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Category Archives: Faith

A Cowboy’s Faith: Grasslands endure despite transition

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Method of transporting cattle has sure changed considerably in the past century.”

Railroad cattle cars arrived at Kansas cowtowns before daylight as Flint Hills cowboys were mounted on horseback ready to work.

Mixed colored, big, thin, long yearling steers from Texas rambled out of the train cars into the stockyards.

Real working cowboys on real working cow horses calmly moved the typically a bit renegade, often longhorns out the gate.

It was a 30-mile, sometimes longer, cattle drive through vast just turning green Flint Hills to their summer home.

Never has it been publicly recorded any cowboys got lost enroute or returning in the wide-open prairie without direction signs.

Oh, how times have changed. Today, semi loads of cattle, some from Texas but from many other places beyond, arrive at the big pastures.

A portable chute is there for ease of unloading cattle after their long ride. Often just one cowboy, sometimes even without a horse, carefully counts the summer grazers off the long double-decker truck.

Nowadays, the younger, shapelier, more muscular, lightweight cattle may just graze for a few months. Many will come off the pastures in July instead of October like it used to be.

A Cowboy’s Faith: More than opening gate

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It’s grass time; open the gate and turn them out.”

That’s the way it was for most farmers many years gone by. Today, there’s usually a lot more to preparing cattle for summer pasture than just unlatching the barnyard corral.

Some ranchers still do the work with horses and lariat ropes but majority of today’s cattlemen have working faculties. It’s not as true Western romantic but more efficient and likely less stress on both cattle and cowboys.

Most cow-calf operators have cattle identified by numbered ear tags, so the right calf must be with their own mama. While families generally stay together, that is not always the case. Youngsters sometimes wander to play around with other calves and must be sorted out from playmates for that motherly love.

Certain ranchers tag heifer calves in a certain ear, left or right, and male babies in the opposite. Likewise, depending on management philosophy, cows with heifer calves might be pastured separately from those with boys.

Every calf must have specific health treatments varying according to the operation. Generally, there are a couple of neck pokes vaccinations, one on each side of the neck, Insecticide treatment is often applied in some form whether pour-on, dust or a fly tag in the untagged ear.

The little boys have it tougher than their mates as they usually become steers by a cowboy’s surgery skills. Implants became a popular growth stimulant several years ago but are controversial today with some believers and other none users. Typically, heifer calves never received a pound-increasing incentive in their ears but that was not always the case either.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Forever changing weather uncontrollable

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“In the spring, I have counted 136 kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”

Mark Twain said it originally but the comment has been repeated in wide variations during recent weeks.

The temperature can be far above average almost like summer and within minutes near freezing or below. It is calm and still when starting to chore in the morning, then wind blasts seemingly 60 miles per hour when finished.

Those who have planted early spring gardens have been mad to say the least. Often when the sun shines, sky is blue, temperature is short-sleeve-shirt, gardeners till and plant. New sprouts peak through the soil, and then the weatherman says: “It’ll freeze tonight.”

Gardeners scamper to protect the vulnerable new plantings. Potted plants are taken inside as sheets, blankets, feed sacks, everything imaginable are used to cover rest of the garden.

Depending on how low the thermometer gets, some plants generally survive while majority are destroyed. With gardeners’ grunts and groans, there’s something about putting another new seed in the ground that gives felling of optimism.

Of course, this time of year, every farmer has the itch to get in the field. While modern corn varieties are colder weather resistant, chance of freezing still exists. Dry conditions and low night temperatures have kept corn plantings below average.

Zion youth provide early breakfast for Easter sunrise service at Vassar

Members of the Zion Lutheran youth, at Vassar, Kan., served an Easter breakfast Sunday, April 17, 2022, following the church’s sunrise service. Members of the congregation helped the youth in supplying items that were served.

All freewill donations given to the youth will go towards funding the senior youth’s trip to the National Youth Convention, in Houston, Texas, in July. The youth appreciates all the congregation’s and community’s support during their fundraising endeavors.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Opened mail most suspicious

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Uncle Sam’s horses have evidently been lamed a lot recently, and now their riders can’t read too well either.”

Likewise, it’s a wonder tax refunds ever arrive, but interestingly there’s never an issue with past due notices.

A large brown envelope with correct address and canceled postage slip was mailed from Stilwell, Kan., March 11. It arrived at the ranch 25 days later on April 5.

That’s poor service in everybody’s book. Used to be mail from all the way across the country would arrive at the ranch in a couple days. It’s been sometime since that was the case.

A century ago, blame was sometimes placed on the horses, nowadays there’s every other excuse imaginable. Late mail is a common story repeated whatever barbershop, grocery store line, or elevator one stops at.

This time was even much more disturbing. The envelope had already been opened and two short pieces of loose Scotch tape did not seal it back shut. That’s mail tampering, deception or some unlawful action, isn’t it?

Inside the envelope was a collectible country music song book from a friend and a Xeroxed Internal Revenue Service note. No, it wasn’t a past due tax notice and definitely not a tax refund.

Rather the three-inch-by-eight-inch paper was inscribed “Misdirected Mail Opened by the IRS.” To have a preprinted piece like that, evidently, they open lots of mail that’s not theirs.

That would make many people’s blood boil with remaining commentary on the paper likely heating certain tempers even hotter.

It said: “The enclosed correspondence was misdirected to us by the Post Office.” That’s just not logical in any sense of the definition, because the address was legibly correct.

The return address was also very readable. So, if for some reason the big envelope had been undeliverable, it should have been returned to the sender, right?

Excuse given on the IRS note: “The large volume of mail we receive daily is first opened by machine. Therefore, your ‘enclosed’ envelope was opened before we discovered that it was not addressed to the Internal Revenue Service.” The note was inside the original envelope not attached outside.

Suspicion is increasing about both the United States Postal Service and the Internal Revenue Service.

Reminded of Acts 14:2: “They sowed mistrust and suspicion in the minds of the people.”


Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

 

 

 


A Cowboy’s Faith: Flat tire assistance appreciated

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Fortunately, the tire was only flat on the bottom side.”

A common intended joke said by others when a person has a flat tire, most upsetting when an urgent situation.

Never is a flat tire a joking matter, but nothing to do except figure out how to get it changed.

With major construction on ranch frontage, the main highway was closed last month. Repairs are so complex the thoroughfare won’t be opened to regular traffic until this fall.

What was a 16-minute trip for weekend church now requires 45 minutes, or much longer depending on the detour taken. Of course, the short route is automatically the one to use for most efficiency. So, despite knowing better, the sharp gravel road was selected.

First time there and back was without ordeal other than slow and hazardous with oncoming traffic in the narrow roadway.

Second time wasn’t so fortunate when returning home dash light indicated “low tire.” Hardly sooner than blinked, the right front tire was completely flat, no air whatsoever, almost impossible to guide.

Sought for assistance, the ranch manager was far away but promised to see about finding another helper. Grudgingly the trunk was opened to attempt undertaking the task at hand.

It could have been worse, but not too much. The car has 260,000 miles on it, and the spare had never been used. Only those who’ve figured out how to put such a jack-and-wrench apparatus into use understand how complicated that can be. It’s completely impossible to describe.

When temper was nearest exploding, a pickup truck stopped: “Need some assistance? Here I can help you.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: ‘New’ sleigh still horseless

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That skiff of snow wasn’t enough to bring the ‘new’ sleigh out of the barn.”

Uncertain if there’d even been sufficient white stuff whether Maggie would have been hooked. Still oh what fun it will be when that time comes.

Several friends had been on the lookout for a sleigh and finally one was located in South Carolina. After describing the antique sleigh, relating the cost and opportunities for delivery to Kansas, approval was given for purchase.

First off, one-horse open sleighs like pictured on record covers for the Christmas song are “hot commodities.” While supply is somewhat limited, they are actually available all across the country.

Quality is widely varied, but everyone has a very high cost. The one to be purchased was at the lowest end of other printed asking prices.

When picking up the “new” sleigh, first sight was rather disappointing compared to what had been envisioned. There was little resemblance of other advertised sleighs, one like Santa Claus has and some displayed during Christmas holidays.

Still, the antique sleigh was in good shape considering how old it could possibly be. Everything is timeworn but ready to use including the shafts which alone sometimes are expensive. Scratched and frayed, paint is original; important to collectors.

“You don’t have to take it, and then I’ll just keep it myself,” said the friend who’d acquired the sleigh.

Without much contemplation, check was written, sleigh loaded in the 12-foot horse-stock trailer, brought to the ranch, and into storage.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Home deliveries nothing new

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Call ‘Four One Oh’ for free delivery twice daily.”

Advertised heavily, seemingly proudly promoted, was that service of Buchman’s Grocery, long gone family business in Council Grove.

Now many years later, grocery stores and other businesses are offering home deliveries. It is as if the service is new and completely unique, but that’s definitely not true.

However, not having checked out delivery service highly publicized by numerous companies, most likely it is far from “free.”

More than 60 years ago, there were nine grocery stores in the hometown, and only one promoted delivery services. However, there were a couple others who likely did deliver groceries to shut-ins and like, whether charging or not unknown.

Of course, that was a much different time as far as what it cost to offer any kind of services. New cars were about $2,700. Gasoline was a quarter a gallon or less. Employees worked for a dollar an hour. Of interest perhaps, stamps were six cents, and grocery store milk was a dollar a gallon.

Morning grocery deliveries were at 10:30, and must be completed before customer’s dinnertime. Afternoon deliveries started at 5 o’clock.

Sometimes three deliveries would be made on Saturday, since the store was closed Sunday. Before holidays, especially weekends when the store would be closed two days, generally four deliveries were made the prior day.

A Cowboy’s Faith: New books bring reflections

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Reading is the best way to be informed about the past, present and future while also having a fun time.”

Always enjoying reading since learning how more than 65 years ago; newspapers have generally been read the most. However, books have also been a prominent source of reading through the decades taking spurts of frequency.

That fact has come to mind in recent weeks when two unsolicited books arrived in the mailbox free of charge.

The first one had many pretty pictures, a children’s book of sort. Quick fun reading, it required only five minutes or so of time cover to cover.

The second book, also a paperback, had a price tag of $17.95 on the back cover. It was certainly more intimidating to start reading.

Opening the front page to the small type and long paragraphs made it look uninteresting. Then leafing to the end of 182 pages likelihood of reading the book seemed even more unlikely.

Yet, relaxing in the leather rocking chair recliner, instinct was to pick the book up from the nearby wooden chair. Then all of a sudden there came an urge to see how boring the book really had to be.

Interestingly, reading began and the book was so intriguing true-to-life, no cover-up or pulling punches, it was impossible to put down. Upon completion in maybe four hours more less, the book’s somewhat complex yet somehow quite appealing writing created serious ponder.

The author had faced so many different life situations not unlike many others and reacted to them head on. Desiring to know more about the writer, an email to the book publisher provided contact information.

A Cowboy’s Faith: ‘Beautiful’ snow is work

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Who said they sure would like to have some snow?”

That’s the same one who insisted, “It sure is a pretty snow.”

But definitely not the ranch manager who had to count every cow in six different pastures. Then make sure everyone that had already calved was with their young’un tagging behind.

Nor was there any excitement assisting that second-calf heifer having trouble birthing down in the draw. She found what seemed like a good place, unaware that the snow was going to drift in right there.

Anyway, those praying for moisture got their answer in partiality, whether enough to get the brome growing. Importance of tame grass fertilization has been previously elaborated. But with all of the “bucks out of the hip pocket” stagnant in uphill gumbo, some green should follow melting.

None of those hardships were experienced during youthful years when scooping snow from sidewalks was main concern. Whenever snow came, all of it had to be cleared off in front of the grocery store before school. Looking back, that really wasn’t as big a job as it seemed six decades ago.

Actually, Main Street frontage was only about 50-feet more-less wide and maybe 15-feet deep. If there was just a skiff of white stuff a heavy broom with strong strokes made the task a whiz.

Still when accumulation was several inches up to a half-foot or more, work with the grain shovel was dreaded. Fortunately, Dad had a long handled snow-shovel-of-sort so he’d help when the kid acted too tired.

Help House is the winner in annual Souper Bowl competition

The Souper Bowl Soup-A-Thon was once again a success. A total of 622 items, cans of soup and boxes of crackers, plus $50 cash were donated to the Help House Pantry. First place “winner” was Overbrook United Methodist with 268 items, second place went to Lyndon First Baptist Church with 188 items, and Michigan Valley United Methodist Church collected 104 items. Other contributors were St. Patrick’s churches at Scranton and Osage City. We want to thank everyone who helped to restock the soup shelves. This is a fun competition to share with those who are hungry.

The United Way of the Flint Hills has announced they have awarded a grant to Help House for $14,500 for 2022. These funds are used to buy food and other necessities for the pantry. The Help House monthly food budget is $2,195.83. The difference is made up from donations from supporting churches and individuals.

We would like to thank Home Town Market, in Carbondale, for continuing to support Help House by allowing customers to make a donation at checkout. The customer just asks to have their bill rounded up to the next dollar or add on any amount of their choosing. Then Home Town Market sends those donations on to Help House quarterly. They have been taking part in this way for a couple of years now. What an easy way to help feed someone who might not have much to put on their plate or feed their family.

ECAT: ‘Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.’

In 2021, Ecumenical Christian Action Team served 605 households and 1,496 individuals. ECAT acquired 6,238 pounds of food from Harvesters for a total value of $11,166 ($1.79 per pound).

ECAT is one of seven Harvesters partners in Osage County. The support from the community, school, organizations, and churches, along with a partnership with Harvesters, has allowed ECAT to be able to continue serving the community during these difficult times.

ECAT is at 306 S. Martin St., Osage City, Kan., or mail to PO Box 18, Osage City, KS 66523.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Babies must have milk

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The kitchen has been turned into a calf milk factory.”

At least that’s the way it seems in recent days as calf nursing bottles are being filled with milk replacer.

Sometimes as many as a handful of babies have been in the barn during the past week cold and hungry.

A couple calves are a twin that their momma only accepted the mate. Others their moms wouldn’t claim or the cow wasn’t supplying any or enough milk to keep their baby going.

So the hot water faucet and handled pan on the stove keep warm water supplied for mixing powdered milk. There are several two-quart plastic bottles with big nipples almost constantly circulating from the kitchen to the barn.

Of course if the newborns haven’t received a bit of first nutrition from their ignoring momma cows there’s “colostrum ration.” Never an “A” animal nutrition student, hands-on experience has taught importance of first-milk colostrum for newborns. When babies – calves or colts or pigs – don’t get that, they generally won’t survive or have a very difficult time.

Initially, those bitty babies don’t understand what that big nipple trying to be stuffed into their mouth is all about. Generally one time taste of that warm soothing nutritious liquid makes them want more. Yet, there are a few that require “bottle training,” but they soon learn it’s better than being hungry.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Mary didn’t ride donkey

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“At first obnoxious, the ‘Eeyore’ now heard frequently from the ranch corral is becoming somewhat the norm.”

Still Cody the palomino barrel horse in the neighboring pen isn’t so sure he likes the donkey next door. Often, he’ll still lay his ears back and charge toward the long-eared rough-haired crest-necked equine-of-sorts nearby.

Actually, when the roper brought what some might call a burro into the ranch yard, Cody had a fit conniption.

The strange sounding, a bit weird looking, sure enough quite long-eared visitor is becoming acquainted with the roper daughter’s mare. They’re corral mates now with intentions to move together to a summer pasture lot for convenience of care.

While owning a donkey or two through the years, they typically haven’t been around long. The one rode quite well and sold at a profit. What his owner called a “Mammoth Jack” (big male donkey) trained readily and supposedly became a fine riding mount. Ranch manager has goats too and keeps what’s defined as a miniature donkey around to keep predators away.

More common around the ranch has been mules with a wide array of successes and disarrays through decades. One pretty mule was doing well before coming down with mortal sickness.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Thank goodness for barns

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The barn is the most important building on any ranch.”

It’s a fact that is always known but not fully appreciated until winter sets in.

Serving multipurpose depending who the rancher is, barns are frequently taken for granted until needed. Then they literally become life savers as shelter from windy blistery conditions for new born calves.

In and out of the barn has been the pattern in recent days. First calf heifers are brought in for birthing or with their newly born for a warming up start.

As soon as mommy and baby pair up and become in love with each other they are turned back outside.

Now restored completely, old barn headquarters has served many functions since being built a century ago. Specifically used for horse stalls nowadays.

That is until horses must be shoved away to make room for first calf heifer pairs. They move in for a short time and within a couple days go out as another twosome comes in.

When moving to the ranch 50 years ago, the historic main barn structure already had west and south side lean-tos. West end was used mostly for equipment storage, but also some livestock, which eased loading them out.

Help House celebrates 18 years of service

By Raylene Quaney

Our story: In July 2003, a vision came together with the opening of the Help House of Osage County, Kan. This effort by the Churches of Osage County United Inc. has now been serving the county for more than 18 years!

Giving of food and clothing for that long has taken a lot of donations, too. From the bottom of our heart, we thank all of the sponsors and donors over the years to make this ministry the success that it is today.

As we look to the future, Help House will continue to be a place where families can find hope.

Matthew 25:35-40 is our guiding principle.

Remembering 2021

During the calendar year of 2021, Help House served a total of 379 unduplicated households, which included 1,053 unduplicated individuals. Household served by zip code were: 66413, 31; 66414, 46; 66451, 48; 66510, 22; 66511, 1; 66523, 128; 66524, 23; 66528, 47; 66537, 15; 66543, 8; 66856, 2; other, 4.

Visit the Help House website

The Help House website is the place to go to find all kinds of information, such as alerts, services, where to find help, make a donation online, where to call if you need a ride, mobile food pantry schedules, place an online order for the food pantry for current clients, numerous other Osage County resources, and all of our contact information. Check it all out at www.helphouse.online. Currently we are collecting soup and crackers for the pantry.

Volunteer

If you have been thinking of becoming a volunteer at Help House, we can always use you. Right now we have openings in the schedule on Friday’s especially. If you have one day a week or one day a month stop by and fill out a Volunteer application.

Help House hours

  • 4-7 p.m. Monday
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
  • Closed Saturday and Sunday

Stop by

Appointments for shopping are no longer necessary. Help House is first come, first serve. No appointment needed to donate items – come to the south garage door anytime we are open. Stop by at 131 W. 15th St., Lyndon, Kan. For more information, see www.helphouse.online, call 785-828-4888, or email [email protected].

A Cowboy’s Faith: Youth group sets foundation

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“I believe in the future of farming with a faith born not of words but of deeds. Achievements won by past and present generations of farmers in the promise of better days through better ways. I believe that to live and work on a good farm is pleasant as well as challenging. I know the joys and discomforts of farm life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny.”

Likely, that’s not the exact wording. Still, it’s been 57 years since memorizing the FFA Creed as requirement for FFA membership as a high school freshman. The words just rolled out right or wrong when it was reported that National FFA Week is Feb. 19-26, 2022. Celebrations are planned throughout the country.

Since earlier days, Creed phrasing has changed with agriculture replacing the word farming and other modern terminology incorporated. Actually name of the organization has also been altered. Originally, FFA meant Future Farmers of America. For some reason it was decided at a national convention conducted then in Kansas City to be called just “FFA.”

Uncertain if “FFA” really means anything to vast majority of the population. However, it is still a group for youth interested in agriculture. Officially, the National FFA Organization is “specifically a career and technical student organization. It’s based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education.”

Students enrolled in vocational agriculture classes are members. Thankfully, one thing that hasn’t changed since beginning in 1928 is the organization’s blue corduroy jackets embroidered in gold lettering. Two such jackets hang in the closet more than five decades since membership eligibility ended.

A Cowboy’s Faith:Chemicals essential grass investment

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Tame grass pastures will not produce tonnage without nutritional supplementation.”

Most farmers-ranchers have tried to “save money” by not fertilizing their brome pastures and hay ground. That without exception has resulted in very little tame grass growth, proving more costly than fertilizer investment.

Yes, fertilizer expenses are at record levels, known from experience with “high wheels” spreading plant nutrition over several hundred acres.

Steep statement in the mail makes every rancher cringe and shake their head in disbelief. Yet proven time and again fertilizer is an essential investment in order to have respectable brome production.

Of course, other factors contribute to sufficient tame grass growth. Time of fertilizer application does make a difference, generally earlier the better, maybe not too early.

Likewise temperatures are an influencing factor in brome yield, seeming cool rather than too hot too soon. Like with all crops, most important even more so than fertilizer is rainfall. There must be moisture for plants to grow, but the time and amounts when it is received definitely influence yield. Mother Nature is in charge of those thermometer readings and rain gauge amounts.

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