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2 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Wind and Water
One of many things which we take for granted in our modern society, is that we can walk into the house flip a handle and a stream of pure clean water will flow out for our use. But it was not the case for those pioneer settlers who came west. In many cases, the search for water was a matter of life and death. And but the ranchers found that they could use the wind they could harvest the wind and use windmills to produce that life giving water. This poem is titled Wind and Water. When the pioneers came west, and as conditions grew hotter, at stake was life itself and the endless search for water. In their quest for new lands and the destiny of their dreams. They came west along the rivers and stayed quite close along the streams. But when they settled down to farm and find a place to dwell, it was essential that they find a productive waterwell for watering the livestock and as domestic needs were asked a windmill was important to meet these vital tasks. In a machine shop in Connecticut. One Daniel Halliday designed the type of windmill that is still in use today, with a fixed vein and blades that could adjust to the wind and pump the life giving water on which their hopes were pinned. There was no electric power or gas engines for the well. So the windmill was a godsend as a pioneer would tell. Some 6 million windmills were installed across the nation until there came gas engines and rural electrification. But it's possible to find where such a relic still remains the windmill of the West, a sentinel of the plains. Happy trails!
2 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
The Draft Horse
I'm a big fan of the cow horse the Quarter Horse as a working cow horse, but there was another equine that was very important in the settlement of the West. This is a poem about the draft horse. He's the workhorse of the species who pulls the heavy load, he can haul a load of freight or a wagon down the road. He is mighty, he is tall, perhaps 19 hands high. He has a build for pulling and is willing to comply. He is a strong and gentle giant and when harnessed with a mate has ability to pull a huge amount of weight. In the history of our nation, his massive feet shoulders and bone pulled the wagons and the plows from which our nation's grown now the engine and the tractor have come to take his place, but some people have preserved them. A memory time will not erase these horses and their purpose we want to reinforce so today we pay tribute to the mighty draft horse. Happy trails.
1 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
Zoom on the Range
As we've been in the pandemic and working from home, it seems like I'm on zoom calls all the time. There's so much zoom and so much social media that I developed a a new Kansa state song in honor of the state of Kansas. with apologies to Dr. Brewster Higley, the author of the original Home on the Range, this poem is called zoom on the range. Zoom zoom on the range where the virtual pictures display where you will not be heard if your mute is incurred and the dad gum zoom calls go all day. How often at night when my screen is still bright, and I look at websites from afar have I sat with eyes glazed to see videos praise while I wish that my phone had more bars? Oh YouTube videos sure can make some good shows as I work with my webcam and mics and my day is complete when I Facebook and tweet. I just wish that my posts got more likes. So zoom zoom on the range where the virtual pictures display where you will not be heard if your mute is incurred, and the dad gum zoom calls go all day. Happy trails.
2 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
If you go to a rodeo, you'll see that the bull riders and the bronc riders are wearing fancy Batwing chaps, usually with friends that really shows for the competition. I have a couple of chaps that we use here at the ranch. One are these heavy duty workshops, complete with manure. They're very thick and heavy leather. They really come in handy if you're working like with locust trees on the fence line. And then I have my fancy show chaps made by an outfit in Abilene. And these are great for performance, or for riding in a parade. I really like to look at these chaps. If you study the history of chaps, you'll find that it goes back to the Hispanic culture. That's where the name chaps originates. This poem is called Bueno Chaparerras. When a cowboy is riding hard, his legs need protection from stickers or thorns that might need deflection. Centuries ago writers wore a kind of apron of leather, but those were awkward for riding in any kind of weather than the wise vaqueros in old Mexico made leggings of leather to wear on the go. They were called scheppers and Mexican lingo soon shortened to shops by the American gringo. Chaparerras took their name from the low Chaparral with thorns which gave the shops rationale. The first chaps were called shotguns with like tight leather pants. Then Batwing chaps were the ones that supplants chinks are shorter for the legs top half of course, which is handy for a farrier, who'd be shooting a horse. Now motorcycle riders wear leather chaps too, for protecting their legs just like the Cowboys do. We give thanks for this protection when we get into mishaps, and we thank the Hispanic culture for giving us chaps Happy trails.
2 minutes | Feb 10, 2021
Thank You Note
There are lots of unsung heroes in our society today. But certainly, let's not forget the farmer where it all begins. There are lots of unsung heroes here in our world today, teachers and police, the guy who brings the mail our way. First Responder, waitress firefighter, the forklift driver with the load. The store clerk soldier janitor, the trucker on the road. What about the moms and dads working hard to make ends meet those caring for the elderly, or repairing lights or Street, the welder and the preacher? The one who runs the big machine, the salesman and musician The one who keeps our water clean. Those who volunteer in church, the one who cares for kids or cooks, those who serve on clubs, committees or take time to keep the books, those in the county office, the nice lady at the bank. I appreciate all these that I should take the time to thank. But life could not go on without our daily bread. So let's recognize the farmers whose efforts keep us fed. Thanks to all the unsung heroes for contributions great and small. And a special thanks to farmers whose work helps feed us all. Happy trails.
2 minutes | Jan 28, 2021
You Go Yoga Goat!
I thought I'd seen it all, and then I got a call from a guy in town. He said, "We want you to come help us do goat yoga." I said, "Goat what?" Yes, goat yoga is a thing. So we rounded up some goats, we went into town and built a pen and watched it happen. This poem is called "You Go Yoga Goat." I thought I had seen everything, but I was surely wrong because I found something new when goat yoga came along. We brought our goats to town, and we put them in a pen where a bunch of people came and brought their mats on in. Folks laid down on their mats and the instructors helped them move through various positions, health and wellness to improve. They would roll and move their body into various contortions, which seemed to help them stretch by increasing proportions. The goats would mill around them for however long it took, while giving all the people a sniff or just a look. When folks got on their hands and knees to make a tabletop, the goats jumped on their back, and they didn't want to stop. It was their first time seeing yoga, I am sure to note, that I never ever, ever had seen yoga with a goat. Happy trails.
2 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Both Sides of the Fence
Fences are something we take for granted in these days. As you drive down the Kansas countryside, there are fences all over. It's interesting to learn that the very first fences, which were built in this country, were built not to keep cattle in as they are today. They were built to fence cattle out, because homesteaders were starting to plant crops in an era of open range. This poem that I wrote is called "Both Sides of the Fence". Good fences make good neighbors, in Robert Frost, I read, and that old time poet was right in what he said. For you'll keep your neighbors happy and life will be a song if the fence keeps the critters on the side where they belong. A good tight five-wire fence is a pretty thing to see, but my old fence always needs fixing, which is a pain to me. I hate a fence which won't keep my livestock inside, and those fences get in the way when we're out on a trail ride. There will always be fences, so I'm resigned to my fate. I just have one request, would somebody open the gate?
1 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
As we have adjusted to life with coronavirus, we're working under stay-at-home orders and told to do social distancing. We're told to do everything virtually nowadays. Well, we're doing our best, but Mother Nature will only go so far. This even applies to our veterinarian. Here's a poem I wrote called Virtual Reality. Due to coronavirus, the vet had changed his ways. Virtual consultations now filled his practice days. The health department said to do social distancing, avoiding personal contact is part of everything. The vet now worked online, reviewing clients' vaccinations as they prepared to move cattle to their summer destinations. Then one old rancher said with a twinkle in his eye, "Hey Doc, there's something that I've just got to try. The county says I've got to do everything virtually, using online or conference calls or Zoom technology. When I do my daily chores and the cows want to be fed, I think I'm just going to give them virtual feed instead." Well, the vet smiled. "You could sure try that somehow, but in the end, all you'll have will be a virtual cow." Happy trails.
1 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Our Friend Chuck Wagon
Cowboys love to eat, and it was an essential part of modern-day life as well as the old cattle drives. The cookie was a very important part of the crew in the old times of those great cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. This poem is a tribute to that Chuck Wagon. It's called Our Friend Chuck Wagon. An army travels on its stomach. A wise person once said, "Because of food supplies important when a group's marching ahead, we have to have food when a group is on the move. It's essential to life and to keep us in the groove." That's true for armies as seen from soldier's leadership and for others such as a lengthy family trip. It was also true in yesteryear on cattle drives of old when Longhorn herds came North with cowboys brave and bold. Those cowboys had to eat. Chuck Wagon came too with food supplies and a cook to make it do. It might have sourdough for biscuits, lots of pots and pans with coffee, dried fruit beans, and maybe something in some cans, but Chuck Wagon would roll along accompanying the herd to serve the Cowboys food when the boss would give the word. We give thanks for this system which former history reveals. I guess that Chuck Wagon was the original Meals on Wheels, Happy trails.
1 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Economics has been called the dismal science, kind of like the economist who has forecast 10 of the last 5 recessions. I have a lot of friends who are economists, and they know that making forecasts is a very risky proposition. One friend of mine says, "Give them a date or give them a number but never give them both." When you study economics, you come across, of course, the law of averages, and this poem is called "On Average." Two economists were sitting in a small duck blind, peering across the field where the moonlight shined. These economists' job was to calculate various economic factors all across the state. They were widely known experts who knew economic measures so well that they were considered academic treasures. But they took a break from the numbers front to take part in this annual morning duck hunt. It was quiet all around this field as they waited for trophies that their hunt would yield. Then first light came on this cool gray day, and they heard a lone duck as they flew their way. Both economists fired as the duck flew by, one shot five feet low, the other five feet high. As the duck flew away, one economist said, "Well, on average, that darn duck is dead." Happy trails.
1 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
The old-time cowboys were always shown with bandanas. These bright pieces of fabric that they wore around their necks, sometimes we'd call them wild rags. Turns out those bandanas had a lot of different uses. Now in the coronavirus era, we find they might even have some uses today. This poem is called, Multi-Tool. In the days of the Old West if you would look and check, you'd find a cowboy would wear a bandana around his neck. It was sometimes called a wild rag for bright color that it brings. It was a big piece of fabric, the cowboy used for many things. It was used to mop your forehead when the temperature was hot, or tie up a bandage from an injury you got. It could filter out your water when you drank it from a tank, or cover up the bad guys face if he went to rob a bank. It might repair your saddle when somehow you're rig and bust, or it might protect your breathing when you're riding through the dust. It could serve as a towel when you went to wash your face, or to blindfold wild horse if that needs to be the case. If you have a busted arm it could be a handy sling, or in a pinch roping calves, it could be a pig and string. You could wrap it on your head when the temperature was cold or grab a skillet or a branding iron that was too hot to hold. So it seems that old bandana could do anything you ask, but who'd have guessed that someday it would be a COVID mask. Happy trails.
2 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Kansas Flint Hills
In 1806, an explorer named Zebulon Pike, traveled through what became the eastern part of Kansas. On September 12th, he wrote in his journal, ''Past very rough Flint Hills, my feet blistered and very sore''. With that, he gave our Flint Hills region its name, and he was right. You need to wear good boots out in these hills. This poem is titled The Kansas Flint Hills. A traveler leaves Kansas City going west on interstate. He comes into a region which I want to celebrate. As he enters rolling range land, there's a sign. His vision fills a big sign of native stone saying, ''Welcome to the Flint Hills''. The region takes its name from a long ago hike when described as Flint Hills by explorer Zebulon Pike. The stones of Flint or chert which underlie this great landscape, over centuries made the hills with their unique slope and shape. Those rocks made it unsuitable for use by farmers plows, but they made a perfect place to harvest grass by grazing cows. These hills underlined by rock are a wondrous part of God's creation, a special part of Kansas and a treasure for our nation. It's the last remaining tallgrass, a keysight of prairie ecology, the home of grazing bison and Native American history. The Flint Hills of Kansas are the world's best for grass. When it comes to raising beef, this region's world class. We celebrate this region and the need that it fulfills for ecology and people in the Kansas Flint Hills. Happy trails.
2 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
The old-timer said, "The best thing for the inside of a kid is the outside of horse." I certainly believe that, I enjoy horseback riding to the point that sometimes I lose track of time. This poem is called, "Horse holiday." I had to go to work, but it was still early yet, a thought came to my brain and soon my mind was set. I calculated minutes as the morning clock I had and thought, "Hey, I've got time to get in a horseback ride." It would have to be quick, but I'd miss time on my horse, we just been too damn busy to getting a ride, of course. The weather would get hot, all the forecasters say, so it just made sense to ride early in the day. I got my gilding saddled, the day was nice and clear, a great day for a ride and a pretty time of year. I rode on down the lane, went to check the upper pond and took a Flint Hills trail of which I'm very fond. We lingered in the valley, detoured through the glade and followed that annual path which the cows or deer had made. We enjoyed the hilltop view with its panorama best and then I checked my phone, "Holy smoke." Two hours past. I'd enjoyed the pleasant ride in the morning hilltop climb to the point that I had totally lost track of all the time. I gulped up to the barn and unsaddled my old hoss trying to think how I'd explain this to the boss. I hurried into work to meet the office norm, but they said, I had to fill out some type of leave form. There were different kinds of leave from which I had to pick but it's not like a vacation and I surely wasn't sick. I considered making up some kind of Farfetched story, but instead, I created a brand new category. After thinking how to say it in a way they would believe under other, I wrote in two hours of equestrian leave. Happy trails.
3 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Cowboys love to train animals. Sometimes, the animals can train us. This poem is entitled 'Horse training'. On a hot summer morning, I walked out to train a young horse we were teaching to ride in the ring. The flies were buzzing in the hot morning sun as I walked to the barn with my two little sons. One said, "Dad, you see those two horses right there standing together like they were a pair. They get close together and that's how they graze, but their heads are facing in opposite ways. So, the head of the one's by the tail of the other. Why do they do that?" He asked me and his brother. I said, "You're a mighty, observant, young man and I'll answer your question the best that I can. You see there's lots of flies around this cow lot, they're a natural pest that we've always got. The horse uses his tail to shoo off those flies like I do with my hand if the need should arise, but the tail is too short to reach that horse's head so they've learned they can partner with another horse instead. They can stand close together, one's head by the other's tail. Then they can shoo the flies off each other without fail. So that's why the horses stand together that way. Now, go in the barn and get them some hay." While the boys did their chores, I stopped and I thought, "There's a message for me in that lesson I taught. If horses can learn to cooperate too, there's no limit to what we as people can do. There's some things a person can't do as just one. When we work together, so much more can get done. If we partner together, which is really my druthers, we'll share the rewards as we serve each other. It's a mutual benefit that we can treasure if like all those horses, we all stand together. It was time to begin that pony's training lessons, but I looked at my kids and thanked God for my blessings. At supper that night my wife says to me, "How did that training go for the new pony?" I said, "It went well, but not in the usual way. My kids and my horses taught me a lot today." Happy Trails.
2 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Horse Holiday by Ron Wilson from Lazy T Ranch Taken from Around Kansas with Deb Goodrich
2 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Out here on the ranch, one of the most important crops we produce is hay. It's very important that we harvest peri hay, alfalfa, and have hay stored up for winter feed for our livestock. This poem is called Hay There. Growing up here on the ranch back when I was just a kid, Helping bale up hay was the first field job I ever did. I was too young to drive a tractor, too little to do much, But I could go to the hay field and help with bales and such. My dad would drive the tractor, pulling baler and wagon behind, As we moved across the field where the windrows were aligned. The baler picked up hay and spit out each small square bale, Although, occasionally, we'd stop when the knot tier would fail. The hired man had a hay hook, He'd pull bales up on the wagon and stack them up five-high until the heat would have him dragging. My job was to ride on top holding together the stack of hay, Although, I think the hired man put me there to get me out of the way. When I got bigger, I became the one to use that sharp hay hook, Stacking bales up high was the task I undertook. When the hay rack was full, then I would say, "Oh, darn," Because that meant unloading them in that dusty hayloft to the barn. It was a hot and dusty job in the barn with no breeze moving, But when it was all done, my dad was so approving. When we pulled the last bale in with muscles tired and sore, We would say, "Well, that's the bale that I've been looking for." The years have come and gone with the changes that entails, We now use a tractor to move the big round bales. But when the hay is all put up, I still have the urge to say, "Now, that's the one we've been looking for," Because we're really making hay. Happy trails.
1 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
I have discovered a new thing and that is, my phone can navigate me wherever I am going using a global positioning satellite. It's amazing. This poem is called "Global Positioning." I have a dead gum GPS. It's right there on my phone. It seems it finds any address mankind has ever known. I enter a number and the street. It finds the thoroughfare. It's simply one amazing feat. My phone directs me there. It tells me to go right or left and how far to the turn. It never has left me bereft as I have come to learn. It advises me which lane to choose, the name of the next street. It's one amazing thing to use. My roadmap's obsolete, but there was something I went through. I thought it was kind of scary. I had to run some flowers to a country cemetery I put in where I had to drive, my phone got me right there. What it said when I arrived is what made me beware. What gave me such a sense of dread and caused me consternation, the voice inside my phone just said, "You've reached your final destination." Happy trails.
1 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
My wife and family and I live on the Lazy T Ranch near Manhattan, Kansas. We run cattle and horses and some other animals. If you have livestock in the hot summer heat, then you're going to have flies. We contend with flies. This poem I wrote is called Fly Right. Three cowboys from different places came into a Texas saloon for a drink to relieve their hot afternoon. The flies were buzzing from near and from far as the three cowboys took their place at the bar. Each ordered a drink as they had planned, but into each drink, a fly did land. The first cowboy turned green at the bug in his drink. To the bartender, he said, "I'll have a different one, I think." The second cowboy stopped, suddenly fished out the bug and finally drank the beer with a shrug. The third cowboy was from Kansas where times were tough and he wasn't about to put up with this stuff. He knew this behavior just had to stop because he came from Kansas where we don't waste a drop. The cowboy grabbed the bug and with a big shout, held it over the glass and said, "Now you spit that out." That'd be true.
2 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
The First Cowtowns
Howdy folks, I'm Ron Wilson, poet laureate. The cowboy really came alive in legend at the time of the great cattle drives. The goal of the Texas drovers was to get to Abilene. This poem is in honor of the first cow town. One of the first cow towns the world had ever seen was the little community known as Abilene. It all began after the Civil War here with demand for beef from the western frontier. A livestock dealer named Joseph McCoy helped bring about the American cowboy. He saw Longhorns in Texas running free, and he knew what an opportunity these could be. McCoy looked for a place with grass and water abiding, where he could build a big railroad siding. He traveled through Kansas on a railroad route west in search of a town that would suit his request. When he got to the city of Abilene, he found the place which he had foreseen. It became a cattle shipping point henceforth for Texas drovers, bringing cattle north. Thousands of Longhorns came up the Chisholm Trail to the city of Abilene to meet the rail. The money flowed and cowboys got wild until the local folks got riled. In time the cattle trade moved west in the Texas cattle ranchers quest, but in the history of the West, the name still resounds, Abilene, Kansas, one of the first cow towns. Happy trails.
2 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Finding the Fence Post
This poem is the true story of a very simple encounter I had one day while riding horseback. It made me think about our pioneer ancestors and the things that we find that might have reminded us about what has gone on before. The poem is entitled, "Finding A Fence Post." I was riding through the hills one breezy, late fall day Counting cattle and enjoying the ride along the way I was in the middle of a pasture, quite large, I just might boast When I came across a single, solitary old hedge fence post It was clearly not a tree but a post that had been placed Yet, there was no other sign of human presence in the space I reined my horse up to a stop, as I paused to look around And pondered the meaning of this solitary post that I had found “How did this come to get here?” I sat my horse amused Had it been a snubbing post that some old cowpuncher used? Was it the last remaining vestige of some old long mend in fence? If so, there was no wire or any sign or evidence Had it been part of a homestead at some old settler's place? If so, what had happened that it disappeared without a trace? Had it been placed as a marker by some exploring pioneer Or a large pole for an Indian who might have camped right here? “An old fence seemed the most likely case,” I settled on But why was this post still standing when everything else was gone? The distant sun was setting, so I must get on with my task And I'll never know the answers to the questions that I ask Reluctantly, I rein my horse and gig him to a walk And ride away thinking, “If only that old post could talk.” Happy trails.
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