What do horses, centipedes, geese, dogs and zippers have in common with Mike Tyson? They bite! As a veterinarian I routinely find myself sticking my hand into some animal's mouth, giving pills, floating teeth, removing foreign objects or tickling their uvula. Not long ago I plunged my arm in a cow's mouth (she was in a chute) to confirm my diagnosis of "rattlesnake bite on the torus linguae (dorsal hump) of her tongue."...
Real cowboys and Indians vs. Hollywood and urban America
The furor of lawsuit threats, animal rights terrorists, gesticulating celebrity actors and ex-politicians traveling the countryside like Barnum and Bailey is finally bringing out those who really have something at stake in the Wild Horse/Domestic Horse slaughter issue. ...
Robin lives in a valley that is dotted with grazing pasture and selected irrigated vegetables. She has neighbors who graze yearling heifers to sell in the fall and another neighbor who grows pickling cucumbers. Her heifer neighbors, Barry and Claire, had their yearlings comin' on strong. ...
Stew and I were talking about the world we grew up in. A time when family had a much greater influence on children than they do today. We grew up before cable television, texting, I-tunes, unavoidable soft porn, misogynistic vulgar rap, instantaneous news, a sense of entitlement and electronic isolation. Both of our folks were Bible belt believers and played music...
One of the most important things in the success of a marriage is spousal training. Many stories exist when a "cowboy type" (male or female) marries someone with an urban upbringing. Usually it is the male heir to the ranch who goes to A&M, falls in love with a city girl and brings her home. ...
Pellets vs. piles
Henry David Thoreau wrote a whole book about a pond and never got wet. He simply took the time to ponder. I, too, find myself pondering life's mystery; like what is the purpose of a dewclaw? To measure the dew? Why do horses have canine teeth? Were they once carnivores? How do sheep tell each other apart? Why do ants think they can drag a kibble of dog food back to the hill? Do they lack depth perception?...
Play like I'm not here
Play like I'm not here Ranch hands and cowboys often get put in the position of playing host to all manner of guests, reporters, owners grandchildren and bank vice presidents. Dave works on a ranch in south Florida. In the right season Florida looks like the Garden of Eden. He had been asked to guide a notable photographer around. He was shooting pictures for a book of Florida ranches...
Testosterone Toro Back in Timber's youth he got a job helpin' gather wild cattle out of the fields of an Arizona cotton farmer. He and his pardner, Jessie tried roping them but were unsuccessful. Number One, the cows only came into the field at night along with the native deer, and Two; the horses were not nocturnally trained and wouldn't get within a rope's length of the stealthy beasts!...
Black cattle, white bears
My friend and utility consultant, Stevo, often points out the obvious in a sea of obfuscating shrapnel. For example, upon seeing a sailing vessel on the high seas, I noted that sailors in the old days often did not know how to swim. Stevo commented, with the wisdom of my shoe-shine lady, "Probably made them better sailors!"...
A day in the life of a city
A day in the life of a city All in the same day the city newspaper carried stories about crime, predators, instant millionaires, mad hikers and oppressed artists. YOUNG MEN DIE AND KILLERS GO FREE The front page picture shows a family holding up a photo of their murdered son. Ten witnesses saw who did it but none will testify. This took place in a neighborhood ruled by gangs. Any person willing to testify knows with certainty they will be targeted themselves in retribution...
The Compassionate Cowman
Willie is a great example of the compassionate cowman. He should be a poster boy for St. Francis of Assisi, except St. Francis is in Kansas and Willie lives in Colorado. During calving season he observes certain procedures that he has perfected when a heifer needs help...
Hector, a Colombian, married an American lady from Reno and became a citizen. One evening on the way home from a party they were pulled over. "Just a routine check, sir," the officer explained, "For Driving Under the Influence. Hector walked the line, no problem. For the next test, as Hector understood it, was to '...take a blow' on the back of the officer's hand...
Et tu, Uteri!
Many country veterinary practitioners have invested money in their clinics for facilities to handle cattle and horses. It is for the convenience of the vet but also for the restraint and treatment of the patient. However, there were those clients that assumed it was so the vet could charge them for an office call. Dr. Blaine took an after-hours call from a 3rd generation cattlewoman in the rolling foothills of western Alberta...
American, Canadian, European and, I assume, Australian citizens are becoming increasingly detached from the realities of attaining life's three most essential necessities; food, fuel and shelter (FF and S). Most 21st century urban children have no familial or environmental connection to the source of the food on their plate, the gas in their car, the wood in their wall, or the copper in their iPod...
On The Edge of Common Sense
America's favorite cowboy poet observes life from a western perspective.