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Baxter Black

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Baxter Black: The western migration invasion

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has brought to a head a common point of contention that has happened in state after state. It is a generational change, a population shift that is the result of the inevitable roll of civilization.

Baxter Black: A cow hanging

John lives down the road from me. We have cattle across the fence from each other. He is good at a lot of things; carpentry, electronics, sports and hunting, but cows are not his strong suit. He runs a handful on 90 acres. He called me one day askin’ if we had seen a cow of his. I told him we had cleared the pasture and had not seen her in with our bunch.

Baxter Black: Spotted skunk saga

If it weren’t so ridiculous it would make you cry. The Endangered Species Act has popped up again like a stinky diaper at day care. This time it is the Plains Spotted Skunk, one of four species of spotted skunks that can be found almost anywhere from Canada to Mexico and coast-to-coast except, apparently, in the backyard of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Baxter Black: A foot-long prolapse

It was a Colorado winter afternoon when the boys spotted a big crossbred cow wobblin’ along with her calf trailing behind and a prolapse as big as an army-issue duffle bag.

Baxter Black: Record snowfall

The President’s science and technology advisor - Jan. 11, 2014. I cringe at how ludicrous global warming climatologists must feel these last two winters. Nature is pooping in their nest. Did he mean “extreme heat” instead of cold? Can they have it both ways? However, they shouldn’t be making excuses. They should be elated that winter seems to be coming back with a vengeance. But what if it continues? It puts them in the position of hoping for bad news. It’s called schenfreude.

Baxter Black: The human attachment

It had been a long day for Steffan. Frozen pipes, touchy tractors, cranky cows and a stuffy nose. A headache had kept him banging his head against the wall from 6 a.m. to sundown.

Baxter Black: Animal husbandry

As far back as 1628 “husbandry” was defined as agricultural produce, land under cultivation, farming. The word husband also implies a caretaker of land and livestock, a hands-on activity. From shepherds watching their flocks by night as described in the Bible, up to farm managers milking cows, showing fat steers and roping at the branding fire, animal husbandry was an appropriate title for a bachelor’s degree for a century.

Baxter Black: Equine chiropractory

Getting injured is an embarrassment to a cowboy.

Baxter Black: The mud bath

Just because some women have an occupation involving farming and livestock, it doesn’t mean they’re not concerned about their appearance, hair, skin and body care. Kadie is one of them. She’s on a family ranch in Montana. Both she and her husband share the calving duties in the spring, but cold windy weather plays havoc with her beauty regimen. Last Christmas, she clipped out an ad for a spa that included hot tubs, massage, pedicures, manicures and mud baths. She even posted a sample page from the ad on her bathroom mirror listing the services she might need. At 4:30 a.m. one insomniac morning, she rose to check the heavy heifers. Her back ached and she couldn’t sleep.

Baxter Black: Feedlot consultants — A tribute

When I started practicing feedlot medicine in the late 1960s, it was a fairly new specialty. Feedlots, as we picture them now in the Midwest and southwest, were not as common. But by this time I hired on with the Diamond A out of Roswell, N.M., and 20,000 head yards were spreading across the country. They prospered in the more arid southwest because mud is the biggest enemy of feedlot grain. The Imperial Valley of California, the desert country of Arizona and the Texas panhandle became popular places to feed cattle.

Baxter Black: The ground blizzard

I looked at my schedule for the first week in December: Jamestown, N.D., Denver, Laramie, Wyo., and Springfield, Ohio. I asked my secretary why she couldn’t book me in Victoria, Texas or San Diego in the winter? She reminded me she had booked me in Miami last winter. “Yeah,” I said. “Miami, Manitoba.” Actually, I don’t worry about traveling in cold weather. It would be easier to plan if I could count on global warming, but it’s just not reliable. Al Gore found that out. You just can’t count on it when you need it. Jamestown started out clear and cool but Denver turned frosty. I made it to Laramie behind the snowplow. We had a great crowd at the evening show — winter doesn’t stop Wyoming cowboys from comin’ to town.

Baxter Black: Taking the other side

Like many of you, I receive all kinds of news stories, jokes, blogs, etc. Last week, three items came my way that stimulated a predictable knee-jerk response. Why, I asked myself, can’t I be more generous and examine the opposite side of view? So today, I will. The first item was, “In France, eating animals becomes legal obligation.”

Baxter Black: Keep the faith, a survival kit

President Jimmy Carter’s reign was called the time of malaise, defined as a feeling of discomfort. Present times might be described as a time of anxiety. Still hopeful, but with very little trust in the people we put in office. The recession has hit everybody and each of us has to find a way to get through it. We cannot let the dread of what our well-meaning but inept government has wrought bring us down. I’m guessing there is a segment of our population that doesn’t worry about our economic condition much. They are on both ends of the spectrum — those who live on a private or government pension, or welfare, who pay little or no taxes, and have no doubt the next check is coming, and …


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