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Paul Marchant

Paul Marchant is an active rancher who tells stories as though we're all "sittin' horseback and ridin' drag" together. His Irons in the Fire articles both entertain and spur thought about personal values and goals.

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It wasn’t really the best of situations. My wife had volunteered to drive her Arizona snowbird parents from our place in southern Idaho back to their home in the far-northern extreme of the Idaho Panhandle, a tedious 10-hour drive under ideal conditions made even more taxing and time-consuming by the demands and requirements of her octogenarian passengers.

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We’ve got a little 40-acre piece of ground that really isn’t much more than just a piece of ground. By that, I mean it doesn’t really grow much more than dirt except for a 10-yard strip along the north fence where the end gun from the neighbor’s pivot shoots over the fence.

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Despite my mostly deserved reputation for tardiness, I was on a pretty good roll that morning. I had most of the feeding done by the time Mr. Sunshine finally eked his lazy head over the snowcapped peaks to the east.

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If you’re reading this, it means I just slipped in under the wire, not unlike the horses I’ve been chasing this morning – the same horses that were out a few nights ago at 10:30 p.m. when I was 20 miles away on my way back from a meeting in town.

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The unrelenting early spring wind continued on. It was well into its third day of mercilessly tormenting me. Oh, it had slowed to about 15 mph, but now the gusts were accompanied by flurries of snow that whipped my face like the tail of a nervous colt recklessly slapping at a deer fly.

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Back a decade or three ago, I took my first post-college job on a ranch in the wilds of White Pine County, Nevada. I spent a couple years there, and although it was a bona fide big cow outfit, it never attracted the big-time buckaroo types who tend to bounce from one Great Basin ranch to the next.

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