Search Results for: A Cowboy's Faith

A Cowboy’s Faith: Safe water to drink

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That blue green stuff in the pond can be deadly to livestock when they drink the water.”

As if there aren’t more than enough concerns with water supplies during this year’s drought, now another issue has arisen.

Evidently, the problem is nothing new, frequently occurring in certain locales during calm, sunny, dry, hot summer days. Still, there hadn’t been that noticeable predicament for about five years in the couple dozen ranch ponds.

Testing back then indicated what the college hotshots identified as algae blooms weren’t making poison water. But, who would know about this year? Cattle were supposed to be rotated into the pasture with the “contaminated” pond several weeks ago.

Now, they couldn’t be moved until water quality was checked. Contact was made with the microscope officials to see if hand delivering a water sample would speed up test results. Assurance was given that would be helpful. Yet, upon arrival at the laboratory, there was a different person in charge.

This paid government employee informed that their testing mechanism was out of whack. The water would have to be sent to another facility and it would take at least a week to hear back.

Grass was gone in the pasture where the cows were grazing, and they needed to be moved to more feed. That couldn’t be done if the pond water was harmful to drink. So, grub the pasture and ship the samples to another tester hoping results return faster than expected.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Highway repairs cause aggravation

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Road construction ahead. Detour now. Watch for flagman. Be prepared to stop. Follow pilot car.”

Those have been the dreaded orange sign alerts that slowed work commute there and back more than 35 minutes daily.

Highway repair and construction are essential, but it can be very aggravating too.

Well, perhaps not as upsetting as big potholes causing flat tires, damage to springs and motor mount weakening.

For nine years, road to the office has been in terrible shape. Up in the morning and down in the evening, it became a daily dread. Certainly, a complaining conversation piece among coworkers.

After years of patching, re-patching and promises of redoing the whole road, new construction is finally underway.

Of course, that requires a detour. In this situation, complete building of an asphalt entrance to the four offices on top of the hill. Give credit where due. That roadway seems high quality considering it’ll be bulldozed away when the main road’s fixed.

So, instead of coming within just a half mile of work on the highway, entrance is a three-mile crooked back road. It seemed lots further, but odometer shows exact same mileage, although slower driving and stop signs take longer.

Main highway from the ranch to interstate is being all redone too. That’s where there’s been major time loss, waiting until two dozen cars go by on the now one-lane road.

Uncertain if the work really needs done, because the highway hasn’t seemed that bad. Moreover, the state department just recently did a nice job of cover-up on a handful of half-mile stretches. Wasting more taxpayer money seemingly.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Hurting tummy serious concern

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“A bellyache can really be painful making it such nothing can be done but groan.”

Maybe kick the stall until somebody comes to see what in the world is going on.

It was Monday morning after two days at horseshows away from the ranch, and now back home Maggie started kicking. Beating her hind legs against the steel stall, loud banging was heard inside the kitchen 100 yards from the barn.

Maggie was obviously hurting very badly, begging for some relieving help, making it known the best way she could.

Her neck was wet with sweat when turned out into the indoor arena where she immediately started rolling. There seemed some relief when Maggie stood back up with head hanging low, sad look in her eyes.

Checking on the buckskin mare just a few minutes later, she came right to the fence for pacification. Her stomach was still hurting for sure. Now, that is a serious situation dealt with in other horses through the decades. It can be different problems, maybe just stomachache or colic.

While they’re bad even sometimes with serious consequences, other problems like compaction and twisted intestine are generally worse. Treatment for these ailments is complex, frequently ineffective with higher mortality.

Worry and concern for the very sick still beautiful show horse were rapidly increasing.

Walking a horse is generally advised to help indigestion, relieving pressure and discomfort. Maggie went both Number 1 and Number 2, which seemed positive signs. But there was still lots of heartburn soreness as Maggie aggressively bit at her own sides. She started kicking into the air and wouldn’t lead despite coaxed tugging.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Rainfall short, complexity high

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“When it doesn’t rain, all sorts of problems arise.”

How long has it been since there’s was a true pond filling downpour?

Oh, certain locales have received major rainfall with not a single water issue at the present. Yet, just a few miles away, sometimes just across the section, farmers and ranchers alike are in a dire situation.

One cattleman a short stretch over in the county to the west said it right: “We’re in real trouble.”

His concerns outnumbered some others. Crops were planted, trying to grow, but far insufficient moisture such with the heat leaves were curled and deteriorating. Add to that, the spring was dry; every mud hole that had remained in the creek was gone. There hadn’t been water in the pond for a week.

Short sprigs of grass showed here and there, keeping the yearlings on the prowl, weight gains going backwards. What’s a producer to do? Nothing one can do about the growing crops, barring a new irrigation system, except pray for rain.

Cattlemen do have some alternatives. Sell now, stop the losses. Haul feed and water hoping for some profit; feeling assured “it’ll rain tonight.”

Small showers on the ranch though far and few between have kept most hardy native pastures with some green regrowth. There is limited feedstuff, not yet requiring supplement for the cows and calves if they graze diligently.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cost for water insignificant

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The water quit running all of a sudden.”

That loud exclamation always sends alarm around the ranch house and barnyard.

While it’s happened a number of times in nearly five decades, fortunately there haven’t been many recent issues.

Of course, personal concerns come to mind first. The toilet won’t flush, there’s no faucet water to drink or shave with, and no way to take a bath.

In reality, those are minor problems compared to the livestock being without water. Right now, there are only a handful of horses in the lots. But, days gone by, sometimes cattle and hog numbers have been a hundred or more. Livestock must have water.

Fixing anything to do with the water system is obviously a plumber’s job. Yet, sometimes an electricity blink causes breakdown requiring simple switch shut off and on. It was more complicated this time.

What made the problem even worse, it was Saturday morning. Getting somebody to come to a ranch is often complex in itself, but on a weekend can become a nightmare.

“Let’s see, who put the water pump in?” Obviously, that’s the first one to be called. His machine answered, and message was left.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Go slow then fast

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It’s hard for those ‘peanut rollers’ to understand they’re being asked to run.”

Actually, a number of horses ridden only in show pleasure classes haven’t ever run with a rider aboard.

Of course, all know how to run in the pasture. Yet, sadly certain horses are so intimidated they don’t seem to remember how to run when being ridden.

For clarification, “peanut roller,” again unfortunately, is now a fairly common term in horseshow circles. It describes a horse being ridden at a very slow gait carrying the head unnaturally low.

At a glance to a lay onlooker, it actually could appear that the nose is pushing something on the ground.

Horses being trained, ridden and shown in this manner have become a highly controversial issue. It has even been considered inhumane to make a horse ride in such an artificial form.

Rulebooks and judges training have for years prohibited officials from placing entries ridden in this manner. That’s not stopped the “problem” as horses are still being shown that way.

Maggie’s is not a “peanut roller” by any means. However, it’s always been a continuous effort to keep her riding slow with level neck and pleasant natural head carriage.

Sometimes she works nearly as desired and other times not. Maggie can easily get excited picking up her head and going faster, but not running.

Such speedup gets a reprimand, which generally hurts her feelings, even if not slowing down to desired rate.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Remembering lost loved ones

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“What a terribly sad day, yet such a most beautiful reflection of memories all at the same time.”

That is quite a conflicting statement, yet there’s no question about the truth of it.

Every year as far back as the brain will remember, Memorial Day has been a very special time.

In the beginning only one grave was visited. There wasn’t even a tombstone for namesake Grandpa Frank. Only Grandma Buchman, Nannie, knew exactly where he was buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Dad (Clarence) was only 11 years old when Grandpa passed, uncle Elmer was 14, and Aunt Luvella was quite young. Of course, there was no money to buy any kind of marker.

Upkeep of graveyards wasn’t important for many years either. So, in the mid-‘50s and perhaps later, Dad, usually with Grandma accompanying, would mow Grandpa’s grave lot. It wasn’t regular care with the push wheel-powered mower, but always done the week before “Decoration Day.”

Finally, sometime in the late ’50s, a nice gray granite grave marker was purchased. It was engraved with pertinent now-most-interesting information about the Frank Buchman and placed where Grandma said to.

When Grandma passed, nearly half a century after Grandpa, she was buried beside him with matching stone. Elmer is next to her, and Dad and Mom are buried behind them.

Nowadays, at least four cemeteries are visited in the important day’s trek. Flowers, sometimes artificial and occasionally real ones, are placed on lost loved one’s graves.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Doors open for new opportunities

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman. “Promise for new beginnings down life’s many highways and varied directions.”

That the message from commencement speakers in recent days. Not any different than every year for decades, likely centuries.

Sure enough truth and soundest advice for those so very excited about successfully completing another educational objective.

When special gradations recognitions and scholarships are bestowed, it wouldn’t be that hard for some to get a big head. “I’m famous. Look at all I’ve done.”

Certainly it’s amazing the accomplishments of those who’ve walked across the stage shaking hands this month.

That sheepskin is truly a valuable piece of paper and will help open countless doors throughout a lifetime. They’re opportunities which wouldn’t have ever come without hours, days, months, years, midnight crams studying, rewarded with honorable report cards.

School days are truly some of the very best times ever. It’s incomprehensible those who contend: “I hate school.”

Perhaps one might heavily dislike the book learning, testing, demand to study what is being taught. Yet, education is really only a small part of school.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Always dream then work

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Cowboys have always been the biggest heroes.

That continues, yet in maturity those even much older who are still working very hard have also become mentors.

Too many classmates have already passed to the great beyond, while being among those continuing forward on earth has challenges.

Just keeping up with what there is can be a fulltime job, yet those many decades older plunge fast forward.

Often television stories feature those celebrating their century birthdays and even years beyond. Those recognized are generally able to physically get around, of sound mind, and excited for every day they have.

Each situation is different of course, and none ever really have secrets to longevity. Yet they all get up and at it every morning, remaining active all day with an occasional nap. Each one eats three nourishing meals daily with maybe an extra snack and keeps up with what’s going on around. Many read regularly, have numerous friends and are strong in faith.

One friend at 98 was forced into assisted living away from home for a time. Not yet mowing his lawn or driving to town, he’s back on the farm feeling happier and healthier.

Every morning on the way to work at 6:30, another farmer friend’s kitchen light is on and he’ll be outside before 7 o’clock. Despite serious health issues, at 94 nothing stops him, always still going when returning from work 11 hours later.

At 89, a former teacher with more than one’s share of hardship started his ranch upon official retirement. Non-relenting entrepreneurship coupled with opportunities, the operation surpasses others built through generations. Not unique perhaps, but notable, covenants and dreams backed by hard work must be credited.

A Cowboy’s Faith: All those important mothers

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.There’s nothing more important than a mother.

Of course, everybody has a mother. They come in all sizes, shapes, forms, dispositions, peculiarities, each a unique distinct mother.

Everyone is the very best in their own way. None better possible regardless who wants to debate or argue.

There are always plenty of justifiable personal prejudices, and they’re all correct.

Many times personal reflections have been made about Mom who passed long ago at just 62 years old. Never a day goes by without thinking about her.

Mom always had a toothy grin for whoever it was because of her true happiness, with sweetness overflowing. Talkative to the extent of frequently being loud, she was. One can’t be too honest, and Mom was the most trustworthy ever known.

Not views through rose-colored-glasses, but readily verified by those who really knew her. She was authentic with the biggest heart possible. Nobody was a stranger to Mom, and she helped everyone in every way possible. That’s a fact.

While there is only one true flesh-and-blood mother, many others throughout a lifetime step in to provide motherly instincts. Think about it, what could really get done without so many in their vastly generous, motherly ways?

It’d be countless when reflecting all those who’ve stepped in to guide, help, been a “substitute mother,” when Mom wasn’t there.

Growing up, of course grandmas took on the role, equaled and often surpassed by aunts. On occasion perhaps even misidentified as “Mom.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Replacements for poor service

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That bull is bad.”

Such comment might be said defining a rodeo bull. It could be the bull is a bad bucker almost impossible to score on. Other times it might mean a bull is anxious to “hook the ‘W’ right off a cowboy’s Wranglers.”

Such dispositions of bulls used for breeding purposes on farms and ranches have not been uncommon in days gone by. However, with conscientious seed stock producers most are now producing bulls that are typically not fighters or troublemakers.

Still most ranchers with a dozen or more breeding bulls will often have one to “keep an eye on.” Now, that’s not to say they’re really mean, but not the friendliest things either.

One bull might have an ornery twinkle in his eyes, or sometimes snort when the herdsman or another bull walks by. Maybe shake his big head just a little to get first and extra at hay time.

Certainly a bull deserves caution when in his whereabouts. One push, even if considered friendly, by a ton-plus bovine can certainly be hazardous to one’s health.

Nope, it’s wasn’t an attitude problem with this particular “bad bull.” During the annual spring bull check, he came up “unsound for breeding,” the veterinarian said. Uncertain exactly what the problem was, but the bull wasn’t likely to get cows bred to have calves next spring.

Well now, the writing was already on the wall. Those cows he was supposedly serving last summer started “cycling” during the winter. They wouldn’t be gaunt, flat sided, tail in the air, riding each other if going to have a calf.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Excuse for bad penmanship

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Poor handwriting has gotten much worse in recent weeks.”

Some people never did learn to write. A number of older acquaintances from youthful days would only sign with an “X” when signature was required.

Despite dedicated teachers’ daily writing classes, certain students still didn’t write legibly. Now it’s even being reported students aren’t even being taught how to write. Evidently certain educators surpass this very essential tool insisting everybody uses a computer. It’s impossible to personally sign one’s name with a computer.

Anyway, all of the diligent efforts of at least eight grade school teachers have gone astray. Lessons on how to hold the pencil, correct diagonal of every letter are no good anymore. The writing hand just will not close to grasp the writing instrument.

That middle finger the two-year-old filly jerked and broke 30 years ago is the worst. But, the rest of the fingers are now in similar predicament.

For decades all those stories about arthritis went to the wayside until now there is the problem. True excuse for illegible penmanship, but there are considerably more issues, too.

It’s often impossible to pick up anything without risk of dropping it. That’s from a piece of paper to a fork to a cup of coffee.

What is this crazy arthritis doctors have diagnosed, but not been any help in relieving pain or improving writing?

A Cowboy’s Faith: Changing weather promises moisture

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Four seasons all within two days.”

Not quite, but that’s the way it seemed, perhaps shy of real hot summertime.

From the 80s to freezing overnight with spring and fall temperatures intermingled within and around.

One goes from not even a jacket, to a sweater with coat, soon long johns then back around again.

Like has been often said, “If the Kansas weather doesn’t suit the fancy, just wait and it’ll change.”

All professions have their downfall, but weather forecasters likely get more than their share of ridicule.

Interesting though tuning to a handful of different predictions, how varied they can be. Yet they are sometimes almost identical outlooks and still completely wrong.

With hail one place, sun shining a mile south, then raining cats and dogs nearby, how could anybody know?

However, did appreciate one newsman attempting to keep listeners up on storm alerts. Two reports within 20 minutes changing from “quarter-size hail,” then “get inside a tornado has been sighted.”

Parts of the Midwest experience flooding, blizzards, high winds, tornadoes and extreme fire hazard all at the same time.

“It’ll be a miracle if there’s any brome this year,” the ranch partner assessed. Even when all soil nutrition is properly managed, Mother Nature has the final hand.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Good fence retains cattle

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It’s that time of the year when grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

Wherever tame grasses border native pastures, there’s always a bovine sticking their head under or through the fence.

Woven wire surrounds a pasture on the highway to work, but still there’s pressure from livestock picking for green sprigs. Quality of fence is part of the determinant. When there are half-dozen tight strands of barbed wire with silver tinge showing, old cows aren’t as persistent. Still smaller calves always push under.

Despite continuous efforts to build fence, there’s miles and miles of loose rusted barbed wire fence. Only three or four strands, maybe 30 feet between posts, never were any stay wires. And then one old hedge is broken off, one wire’s broken and another isn’t tied to a post.

That’s common fence description here and many miles every direction. It makes pure happiness for those cattle scavenging for that tender new growth.

Fence isn’t any good in the first place, then calf goes through, momma follows, much of the herd is out.

A call from mailman or neighbors is unappreciated yet necessary evil: “Get ’em and cobble fence back together at best.”

One time out means they’ll be out again sure as the world. Even when steel panels plug the hole, those smart biddies just keep walking till another loose, broken wire lets them through.

A Cowboy’s Faith: No knack for racehorses

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Let’s race and see whose horse is the fastest.”

Challenges like that have been common since man started riding horses. Anybody on their favorite horse anxiously wagers a horseback friend to a race.

Larry on Rebel challenged Nellie down the straight away. Whew, Nellie won hands down, bringing big grin to her grocery store carryout boy rider. However, all outcomes weren’t that pleasant.

Of course, patterned racing, like running around barrels, has been sport ever since Spot came in ’62. But, real racetrack competition was later.

Without any prejudice, Quicksand was fast, but when the gate opened, he soured. True story though, that big grey gelding still just about caught the field, but not quite.

Riding horses for a number of customers, opportunity arose to also train a couple of racehorses. Success had semblance to attempts at being a bull rider. Not too good, yet some fond memories of horses, their owners and races.

Bo was a sorrel gelding entered in the breeder’s race futurity and then to sell at his annual auction. Exercised at the ranch, Bo was given practice outs at Emporia’s Bluestem Downs and official starts at Eureka Downs.

“Dead last.” Excuses were he “wore himself out prancing ahead of time and the jockey was too big.” Efforts to fix those problems were of no avail as Bo came in last at the futurity. Nevertheless, reprieve came when Bo sold for a high price at the owner’s production sale.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Year’s most important week

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Holy Week” climaxes Easter Sunday, celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection giving eternal life to all who believe in Him.

Sadly too many people have no idea Easter’s true meaning, literally often relating it only to bunnies and colored eggs.

Holy Week marks the final week of the season of Lent recounting the final days of Christ’s life, as well as his death, burial, and resurrection.

Lent is the 40 days before Easter during which many Christians refrain from certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ. Ash Wednesday marks Lent’s start as worshipers receive ash cross marks reminding: “Man, dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.”

Palm Sunday is the sixth and last Sunday of Lent commemorating Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It is named for the palm branches that were spread on the road to mark Christ’s arrival. Palm Sunday fronds are burned, and ashes used the following year’s Ash Wednesday.

Maundy Thursday celebrates Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples thereby instituting the Eucharist. Consecrated bread and wine symbolic of body and blood of Christ are eaten and drank during the ceremony of Communion. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, setting example that all should love and serve.

Good Friday is a day of sorrow and mourning marking the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death. It is a quiet day of prayer and reflection.

Easter Sunday is celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Dedicated exercise yields action

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Calisthenics are the dreaded yet always insisted criteria for body fitness.”

Never really ever into much of a dedicated exercise program, a leisurely morning run had been followed for a while. Then it started being work, not fun, perhaps a bit of pain.

Come to find out, there was legitimate ouch, requiring treatment. Seeking others’ opinions before consenting to the knife, advice was always the same.

“Get it done, but make sure to do all of the required therapy.”

That statement was instantly followed by, “Those who don’t have a dedicated exercise program never recover completely.”

Reflection came to mind of Uncle Elmer having knee replacement decades ago. He was strong as an ox, but got so he couldn’t get up or down.

Elmer had the surgery, sat down in the chair, did very little walking, never got better, worse than before.

That lesson was remembered along with our cowboy mentors Dan, Andy, Gene and others who followed therapy guidelines precisely. They were again riding in a few weeks.

Up and at it hours after waking up, walking the halls became twice-a-day routine. After recovery stay, walking continued. First with four-pronged metal-helper, then a cattle sorting stick and a Christmas-colored cane in public. Sure didn’t want to fall down and make damages worse.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Wind powered blazes insurmountable

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“March winds bring April showers bring May flowers”

That often repeated quotation is on the minds of most everybody.

Despite moisture forecasts, and sometimes a few drops, the Midwest has not received sufficient rain.

More than one commented, “Too bad we can’t have just a tad bit from those poor northeast folks snowbound and flooding.”

Combination of dry conditions and record winds has made wildfires more widespread than even year earlier more isolated damages.

A call in the middle of the night informed a pasture was burning nearby, but fire trucks had been called. Fortunately, those local volunteers were efficient in limiting damage to a small area. That the area ablaze had been hayed last summer, helped in keeping spread slowed.

Up and down the highway in every direction from headquarters, there have been pasture fires. All were brought under control before extensive loss.

Returning from work, three fire engines were headed east – telltale sign: “There’s a fire.”

Nightly news revealed location, but simultaneously another one was being battled two counties to the south.

Thousands of acres of Flint Hills were consumed between the two, but lives were saved. Biggest fright was possibility of fire spreading into one rural community.

Again, assistance gathered from every direction, miles and miles away with every form of water and extinguishing agent possible. Amazing the generosity and working together efforts of all in a time of need.

It does help override the bad publicity so often given today’s society. Neighbors helping neighbors is the way the country was built and remains in true ranchland.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Season’s change on horizon

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Spring is in the air.”

Nearly two weeks before official start, the robins are searching for worms. Already green sprigs show through yesteryear’s dry grass.

Always contending fall was the best time because one could catch up on undone chores, attitude seems to have altered. Hadn’t thought about season’s changes until Grandma Davis’ funeral decades ago, when the pastor commented spring was her favorite time.

She anticipated the new flowers, birds chirping and planting a garden. Yes, spring does bring anticipation of more calves, colts, and lush pastures.

Seemingly everybody has the feeling as stores have potted plants for sale. Business was so brisk at one location, demand fast exceeded availability. Almost no sooner had filled carts been wheeled in, they were empty with green thumbs eager to plant.

No thought given that this is still winter, and there could be many freezes in days ahead. Contention obviously is “Oh, we’ll just plant some more.” That’s good news meaning more business for the flower and vegetable starters.

Can’t help but remember one of the biggest snow storms in recent times was March 8, 1998. It was snowing when cow chores started 10 miles from headquarters. Done and headed back, intensity expanded as wind blew huge drifts until finally the truck would go no further.

Stranded in the blizzard before cell phones were ever heard about, fortunately there was a farm home in sight. Treacherous walking through the blustery downfall and near hip drifts, knock on the door brought a welcome inside.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Sun improves cowman’s outlook

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Don’t tell anybody, the sun’s shining.”

The Sunday morning comment brought promise and brightness to the past week of weather gloom.

“Those cows and calves need it bad.”

That’s a fact as well, considering all of the predicaments bovine mommas seem to get into during inclement conditions.

Nice days go by with no or few calves, then when cold, snowy, wind come so do cows’ birthing instincts.

Twin calves mean double the income to outsiders looking in, but in reality that’s more typically twice the problems.

Late afternoon, sharpest shrillest blizzard-like day of the week, proven-producing cow dropped baby twins. They were wet, shivering, nearly freezing.

While with maternal knowledge, the cow was still disoriented considering two instead of one. Mothering impulse did take hold as she started licking one calf so it became more aroused with life bellowing softly.

Nearby twin gets colder, closer to freezing by the minutes. Satisfied the baby being nurtured by momma will be fine, cow foreman loads cold mate into the pickup to assist warm up.

A 30-minute ride soon had that orphan showing spurts of life as well. Brought into the home mudroom the baby with rubbing, hair dryer and heaters perked up even more.

Big plastic nipple bottle with warm first milk replacer suited the little one’s fancy as he sucked it down.

Before bedtime, the little booger was healthy enough to go out to the heavily bedded barn stall.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Legs sure are important

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“She has good legs.”

Somehow it seemed an ornery mentor professor’s jive when congratulating him on engagement and upcoming marriage.

Thinking of the comment numerous times since, Dr. Norton, dairy team coach, was in most seriousness about his bride-to-be. Being just out of college, going rambunctious with a young family and pursuing dual careers, being able to get around well was no concern. It certainly was to a professor looking to retirement with pleasures and enjoyment intended.

Well, the comment of nearly a half century ago has hit home.

After one of the best years ever competing in local horseshows, everything seemed fine in early October. Then all of a sudden the Big Man upstairs showed his power, whatever it was: “Slow down.”

Never having much any pain in a lifetime, despite falling off way too many times, all of a sudden the left knee hurt.

“Oh, it’s just imagination.” Maybe so, but it still hurt, and seemed to be getting worse. “It’s just in the head, get the work done, quit complaining.” Never had been to a back cracker, but more than one suggested that was the problem, and he’d cure it with one whack.

That wasn’t the case. The good back doctor gladly accepted the insurance money with co-pay: “Can’t do anything to the back, it’s the knee.”

Okay, okay, maybe it isn’t just in the head.

One look, one pinch by the knee specialist diagnosis: “the knee’s caput.” Maybe a little shot of steroids like those 90-pound jockey use to keep weight off will help.

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