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Articles written by Baxter Black


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  • I Know You'll Miss this Man

    Baxter Black|Jun 30, 2022

    The Lord spoke to the heavy hearts that stood with hats in hand “Your sadness pains me deeply and I know you’ll miss this man But, it’s true what you’ve been hearing, Heaven is a real place. That’s no small consolation. You should use that fact to face The emptiness his parting left that seeps into your bones And draw on it to ease your pain. For he is not alone. You see, all his friends are up here and all his loved ones, too, ’Cause it wouldn’t be a heaven without each one of you. And heav...

  • So long...

    Baxter Black|Jan 6, 2022

    Dear Folks, This is Cindy Lou, Baxter’s wife, writing to you. I am very, very behind in sending this out to you but I wasn’t sure what to say. Not a good excuse, Baxter would say as he got after me. So this is what is going on: Baxter has some health problems that have put him in the retirement bracket. He has loved speaking, writing and doing his TV and radio work all these years, but sadly, he is at a point that he has to stop. December 31 will be the last day that our office will be ope...

  • A Horse Matters

    Baxter Black|Dec 30, 2021

    I like living someplace where a horse matters. There is just some country where horseback is the only way to get the job done. Places where the four-wheeler is a poor second, not to mention a noisy, track-leaving unnatural conveyance. Besides, it’s hard to throw a rope from. Helicopters can spot and scare, if that’s what you need, but it’s helpless when you have to doctor a calf. It is a great feeling to be pushing a cow out of a mesquite thicket, packing a dude down the Grand Canyon or track...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Dec 23, 2021

    It’s Christmas time, when we celebrate the birth of Christ. In the U.S., surveys show that more than 80% of us believe in God. That’s more people than have lawyers, drive foreign cars, believe DNA is absolute proof of a criminal act, own a home, have been divorced, or watch Oprah! How can such a high percentage of a highly educated, well-read, technologically and scientifically knowledgeable people believe in an omnipotent being? Where inside of us is the biological process that allows fai...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Dec 16, 2021

    I was reading the paper to the cat last week. She tries to keep up on current events, particularly stories about politics and alien landings. We got to a story where a few obscure animal rights groups have called for the nation’s 66 million pet cats to be kept indoors for life. “Why?” asked Miss Kitty. “Well,” I answered, “This says that free roaming cats kill from 8 million to 217 million birds a year in Wisconsin alone.” “My, I had no idea there were that many birds in Wisconsin.” “Ye...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Dec 9, 2021

    It’s true that my steer is all-natural I’ve dispensed with all vaccines and drugs Not one pesticide is poured on his hide He’d be lonesome without all the bugs! The lice are his own peanut gallery The ticks and the heel flies, too. He scratches all day while they nibble away But it does give him something to do. I’ve no use for antibiotics. For those drenches and potions and pills. He’s had a rough time, but now doin’ fine. Though he’s pore as an ol’ whippoorwill. He’s had rickets and doubl...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Dec 2, 2021

    I took a trip to the museum of natural history. It was a fascinating place: a taxidermist's showcase. A dog heaven, what with all the prehistoric bones. But as I walked through the halls and stared at the infinite variety of creatures that stalked the earth, I began to feel uneasy. I started seeing familiar faces looking back at me. There stood the reincarnated remains of Stegosaurus. He was twenty-five feet long, had a hump in his back, big spikes on his tail and a skull about the size of a Spa...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Nov 25, 2021

    Most would admit it was an unusual location to put a chain in the first place. Not that it didn’t look at home amongst the rotting posts and rusty headgate, but there it was. Miles and his wife decided their little place could carry a few more cows. It was a good year on the Montana high line but bred heifers were high. So they agreed that buyin’ yearlin’ heifers would be the ticket. They could select a good sire, synchronize the heat cycle and breed them artificially. They bought forty head...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Nov 18, 2021

    “There’s only one thing worse than eating next to a left-handed person, and that’s heading for him. It’s like trying to screw the male end of a garden house into the matching threads on your stock tank drain,” so spoke Bob to Allen, two fair-to-middlin’ team ropers, both fives, in the prime of their addiction. The equivalent of two-pack-a-day ropers. “Yeah, team ropin’s gone to hell,” answered Allen. “Used to be one guy had an arena and twelve guys came to his place to rope. You got in good pra...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Nov 11, 2021

    “’Twas a matchup made in Elko for the cowboys in the know Called the Rough and Ready Knock Down Finals All Ranch Rodeo. Now the Texans entered up a team they thought could never lose When they bet their reps against the Jordan Valley Buckaroos. You could tell from where they hailed if you put ’em up for bids, All the buckaroos wore fancy scarves and Amish lookin’ lids While the Texans wore their jackets for the brush down in the draws And them twenty dollar roll-yer-own, cheap Guatema... Full story

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Nov 4, 2021

    I had just finished loading 184 seven-foot steel T-posts, old ones, by the way, in my pickup and was unloading a mere 24 bales of hay from the front section of my gooseneck stock trailer. It was a hot, humid afternoon in early fall when the dead braches begin to stick out of the cottonwood greenery, and the garden starts goin’ to heck and no one cares. I could almost smell the cumin from Ramon’s #6 Combination Plate being distilled in my sweat from lunch earlier. Then I saw the blue box. The...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Oct 28, 2021

    It was a severe case of vegetable defamation, the makin's of a landmark case of harassment and abuse. The plaintiff, a Miss Parsley was demanding compensation of one Paul Pierre Potato and, to-be-specified produce. "So how do you plead, Mr. Tater?" "Not guilty but let me relate I'm a victim of mass inflammation,au gratined and smeared on a plate, laid next to a lecherous cutlet whose gravy kept touching my cheese. It was all I could do to keep silent. Then I felt the promiscuous peas. Nudging...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Oct 21, 2021

    Do you ever give much thought to where your weaner steers and heifers go when you load’em on the truck or take ’em to the sale? You think maybe it’s like goin’ off to college? Stay in the dormitory, have a nice roommate who doesn’t bawl or stay up all night talking about the cute Charolais they met in the cafeteria. Maybe join a fraternity or sorority, Milka Dama Cow. Play intramural head butting, horn wrestling or pin the tail on the Holstein? They can learn a foreign language like Corriente...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Oct 14, 2021

    I’ve got a mule deer hangin’ on my wall from northern New Mexico so I could relate to Rafael’s story. He had joined two of his cousins for a deer hunting trip near Cuba, N.M., where his uncle had a cabin. They arrived late and missed the first day because cousin Dee Dee was going through changes in her life. To be fair, Dee Dee was a good hunter so her ditsy behavior was unexpected. Rafael had agreed to guide, cook and pack. He was up at 5 a.m. getting the cook stove ready, the firewood gathe...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Oct 7, 2021

    Astrology is one of those wonderful pseudo-sciences like naturopathy or cattle futures that anybody with an imagination can rapidly become an expert in. I have taken it upon myself to devise my own astrological symbols. If there is some question which sign you were born under, just ask a friend. I present them to you now. OKRA—People born under the sign of Okra are slippery, smooth talkin’ and slick. Without self-restraint they can slide right over on their face. Okras make good molasses sal...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Sep 30, 2021

    I try not to make this column too educational but sometimes there is a need that can’t be ignored. When ranchers and cowmen work their cowherd, they are often under pressure to cull cows that they have developed a peculiar fondness for. Their excuses for keepin’ the ol’ darlin’ can be pretty feeble. I present to you a list of excuses which can be used as a handy reference while yer standin’ there at the chute. “I always keep the roan cows. They’re good luck.” “She’s a good marker.” “She’ll be go...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Sep 16, 2021

    When you take a seat in the waiting room of a veterinary clinic, a feedlot office or an animal health store, you occasionally notice a body sitting there who looks out of place. They are often dressed in a more formal attire than most clientele. They may be doing their times (two times two is four, two times four is eight, etc…), they may be reading the 10-year-old copy of Progressive Recipies Magazine, or they could be annoying you…just killing time. These dedicated people, who seem to take pre...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Sep 9, 2021

    1. If the new boss’s hat isn’t sweat stained, you can pretty much figger whose will be. 2. Phrases like, “My dad never paid me a dime till I was twenty-five”, or “I haven’t had a day off since dad’s funeral in 2017”, should put you on guard. 3. Expensive equipment doesn’t guarantee you’ll be paid well. That might be where the money’s all gone. 4. This should send up a warning flag, “My son is all-state in every sport in school, president of the senior class, engaged to the banker’s daughter, bui...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Sep 2, 2021

    R.C. is an animal lover. Maybe not the kind of animal lover that the term has come to mean in this era, but the kind that requires a greater commitment. He would tell you he’s a farmer. But he’s a horseman and trainer, cattleman, hog producer, corn grower and great-grandfather. He’s also a dog man, with the patience and persistence to deserve a good stock dog. R.C. has had a wide variety of dogs in his life. One day he asked his wife, Doris to keep an eye out for a Blue Heeler. They appea...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Aug 26, 2021

    When I hear a truck pull up in front of the house and the pandemonium of dogs barkin’ would wake a hibernating mastodon, I relax. It’s only my neighbor, D.K., come to borrow something of his back. He doesn’t get this ferocious reception because he’s on the canine list of unsavory visitors or because he has the reputation of annoying domestic animals on a regular basis. It’s because his two dogs usually accompany him on his rounds. My dogs even bark at his pickup when he drives in anticipat...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Aug 19, 2021

    Corn country landscape - painted late summer - high clouds, heavy with moisture waiting for afternoon to thicken and darken and start raising Cain. You can see for miles. Brown, green, yellow patchwork pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle. Feedlots in the distance, their pens spread out like dark blankets on the side of a hill. On the horizon to the north and south I can count three spray planes circling over the corn like buzzards. They are so far away I cannot hear them. Closer I can see circle spr...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Aug 12, 2021

    “Mama, when’s Daddy comin’ home? Is it time to worry yet?” “By supper, darlin’. Eat your Cheerios.” He rode out this morning early. Like he does six days a week I always make him tell me where he goes ‘Specially when I know he’s headed over on the canyon side At least I know I’ll have a place to start So in case he doesn’t come back I can hunt for him myself Or go for help if I get faint of heart “Run and git your schoolbooks, kiddos! And be sure to wash yer hands.” “Aw Mama, do we have to s...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Aug 5, 2021

    Some might wonder why prehistoric cave drawings weren’t more detailed. Surely there were artists capable of rendering intricate representations of the circulatory system of aurochs or the dentition of a Saber Tooth Tiger drawn to scale. But what we see on these cave walls are stick figure men chasing antelope shaped quadrupeds, reminiscent of Dick and Jane throwing a bone at Spot. Rather primitive at best. I think there had to be a Neanderthal equivalent of Norman Rockwell, but he was born w...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Jul 29, 2021

    Ted and his dad needed some cows to stock their little ranch in Oklahoma, and they needed ’em right away. A local trader solved their problem and injected a couple loads into them. By fall Ted began to notice one calf that stood taller than the rest. Must’uve had some Chianina blood coursing through his veins. They called him Alf. They got the big calf castrated and branded and watched him grow like a weed. After several months Ted gathered a bunch to ship. But Alf ducked back. Ted shook out...

  • On the Edge of Common Sense

    Baxter Black|Jul 22, 2021

    It was every fairboard’s nightmare when the lightning hit the stage. ’Course, it might have been expected; it was just another page In a trail of disasters that befell our county fair That began when Dr. Knockwurst told us we should be aware That a stomatitis outbreak might shut down the rodeo Not to mention all the entries in the Junior Livestock Show. Then the week before we opened they began to excavate Down the center of the highway that runs up to the main gate. Of course, they hit a waterl...

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