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A Cowboy’s Faith: Cold increases ranch issues

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Everything gets tested when temperatures stay below freezing for more than a week.”

Most all in production agriculture and many urbanites as well have found that to become hauntingly true in recent days.

It was only about the third day of the below freezing tantrum when one of three feed trucks started smoking.

The big bale hauling, unrolling contraption had been giving serious problems and was being taken to the mechanic for repairs. Due to those hydraulic mechanism issues that truck had not been used feeding the cows for several days.

Despite near zero temperatures, the pickup started with only a couple of cranks. Warmed up and given visual engine inspection, that old truck seemed to be running smoothly as possible at such maturity.

Headed to the fixit shop at highway speed, all of a sudden smoke started rolling from under the hood. Ranch manager pulled the smoking machine onto a side road, turned it off and started inspection. Cool down took some time, but it was decided that the new antifreeze hadn’t been mixed stringently.

Nothing appeared damaged so two gallons of straight antifreeze were added to the radiator and again given warmup time. Believe it or not, the red bent up pickup made it to the mechanic’s shop without further issues.

Seemingly living right for a while, the next morning all went awry again with a much more serious problem. There wasn’t any water when the faucet was turned on to make coffee. Without home water is bad, but real concern was the 50 head of first calf heifers in the barnyard corral.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Calves appetizing for coyotes

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Six coyotes no more than 30 feet away surrounded the cow with her two-day-old calf at side.”

Fortunately, the varmints didn’t come any closer to the potential breakfast as the ranch manager made his morning herd inspection. There was no loss to the cattle operation this time. However, had the calf just been born to a less-protective two-year-old heifer, the story could have been different.

While coyotes can be a serious problem for cow-calf operators, they are just looking for their own nourishment. Nature’s system of livelihood is designed for wild animals to prey on other species. When coyote populations become too large in certain locales, it does sometimes become necessary for ranchers to become involved. There are occasionally situations when ranchers hire hunters to help keep coyote numbers down to prevent calf losses.

A half century ago, the county paid bounties for killing coyotes. Each pair of coyote ears brought into the courthouse was worth $2. As now, there were a number of hunters who kept dogs strictly for the purpose of catching and killing coyotes. Childhood memories are of going with Uncle Don hunting coyotes in his little short bed Jeep with six staghounds.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Employment makes good life

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“I have too much to do, so the customer will have to wait.”

That comment was heard twice last week sending cringes up the back both times.

Many people so wish they had a job of any kind, yet others complain because there’s too much to do.

It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. When one is hired for a job, then do it and be appreciative for being employed.

Admittedly sometimes the work load seems like there is no end in sight. Experience proves one must continue working and the task will eventually be completed.

Certain folks have never had a high work ethic – honestly being just plain “lazy.” Coronavirus issues accompanied by incomprehensible government stimulus payments have made the situation much worse.

Uncertain the statistics but several times it’s been heard that people make more on unemployment than working a regular job. It makes sense to take whatever the government wants to give.

Advertisements on an expanding basis promote so many things are “free.” Daily several times the telephone rings with an offer “no interest,” “no payments,” “everything’s free.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Muddy waterholes become ponds

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Now all we need is a nice steady four-inch rain.”

Rainfall in that amount, even when coming down so there’s soil utilization and runoff, still makes muddy conditions. With moisture shortage in many locales most in agriculture would welcome the water to help replenishment.

Undoubtedly there’ll be some complaining about such rainfall this time of the year. When it’s muddy, native pastures are readily eroded by cattle feeding equipment. Likewise, pastures with waterholes in lowlands make it difficult for cows to birth new babies. Still many ranchers and of course farmers are hoping for rain regardless of problems that come with it.

A number of farmers around the Midwest have had mud and slime cleaned out of nearly dry ponds. No better time to clean ponds than when they’re about dry and then pray for refilling rains come spring. Rainfall is just as important in order to have ample grass to graze.

Heifers to start calving in a few days were moved out of two pastures where the ponds were nearly dry. Shorelines were completely black slime that would readily bog down a cow and her calf trying to get a drink.

Trenches were cut in the old pond dams and what little water remaining was drained out to the draws below. Long armed heavy bucket equipment scooped the thick gooey black mud out down to bedrock.

A bulldozer reshaped the dams higher, longer and stronger than before. Excavating continued to smooth out the big holes so there should be two usable stock water ponds after spring rains.

Who’s the champ? It’s time to compete in the Souper-Bowl

The fifth annual Help House Souper-Bowl-Soup-A-Thon is underway. All churches, scout troops, school organizations, civic groups, and 4-H clubs are encouraged to join in the fun. Divide your group into teams and vote for your favorite team by donating the most soup and or boxes of crackers to be donated to the food pantry at Help House. Bring in your donations the week of Feb. 14, 2021, the week following the big game, to be in the running for big rewards and bragging rights. The winners last year were Overbrook United Methodist Church, winning the Golden Ladle Award, Carbondale Community Church of Christ, winning the Silver Ladle Award, and Lyndon United Methodist Church, winning the Bronze Ladle Award. A total of 1,354 cans of soup and 25 boxes of crackers were donated. We hope to increase the number of groups participating this year. Look for collection boxes in your local churches.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Fence construction never ending

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Fence will not last forever regardless of how well it’s built.”

Not much thought was given to the remark from a Greenwood County Angus breeder four decades ago.

“It’s a major cost, but every fence must be replaced at some time. A rancher can’t just keep cobbling up old fence and expect it to keep cattle in year around,” he added.

Ample spring rains and warm sunshine had native grassland growing lush. Those black cows with babies were pushing on the fence to get a nibble. Official turnout time still weeks away, the rancher couldn’t justify opening the gate too early.

With all kinds of spring ranch work to be done, considerable time was spent repairing the weak fence. Decision was made then and there as soon as those cows went to grass, a new fence would be built.

A costly and timely ordeal whether built personally or with hired labor. Few ranchers enjoy building fence, but hiring labor is often difficult too. No shortage of contractors promoting fence building service but there’s a world of difference how a fence is constructed.

All has hit home in the past couple of years. Fences that were new or nearly so when pastureland was bought many years ago have worn out.

Some of the fence wasn’t that great the day completed. Yet, there are many other reasons fences don’t last forever.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Average can be best

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The law of averages will balance it all out.”

Reminder of that fact has recently been imprinted several times. Many insist “average” is not good enough, declaring being the “best” is what matters the most.

In reality it is impossible to be a winner every time. Records verify all-time champions often had top scores, yet sometimes were also losers.

What made the point hit home was a recent jackpot barrel race with several outstanding riders competing. Among 10 adults entered were no less than four cowgirls of national-winning caliber mounted on proven superstars.

It was a two-round competition with fastest time total in two runs the victor. Those cowgirls were outstanding, readily scoring best times in their first runs. The sleek race horses with fit young riders were impressive in tight turns and speeding down the straight away.

The archaic wannabe on his big, old, home-raised, ranch-bred palomino gelding was about two seconds off their fastest time. With little hopes of taking home the trophy on the announcer’s stand, ringside he watched the cowgirls’ second runs.

Third fastest first-round cowgirl was going lickety-split and knocked the second barrel down. Second fastest in the first out reset her mount inside the gate, becoming an uncontrollable runaway to the first barrel.

Next up was the first-go fastest time in perfect position around two barrels then sure enough crashed that last drum.

Adrenalin flowing, with horse prancing through the gate, they were off running perfect pattern as possible with that rider. A second faster than their first-round, it tallied to be the overall prize winner. Average counted most in the end.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Faith balances all luck

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Good luck, bad luck, no luck at all are purely superstitions.”

People have wide variation in opinion about “luck” which gets blamed and credited for many things.

However, generally outcome really has nothing to do with “luck” but rather what one has done to determine end results.

Nevertheless one can say without reserve that luck of the draw does play a role in certain competitions.

Particularly in the sport of rodeo – which bronc, bull, and timed event cattle is drawn does make a difference.

Some broncs and bulls always buck more impressive than others so the cowboy making the whistle gets a higher score. Without question whichever critter is drawn by cowboys in timed events has impact on their success. Specific cattle run fast, others slow, some straight, certain ones sashay. Then there are widely varied maneuvers cattle take when caught by the cowboy’s rope or launched on with bulldogger’s hands.

Certain calves are easy to throw, readily tied, never kick and cowboys are eager to compete on them. Various bulldogging steers know their routine so well they’ll nearly throw themselves upon feel of a cowboy’s hands. Completely opposite, other calves fight and kick, almost impossible to tie, while rubber-necked steers resist dropping to their sides. Cowboys despise them in the draw.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Influencing what is controllable

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Don’t worry about things that you have no control over.”

As his sons were loading old hay out of the big barn loft, a most devout longtime farmer friend visited.

The conversation rambled nonstop with considerable wise evaluations about life’s twists and turns based on faith, family and experience.

Everyone has certain power to influence most of what does occur. Many times full outcome is not which desired, envisioned or wanted. Yet, personal input heavily impacts end result.

Still, there are certain realities one must face with no alternative whatsoever. Everybody is physically born and everybody bodily dies. Not a thing period that can be done about that.

Overthinking about the hereafter can cause nightmares, cringing, chills, and even waking from sound sleep bright-eyed, shaking all over. That doesn’t do any good. Life is what it is and always has been.

However, a person largely determines what happens from the beginning to end and henceforth.

Yes, there are uncontrollable circumstances that will occur, completely incomprehensible issues come up, which must be handled.

Often these are very sad, heartbreaking, yet a fact of life. They were unpredictable, shouldn’t and couldn’t have been worried about and must not be over deliberated about afterwards. Other than becoming more accepting, wiser, and appreciative of what there is, God’s will be done.

Modern day issues have existed since the beginning of time, but people just didn’t realize exactly what they were. Depression has caused stressful times for all mankind at some time or another. There just wasn’t a term used to describe it.

However, the mental dilemma has come to forefront more so in recent times. Confinement has prevented many the opportunities to get out, away and free the mind.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Christmas important birthday party

“Remember the reason for the season.”

The comment has often been repeated, but in reality who has given much thought to what it means?

Christmas is supposed to be a birthday party celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, savior of the human race. That is readily forgotten by way too many, and more concerning not even known by perhaps the majority.

Oh, there are plenty of parties this time of year for enjoyment, relaxation, often excess carousing. Gifts are given and received creating appreciation, twinkling eyes especially of the little ones and usually everyone attending.

Yet, at how many of those fun times is there ever consideration of why the family and friends are together. How many said a prayer before a meal, or during the affair? Were there any Christmas carols sang about reason for the season?

Of course, there are discussions involving Santa Claus. They’re really unimportant unless knowing about Saint Nicolas, who the fairytale character is fashioned after.

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Decorations in the community and homes are bright giving all feeling of joy, but little about the real birthday party.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Trustworthy steed determines champion

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It’s the horse that makes the difference between winning and losing.”

After watching all of the recently concluded National Finals Rodeo (NFR) on television, one observer made that conclusion.

Whether it’s a completely correct analysis, there’s certainly some truth to the comment.

Today’s cowboys and cowgirls are athletes, highly educated, trained, physically and mentally fit. All of the NFR contestants were capable of being a champion.

Yet often their horse or draw of livestock was the determining factor. The horses, calves, steers or bulls were a major component in whether they won, lost or even placed.

Okay, majority of those watching the richest rodeo in the world paid most attention to the few seconds of each individual contestant. A select few, true stockmen at heart, were more interested in how the livestock performed.

Certain spectators are especially critical of including girl’s barrel racing in discussions about rodeo, sometimes just considered a cowboy attraction. However, a perfect example of horse ability is most readily apparent in barrel racing.

In several go-rounds of NFR barrel racing, many of the contestants knocked over a barrel. How could that be with the best horses and riders in the world?

A Cowboy’s Faith: Water essential for life

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Water is vital for all known forms of life, even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients.”

Man and animal can survive for long periods without any additional food source but must have water. Many don’t realize that and it’s even easily forgotten by most people until they are without water.

With certain areas having low rainfall during the past months, they are suffering from drought. All of a sudden having water supply is just about the most important thing on their minds.

A brief review about water seems appropriate. Water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, mostly seas and oceans with smaller amounts in groundwater, glaciers, vapor and clouds.

The world economy depends on water with 70 percent of freshwater used by humans going to agriculture. Fish from water are a major food source in much of the world.

Many commodities are shipped by water. Entertainment in many forms like boating and swimming depend on water.

Now, agriculturalists in several locales are short of groundwater for crop growth and regrowth. Yet, of more urgency for some, there is little or no water for livestock. Some households are deprived water for home use.

Wet weather springs have been dry for some time. Waterholes became mud holes have become dry dirt. Creeks are dry, pond’s dry, well’s dry; lake’s lowest in some time. What is an agriculturalist to do?

A Cowboy’s Faith: Horses have patience with youngsters

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Horses must be the smartest, most understanding, forgiving and patient creatures alive today.”

What an obvious conclusion seeing how no less than three dozen horses were being ridden by children age 10 and under.

It was a Saturday morning barrel race nearly an hour before starting time and horseback riders dotted the show grounds everywhere.

Heavy coats, hoods, gloves and red checks, the young riders on their mounts were trotting around in groups of a half dozen more less. Hooping, hollering, grinning from ear to ear, some even unconsciously spurring and flopping their reins, inclement weather was no concern.

Unaware the scary feeling when a horse runs off or shies from a blowing paper cup, these riders were nonchalant. Somehow, someway, instinctive nurturing, whatever it is, the horses never gave their riders any reason to worry.

Perhaps just as difficult to understand, dads and moms of the cowboys and cowgirls were paying no attention to their children. Most had not a clue where the obviously competent riders and dependable horses were or what they were doing. Other than knowing they were having a good time riding their horses with friends.

There was obvious mutual trust of the horses among the tykes, their family and most everyone around.

Now don’t be misled, these horses were not old fragile lazy worn out retirees. Although several ponies were among the mounts, they weren’t little shaggy scrawny deadheads or cold jawed independent aggravations either.

North Osage 4-H Club helps stock local food bank for holiday season

Help House would like to thank the North Osage County 4-H Club for their donation of more than 250 items for the food pantry. Delivering the donations for the club were from left, Chloe Cannon, Kinsley Garrison, Help House Director Scott Perkins, and Gage Cannon. Courtesy photo.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Thankfulness in troubled times

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Oh, how can things get any worse?”

The comment has been heard frequently over the past several months.

Yet common opinion seems to be that many considered problems have continued to deteriorate from day to day.

It is true according to folks who closely study history; today’s worldwide dilemmas are the most serious of all time. However that is opinionated evaluation of sorts.

Those who have lost family members during wars or due to incurable disease thought nothing could be more terrible.

Ones with physical body incapacities or loss of comprehension and memory just know there can’t be anything else so bad.

Couples unable to have children, losing a baby during birthing, or death of a child in growing years feel defeated.

Persons going through the 1929 market crash, Great Depression, Dust Bowl wondered how anything could be so merciless.

Agriculturalists stricken by the 1980s high interest, low prices, bankruptcies, loss of generational farms still can’t comprehend that difficult time.

Each era, there has been the question: “How can life get any worse?”

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