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Category Archives: Faith

A Cowboy’s Faith: Tame grass for feed

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The brome is smoking which means it’s time for harvest.”

There’s a foggy haze moving across an increasing number of brome grass fields throughout Kansas. That’s nature’s alert that the tame grass has headed, is ripe, and should be harvested the sooner the better.

Time will tell, but it looks like this year’s brome crop will have an abundant yield.

Contrasting native Flint Hills pastures, brome grass requires considerably more management with weather always being a major factor in production.

According to college agronomist definition, “Brome grass is a common forage grass grown in North America. It may be used for hay, pasture, silage, or stockpiling. It is compatible with alfalfa or other adapted legumes.

“Brome grass is very palatable, high in protein, and relatively low in crude-fiber content. It has a massive root system and is a sod former, which can be used effectively for critical area planting and waterways.”

Not always the best student in crop science, knowledge about brome grass has generally come by learning from doing.

Nitrogen fertilizer is essential for brome grass production. Experience proves there is always poor yield without fertilizer. Soil testing increases fertilizer effectiveness when recommendations are followed.

Date of fertilizer application affects production, with some producers preferring fall treatment. However, more farmers fertilize brome in the spring, delaying expenses as long as possible.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Rotation increases grazing capacity

“Rain has made ample grass for the time being.”

However, that’s not all optimistic, according to a number of outlooks for months ahead as presented by several weather forecasters. Of course, it’s common knowledge weathermen and women are wrong as often as right. So, anybody’s guess is as good as the next about what the conditions will be for the next 12 weeks.

A frequent topic of conversation for the past couple of years has been pasture rotation. The idea is to stretch out grazing capacity when there are short supplies.

Rotation is a relatively new term that wasn’t related much, if any, that’s memorable from the four-hour range management class. Of course, that was more than half a century ago and likely the still teenage college student wasn’t all that attentive. However, looking back through the old, yellow report cards in the stuffed filing cabinet verifies a top passing grade.

There are different philosophies on rotational grazing and what works well for one doesn’t fit another. Weather conditions continue to always have a major impact on what needs to be done.

If it continues raining and the temperature isn’t too high, grass will generally grow. Livestock won’t need to be rotated as frequently when the pasture is not grubbed in the ground.

Fencing and water supplies are major ingredients for rotational grazing and again what fits one operation doesn’t work for others.

Barbed wire fence with gates from one pasture to another is easiest to use, but typically does not work well. Usually, a rotation program involves small pastures with clean water, so a hot electric wire fence is typically the best.

There are plenty of problems with electric fences which require consistent power. If cattle get out one time, it can become a habit that sometimes seems uncontrollable.

Zion Lutheran Church invites community families to upcoming vacation Bible school

Zion Lutheran Church, in Vassar, Kan., has announced an upcoming vacation Bible school, to be held the week of June 17-21, with school each day 9-11:30 a.m. This year’s theme, “Take a Walk on the Wild Side with Wild Life VBS,” promises a week filled with fun, learning, and spiritual growth for children ages pre-K and 12.

Daily, kids will engage in interactive Bible stories, creative crafts, uplifting music, and exciting games designed to deepen their understanding of God’s love and teachings. The church’s dedicated team of volunteers is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment, where children can explore their faith and build lasting friendships.

Zion Lutheran Church is welcoming all community families to join in the vacation Bible school. Registration is open, and attendees are encouraged to sign up soon as spaces are limited. For more information or to register, see, call 785-828-4482, or email

Everyone is invited to be a part of the joyful journey and embark on a week of discovery and inspiration at Zion Lutheran Church, 23167 Topeka St., Vassar.

A Cowboy’s Faith: More training than miracles

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Surely all of the highly trained horses used in Western movies aren’t fed those very expensive drugs and supplements.”

No offense to the owners-management of large veterinary suppliers from which major ranch purchases are made. They are very professional, congenial, helpful, and cooperative in every regard.

However, it is interesting that their fancy four-color slick equine supplies catalogs have so many pages of horse “drugs.” The word “drug” is used loosely because the pages are all dedicated to supposedly health-improving equine medications of sort.

Remainder of the catalog offers every kind imaginable of additives, enrichments, just name it, products “to make horses better.”

Again, “better” is said cautiously, because the “costly stuff” causes customers to generalize healthier, fitter horses with these “miracle products.”

The catalogs also feature extensive equipment indicating to prospective buyers that it’ll readily enhance their horse performance, whoever the handler.

Seemingly many viewers take for granted the high caliber of acting ability that horses used in many movies must have.

The horses are trained to fall, lay down, act lame, play dead, buck, rear, and much more, all on command. Their trainers are very knowledgeable with an extreme horse sense.

Admittedly, movie stars riding the horses in general are poor horsemen. Yet, not many fell off, and that must often be credited to the horses taking care of their riders.

Today’s most elite “horse whisperers” and bigtime showring champion trainers are excellent. But what rope horses, cutting horses, reining horses, jumping horses do is incomparable to that of movie stunt horses.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cowboy Code Of Conduct, The Lone Ranger

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Today, the West continues to celebrate the “cowboy spirit” of adventure and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Some of the politest and most modest individuals have made their living horseback or in the livestock business. Their principled behavior became codes of conduct that many of America’s cowboy heroes of the past promoted and illustrated for viewers back in the early days of Western movies.

Fourth in a four-part series, the inspirational philosophies of movie cowboys, unknown to many today, are being shared.

The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cowboy Code Of Conduct, Hopalong Cassidy

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Some words on behavior from four silver screen icons from long ago may be more relevant and needed now than ever before.

Today, the West continues to celebrate the “cowboy spirit” of adventure and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Still, nine times out of 10, the word “cowboy” is used as a negative or a derogatory term describing improper or distasteful behavior.

However, the principled demeanor became codes of conduct that America’s cowboy heroes promoted for viewers in early days of Western movies.

Third in a four-part series, the inspirational philosophies of movie cowboys, unknown to many today, are being shared.

William Boyd portraying Hopalong Cassidy.

Hopalong Cassidy was a fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 for a Western novel. Cassidy was shot in the leg which caused him to have a little “hop,” hence the nickname.

Portraying “Hoppy,” William Boyd, outfitted in black, rode his white horse Topper in 66 movies from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Boyd continued in children-oriented radio and television shows until 1952. He made personal appearances including one in Kansas attended by former coworkers.

At the peak of the character’s popularity in the early 1950s, enormous amounts of merchandise were developed, as well as a comic strip, additional novels, and a short-lived amusement park, “Hoppyland.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cowboy Code Of Conduct of Gene Autry

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Some words on behavior from silver screen cowboys from decades ago may be more relevant and needed than ever.

The West is associated with honor, bravery, and the pioneer spirit heading into the unknown to make a better life. Today, the West continues to celebrate that “cowboy spirit” of adventure and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Principled behavior became codes of conduct that many cowboy heroes promoted in the early day Western movies and television shows. It’s not difficult to see how it wouldn’t be better following simple rules of polite and thoughtful deportment.

Singing cowboy songs, Gene Autry rode his famous horse named Champion in at least 93 movies and 91 television shows.

A world-renowned professional rodeo contractor, often entertaining at those rodeos, Autry also made worldwide public appearances. He and Champion performed at the Tri-County Fair in Herington, which Grandma attended.

Autry made more than 640 recordings with 300 songs he wrote, including “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

War hero, rancher, baseball team owner, cowboy museum developer, radio, television, real estate proprietor, and comic book personality with signature cowboy toys, Autry was the most financially successful silver screen cowboy.

He’s the only entertainer to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: radio, recording, motion pictures, television, and live performance and theater.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cowboy Code of Conduct, Roy Rogers

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.The West has long been associated with honor, bravery, and the pioneer spirit of heading into the unknown to make a better life. Today, the West continues to celebrate that “cowboy spirit” of adventure and entrepreneurial pursuits.

However, it seems that to call someone a “cowboy,” in some circles, is an insult. Yet, cowboys’ principled behavior became codes of conduct that many of America’s heroes promoted for viewers of early days Western movies and television shows.

Second in a four-part series, the inspirational philosophies of movie cowboys, unknown to many today, are being shared.

Roy Rogers, nicknamed the King of the Cowboys, was an American singer, actor, and rodeo performer.

Riding his Palomino stallion Trigger, Roy appeared in more than 100 motion pictures, as well as his self-titled radio and television programs. In most of them, Roy entertained with his wife, Dale Evans, riding her buckskin horse, Buttermilk.

There were Roy Rogers action figures, cowboy adventure novels, play-sets, comic book series, and a variety of marketing successes. Roy Rogers was second only to Walt Disney in the number of items featuring his name.

Highlight of childhood memories was seeing Roy Rogers in person when he had his family show at the Mid-America Fair in Topeka.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Horses are not pets

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Every horse has different abilities with widely varied personalities.”

Once again, a reminder has been emphasized that for these differences a horse might fit one person and not another.

Watching old Westerns on television brings to light how certain horses worked well in the movies. Yet, most modern day horsemen would not like them being critical of the high heads and “cold jaws.”

Dad liked his horses with that kind of spirit, and the preference continued through his son. Generally, not speedy when racing, they’re more exciting to ride rather than a “deadhead.”

However, that preference is highly contrasting to skilled trainers who prefer low headed, easy turning horses.

Horseshow criteria might be reason for appeal of more collected horses. They present a nice image to spectators and can usually be ridden by a more diverse group of people.

Those who select lower-keyed caliber of horses contend they have their head and mind ready to work whatever requested.

It is interesting to study transitions in what increasing numbers of horse riders prefer. While horses have always been demanded to gather and doctor cattle, ranch horses are now being properly credited.

From being evaluated just for their eye appeal and calm disposition, horses are now selected for cattle working ability. Many of today’s largest horse shows feature cattle classes rather than halter showing and pleasure riding.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Pneumonia is serious illness

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Most people know the word pneumonia but do not understand how dangerous the sickness can be for animals and humans.

Pneumonia is one of the most significant diseases affecting calves causing inflammation of the lung tissue and airways. Damage may be irreversible in severe cases as it is the most common reason for death and poor performance in young cattle.

Factors that can cause calf pneumonia include the presence of bacteria and viruses, the environment, and the immune status of the animal. Symptoms of pneumonia are reduction in eating, dull demeanor, dropping of the head, increased respiratory rate, nasal discharge, cough, and raised temperature.

Strategies to reduce pneumonia should target improving cattle immunity and reducing stress, as well as treating any disease present. Fast and effective antibiotic treatment is critical for minimizing potential lung damage.

Providing treatment with long-acting antibiotics will often improve the health of a sick calf, resulting in quicker return of appetite and more rapid recovery. The lungs take 10-14 days to heal, therefore a treatment course should last this length of time, even if the animal appears clinically better after just a few days.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Greener grass is possible

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

That is not true, but evidently seems so to cattle pushing under the fence for more this spring.

Heavy pressure exerted by the cattle reaching for more grass is why many fence posts slope from the pasture itself.

They go under, over, and through the fence in hopes of finding additional tender lush green grass.

Eventually the pasture will have sufficient growth to satisfy the cattle’s greedy appetites. They will graze at ease and not continually search for an extra green sprig.

Until that time, it is cattlemen’s continued battle to keep cattle in pastures, as they often push through the fence. Calves are an additional menace getting under fences to the greener other side.

Despite quality of the fence, cattlemen typically spend considerable time each spring mending fence.

It is a required effort to keep cattle in and a regular maintenance task year around. All pasture fences are typically checked regularly with a thorough going over before turning herds out for summer grazing.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Living by five P’s

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Prior planning prevents poor performance.”

It is an adage repeated in recent readings about increasing cattle operation profits, but also applies to life in general.

To produce a profitable outcome, the decisions that must be orchestrated to increase likelihood of favorable performance are demanding. It is a stringent process that mandates commitment to planning.

While most development tends to be focused on technical details, too often the human element is forgotten. With all the pieces in place and systems organized, there is a failure to provide the right training. Workers must be properly managed with enough hours in the day to get their work done in the allotted time.

Resources need to be lined up efficiently and maintained in a feasible working order. Often, a missing link in the process of setting the stage for success is assuring the people are properly rested. They must be refreshed, informed, and nourished going into demanding tasks of time and talent.

Sleep deprivation leads to mood changes, impaired judgement, ineffective mental processing, and reduced immune function. When emotions are poorly regulated and mental focus is dulled, the likelihood of accidents and mistakes increases significantly.

Recordkeeping and information-heavy processes are negatively affected when the workforce is functioning on the edge of exhaustion. Making sure that worker rotation is designed with rest periods during and following peak work sessions will have positive payoffs.

Effective training should include ongoing communication centered around well-designed processes. Training in advance of work helps to assure that people feel prepared for the demands of the task.

When employees can evaluate outcomes and adjust to workloads, they are more likely to remain more engaged and motivated. Knowing what is expected with tools and training to perform the job with sensible processes are essential to high performance.

Providing feedback and affirmation of a job well done are important in assuring that a plan is built and executed. Most essential key to productive performance is caring for the people who are expected to do the task at hand.

“Prior planning prevents poor performance.” So, plan for the future, prepare the rested, educated working team, practicing makes perfect, provide affirmation, and production will prosper.

Reminded of Proverbs 24:4: “Any enterprise built by wise planning becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.”

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: Chicken wings still fowl

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It is nothing short of amazing what the poultry industry has done to expand sales.”

Much of the population already had a fondness for chicken prepared in a variety of ways.

Then somebody somehow made one of the lowest quality chicken parts, wings, into what many consider a food delicacy.

Contrary to most, chicken prepared in any manner and all forms of eggs never appealed to one wannabe cowboy. However, growing up as Dad’s assistant in the grocery store meat department, there was lots of experience with chicken.

Fryer-chicken was always a best-selling meat product, and most housewives preferred them cut up ready to fry. A butcher’s helper was called upon to cut chickens into common dinner table parts, legs, thighs, breast, back, wings, etc. From the Arkansas poultry processing plant, giblets were bagged separately and then sold with the cut-up fryer-chicken in a tray.

Learning to cut up a chicken takes a little time but can be developed into quite a skill. It became a meat block contest to see who could cut up a fryer-chicken the fastest. A slip of the sharp butcher knife one time left a permanent left index finger scar.

While fryer-chickens were most popular, lower-priced whole hens were also sold for making soup or chicken and noodles.

Poultry products have always been marketed for considerably lower prices and been highly competitive to beef sales. Unclear about the nutritious value of fowl compared to real red meat.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Rural-oriented youth groups offer untapped opportunities

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Young people are busier than they’ve ever been since the beginning of time.”

There’s always something going on with school, athletics, work, church, parties, and the list continues. That’s all positive, enjoying life and learning about so many useful opportunities now and for years ahead.

Expressing a serious personal prejudice, a number of adolescents are missing what two major longtime rural-oriented youth groups offer. Membership has declined in 4-H (head, heart, hands, heath) and FFA (Future Farmers of America) through schools’ vocational agriculture curriculums.

Despite the vast experiences youth are already privileged with, these two groups present more unique involvements for increased life skills. While both youth groups were initially rural-oriented, that is far from all that they now have available. Membership in the organizations exceed the multiplicities of agriculture, homecare, family living, production, and trade skills. However, each of those enjoyable educational connections can be and are included in the vast privileges of both associations.

Seemingly most people, youth, and adults, have a dislike for public speaking, managing finances, and writing down thoughts. It’s an automatic turnoff for the two rural-oriented youth groups being discussed because those are their three most basic emphasis.

Young people learn to speak their thoughts and opinions in a public setting. Many adults are unable to express viewpoints due to lack of learning the basic skills.

Sad but true, many in the world don’t understand bookkeeping partially because they’re unable to add, subtract, multiply, or divide. With poor records, their income is often high, but they never have any money. They can’t keep track of what’s coming in and where it’s all going, often on the most wasteful purchases.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Bull’s job is important

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“A bull must romance successfully with a cow for a profitable cow-calf operation.”

It’s a repeat topic of discussion with important reminder recently heard several times. First, both the bull and the cow must be fertile so when mated the cow will birth a live calf. Perhaps initially verifying bull fertility is easier than confirming a cow will breed and calve.

Evidently, those cattlemen who have already tested their bulls to be used this summer are finding high infertility. Of course, causes can be many and varied. However most blame is being given to last year’s hot summer and this year’s early freezing conditions. Sometimes, a combination of both.

As with many tests, bulls that do show up infertile should be rechecked again for safety’s sake. One thing certain, if a bull doesn’t pass stringent fertility testing, he’ll most likely not get cows bred. It’s impossible to make money in a cow-calf operation without calves to sell.

Several other criteria go into successful bull-cow mating. The bull must romance the cow when her body wants him to do that. On sweltering summer days, certain bulls would rather not romance their female counterparts. They have found out it can be hard exhausting work.

Some bulls do wait until a cooler time of day. However, if a bull is never nosing around the cows, there is reason for concern.

Thanks to everyone for the great prom shop in 2024

Well that’s a “wrap” for the seventh annual Help House Prom Shop. A total of 138 dresses were given out . We would like to thank everyone who came in to shop with us this year. A huge thanks to those who help make it happen by giving so much of their time, and the effort it takes to put it together and help all of the gals find the perfect dress. We wish we could be there to see all of you on your special night.

We all wish you a magical night.

Thanks to the Crew:

  • Lee Ann Smiley
  • Corinne Dubois
  • Carol Grady
  • Donna Young
  • Connie Bonczkowski
  • Cindy Hueffmeier Ledgard for loaning us The Hideout to hold the event a couple of years and providing a space for storage.
  • Jan Henneberg Newman
  • Dannie Smiley for helping us move to our new location this year
  • Bob Grady and Carol for “building “ our awesome dressing rooms and fixing all the racks to make them taller to accommodate the long dresses. And providing a trailer for the move.

A very special thank you to the Burlingame school board and superintendent for donating the use of the space for the Prom Shop this year. It allowed us to give the appearance of a professional shop giving all that came the best experience possible.

So much fun was had by all.

Side note. Think of all the dollars saved for the dress recipients. If you were to value the average cost of a dress at $300 x 138 – that is $41,400. Some dresses had new tags with a price of $600.

Thanks again to everyone.

Raylene Quaney, Help House

A Cowboy’s Faith: Valuable calves are hard work

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Baby calves are the most valuable property in recollection of nearly seven decades in the cattle business. Prices recorded at auctions today, usually several hundred dollars, far surpass the level of half a century ago.

Heifers that calved in feedlots of yesteryear were a major detriment that managers wanted little to do with. These newborns were often available by calling the feedlots, which were anxious to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Today’s generation of calf buyers will hardly believe that feedlots sold those calves for maybe $15 or even less. While the investment was low, so was the possibility of making money with the calves. Numerous attempts at growing baby feedlot calves failed.

Stress from their birthing, lack of momma and feedlot manager attention, and time delay were immediate setbacks. They typically never got their first milk containing colostrum from their mothers. So, the generally small, thin, fragile, often shaking babies had to get the artificial colostrum from new owners. The first food was too late in most cases and did not accomplish what it was supposed to do.

Often the little calves would succumb within a few hours of arrival. If they did live with regular feedings of milk replacer from a bottle, longevity was still usually quite short.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Transitions in moving cattle

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.

Most cattlemen nowadays have large gooseneck livestock trailers they pull with a big powerful pickup.

Others even have semi-tractors to pull single, double, and sometimes triple-decker livestock trailers.

There are still a few cattlemen who have bumper hitch livestock trailers, but trucks with stock racks are almost nonexistent. Quite contrasting to decades ago hauling cattle from one place to another.

Early last century, cattle were driven from horseback or walking behind. There were a few trucks with makeshift cattle hauling racks, but not many. For long distance transportation, railroads had cattle cars, which continued with limited use into the 1950s.

Mom insisted we have hogs to help pay the bills with horse ownership. That bred Hampshire gilt called Susie Q was hauled in the back of the grocery store delivery station wagon. Notably, Susie had twins and one succumbed.

For hauling horses to the fair, floorboard stock racks were built for a trailer pulled by the grocery delivery car. Things looked up when a used pickup was purchased, and wooden stock racks were built to haul livestock.

Memorable time was purchase of a new two-horse trailer pulled by a Ford Galaxy to participate in horse shows.

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