The callous hard-boiled exterior that cowboys exude is often a mask for their Tootsie Pop centers. Such was the case when my late father-in-law was approached by his granddaughter Michelle to dog-sit. She had brought a new, shall we say, “crossbred” puppy home from a high school rodeo that fall and asked her grandparents if they could help out onRead More
Columbus Day and Labor Day are my favorite holidays, because they really don’t require planning, preparation, gift giving, decorating, or all of that other stuff that makes holidays stressful. They are simply days off to enjoy. Probably the most exciting thing about those holidays is what our President will tweet.
It seems everyone is tweeting these days except me. (Editor’s note: OhRead More
The elk are bugling, the leaves are turning, the nights are chilly, and I am not heading to hunting camp for the first time in many years. Although I don’t miss getting up at 2:30 in the morning or trying to keep meals warm until the last hunters stumble into the cook tent with a bloody elk heart wrapped inRead More
Rural Uber Options
I was late for work at my town job today because the unpredicted heavy, wet snow bent all of the trees over, which effectively blocked our driveway from passage. I wasn’t very late, however, because we have farm implements! I backed up to the barn and summoned Remi who came out with the skid steer. He lifted upRead More
This week a wonderful new book came in the mail as one of the perks of writing a humor/ recipe column: “Making Tracks with Horses and Mules” by Jane Lambert of Stevensville, Montana. This book — edited by Editor Linda’s sister, Nancy Morrison, and proofed by our very own editor — chronicles the horses in Jane’s life. I could relate toRead More
Our ranch vacation guests are always amazed that we leave keys in all our vehicles. We explain that there are several reasons for that. One reason is that someone might come along that is in desperate need of a ride, so we want to accommodate them, but the main reason is that no one would steal most of our vehicles.
Watching all of the evacuations from Hurricane Harvey and from the wildfires in the West on television brings back the memory of the natural disasters we have lived through. When a plume of smoke rises, my heart begins to pound. We have evacuated from several fires and a couple floods, so I know the indescribable feeling of fear and helplessnessRead More
There used to be a show called “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” I have always thought I was until the other day when I realized I am not nearly as smart as a second grader. Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, technically I am not smarter than a first-grade graduate who had not yet begun second gradeRead More
My son has a 50-foot rope and a speedy horse, so he always wants to rope everything out in the open… even if it would be far easier and less stressful on his mother to push it to the corral. In fact, ever since he was in diapers, he has thrown rocks, sticks, balls, and anything he could pick up,Read More
This week we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. I cannot quite wrap my head around how old that makes us. Of course, Remi robbed the cradle when he married me, as I am MUCH younger. Still, I am starting to be able to relate to all of the old people jokes shared on Facebook to honor our milestone. I decidedRead More
I have several part-time jobs, which alleviates any opportunity for boredom, but the one job I have loved the most is wilderness camp cook. It has provided me with thousands of memories of back country adventures.
One such adventure began as I found myself happily riding up the trail in the back of a string of horses on a quirky horse… itRead More
It has been about 20 years since I was replaced in the hayfield by my son, and in those years, tractors have changed a lot in this operation. This haying season, I got called out of retirement mainly because we could not find anyone else to drive a tractor. So I stepped into the tractor for my 30-second lesson inRead More
The strongest earthquake (5.8) to hit Montana in more than a half century had its epicenter in Lincoln, Montana, last week. Just four days before, I had been cooking in the K Lazy 3 Scapegoat Wilderness camp very close to the epicenter. I am really glad I was not sleeping in the shower tent when the quake hit. There hadRead More
It is class reunion season, and I am feeling really old, since my baby just attended his 10th year high school reunion. My 40th reunion is coming up this weekend, and it reminded me of my 30th year class reunion 10 years ago. It was the event that inspired me to come home and make a bucket list. In myRead More
Summer is the time when I decide to roll up my sleeves and clean out some junk. However, my parents were children of the Great Depression, so I can still hear their voices ringing in my ears when I think about pitching stuff that could potentially have some use in the future — even though it has received no usageRead More
When I was growing up on a guest ranch near Augusta, Montana, a book and a movie entitled “Night of the Grizzlies” struck fear in the hearts of nearly all of our guests one summer. It was about grizzly maulings in Glacier Park, and it was gruesome for the ’70s. Lately, we have been plagued by a bear on theRead More
There are aliens or some form of paranormal beings among us! I know this might be hard to believe coming from such a reliable source as myself, but I have conducted my own independent research on this topic and concluded, without a doubt, that we are not alone in this universe. My observational study of this phenomenon began many yearsRead More
From Facebook, I pirated a great summary of what branding day is like in one paragraph written by Janie Carlson of Two Dot, Montana. She wrote, “L6 Bar branding 2017 Day went pretty damn well. I got cussed for the dry cow and tried to spill the herd. Jason got flattened and cussed Sid. Chase’s horse wanted to pig aRead More
On Thursday morning, following our blessed three inches of rain, Remi came in from checking the creek level and said, “Well, I guess we won’t have to move to Ingomar.” It is not that he has anything against Ingomar, MT, but back in 2011, when we replaced our bridge after that “100-year flood,” he swore that, if this bridge, whichRead More
The best part of this job is hearing from readers and finding that something I wrote inspired them, such as this letter that came in a large envelope full of poems from Ed Shinn of Toppenish, WA. Ed wrote, “I am an old guy… turned myself out to pasture several years ago. My wife and I have been enjoying thisRead More
The legend of the Crazy Woman Mountains…
We have the privilege of living ALMOST in the shadow of the Crazy Mountains. There are several versions of the legend of the Crazy Woman Mountains, which were later named the Crazy Mountains. Last week, I featured a poem by Sandy Seaton Sallee of Emigrant, Montana, who won this year\’s Buck Ramsey CowgirlRead More
Sandy Sallee accepting her award.
Sandy Sallee and her very own version of “The Willy.”
Sandy Seaton Sallee, the real deal…
When I grow up, I want to be just like Sandy Seaton Sallee of Emigrant, Montana, whom I have admired since I first met her at a cowboy poetry gathering decades ago. Sandy, who grew up in Yellowstone Park driving four-up stagecoaches,Read More
With tongue in cheek… I love it when I open my email and find a message from my editor saying, “You ought to use this for a column.” After reading it, I knew Linda was right, so here is a guest column from Julie Carter of Cowgirl Sass & Savvy entitled “Cowboy Cookin\’ …Making It Simple.” Thanks, Julie!
Cooking isRead More
I have developed a fear of bathrooms. After this week, I have much more empathy for people who suffer from phobias. In fact, my bathroom phobia is so bad that I am thinking about getting a Life Alert button to ward off any future bathroom calamities.
My brush with severe claustrophobia and deep humiliation came last Wednesday. I had poppedRead More
More of the good, old days…
After the last downturn in the economy, it became suddenly fashionable to be frugal and green. I grew up frugal and green, because my parents were 40 years old when they got around to having me, so they were children during the Great Depression. We have tried to raise our children frugal and green, butRead More
The dreaded spelling bee…
All across the country, kids are being traumatized… no, not by cyber bullying or the Pythagorean theorem, but for another reason… they are good spellers. Yes, in preparation for the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. in June, every county in every state is hosting a chamber of horrors for their best and brightest. I can sayRead More
The rapid escalation of inherent problems…
I sat bolt upright in bed when the back door slammed the way it only slams during calving season. I could hear muck boots clomping down the hall, and then my dearly beloved husband barked, “Come help me get a heifer in.”
I thought about mumbling, “Please,” but I was busy getting all my joints workingRead More
Do we really need over 450 new pieces of legislation?
As I sit down to write this column, I realize that it is Dr. Seuss\’ birthday on Thursday. As an English teacher, Dr. Seuss\’ birthday is the most significant holiday of the year. He would have been 113 today… except that he died in 1991. This brilliant man, Theodore Seuss Geisel,Read More
Calving season is about to begin, and it is a sheet of ice everywhere… except where it is a bog of mud. Because we live in windy country and we haven\’t had a winter like this since 1979, I am not used to these conditions. I am pretty sure I am more of a liability than an asset out inRead More
A little cowboy poetry…
I love it when readers send me great writing, and this poem from Tom Ogle of Paris, Illinois, comes just as calves are starting to hit the ground on many ranches. Thanks for sharing this great poem and tribute to a fine neighbor, Tom!
The Slow One
By Tom Ogle
Earl worked in town to make ends meet.
Feedin\’ cows after
Susan, you\’d better stick to Remi\’s plan…
Calving season is bearing down on us, and that means a shift in my world. I have to shift from physical fitness activities like power walking to the break room for a snack and lifting paper weights to doing things like lugging newborn calves into the heated tack room in the barn from theRead More
Christmas crisis! Christmas is only 194 hours away as I sit down to write this week\’s column. The only problem with that is that I have at least 195 hours\’ worth of stuff to do to get ready for Christmas. I\’m not really good at math, but even I realize that doesn\’t leave much time for sleep! Just this afternoon, IRead More
Grouchy Grandma\’s House Rules for the Holidays…
One of the nicest compliments I receive is when readers tell me that they have hung my column on their refrigerator or mailed it to someone (often anonymously) to try to make a point humorously and semi-tactfully. Since we are in the holiday feast season, I thought it might be an appropriate time toRead More