Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Colors

The other day, a very beautiful fall day, I did take a few moments while driving the roads of KS to observe fall flowers. They are different from spring flowers in that they sit on a higher stem, mostly perennials but none the less full of color as the flowers that blossom with spring. (Wildflowers)

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

No matter of the time, the day or the politics .... if one stops to look .... even in the bar-ditches of a dusty road ... God provides some beauty. One merely has to stop to look at it.


Monday, October 5, 2009

The Cyclist

A few days ago, some foreign cyclist passing through Cambridge stopped at the stockman to (assumedly) ask directions.  The cyclist walked in and the linguistic exchange went something like this.
"Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?" one asked.
There were blank stares around the room.  Silence (which is not normal in the Stockman) prevailed.
The cyclist continued, "Excusez-moi, parlez vous Fracais?"
All around was totally silent.
"Hablan ustedes Espanol?" asked the cyclist.
He received nothing other than shrugs.
With one last attempt, the cyclist ask, "Parlare Italiano?"
Again the request was met with shrugs and blank stares.  The cyclist left and there was silence for a few minutes.  Clem then commented to Chester, "Maybe we should learn a foreign language."
"Why?" was Chester's retort, "He knew 4 languages and none of them helped him out!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Gas for a 600 mile trip: $75.00
Fishing tackle and bait: $25.00
Out of state license: $15.00

Spending all day fishing with your youngest daughter:


Sent from my Blackberry

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cap and Trade

It's been a while since I wrote a blog ... and part because I knew all I would do was rant and rave about current politics.  But I guess it's time to blow a little steam with the simplicity of the Stockman's understanding of current events. 
As most of you know, our House of Representatives passed the "Cap and Trade" bill yesterday ... without reading it.  It has been rammed down our throats.  Here's how it went down at the Stockman.  Keep in mind these are not Harvard graduates with the eloquence of speech of the "√©lite".  Just down to earth, hard working, truthful men who don't sleep if they owe you money.
Clem entered the cafe, took his cup of coffee and asked as he took the first sip, "What's this 'cap and trade' thing they're talking about?"
Chester, the resident current event guru, began trying to explain, "That's where the government will tax carbon emissions over a certain level."
"Who sets the standards?" inquired Clem.
"The government" Chester answered.
"The same government that didn't read the proposed bill?" Clem asked.
"Yep.  Same one" Chester declared.
"How would that affect us?" Clem needed further explanation.
"Well let me put it in cowboy terms" Chester offered.  "Are you going to feed your steers in my feedlot again this year?"
"Sure." came the reply.
"Well let's say the government decides that for each steer in my feedlot, I am allowed 10 lbs of manure."  Chester started his explanation.
"That'd be one miserable bunch of steers!" laughed Clem.
"Well, since it's my feedlot, I have to scrape the excess manure off and take it to Clyde's wheat field because his wheat doesn't produce any manure." Chester continued his explanation.
"That'd be pretty expensive to you." Clem said a little concerned for his partner.
"Not really" Chester said.
"You mean you'd charge Clyde for the manure?" Clem asked.
"No" Chester continued, "I'd pay him to take it."
"Wait a minute," said a surprised Clem, "Who's paying for this?"
"You are." said Chester pointing at a wide-eyed Clem "Because I am going to raise the fees on your yardage."
"That's a bunch of S*@T!" exclaimed Clem.
"Now you understand 'Cap and Trade'" said Chester.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring time in KS

You can easily tell it's spring in KS when the calves run in playful glee, ranchers begin to burn their pastures and storm chaser vehicles cause traffic jams on normally vacant roads.  The temperature begins to soar, bringing with it spring fever and cold fronts.  The warm days begin to heat the moist air which rises in the cold upper atmosphere, cumulous clouds build generating tremendous updrafts, then as they cool fall with tremendous force back to the earth, tornado sirens blare, radios break from programming to give warnings and storm chasers hit the roads.
Since mid March I've had to wear two hats; a straw hat on days that would reach near 80 and my bald head would sweat or a ball cap with ear muffs on those days the wind howled from the north and chill factors fell below freezing.  One day you talk to a rancher about the need for a summer mineral program to help reduce heat stress and the next day you're selling him feed to warm the cattle during cold blizzardy weather.
Fruit trees begin to blossom, their limbs covered in pink or white blooms only to droop and break the next week under a load of ice.  Wild flowers open their buds in a variety of colors only to turn black the next morning because of a heavy frost.  Farmers get antsy with soaring temperatures and begin to plant their crops only to watch the fields set vacant of emergence for two or three weeks as returning cold, cools the ground temperature below germination levels.
Dang, I sure love living in Kansas.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yep, I'm still kickin'

To those of you that have written wondering about my demise .... and to those of you who have wished for it ... I'm still kickin'.  I just haven't had a thought to put down worthy of the bandwidth it'd take to publish it.  And there was plenty of subject matter in the political world to select from.
I've even started a few with thoughts gleaned from conversations with Clem, Clyde and Chester about the bailouts, spreading the wealth around or cap and trade.  However, when I censored the language it was always the same, "that's a bunch of bull s*@#".  I could have published a few blogs on what the Stockman coffee crew would like to do to some select members of the administration and/or congress ..... but I'm sure we would have ended up on some Homeland Security watch list.
So I have refrained myself from the keyboard and kept my Blackberry in my pocket.  However I guess I can pass on this that happened yesterday.
I was down in the Osage, chasing any rancher that might need one more load of feed or looking for new ones I hadn't met yet.  The weather had changed from the spring like sunshine of the weekend to a dull chill aggravated by a very sharp and blustery north wind.
A strange pickup with a cake box was pulling out of a pasture ahead of me.  I stopped to meet this new potential as the older small framed rancher was closing the gate.  He was fully bundled up in carhart coveralls, a stocking cap underneath a weather beaten hat and sunglasses fitted to a weather beaten face.
"A feed salesman just can't pass a guy with a cake box on his pickup and not stop to introduce himself," I said handing the weathered old rancher my business card.  The statement was met with a smile and I knew I had at least a couple minutes to forge a friendship.
I turned up the collar on my jacket as a gust of cold wind howled through the trees.  "Dang!" I continued, "I was just getting used to that warmer weather where if you stopped along the road to take a leak, you didn't have to go through 13 layers of clothes to reach it!"
Again I saw the weathered smile from behind the sunglasses and I could feel the friendship building.
"Sir," I said extending my hand into a firm handshake, "I don't guess I've ever met you." 
"Dennis is my name" I said, firmly griping the extended hand.
But my hand went limp as SHE said "Peggy"
I guess the commission check will be a bit smaller this pay period.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentines Day

With only a week till Valentines Day, the subject of wives came up at the Stockman.  Now since none of us there are "newly weds" we are well versed in our respective wives wishes.  I mentioned, for instance, I was taking the Warden to a "Sweetheart banquet".
"Well my Claire always wants a real pretty card," Clem stated.  "So the other day when she and I went to Wal-Mart, I looked over the selection.  Do you know some of them now cost $5.00?"
"Did you get her one?" asked Clyde.
"Not with the cattle market the way it is" Clem answered.  "But I did pick a real nice one out and let her read it while we were there!"
"I was reading the High Plains Journal the other day," Clyde said.  "There was a real nice poem in there to farm wives, so I cut it out and will save it to give Cletta on Valentines Day.  She'll like that."
"Yeah," injected Chester, "my Chloe read that poem in the High Pains too.  She said if I was real romantic, I'd write her a poem like that, so I wrote one for her."
"You wrote a poem?" asked a surprised Clyde. 
"Yep" nodded Chester.
"Let's hear it" chided Clem.
"Roses are red, violets are purple.  You're as sweet as maple syruple" Chester replied.  Then continued, "When the cows are grazing pastures green.  I'm reminded of Chloe Dean."
Chester cocked his head trying to remember the next verse, "Their coats bright and shiny, their eyes open wide.  Reminds me of you, when you're at my side."
"And when they turn to walk away, I'm reminded of how you sway."
Chester started the next verse but Clem started laughing.
"Wait, I can't take anymore" Clem stated through raucous laughter.  "You're going to compare Chloe to a cow?  My friend, it's been nice knowing ya!"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Stockman 01-28-09

We had an arctic blast early in the week causing icy roads, school and business closings.  As it moved off to the east Tuesday night, skies cleared of clouds and allowed the temperature to plummet even lower nearing the 0 mark.  Only the die-hards made it to the Stockman for morning coffee.
Since the Stockman officially closed several months ago as an "eatery", the only heat is provided by two small electric heaters (on the face of one is a thermometer).  And in weather like we have been having, drinking morning coffee at the Stockman is akin to being a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club  ....  with the exception that we wear insulated coveralls, Elmer Fudd hats and flaps and drink our coffee with gloved hands.
The conversations are in general, the same topics as summer, except for the weather conditions.  This time of year calving is just beginning and there are multiple stories of saving a calf in sub freezing temperatures as the "old rip of a cow" (other expletives are sometimes used) try's to run you over. 
Politics are also often discussed, as they were yesterday morning.  Chester, who had been rather quiet when he first came in, suddenly slapped the table with a gloved hand and said, "I'm not giving up without a fight!"
Clyde gave a sideward glance at him with a raised eyebrow, "What in the world are you talking about?"
"They can tax me, make me wear seat belts and prevent me from spitting tobacco juice on the sidewalk.  But I'll be hanged before they take my morning coffee away at the Stockman!" replied Chester.
Now with both eyebrows raised Clyde simply said "Huh?"
"Al Gore is trying to shut us down!" was Chester's matter-of-fact reply.
"What?" asked Clyde with a befuddled look on his face.
"Well Al Gore is speaking before some Senate committee today about global warming and the need to offset some carbon emissions.  And you KNOW that every time he speaks it gets colder.  Look at that room temperature in here this morning!" Chester said pointing at the thermometer.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Saga of the Coffeehouse (Cafe')

I did a little research on the origin of the "coffeehouse" and found it to be very interesting.  The first known coffeehouses were found in the middle east during the Ottoman Empire.  It spread west into Europe through war, conquest and the expanding trade routes. 
According to www.squidoo.com  ....
"Coffeehouses have been social centers of cultures from Istanbul to London, from Paris to Rome, and most of these were havens for intellectuals, entertainers, writers, and political observers who sat for hours in either very plain (London) or very ornate (Paris) buildings where the coffee was strong, hot and the best conduit for the greatest conversationalists of every era from the 15th century to the 21st."
From http://coffeetea.about.com  I learned such tidbits as ....
"It was in an English coffee house that the word "tips" was first used for gratuities. A jar with a sign reading, "To Insure Prompt Service" sat on the counter. You put a coin in the jar to be served quickly.
The British called their coffee houses, "penny universities" because that was the price for the coffee and the social upper-class of business-men were found there. In fact, a small coffee shop run by Edward Lloyd in 1668 was such a business hub, it eventually became the still-operating Lloyd's of London insurance company.

When America was colonized, the coffee house was quick to follow. The role of the American coffee house was the same as those in England: the hotspots for the business community. The Tontine Coffee House (1792) in New York was the original location for the New York Stock Exchange, because so much business was conducted there." 

And at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coffeehouse I learned (as they quoted Macaulay) ... "The coffeehouse must not be dismissed with a cursory mention. It might indeed, at that time, have been not improperly called a most important political institution. . . . The coffeehouses were the chief organs through which the public opinion of the metropolis vented itself. . . . Every man of the upper or middle class went daily to his coffeehouse to learn the news and discuss it. Every coffeehouse had one or more orators, to whose eloquence the crowd listened with admiration, and who soon became what the journalists of our own time have been called -- a fourth estate of the realm" 

I also found there what I felt was a good definition of the Stockman ... "A house of entertainment, where guests are supplied with coffee and other refreshments, and where men meet for conversation." 

But I feel the best definition of the Stockman was from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffeehouse ... "From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3."

All my research this morning proves the importance of the coffeehouse (or cafe') in forming our total culture, the shaping of our nation, it's influence on our business, the exchange of ideas and our political savvy.  These gathering of intellectuals continue to discuss the problems we as a nation face.

The part that bothers me is: can we trust the intelligence of a group of guys who would go sit in a room huddled around a stove where the room temperature is 42 degrees!  (picture taken INSIDE the Stockman Jan. 16, 2009 at 6:30 AM)


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day

Well 2009 started at the Stockman cafe much the same way 2008 ended, the locals and area ranchers meeting for their morning coffee and conversation.  The conversations were the same: the weather forecast, grumblings about this global warming cold, political shenanigans, high taxes, low profits and wall street bailouts.
Clyde began commenting about the Madoff Ponzi scheme.  "I just don't see how a guy can scheme billions of dollars out of people for 25 years and no one catch on!  And if the stock market hadn't got so screwy, he'd still be doing it."
Chester, who had been listening intently asked, "What is a Ponzi scheme anyway?"
Clyde begin explaining, "That's where you take money from a second guy and give to another calling it profits on the first guys investment."
Chester looked a little puzzled, "I call that ranching!  I've been doing that for years!"
Clyde laughed and said, "I reckon they'll throw you in jail if they catch ya!"
"Well, I sure hope they hurry" continued Chester, "the feed bill is almost due!"