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Baxter Black

Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, author, vaquero philosophizer, left-handed roper and former large animal veterinarian.

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Three giant lobby groups from an alternative time warp are engaged in a furious hissy fit whose purpose is raising money to pay lawyers. “Send money so we can litigate, pay company executives and solicit more funds!”

“Animals are overrunning government property,” they exclaimed, “… and endangering the environment. These are domestic animals that have been turned loose to fend for themselves and have multiplied exponentially!” Sound familiar?

Yes, the lobby groups are the usual suspects: Sierra Club, Audubon Society and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

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The Ft. Worth Stock Show is a mecca for a lot of purebred breeders. Many, many thousands have made the trip over the years, often overcoming daunting obstacles. But Galen’s journey from Illinois takes the cake!

He and his cow-partner, Dave, loaded their prize Hereford bull in Galen’s gooseneck stock trailer (G1), being pulled with Dave’s new Dodge V-10 diesel (D1).

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It helps to know a little about a lot of things. It gives you a broad perspective. It also allows you to make a fool of yourself in many different areas.

In my column, readers may notice that I appear to have an opinion on almost everything in agriculture. It might impress some, but real authorities in certain areas can easily see how thin my expertise is spread.

For instance, I worked in a sheep parasitology lab during ag school. I tell people casually that I helped work out the life cycles of Thysanosoma actinoides, Stephanofilaria tylisi and Elophora schneideri.

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I never claimed to be a cowman and I’ve got the scars to prove it! Frostbit fingers, baler twine blisters and an odd scrape in the side of my head where the hair won’t grow back from when my good ol’ horse slipped down on an ice slick on the calving lot.

I went out off the front quarter, hung my left spur on the canvas medicine bag that was looped over the horn with parachute chord and lost a chunk of my ear when he drug me, unconscious, over the rusty metal feeder by the gate. My ear now looks like a chew toy!

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It came as a surprise to me that there is a brisk hedgehog business in the country. It shouldn’t have.

Earlier entrepreneurial promoters had done well with Chia Pets, pet rocks, longhorn cattle, ostriches and Humvees.

Hedgehogs (HH) are about the size of an orange with a pointy nose and spiny back. They bring to mind a cross between a pocket-porcupine and a scorpion fish.

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0811pc_black_1I was reminiscing with a group of Dexter breeders. A Michigan farmer named Lew said when he was a boy, his grandpa hired a mule man to clear some timber. It was raining like a cow pouring hot tea on a flat rock!

The mule man sat in his old Chevy coupe with his arm out the window holding onto his harnessed log-skipping mules, Bob and Jim.

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