More of Rascal’s nefarious ideas…

“That ol’ masked bandit sure was proud of himself the other day,” said Tuff as he rubbed his eyes instinctively. “My eyes burned for two days.”
“Yeah, what was even more accurate was Mrs. McBauwck’s little tizzy,” said Banjo. “All his leftover-leftovers and sauce everywhere did bring in another varmint.”
Tuff looked at Banjo. “I didn’t know that,” said Tuff. “When? Where?

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Rascal gets creative…

Rascal kicked a dried cow pie as he walked through the pasture. “Mangy dogs,” he muttered. “Always spoiling my fun and my artwork. I should just go back to doing what I do best, finding tasty treats.” He looked down and sulked. “My tummy is starting to shrink too,” mumbled the masked bandit, “which means it’s time to leap into

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Rascal, the artiste!

“He’s getting pretty full of himself,” said Banjo. He, Tuff, and Ben were watching Rascal.
“He has an artist’s beret hat on,” said Tuff. “Is that what I’m seeing? and a smock?”
Banjo nodded yes. “And ear buds in,” said Banjo. “Clearly he’s rocking out, too, by the way he seems to be using those paint brushes as a conductor’s baton.”
They laughed

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Banjo 6-1-17

Last week Rascal showcased his ‘masterpiece’ talents. Who would’ve thought a raccoon could paint and write, but he did, unfortunately featuring the new lynx family, who had been hiding on the ranch. How do Banjo and Tuff help the lynx family? And will the mama lynx have faith in the safety of the Underground, like Banjo does, or will she

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Rascal's masterpiece…

“What’s that?” asked Tuff.
Banjo looked into the willows. His hackles raised in defense, he looked around. “Did you see the lynx and her kittens today?” asked Banjo.
“I did,” said Tuff. “She hasn’t moved an inch with them.”
“That’s what I thought,” said Banjo. “So, I wonder what could be making that type of movement in the trees?”
Tuff saw the salt and

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Mystery solved…

Banjo gazed across the pasture in hopes of seeing the mystery helper. He hadn’t heard anything from the Rocky the raccoon, head of the Ranch Underground, saying it was their work when Banjo and a lamb were stranded in an old makeshift animal trap. So, he knew it was something else, but what? He scanned and scanned for clues.
Big Ed

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Rescue… but the mystery not solved!

Last week a terrible hail storm hit the ranch, leaving the sheep in the pasture needing Banjo and Ben’s immediate assistance. During the rescue, Banjo saw a lamb down and rushed to its side, except they too must find shelter in the storm. But finding shelter got them in more trouble than when they began. Will they get out of

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One sick pup…

One sick pup…

Last week, Tuff caught Rascal in the act of freeloading off all the Easter leftovers. When he taunted Rascal enough for him to skedaddle, it left Tuff with a huge mess to clean up. But while he was at it, he couldn\’t help himself when he found a leftover hambone with strands of ham remnants dangling. Does Tuff

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It never pays to be greedy…

It never pays to be greedy…

Rascal was in his height of glory as he sat among the Easter leftovers. He swallowed colored hard-boiled eggs whole. “Gulp,” he said with a big glug down his throat. “Those mangy dogs had no clue I snuck the eggs those kids hid,” muttered Rascal. “They\’ll be looking for them all spring.” The masked

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Rascal has a BAD day…

Rascal has a BAD day…

The ewes pushed through the alley towards the wagon. It was shearing day, and there were 200 head to move through the process. Banjo was in the back, guiding the ewes gingerly out of the small round corral and into the alley. Tuff was working various groups of ewes from one pen to the other,

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Getting one over on the coyotes…

Getting one over on the coyotes…

Last week, Banjo and the ranch crew were moving forward with Tuff\’s solution to ridding the ranch of the new pack of pesky coyotes. Will his plan work so Tuff can redeem a little ranch respect, or do the coyotes end up with a chicken dinner or lamb chops as the main course?

Suddenly, Harry,

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Plan A…

Plan A…

“I\’m going to feel like an idiot,” said Pudge.

“Don\’t worry,” said Tuff.  “You\’ll probably look pretty ridiculous, too.”

Pudge swung her hips and tail abruptly to the side.  “Thanks,” she said sarcastically. 

“All right,” said Banjo, trying to bridge peace. “I think Tuff has a reasonable solution to lure this band of coyotes away from the ranch.

“Ha!” remarked Tuff.

“I think so

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Coyote problems…

Coyote problems…

“Hear that?” said Banjo.

Tuff listened. “Yep, I do,” he said.

“It\’s a little early in the afternoon for coyotes to be howling like that,” said Banjo. He looked into the pen. There were eight newborn Katahdin lambs bouncing atop the mounds of earth mixed with snow and ice.

“They seem awful close,” said Tuff.

“That\’s what I thought too,” said Banjo.

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Get-evens are wonderful…

Get-evens are wonderful… Last week Hank was being welcomed by Rocky the raccoon into the Underground, and Banjo and Tuff were by his side supporting him all the way. But before he leaves, Banjo has a trick up his sleeve to get back at Rascal for a few of his recent pranks. What do they have planned, and will it work

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Plans are made to even the score with Rascal…

Plans are made to even the score with Rascal…

“Thanks,” said Hank.

Rocky nodded. “I think you\’ll be a great fit in the Underground,” she said, “especially since you were working with Hector and the others to spy on us. You\’ll give us accurate intel on what, where, and how we need to move forward, so we can insure we can continue

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Tuff… from the frying pan into the fire…

Tuff… from the frying pan into the fire…“Tuff, you have to quit sulking,” said Banjo. “You look a wreck.”

“I can\’t help it,” Tuff said. “You would, too, if you had a peroxide cleansing, a cold bath, and your teeth scrubbed. All Hannah did to you was to give you a bath to get the chicken feathers off.”

“Yes, but…” said Banjo

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Rascal never tires of tricks…

Rascal never tires of tricks…Rascal rolled onto his haunches and stretched. As he opened his eyes wider, he stopped his instinctive yawn to match his mood. He looked around. “Where am I?” he grumbled as he shifted his head quickly back and forth. Then it all came back to him… that mangy dog and his friends, but before he could

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The plot thickens…

The plot thickens…

Last week, Banjo and his ranch crew were onto Rascal and his unfortunate involvement with the mastermind of all the chaos lately, Hector, the wolverine, to find the Underground. But Rocky the raccoon was onto him, too, and gives Tuff quite a lesson on what the Underground\’s all about. How will Banjo completely dismantle the spies? Will they

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Tracking devices…

Tracking devices…

The ground blizzard finally lifted, and the air was still… completely opposite of how the past 24 hours on the ranch had been. Pudge looked out of the barn. “Uh, Banjo,” she said. “You\’ve got to come look at this.”

Banjo jumped off the bale of hay he\’d been resting upon. Tuff and Hank all followed in curiosity. “What in

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More Rascal ruckus…

More Rascal ruckus…

A chicken bone was hurled to the ground. Rascal sat with the black plastic base container and the remnants of a rotisserie chicken the mama had for dinner last night. He slid a small leg bone down his gullet and slurped on its tasty remains. Rascal had been laying low around the ranch. In his eyes, it had

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Between a rock and a hard place…

Between a rock and a hard place…

“Okay, Hank,” said Banjo. “Spill it.”  The fox with the crimson coat looked at his recently befriended three-legged ranch ally. Hank knew he could trust Banjo and his ranch friends, but he had to be careful with those roosters. He knew why they had found the ranch and why they were there. “What are

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When two roosters come calling…

When two roosters come calling… “Knock-knock,” said Tuff. Pudge looked at him, irritated. “C\’mon, just play the game,” said Tuff.  “You have obviously been cooped up in this barn far too long,” said Pudge.  “C\’mon,” he begged. “All right, who\’s there?” asked Pudge.  “Cow says,” said Tuff.  “Cow says who?” said Pudge. “No!  Cow says moo!” Tuff laughed.  Pudge rolled her

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There's a reason for everything…

There\’s a reason for everything…

Last week Hank was hot on the trail of what turned out to be his rescuer from the icy creek, Santa, but Banjo and Pudge don\’t know where he\’s gone or what\’s happened to him…. and the search is on. But while they are searching, Hank is warming up with Santa and feeling the full joy

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WAR… Looking back, looking forward…

WAR…Looking back, looking forward…

By Linda Grosskopf

By any measure, we\’ve had quite a year at Western Ag Reporter, and I think it\’s important to pause and reflect a bit. January 1, 2016, was the first day that Pat Goggins\’ family and employees had to deal with the fact that he was no longer at the helm. At the paper, Pat\’s death

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Yes, Virginia, there is…

Yes, Virginia, there is…

The wind had all the animals hunkered in the barns and outbuildings. “When is this going to let up?” asked Tuff.  “I heard the man say tomorrow,” said Banjo. “I hope Hank is okay out there,” said Pudge. She snuggled in closer to the kittens.  “I\’m sure he\’s fine,” said Banjo. “That old shed is out of

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Lost kittens and quick suspicions…

Lost kittens and quick suspicions…

“I think his eyesight is getting worse,” said Tuff.  “Why do you say that?” asked Banjo.  “Look,” said Tuff. Hank was standing in front of a fencepost, having a lengthy conversation.  “I can\’t imagine who he thinks that could be,” said Banjo. “We better get him out of sight.” The two walked over to their new

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Banjo is won over…

Banjo is won over…

Last week Pudge was in the line of fire when she met the new stranger on the ranch. The stranger was a predator, but once she got to know him better, she realized she\’d jumped to the wrong conclusion about him. How will Pudge help him? And will a predator be welcome on the ranch? “Let me

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Blessings…

Blessings…

Last week Tuff was showing off the medal he won, but he wasn\’t getting the applause he was hoping for. Instead, he received a solid scolding from Ben, Pudge, and Rocky the magic raccoon. What is Tuff missing out on, and what will he learn about pride and thankfulness just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday?Banjo was dragging food, supplies,

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Rollin', rollin', rollin'…

Rollin\’, rollin\’, rollin\’…

Last week Banjo, Ben, and Tuff were out for a ride and a run on a beautiful Fall day when they decided to take a side trip up the mountain where the pesky weasel had been removed. But to their surprise, they ran into an unidentified object, which turned out to be a high-centered Rascal. The ranch crew

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Rascal gets high-centered…

Rascal gets high-centered…

“Wahoo!” called Banjo. He felt the wind whip through his fur. He loved to ride on Ben through the pastures. It was a beautiful, cool day, and the ranch crew was enjoying the last days of Fall. The snow would fly soon, and everything would be covered in white for the next five months. Tuff tagged behind. His

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The talons of justice…

The talons of justice…

Last week Banjo and the ranch crew brought in reinforcements to try to rid the ranch of the weasel. Lucky for them, Rascal was with the weasel now, and he could be spotted for miles. Where will the reinforcements intercept the two pesky varmints, and will they be successful in their mission?

Rascal turned and skittered as fast

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Surveillance…

Surveillance…

Edmond circled. He had his head set on. “Approach is positive. Salt-and-Pepper-Pudgy-Paws in front of me,” said Edmond the eagle.  “Copy that,” said Rocky the raccoon. “He sees him,” said Rocky.  Banjo looked relieved. “I knew he\’d be rotund enough to find,” he said.  “Oh yeah,” said Rocky. “If anyone can find something from the air, it\’s Edmond.”  “He\’s impressive,”

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Two heads are better than one…

Two heads are better than one…

“Num, num, num,” garbled Rascal as he shoveled cupcakes into his mouth with both paws. Hannah had made the mistake of leaving a pan of cupcakes in the back seat of the truck. Rascal had figured out years ago how to unlatch the back sliding window of the truck. The people never knew it was

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Kittens in trouble…

Kittens in trouble…

“This thing is worse than anything we\’ve dealt with before,” growled Tuff.  “I know,” said Banjo. “We have to find that weasel and fast. I thought Rascal was bad… huh! He\’s got nothing on this one.” “Banjo,” said Tuff. “We\’ve been pooling all of our efforts and resources for weeks now on this one critter. Look at the

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Tuff comes up with a plan…

Tuff comes up with a plan…

Last week, the ranch had a casualty in the chicken coop, and now it\’s up to Banjo to find the culprit. But Banjo\’s taking his investigating even deeper this time — not only because they lost a hen, but also because there seems to be a new varmint on the ranch. Will Banjo find the

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Rascal turns… pink?

Rascal turns… pink?

Last week the ranch crew was up to wrangling Rascal, once and “fur” all… well, at least for a little while. Banjo had come up with a plan, and Tuff had to reel the masked bandit into the trap. What do they have in store for the pesky masked bandit this time?Once they were back to the barn,

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To outsmart a rat…

To outsmart a rat…

“To outsmart a rat, one has to think like a rat,” said Banjo.  “Yeah, and Rascal\’s just an overgrown, super-sized, ring-tailed rat,” said Pudge. “I couldn\’t agree more,” said Ben, the horse chief.  “So what are you going to do?” asked Tuff in a snarky voice. “He always one ups us. He\’s completely graffiti\’d the barns, and

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When fun isn't fun…

When fun isn\’t fun…

“It\’s the last weekend of summer!” exclaimed Tuff.  “What should we do?” asked Banjo.  “Let\’s pack into the mountains,” said Ben. “And we could go fishing,” said Pudge.  “Seems like that would be fun,” said Banjo. “Plus I think that\’s what the kids had in mind too.”  Ben smiled. “I overheard them talking about wanting to pack

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Another Rascal prank…

Another Rascal prank…

The dust kicked up behind the school bus. “Another year, and they\’re off,” said Banjo. He stood at the gate and watched the bus until it was out of sight.  “Now what are we going to do?” asked Tuff. “We\’ve been working side by side Hannah and Tate all summer.”  “We have plenty to do,” said Banjo. “Maybe

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Pudge gets rescued

Pudge gets rescued…

Last week Pudge found herself in a tangled-up mess, and Banjo and the troops came to her rescue. Does she get out of her predicament unharmed? And what does she learn about herself in the process? Banjo looked over when he saw Tuff running to him, utility knife in his mouth and a rope flopping behind him.  “Got

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Pudge gets herself in a 'mell of a hess' …

Pudge gets herself in a \’mell of a hess\’ …

Rocky, the raccoon, checked in with Banjo a week after the cream-color Kermode sow and cub arrived on the ranch. “The bear and her cub are doing well,” said Rocky, giving her report. “They\’re secure in the underground, and they are making all sorts of new friends.”  “Good,” said Banjo. “There

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A different shade of bear…

A different shade of bear…

“There sure has been a lot going on around here these past couple weeks,” said Banjo. “Sheesh!”  “Well, hopefully, we\’ve seen the last of the mountain lion!” said Tuff.  “Yep, I\’d imagine so,” said Banjo. “And then there\’s Rascal. He\’s somewhere around here and up to something. I can feel it.”  Tuff looked up at the

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Rascal ups the ante… steels wheels!

Rascal ups the ante… steels wheels!

Last week, Rascal was out to redeem himself from being duped by Banjo and his crew. He didn\’t enjoy being the butt of all the jokes and especially getting catapulted into the pond. Rascal has come up with what he thinks is the best heist he\’s ever thought of before. Will he be able to

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Rascal hatches up a new plan…

Rascal hatches up a new plan…

“Ring-tailed rat,” mumbled Rascal. “I\’ll show them. Ha!” Rascal snuck into the garage in the middle of the night. He was still licking his pride from taking the bait and falling into Banjo\’s little trap. “Not again,” said Rascal. He gathered up all his trinkets and treasured belongings. Then said good bye to his garage

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Rascal's never-ending tricks…

Rascal\’s never-ending tricks…

“Someone\’s been on the dirt bike,” said Hannah.  Tate leaned down and touched it. “It\’s warm, sure enough,” he said. They both looked around and out into the yard.  “Nothing else looks different,” said Hannah. Her hands were on her hips as she scanned the garage.  “Maybe the sun\’s hitting it mid-day,” said Tate. He looked at the

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Rascal on wheels!

Rascal on wheels!

“Num, num, num,” garbled Rascal as he patted his plump belly. “That mangy dog has been so preoccupied that he has no idea. No idea at all… haha!” The masked bandit rolled to his side as he tried to get up. He was as full as a tick from the Memorial Day barbecue leftovers he\’d not only scavenged

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Very mysterious, and just in the nick of time!

Very mysterious, and just in the nick of time!

Banjo\’s motivation was fierce. He knew, if this didn\’t work as he hoped, not only would the ranch be in complete danger but also the underground. It would be devastating if the wolves found the tunnels, escapes, and deep hideouts that had been a refuge of safe haven for many animals. The

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Underground troubles…

Underground troubles…

“Peep, peep,” called Fuzzball as he looked up at Banjo. The head ranch wrangler looked down at the duckling.  “You\’re right,” he said. “It\’s quiet, too quiet.” Banjo and Fuzzball sat together overlooking the ranch. They could see Tuff and Pudge enjoying the sunny afternoon. All of the sheep and horses were grazing. The cows looked like chocolate chip

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Rascal's rusty heart gets him into grief…

Rascal\’s rusty heart gets him into grief…

“He seems to be getting along just fine,” said Banjo. Fuzzball, the new duckling, was curled into Pudge\’s fur for his morning nap. “Shhh…” said Pudge. “He was waddling around all night.”  Banjo scooted back. “Sorry,” he whispered. “Any sign of Rascal in the rafters yet?” Pudge shook her head and said, “No, not

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Rascal has a heart after all…

Rascal has a heart after all…

“Shoo… Shoo…” said Rascal. “Scoot! You need to find a home.”  “Peep! Peep!” squeaked the duckling. Rascal darted down the muddy trail. He looked over his shoulder. “Wait for me,” the duckling quacked. “Peep! Wait!”  Rascal stopped in the trail suddenly. The duckling rammed right into his fluffy ringtail. “Grrr…” said Rascal. “Amscray… you feathered

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Too close for comfort…

Too close for comfort…

The green truck rattled over the gravel road. Banjo stood on the grassy side, watching. The ranch had been buzzing with people since the cow and calf had been killed. His leg had healed, not to 100% yet, but enough for him to be part of the tracking team. Banjo and Big Ed got close one afternoon.

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Answers to questions…

Answers to questions…

Banjo looked around the earthen underground room. A raccoon stepped forward. She stuck out her front paw to shake and noticed Banjo\’s swollen, single front leg. “Name\’s Raquelle, but everyone calls me Rocky,” she said. “Ow, that\’s a doozy. We should see what we can do about…”  but before she could finish her sentence, dirt shook from the

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Welcome to the Underground

Welcome to the Underground

“Keep going,” said Pudge. “You can do it.” They ran as fast as they could through the dark, leaping over fallen branches, dodging budding limbs, and jumping snowy mud puddles in the middle of the trail. They stopped behind an oversized tree fall. Several, lumped together like toothpicks, dropped in a heap on the ground. Banjo and

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Teamwork!

Teamwork!

“I can\’t believe she\’s out again,” said Banjo. The wet spring snow dripped down like rain over the ranch, as Banjo peered into the pasture. “Come on, Pudge,” he said. “I need your sheep whispering skills again.” The two walked slowly into the pasture, but it didn\’t help. The Katahdin ewe lamb was exceptionally flighty today. She bolted from where

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Underground Raccoons…

Underground Raccoons…

“I saw them,” said Pudge. “A whole pack of them!”  “Wait, wait, wait,” said Banjo. “Who are you talking about? A pack of what?”  “Please tell me it\’s not coyotes,” grumbled Tuff. He licked his paws, which were swollen and sore. “We\’ve been heading off one pack almost all night.”  “No, not coyotes,” said Pudge. “Raccoons… a whole bunch

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A new home and maybe a new friend…

A new home and maybe a new friend…

“That dirty dog,” growled Rascal as he looked around his hideout. Most of his scavenged food was gone, and what was left were crumbs spread all over. His eyes squinted together, and he clutched his teeth as the masked bandit assessed the damage. “I knew he\’d tell all the animals where my hideout

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A friend in need…

A friend in need…

Pudge snuck in and around the shadows of the barns, trees, trails, and anything else she could hide behind as she tracked him. “That pesky masked bandit sure is confident,” she said as she spied on him. In her evidence gathering, she\’d borrowed Tate\’s binoculars. She felt like she was alone and the only one who was

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Rascal's too clever…

Rascal\’s too clever…

“I\’m sure that old masked bandit had something to do with all of this,” said Pudge. “First, it was the boiled chicken, next the left-over mashed potatoes went missing, then the cookies for Hannah and Tate\’s 4-H meeting, and worst of all the chicken noodle soup, rolls, salad, and brownies that the mama was taking to our neighbor

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The importance of teamwork…

The importance of teamwork…

Ben the horse chief looked over his shoulder. “Still there,” he said. He galloped to the other side of barn. “Alone for a second,” he mumbled. Then he heard them… the shuffle of hooves across the semi-frozen earth. “Ugh,” he sighed. “I need to find Banjo.”   But before he could move, they were right behind him again.

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An unlikely hero…

An unlikely hero…

Last week Rascal had a conflict of conscience when he found Cowsuela after she slipped on the ice and couldn\’t get up. She had a calf coming and an injured leg, and she was relying on Rascal to get Banjo. What does the pesky raccoon do that\’s out of his normal pattern of mischief?  Having found no one

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44th Annual Livestock Seminar

Peter Kolb, MSU Extension Forestry Specialist, chats with Randy Mannix of Helmville about forestry management.

Jay Fuhrer, NRCS-North Dakota, explained the benefits of building soil through the use of no-till cover crops and livestock.

44th Annual Livestock Seminar

By Pat Hansen

A crowd of nearly 400 people laughed and clapped throughout the Bar J Wranglers concert, the opening event of the 44th annual

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Banjo devises a plan…

Banjo devises a plan…

“We\’re going to have to do something about him,” said Tuff.  “Yeah, but what?” asked Pudge. “He seems to be everywhere we least expect him, and by now we should just anticipate our every move to be sabotaged by that masked menace. I\’m little, but I\’m fast, and I can outsmart that old raccoon.”“Let me think…” said

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Somehow, Rascal does it again!

Somehow, Rascal does it again!

“It\’ll take months for their hair to grow out,” said Banjo. “At least we were able to move them into the barn,” said Pudge.  “Yeah,” said Banjo. “At least… but I\’m ready to hunt down that pesky raccoon. He\’s been wreaking havoc for weeks without reprieve.” Tuff came tromping through the corrals. His feet were balled

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Rascal's last 2015 trick…

Rascal\’s last 2015 trick…

The wind howled. A shrill whistle blew through a crack in the plank boards. Rascal ran his paws down the front of his new coat. It was red just like Santa\’s. The masked bandit smiled. He was warm, cozy, and comfortable in his hideout even though the weather outside was unbearable for any creature. Inside the calf

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Christmas mysteries and miracles…

Christmas mysteries and miracles…

Pudge ducked under a cobwebbed rafter high in the copula. “There are only a couple tattered blankets up here,” she called down to Banjo.  Banjo looked up at her. “Okay, keep looking for clues of where he might be as you come back down,” he called back. Pudge leapt from rafter to rafter. “I just don\’t see

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Rascal tampers with magic…

Rascal tampers with magic…

“Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,” sang Pudge. She jumped from branch to branch, hanging ornaments on their little tree. “Are you ready for the star?” asked Banjo.Pudge plopped a berry sprig on the evergreen pine needle. “Yes,” said Pudge. She pounced to the ground. Banjo held the shimmering star in his teeth. He gently passed it

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Mysteries and surprises…

Mysteries and surprises…

“I just don\’t understand where she could be,” said Banjo. “I thought for sure they were Naomi\’s tracks, and surely she would\’ve visited by now.”  “What you mean is,” said Tuff, “that you think these tracks might belong to another bobcat, and not our friend from the North Pole.”  Banjo nodded. “Yes, that\’s exactly what I\’m wondering at

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Night Patrol

Night Patrol

I don\’t feel that this story belongs in the WAR newspaper. However, this incident has returned lately to my daytime remembrances, and now it has invaded my night dreams so I\’m writing it down, sending if off to an unknown fate, hopefully to be forgotten by me. Twice in the last month in my dream, I have banged my

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Rascal's up to no good… again!

Rascal\’s up to no good… again!

“Bwa-ha-ha!” snickered Rascal. “This will throw off that mangy dog.” He stamped the paw prints into the snow, making a pattern up the side of the trail. Rascal made sure to go first to cover his tracks, but he wanted to make the paw prints look fresh. He heard Ben nicker. “Good,” muttered the masked

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Rascal never gives up…

Rascal never gives up…

“I haven\’t seen Rascal look like such a ragamuffin, ever,” said Tuff.Banjo shook his head. “Me neither,” he said. “Those turkeys sure gave him the once over. Rascal looked like he\’d been plucked instead of them.”  “Yeah, but lucky for them, Rascal tried some new shenanigans or those turkeys would have been Thanksgiving dinner,” said Pudge. A

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He who pecks last…

He who pecks last…

“This worked for those hens,” snickered Rascal as he tiptoed to the cage. Corn and scratch were scattered all over the pen. “Look at them, a bunch of oversized gullible gizzards. They have no idea what they\’re in for.” The masked bandit skittered to the opening of the pen holding the pleasantly plump and very white turkeys.

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Rascal's up to his old tricks again…

Rascal\’s up to his old tricks again…

“It\’s cold, it\’s cold… brrrr,” said Tuff. His body shivered as he slowly crept across the thin snow- and ice-covered corral.  “It\’s just the start of the season, pup. We usually have had two feet of snow on the ground at least by now,” said Banjo. “You\’ll acclimate soon.”  “But, but…” whined Tuff. He

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Unusual friendships…

Unusual friendships…

Banjo stretched and yawned. The morning sunlight was peeking through the barn window. His straw was cozy and warm, but it was time to get up. He looked around the barn, and all of the ranch crew was still hunkered down sleeping. Banjo was thankful they were are there — safe and sound. He nudged open the barn door

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A WILD All Hallow's Eve!

A WILD All Hallow\’s Eve!

The clouds rolled through the moonlight. A chill was in the air, the kind that went straight into the bones and made them shake. Tree limb shadows danced as a swirling wind blew across their tips, and low lying mist hung in the air. “I don\’t like this one bit,” squeaked Rascal. He hunkered low to

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All Hallows Eve… mysteries and magic

All Hallows Eve… mysteries and magic

“How are you feeling?” asked Banjo.  “Pretty good,” said Bartholomew as he rubbed at his side with his mighty paw.  “I can\’t make out these symbols and letters,” said Banjo. “I just don\’t understand the symbols and letters on this buffalo hide. I can make out a portion of where the cornerstone must be and

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Cats can be cow dogs too!

Cats can be cow dogs too!

Her black and tan fur dashed in streaks as she raced back and forth. The sheep split into two groups. Pudge leapt on the end of the gate, and it swung open with her light weight. One of the groups she separated moved into the pen. She hopped to the ground, grabbed a sisal rope

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Kooky creatures and frightening visions…

Kooky creatures and frightening visions…

Rascal has done it this time.  He and Bartholomew were on a mission during the moon\’s eclipse to retrieve the necessary information to rid the ranch of the bad magic surrounding the transforming “kooky” creature. Did his invisible ink really make him invisible, and does he find what they need? Or does Bartholomew put himself in

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Beware Rascals good ideas!

Beware Rascal’s good ideas!

The masked bandit hunkered down in the flowing grass next to the mailbox. He could hear the mail car rattling down the gravel road. As soon as he heard the mailbox door hinge squeak and the clip close, he skittered up the post to open it. “Ah-ha,” he snickered. The box he\’d been waiting for was there.

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Strange bedfellows…

Strange bedfellows…

Rascal hid in the changing pink and gold aspen leaves. “I can do it,” he muttered to himself. He knew he would have to be fast, but it had to be done. Fall was approaching quickly, and soon there would be snow in the mountains. The masked bandit knew the bear wouldn\’t be around the ranch much longer so,

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Sometimes it's not what you know but who!

Sometimes it\’s not what you know but who!

Last week a new (well… old) predator emerged on the ranch. Banjo and Big Ed were on the threat immediately, but someone else was lurking in the shadows with his grubby paws full of vittles. Will the predator turn out to be friend or foe, and is that masked bandit up to some

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Fall brings an unwelcome guest…

Fall brings an unwelcome guest…

“Awww,” he yawned. His back arched as he stretched his giant paws. His dagger-like claws extended into the earth as he yawned once more. Even with his thick fur, Bartholemew could feel the chill of fall in the air. He\’d been out and about plenty lately … it was just a bear kind of year for

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All's well that ends well…

All\’s well that ends well…

Last week, yet another animal under Banjo\’s care was missing. This time it\’s Osage. Her ducklings were running amok, and Tuff was ready for her to be found… or at least his tail was! Banjo sent Tuff on the search while he did his own detective work. Will Banjo find her, or will her calls prove

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Way too much going on…

Way too much going on…

“I can\’t believe you can\’t find her,” said Banjo. He was sincere but direct in his questioning to Tuff. Banjo and Tuff were on the hunt. “Her ducklings are running all over the place. Osage HAS to be somewhere,” said Banjo.  “No, seriously,” said Tuff. “I can\’t find her anywhere, and I haven\’t for a couple

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Again, not all is as it seems…

Again, not all is as it seems…

Last week Hannah and Tate trekked to the summit of one of the local mountains as part of a summer camp they were attending, and there they discovered a little something they never would have suspected to find atop a mountain. Tuff and Banjo joined in the experience, but Tuff was the one who

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Things aren't always always they appear to be…

Things aren\’t always always they appear to be…

“I haven\’t hiked this far up before,” said Tate. “These wildflower meadows look like a patchwork quilts of color across the plateau,” said Hannah. She stopped to gaze at the scene and to save the photo in her mind.  “Whew,” said Tate as he blew out his breath. “I\’m a little winded.” The

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The plot thickens…

The plot thickens…

They all trudged down the game trail. From an eagle\’s view, the animals looked like ants marching towards a picnic. They were armed with their own makeshift weapons or devices they created for the rescue mission. Even the piglets had satchel-like panniers draped across their backs. “I hope this works,” said Tuff.  “It will,” said Banjo. “It has

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Silence is not always golden

Silence is not always golden…

“Those mangy animals still haven\’t figured it out,” scoffed Rascal as he held a nozzle connected to a hose that led to a new backpack he\’d scavenged. “These ziplines are getting better and better… bwa-ha-ha!” He leaned his head back as he laughed sinisterly. Flipping a switch, Rascal pointed and aimed the new gadget. It did

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Piglets on the hot seat, piglet in the air!

Piglets on the hot seat, piglet in the air!

“I still can\’t figure out how those piglets got to the parade,” said Banjo.  “And were loose,” said Tuff.  “Yeah, it\’s not all adding up,” said Banjo.  “And they\’re not talking,” said Tuff.“Which leads me to believe there\’s only one reason for that, and that reason is wearing a mask with a

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Summer parades and sugar highs…

Summer parades and sugar highs…

“Clip, clop,” went their hooves against the pavement. Ben and Chisum\’s coats glistened as they pulled the lead wagon, which was driven by Tate. The Fourth of July parade was filled with marching bands, classic cars, and many a horse and rider. The emergency response vehicles released the \’wa-wa\’ and a \’whooping\’ siren at every block.

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Itch itch itch … scratch scratch scratch!

Itch itch itch … scratch scratch scratch!

“You just do what I told you,” said Rascal. He hurried the baby pig down the trail. “But what if they chase me again?” said the small pig. “Just put that powder I gave you where they lay, and you won\’t have any problems. Just make sure they don\’t see it,” he said. “Then

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Piglet on the loose, piglet in danger…

Piglet on the loose, piglet in danger…

“Zip…” went the line. It bulged with Rascal\’s weight. The masked bandit zipped down once again from a night of pilfering, this time it was from the chicken coop. When he landed at his hide-out, he opened his pack and pulled out over two dozen eggs. “Num, num, num,” he mumbled and then swallowed

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Rascal never tires…

Rascal never tires…

Anyone looking could see the grass moving along the fence line, but not a hint of the critter causing the ripple unless they saw the tip of his tail as it swayed back and forth like the tall grass. Every so often, Rascal would stop and creep his masked face over the seed heads of the grass like

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Rascal's new plan…

Rascal\’s new plan…

Rascal had been keeping a low profile. He wanted to make sure he was far out of the way of what had been happening around the ranch. Most of all he\’d wanted some time to work on his new plan. “Those mangy dogs will never catch on,” muttered Rascal as he skittered around in the moonlight. He looked

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Its NOT the size of the dog in the fight…

It’s NOT the size of the dog in the fight…

“Clip, Clop, Clip, Clop,” went the horses\’ hooves against the gravel road.  “What a fun parade,” said Hannah. She was on cloud nine after the Memorial Day celebration. “I just loved all the marching bands, and the team of Clydesdales was amazing… aw,” she sighed with a smile.  “They sure shine

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Trouble in the offing…

Trouble in the offing…

“Aren\’t they so cute?” said Pudge as she admired Osage\’s fluffy ducklings as they waddled behind her. Banjo smiled as he watched, too. “They\’re already getting big,” said Pudge. “I just want them to stay soft and fuzzy.”  “They\’ll be getting feathers soon,” said Banjo. “Then the fun will really star.”  “What do you mean?” said Pudge.

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Surprise!

Surprise!

“Grrrr…” growled Tuff as he played.  “Let go, boy,” said Tate. “C\’mon, drop it.” Tate didn\’t want to get too close for fear he\’d get drenched. It was a warm spring day, but not warm enough to be soaked from head to toe by the hose.   Tuff tugged and ran back and forth with the water hose. It spewed water

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Motivation…

Motivation…

“Well, it\’s about time,” said Ben the Horse Chief.  Tuff looked around. “Are you talking to me?” he asked.  “Yes,” answered Banjo. “You finally stopped babbling all that nonsense.”  “Oh, that,” said Tuff. “I\’m telling the truth.”  “Now, let\’s not start all the magic talk again,” said Banjo. “We have a masked bandit to catch again.”  “He should be easy

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Trouble afoot…

Trouble afoot…

“What\’s wrong with him?” whispered Pudge. Banjo shook his head. “I\’m not sure,” he said. The two watched and listened to Tuff. Since he came back from the mountains, he\’d been acting weird. He wandered about talking to himself and often paced back and forth with no rhyme or reason. “He\’s speaking nonsense,” said Pudge. “No,” said Banjo. “Listen

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Of mysteries and magic spells…

Of mysteries and magic spells…

“Run!” yelled Tuff at the top of his canine lungs. “Run! You better keep on running until you don\’t have any running left in you! And then you need to conjure up the courage from the depths of your soul to keep on running!” Rascal panted from the chase. His rotund body was out of shape

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The ring-tailed rat strikes again!

The ring-tailed rat strikes again!

His beady black eyes watched their every move. Out of creative ideas but feeling the itch of spring to work his mischievous magic, he held the shearing clippers in his hands. Rascal thought to himself that it had been an accident with Ewela but what would it hurt to trim up one of those mangy dogs?

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