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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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As I stepped out at 6 a.m. to get some chores finished before my planned excursion into town that morning, I relished the sight of a clear sky despite the below-freezing temperatures.

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I was checking heifers one dark, freezing cold night in late February a few years back, when I came upon a hapless tiny newborn calf shivering all alone under some sagebrush, with no mama in sight.

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Jeremiah is not a cowboy, nor does he aspire to be one. He spent enough time working on his neighbor’s little dairy as a kid to know he’d met what he figured to be his lifetime’s quota of cow duty. That’s not to say he isn’t happy and more than willing to help when he can; he just doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not.

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It’s no secret to anyone that grief, death and loss are unavoidable byproducts of life. With every revolution of the blue orb and with each trip we make around the sun, the likelihood of encountering pain, in one or many of its infinite forms, is ever greater.

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I went out early that morning to grain and water the leppies and misfits. We were planning on moving cows that morning from Lake Creek to Carson Creek Canyon, and we wanted to get to it before the heat of the midmorning sucked all the fun out of being a cowboy.

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The last of the evening light had long since disappeared on a moonless Nevada night when James finally pulled up to the Humboldt County fairgrounds. He’d been driving for what seemed like an hour past forever, and he felt like a well-used Oregon Trail ox when he finally reached Winnemucca, one of the crown jewel cities of Nevada’s Great Basin high-desert country.

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