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.


After having lived his entire life – up to that point – in the arid, rural West, my oldest son spent a couple of years in the Washington D.C. area.

He was quite an anomaly in the cities of the East Coast. While some of his roommates and acquaintances were not completely unfamiliar with the West, none of them could quite understand his addiction.

It wasn’t completely his fault. I suppose it was partly a product of the environment to which he was constantly exposed as a lad and partly due to his genetic makeup.

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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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The coldest I’ve ever been in my life was in Aberdeen, South Dakota, when the wind chill was minus 35 degrees. I can’t tell you what it felt like because I’d lost all feeling once we got into negative numbers.

But I still preferred that to hot weather because you can always put on more clothes, but when it gets unbearably hot there’s only so much you can take off before breaking indecent exposure statutes.

I’m touched that there have been so many good articles written this summer about how to care for the cows when it gets hot. But what about the cowboys?

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As a teenager, my best friend would often take me to his grandmother’s home. She was born in New York, the daughter of Russian immigrants, and made strudel and soup that could shame Julia Childs.

One summer day, we dropped by her house before doing some back-to-school shopping. She lectured us not to blow through our summer savings on expensive duds. But there was one purchase where we should always shell out some extra bucks.

“Only a fool buys cheap shoes,” she warned. “Quality shoes and a nice haircut – that’s what makes the man.”

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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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You have no doubt heard the statement that “a watched pot will never boil?” Well, I am here to tell you that a watched cow will never calve!

I developed this theory observing a heifer that fell in love with the wrong bull. She was supposed to be bred by my junior herd sire, a bull so thin he can’t cast a shadow.

The bull, of unknown origin, looks like he was weaned on a pickle and the best description of him that I can think of is he looks like an old cowhide draped over the top wire of a barbed wire fence.

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