An injustice righted…

Last week Lobo revealed a bit more of who he is, and because of his genetics, there were some two-legged predators looking for him. Will Banjo be able to keep Lobo safe, or will Lobo do it on his own?

Lobo had barely begun spilling his guts when a breathless Tuff came racing toward them.

“They’re coming back tonight,” said Tuff, “and

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Life is difficult…

“Bwauck!  Squauck!” screeched the hens in the chicken coop. Lobo squeezed out through the tiny door with last night’s leftovers. 

Banjo raced to the coop. “What do you think you’re doing?” he asked.

“Just getting a bite to eat,” said Lobo. 

“For wanting to be invisible, you sure aren’t being very covert,” said Banjo. 

“I checked it out before I went in,” said Lobo. 

Banjo

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A wolf, up close and personal! 

“I saw it!” declared Pudge. “It was a wolf, right here in the yard.”  

Banjo looked at Pudge. “Okay, let’s go check it out,” he said. “That’s a serious situation, if true.” They walked through the yard, around the barn, up the lane, through the corrals, and back down around the house, shop, and garage. “I only see our prints,” said

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Rascal’s Easter tricks…

Pip and Pudge were on a walk around the ranch. It was a beautiful spring day. Even though heaps of snow were still piled up in corners around the ranch, the warm sun and temperatures had fed the earth. The green blankets of grass began to spread their tint across the recent brown, barren ground with the promise of the

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Ten happy (for the most part) years…

The snow melt had created giant puddles around the ranch. Banjo leapt across one, avoiding being completely covered in mud and wet, as he walked up the lane toward the pasture. It was that time of year when fences needed to be double-checked, especially since the coyotes had been so active in the hills and lambs were on the way.

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Appearances can be deceiving…

After Pip and Squeak went missing together, Banjo and Pudge found them in the shop, working on a prank for Rascal. Will the prank work on the masked bandit? Or will they find themselves in a worse predicament?

All the animals worked together to fill the hollow donuts with mayonnaise and to cover the other sponges in frosting and sprinkles. “What

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Pip-Squeak pranks…

Rascal climbed up his makeshift pantry walls. “Where are all of my pickles?” he said. The masked bandit huffed as he pushed some of his other precious scavenged food to the side. “I want a pickle,” he said. Rascal looked around and down below at his new hideout. He had a hunch. “Hmmm,” he said. “Someone’s been visiting again.” Rascal

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Life lessons

Banjo closed the tack room door, and “Clink” went the latch. Pip, the newest kitten ranch addition, hid in the folds of an emptied grain sack. As soon as he heard the latch, he dashed out from behind his hiding place and to a nearby corner. He tugged at the baseboard’s wood, and it came loose, revealing a hollow in

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Banjo comes to the rescue… 

Last week Pip and Squeak snuck out of the barn once again to smuggle Rascal’s tasty treats from his hideout. Banjo was onto them, and so was Rascal. The masked bandit figured out something was thieving his food, but he didn’t know who, so he set a trap to catch the culprit. When Pip and Squeak made it to Rascal’s

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Fastest critters in the West… 

The jelly dripped from the jar that Squeak had stuck on his pint-sized calf nose. He shook it. The jelly drips flopped to the barn floor, and Pip, the itty-bitty kitty, scooped more onto his paw and licked it.  “Mmmmm,” they both said with delight.  

“What are you two youngsters nibbling on?” asked Banjo. “Seems you’ve been finding quite the treats

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New friends… 

The masked bandit stretched out on his new comfy bed. “Ah,” he sighed. “I can’t believe I didn’t find this place before.” He looked around, completely content. “That mangy dog and his friends will never find me… ha, ha!” Rascal crossed his arms behind his head and leaned into them. He looked up. He could see the moonlight from outside

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To the Rescue!

The fog was thick. Banjo pushed through the head wind. He could see Cowsuela in the lower pasture and knew she needed help. Tuff and Ben were on their way with a sled and tow straps.

“MOOO,” bawled Cowsuela.

“I’m coming, friend,” said Banjo. Even though she couldn’t hear him through the wind, he said it aloud, just in case she could.

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More of Rascal’s pranks…

Rascal looked left, then right, and then up and down. When he was certain the coast was clear, he sneakily lifted the corner of the oversized sleeping bag he’d nabbed and felt the hose. “Perfect,” he snickered. “Thawed it is.” Rascal dropped the cover back over the hose and skittered away.

Mrs. McBauck caught a glimpse of Rascal’s tail as it

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New Year’s epiphanies…

Last week Banjo found Rascal with his bags packed and headed to move into the barn. He also found a long-lost mystery about Wyatt Twerp and had a deadline to get him ambushed at the hollowed log. With Rascal’s help, Banjo, Tuff, and Pudge discovered where the pesky pack rat had been hiding, and they had a hopeful plan to

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Rascal moves out, and Banjo schemes…

His wings spread across the air waves. He was majestic in flight. Banjo saw him on the horizon. He knew the bald eagle’s wing stance anywhere, and Banjo watched him gracefully soar closer and closer. With a classic air acrobatic dive, the eagle plummeted from the depths of the crisp blue sky. Banjo knew it was his way of giving

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Rascal gets lit!

Pip was nuzzled against Pudge’s lap. He had mama’d up to her as soon as Rascal paw-delivered him to Banjo and the ranch crew. Hannah and Tate, the ranch kids, had helped fill him with needed medicine and supplements for a couple of days after he had arrived, and now, even though he was still extremely small, he was getting

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Even Rascal gets the Christmas spirit…

Rascal could hardly contain himself as he hunkered beneath the tarp. He was headed to town for Christmas scavenging and had the perfect plan up his furry sleeve. “He, he, he,” he snickered. “Almost there.” He could feel the change in the road from gravel to pavement, which meant they were on the highway. It was only a couple miles

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Rascal gets glittered!

“Rascal, one of these days I’m going to be up and at ‘em again,” said Ben. The masked bandit snorted and kept right at his work. “You think you’re pretty sly, don’t you?” said Ben. Rascal snickered. He had scooted Ben’s black rubber pan of grain under the green panel. It was just far enough out of reach that, if

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Ben’s troubles set up an opportunity to get Rascal…

Rascal thought he was exceptionally covert while he scooped up as much grain in his paws as he could while Ben, the horse chief, lay on his side. As he skittered away, Ben lifted his head ever so slightly and watched the masked bandit scurry out of sight. “Ugh!” he groaned. Ben’s nostrils flared, and he grunted in pain again.

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An electrifying experience!

Mud splashed up on the tires as the brown cargo truck sloshed through a large puddle on the lane. “Here it comes,” said Banjo. “You ready?”

George, the hairless guinea pig, nodded YES. The small-framed animal snugged his new woolly coat tighter around his body and beneath his chin. “I’m grateful for your hospitality this past week,” said George. The only

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The ranch collection of animals increases once again…

Last week the sugar bowl went missing, and the mama calls on Banjo and Tuff to nab the ranch thieves for good. Where does the chase lead the dogs—to the wood shed or somewhere else right beneath their paws? Do they finally solve the mystery and catch Wyatt Twerp and Rascal, or is there something afoot on the ranch to

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The missing sugar bowl…

Banjo stretched and yawned as he rose to all threes. The click of the programmed coffee pot announced its morning ritual as it began its brewing process. Banjo’s fur remained warm from the fire, and he was grateful to the mama for letting him and Tuff curl up next to the wood stove. The temperature had dropped to the low

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Plan B…

Last week Banjo and Tuff discovered some odd-looking tracks in the snow, which led them to a mystery involving the wood pile and then a burlap sack filled with the masked menace in the hollows of an old baler. Banjo and Tuff are willing to help Rascal out of his predicament, but one of the mysteries needs to be solved.

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Rascal gets himself in a lurch…

“What is that?” said Tuff. “I thought it was only supposed to be two inches, but there’s over six.”

Banjo looked out of the frosted barn window. “Old Man Winter definitely made his appearance last night,” said Banjo. “It’s that time of year, but the snow will be gone by noon. Don’t worry, pup.” Banjo pushed open the barn doors, letting

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He who laughs last…

“I can’t believe that packrat skunked me last week,” said Banjo. He thumped his tail on the ground.

“One minute you were faced off, and with a swirl of dust, he was gone,” said Tuff. “Pretty impressive, if you ask me, and having Rascal evade us too.”

Banjo looked sternly at Tuff. “Please don’t remind me,” muttered Banjo. “I don’t know how

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Raccoons and packrats teamed up…

“It’s been a long few days,” said Banjo with a sigh. He watched the mama walk to the dog kennel.

“That’s no lie,” said Tuff. “I’m not used to being a caged animal. I’m starting to smell myself, and it’s not roses I smell.”

Banjo looked at him.  “Well, you’re right about that,” he said. “But having time to ponder this masked

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Misplaced blame…

The mama stood in the middle of her garden looking at the limp vines, wilted stems, brown leaves, and clumps of dirt lie where the vegetables from an oversized fall harvest should have been. “I just can’t figure this out,” she said. Banjo was beside her and listened carefully. “The entire garden is gone… every last vegetable is just gone.

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Rascal’s great pumpkin heist…

His eyes narrowed as he watched. He stroked the end of his maimed tail between his human-like paws. “I’ll show them,” he said as he sat peering from behind the window pane, watching Tate’s laptop computer screen. “You Tube,” muttered Rascal. “Who needs anything else, but…”

The screen door slammed against its wooden pane. Tate lifted from his computer research and

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Tuff Takes Time to Smell the Roses

Tuff Takes Time to Smell the Roses

Tuff dipped his paw into the red and white striped oversized cardboard cup.  “This is the best popcorn I’ve ever tasted,” he said.

Banjo had a plate full of buttered, fluffy popcorn in front of him, too.  He dipped his muzzle into it just so he could lift a popped kernel onto the tip of

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Rascal gets his first installment of “evens” …

“He has to be wearing floaties with all of this rain,” said Tuff.

“I bet so,” said Banjo. “I’m thankful for it. It’s not only kept that masked menace out of my fur for a while, even if he is using floaties to slink around, but also and most of all, this rain has tamed these wild fires.”

“That one over the

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Rascal’s on a roll…

Banjo thumped his tail in aggravation. He was still thinking about all the trouble Rascal mustered up last week at the barn dance and how the menacing masked bandit got away with it.

“What are you plotting?” asked Tuff.

“I’m not sure,” said Banjo. “But it’s going to have to be something significant for that ring-tailed rat.”

“Maybe Pudge’s new ‘friend’ has some

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Rascal makes a mess…

“Oh, yay!” said Pudge as the glimmering lights lifted to drape across the rafters. “We’re having a party,” she said. Pudge’s tail swaggered, and she shimmied as she spun around excitedly.

“Why are we having a party, again?” asked Tuff.

“It’s barn dance,” said Banjo. “We’re celebrating the end of summer and ringing in the harvest season.”   Hannah and Tate had been

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Rascal gets freight-trained…

“Load up, boys!” said Tate.

Banjo and Tuff were excited to not only ride in the back of the truck to town, but also and most of all to go to Tate’s first football game. The air was still hot from the day, but it would cool down as soon as the sun drifted behind the hills. The air blew across

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Fall sports…

“It’s that time of year again,” said Banjo. The diesel pickup rattled, and dust kicked off the back tires as he watched Tate, Hannah, and the mama turn from the lane.

“Fall sports,” said Tuff, walking towards him.

“Yep, football and cross country,” said Banjo.

“We should put together some fall sports to play,” said Tuff.

Banjo looked at him. “That’s a good idea,

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FIRE… the most dreaded four-letter word of all…

The sky lit up like there was a war on the horizons. On one side of the ranch, sheet lightning exploded from one thunderhead cloud to the next, and over-head bolts zapped from the sky in giant zig-zags with the crashing of thunder booming their finale. “This is a bad storm,” said Banjo as he lay and watched through the

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Perry the Pelican makes a timely arrival…

The weather gave the ranch crew a little reprieve with an afternoon shower. Tuff didn’t move a muscle and let the rain trickle down and across his back. It was wet and, most of all, cooling… especially with the breeze that joined the summer storm. Banjo moved under the shade of an overlying willow bush, but wasn’t too far from

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Water wars…

“Look at the thermometer!” said Tuff. “The red looks like it’s going to pop out of the top.”

“That will happen when it’s 104 degrees in the shade,” said Banjo. “It’s too hot to do anything, but take a nap.”

“Or go tubing,” said Pudge as she joined them.

Banjo thought for a moment. “We could do that,” he said. “In fact, that

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Tuff gets one over on Rascal

 

Pudge stretched and yawned. The cool summer morning air was refreshing. Banjo lifted his head when he felt the bounce of her movement. Tate stirred in his sleeping bag, and the trampoline swayed. Pudge walked along the blue padding around its edge and leapt to the soft dew-glistened grass. “Ah, summer,” she said.

“It’s hot,” said Tuff. “That’s all summer is…

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Rascal Pranks

Last week Tuff was harboring some pent-up anger towards Rascal and his pranks, so Banjo set out to find the masked bandit and right some of his wrongs. But in his hunt for Rascal, Banjo stumbled across three abandoned baby raccoons. Tuff didn’t approve of Banjo coming to their rescue, but Banjo reminded him of his own journey. What happens

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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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Rascal's in the grease… again!

Rascal\’s in the grease… again!

Last week Rascal emerges from hiding, only to find himself in a precarious predicament with those renegade roosters. What role do these animals have pertaining to the animal Underground, and how does Rascal get himself wrapped up in it all? Does he help these spies or does he go back to his days of old pranks?

Reginald,

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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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