Current Progressive Cattle digital edition


Read online content from popular Progressive Cattle columnists including Paul Marchant (Irons in the fire), Lee Pitts (It's the Pitts), Baxter Black (On the edge of common sense) and Yevet Tenney (Just dropping by), plus comments from Progressive Cattle editors.


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. One, the cows only came into the field at night along with the native deer. Two, the horses were not nocturnally trained and wouldn’t get within a rope’s length of the stealthy beasts.

Plan Two involved the use of a tranquilizer gun. The second night our boys arrived ‘loaded for bear,’ as they say, and began stalking their prey.

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I’m confused. There are people who love cheese but don’t like cows, and folks who’ve made a religion out of wine and worship the fruit of the grape, yet they hate the agricultural industry.

They love whole grains but detest wheat farmers. They blame beef and cow flatulence for all the world’s problems, yet they build expensive outdoor kitchens for barbecuing.

I’m confused about meat-eating vegetarians who call themselves “flexitarians” and lacto-ovo vegetarians who dine on brie and frappacinos.

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The other day, I was doctoring a horse that had ripped his leg up pretty good on an old piece of equipment in the corner of the horse pasture.

We’ve been treating him for a couple of weeks now. This particular buckskin gelding has had his share of misfortune and he’s got the scars to prove it.

He’s not really lame anymore, and he’s sound, but he’s going to have a couple more scars to show for his overactive curiosity.

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I was visiting with Bill in Alabama. He’s a cattleman, a bit of a philosopher and a constant worrier. I mentioned that one of my friends had sold a set of 520-pound feeder cattle for $1.99 a pound! That’s more than $1,000 a head!

“I know,” said Bill, “I’ve sold some myself but … ” then he paused and added, “I’m wondering if the price is getting too high?”

I cast a skeptical eye but he was serious. “Whattaya mean?” I asked.

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I’ve never been very superstitious. I’ve never used the services of a fortune teller, shaman or palm reader and I think the predictions offered up by a stargazer are as reliable as the defroster in my old 1964 Chevy pickup was. And Chinese food advice is as hollow as the inside of the fortune cookie it comes in.

I don’t eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day or any other day for that matter. And other than having a fear of heights, I’d have no trouble staying on the 13th floor of a hotel, if they had them.

I even wore jersey number 13 when my basketball coach in high school assigned it to me. I don’t carry on my person a lucky penny, four-leaf clover or rabbit’s foot, and black cats and ladders don’t scare me.

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I once heard that “the only thing that is constant is change itself.” The bare tree limbs of winter turn to blossoms of spring and the emerald glory of summer, and then give way to the brilliant dappled orange, red and yellow of autumn.

The sun comes up in a different sky every morning. Nothing stays the same. Our once-golden hair turns silver and our athletic, conditioned bodies start to sag here and there.

The laughter of our children turns from tears back to laughter again. The tiny infants we cuddled in our arms are suddenly toddlers, then kindergartners, then teens. Suddenly they are wearing tuxes and wedding gowns.

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