearby having moved into the new high school across town. We dressed there and rode the bus across town and then back after games.
             The last minutes of that last game were highly emotional. Everybody wanted the ball. We were ahead, but we pushed for short snap counts to get more plays. We didn’t want it to be over. I remember so distinctly being in our three point stance looking from the backfield up and down the line, smelling the grass, and thinking this will never be again. I reminded myself to take it all in.
 “Look at this and remember it,” I told myself.
            By that time, we were, indeed, football players. We had been together so many days and hours since we started the journey as 7th graders. As the gun sounded, we slowly gathered at midfield waiting for everybody to come in. The crowd was mobbing us, but we were looking and waiting for each other. Our cheerleaders (especially the special one) and the pep squad were welcomed into our huddle. It was their huddle, too. They had been with us every defeat and every victory.
First, we stood and looked at each other and then the greetings began. We didn’t want to leave. We didn’t want it to be over. We finally couldn’t think of any other reason to linger so we started walking off the field, across the track, and onto the infield where the bus was parked. Several walked alone carrying helmets. Others walked in pairs or small groups. It was symbolic of what lay ahead. That final walk, however, was too rapid. As I held her hand, I know I glanced one more time at the score board at the southeast exit of the field. It wasn’t the score for which I sought. Rather, it was the final look at the clock when it was ours to matter.
It showed … no time left.
            Ten Years and after
            We gathered for a ten year reunion.
            Phil, Dusty, Frank, John, Tim and a few others were there, but, for the most part, we were scattered. Casey wasn’t there nor were others who knew what it all meant. Awkwardly, we talked about how successful we were becoming, but that became a relative thing as time passed.
            My special cheerleader was with me, and that remained the central focus of life as we passed the absent 20th, 25th, and 40th reunions. As president of our senior class, Tim didn’t perform, but even that became an irrelevant matter.
            We saw Tim and most of his sisters at his dad’s funeral in Albuquerque too many years later. It was especially great to see Janet and Edie. They were beautiful women who didn’t mind that their hair was graying. It matched mine.
            We saw John and Diana at John’s mother funeral around the same time. Tom was there and he and John gave a wonderful tribute to their mother and for all who gathered. I saw people who I had not seen in too many years. They looked older than the memories.
            We have seen Phil and Donna several times the last of which was Phil’s father’s funeral. I was on my way back to California that day. I wasn’t looking forward to that trip.
            We saw Casey one morning in South Bend prior to attending Annie and Dennis’ wedding at the chapel at Notre Dame. We were on a busy one way street and my cheerleader looked up and proclaimed “Casey!” at the same moment he was swept away from us in a right turn lane. We never saw him again, but all parties saw the big wide eyes of recognition in that split second before departure.
            We see Dusty and Pat regularly. Dusty and I started to kindergarten together and we graduated from college together. I have said many times we never had a cross word. I want that to remain our bond of friendship. I am very proud of his success. He is another of the very few who put himself into the cattle business without a bit of help. He is not only a conscientious leader he has become a great cowman.
              We also see our special friend, Donna, along with Randy. My cheerleader speaks to her several times a week and they text constantly. She is her sister that never was.
            I saw Bobby only one time even though I understand he lives in Silver City.
            We have seen Irma at a wedding and a fund raiser. It was great to see her. Her tragedy became ours when we heard the details.
            We have lost Louie, Web, Mark, Carl, and Danny. Most of the rest are scattered into unknown worlds that long ago departed from ours. We wish them all the best.
            Yes, we are the class of ‘69, but, more poignantly, we are the children of 1951.
            As I write this, my cheerleader was just welcomed into the ranks of Medicare. Starting with John, we have witnessed the stepwise inductions taken by our friends into those ranks. It was Pat and then me. This morning I signed Dusty’s birthday card and made light of the same thing. Mostly, we have agonized over the inevitable.
            “Where in hell did the time go?”
            We are not supposed to be this old, and yet morning glances into the mirror suggest another reality of this fait accompli. Pictures have become torturous. We have dreaded the inevitable, but there are offsets. Our beautiful children and grandchildren make the pictures bearable. Our oldest granddaughter is a freshman in college and her sister has become her Noni, the cheerleader’s, chauffeur when she is at the ranch. The rest, all five of them, have their Noni’s blue eyes.
            So, yea, we are the children of 1951. All those mentioned, and the others, like Edwin and Charlene, are in this club together. We are thankful to have the things that matter most. We will take our Medicare lumps. We will gather at midfield and welcome ourselves into the huddle. It is our huddle. We will wait until we are all there because, together, we have all witnessed our wins as well as our defeats. We will try to linger because we don’t want this game to be over, but, when it is, we will walk from the field together.
            A glimpse at the scoreboard will suggest time has expired, but that is okay … our time has been good.

                Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Silver City in the ‘60s was a good place.”