The Scoop View All →

Thanksgiving Lessons From the Pasture

By   5 days ago

This is Thanksgiving week here in the United States. For our international readers, Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest, and a time to count our blessings and thank everyone who contributed to all the good things in our lives. Families and friends get together for a big meal on Thursday that usually includes turkey […]

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Making History in Grazing Management

By   2 weeks ago

Some years ago, I spent a week at one of the most important sites in range management: the Great Basin Experimental Station. From 1912 to 1922, it was home to Arthur “Sammy” Sampson and a group of scientists doing research that would help us understand forage growth and sustainable grazing capacity on the rangelands of […]

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Free On Pasture Ebooks and Bonus Content

By   3 weeks ago

On Pasture is all about making your life easier. One way we’re doing that is by collecting articles into ebooks so you can read everything on a topic in one simple download. The Bonus Content is free to all paying subscribers as a thank you for your support. All you have to do is visit […]

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What Principles Guide Regenerative Agriculture?

By   4 weeks ago

If you’ve been reading On Pasture for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed an emphasis on principles. Why? Principles give us a foundation to start from – a way of thinking about what’s going on around us so that we can make decisions that work for our individual goals and our different environments. And […]

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Why Can We Look at the Same Thing and Come to Different Conclusions?

By   1 month ago

An old friend called me the other day and asked me this very question. I hear it from a lot of folks, so I did what I always do – I looked for science and theories that might give us an answer, and a handle on what we can do about it. One answer, the […]

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When the Fire Came – A Rancher Works Through Oregon’s Holiday Farm Fire

By   1 month ago

On September 9, John Marble’s short voice mail on my home phone said, “We have fire on three sides and we’re evacuating cattle.” He was running from the Holiday Farm fire that had been whipped into a frenzy by gale force winds two days earlier. By the next day, his part of the Calapooia Valley […]

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Why do we do it this way? How can we do it better?

By   2 months ago

When I’m up against a challenge, I have some questions that I ask myself: Why do we do it this way? How can we do it better? What is another right answer? That last question, “What is another right answer?” is a principle for creativity and problem solving that I learned from Dewitt Jones. Dewitt […]

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See Me at the CSSRM Online Conference

By   2 months ago

This October 27, I’m joining Tip Hudson and Clay Conry on a free webinar to talk about the work we’re each doing to build community and provide support to graziers. You might know Tip from his podcast “The Art of Range” and Clay from his podcast “Working Cows.” Tip, Clay, and I are the third […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Conservation Stewardship Program Helps This Grazier Hit His Conservation Goals

    By   5 days ago

    Good grazing provides so many ecosystem services, from healthy soil to clean water to important wildlife habitat. Here’s a program that can cover costs of implementing practices that improve conservation and pay you for your ongoing efforts.

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    Relationships With the Land Keep Ranchers Going in Hard Times

    By   2 weeks ago

    This week we’re taking another field trip – this time to Colorado where we hear a story that is being told more and more often in the West. It’s about drought, and its impact on agriculture. Today we’ll learn how three ranches have used their relationships with the land, and their good grazing management to […]

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    Are You Ready For Winter? Here’s How Much Feed You’ll Need and How to Serve It Up

    By   3 weeks ago

    Here in Indiana, the rains are finally replenishing reserves in most areas. Though a bit late for some things, it is still a boost for forages that have been stockpiled and they have leaped in compensatory growth! But sooner or later, it’s going to snow, and everything will quit growing. So, it’s time to be […]

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    Swath Grazing – Creating the Swaths that Cows Prefer

    By   4 weeks ago

    Meet Taylor Grafton, Ranch Manager for the Bar K Ranch in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. In this 8:02 video, he gives us the ins and outs of swath grazing. This is a technique of mowing pastures into swaths as a winter feed source for cattle or other livestock. The first thing to keep in […]

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    How to Graze During the Dormant Season (Summer or Fall)

    By   1 month ago

    Whether it’s fair or not, people seem to believe that northwest corner of America is a fairly unique place. Folks like to rave about the extraordinary degree of “greenness” in this country, while also whining and moaning about our soggy winters. I always find this entertaining. The truth is, we do have a long, gray […]

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    Want to Know How to Get the Most From Your Pastures? Ask a Dairy Grazier

    By   1 month ago

    When Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen decided Double J Jerseys was going all grass fed in 2017, he faced a challenge. Milk production requires a tremendous amount of energy, so pasture forages really need to pack a punch. He also needed resilience, and feed that would hold up through heat, cold and drought. Finally, milk […]

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    Conservation and Ranching Go Hand in Hand

    By   2 months ago

    Thanks to the Sand County Foundation for this piece. I’ve added some ideas about how you can use what you learn here. Craig and Conni French always considered themselves good land stewards, but six years ago things really began to change. They came to see their cattle ranch’s fate was tied to healthy soils and […]

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    Use Good Stop Grazing Heights For Animal and Soil Health and More Spring Forage

    By   2 months ago

    It is late September as I write this, and so far this month I’ve had a total of two-fifths of an inch of rain up until today. Some oats and turnips I planted over three weeks ago have barely broke ground. They won’t provide much grazing at this rate. Sadly, there are areas of Indiana […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Hungry Plants Order Up Iron From Soil Microbes

      By   5 days ago

      Continuing with our Thanksgiving theme, here’s how plants harvest some nutrition for their own dinner. Thanks to the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research for their work on this article.   In nature, healthy plants are awash with bacteria and other microbes, mostly deriving from the soil they grow in. This community of microbes, […]

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      Plant Vigor and Range/Pasture Production

      By   2 weeks ago

      This article comes to us from J.L. Lantow and the February 1945 issue of Soil Conservation. It’s a good reminder of how long the principles of good grazing have been around. Merely to be alive is important, but to have abundant health is still more important. This is as true of plants as of animals. […]

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      What are your grasses doing? What’s the result of your management?

      By   3 weeks ago

      Today we’re taking a field trip to visit the Gilbert family on their ranch in Buffalo, South Dakota. The Gilbert family has been ranching here on the shortgrass prairie since 1894, starting with sheep and then converting to Angus cattle. They graze rotationally, constantly tweaking and adjusting their management and monitoring to make sure the […]

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      Fall and Winter Alfalfa Grazing Tips

      By   4 weeks ago

      Thanks to Brad Schick and Ben Beckman, Nebraska Extension Educators, and BeefWatch for this timely article! There is often fear associated with grazing alfalfa due to bloat potential or hurting the alfalfa stand. These are very valid concerns, but with additional management and timing alfalfa stands can provide supplemental forage. In a haying system during […]

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      If it’s so great, why don’t we see silvopasture everywhere?

      By   1 month ago

      I was at a pasture walk some time ago, when the farmer pointed to the few scraggly trees strewn throughout his paddocks. They were close to death, and the grass around them had long been trampled into nothing over the course of a long, hot summer. These trees were the sole relief from the sun, […]

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      Is a Second Dust Bowl on Its Way?

      By   1 month ago

      Thanks to Paul Gabrielsen, science writer, University Marketing & Communications, University of Utah for this piece. Got any spaces left on that 2020 bingo card? Pencil in “another Dust Bowl in the Great Plains.” A study from University of Utah researchers and their colleagues finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains […]

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      Want to Know How to Get the Most From Your Pastures? Ask a Dairy Grazier

      By   1 month ago

      When Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen decided Double J Jerseys was going all grass fed in 2017, he faced a challenge. Milk production requires a tremendous amount of energy, so pasture forages really need to pack a punch. He also needed resilience, and feed that would hold up through heat, cold and drought. Finally, milk […]

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      Farmer Manages Variety and Builds Resilience Through Soil Health

      By   2 months ago

      Thanks to the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition for this article! South Dakota is known for its variety, and Don Nickelson’s operation in Frederick is no exception. With the help of his wife, Trista, and sons Aiden, Gavin, and Ian, Nickelson raises cattle and grows corn, soybeans, oats, triticale, alfalfa and cover crops. His farm […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Black Soldier Fly Larvae – It’s What’s For Dinner

        By   5 days ago

        It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States, a time when, in addition to giving thanks, we think a lot about food. With that in mind we thank Science Daily and the University of Queensland for contributing to this article.   It may seem a little hard to swallow but the larvae of a waste-eating […]

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        How Do Animals Choose Where to Graze and Find the Best Forage and Water?

        By   2 weeks ago

        Thirty years of research by Dr. Fred Provenza and his colleagues at Utah State University shows us that what we’ve always thought about how animals choose what to eat and where to live doesn’t work the way we thought it did. How it actually works has completely changed my life. In fact, it’s why you’re […]

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        Are You Really Prepared to Harvest a Market Animal at Home?

        By   3 weeks ago

        Thanks to University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s BeefWatch and Brianna Buseman, Youth Meat Nebraska Extension Educator and Carol Schwarz, Nebraska Extension Educator for this helpful article!   Many people are looking for opportunities to buy market animals to harvest at home, which has led to many questions about the best way to complete that task. Prior to […]

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        Got Lice? Keep Them From Sucking the Life Out of Your Herd

        By   4 weeks ago

        This article, courtesy of the Beef Research Council, is a follow-on to their recent webinar, Prevent External Parasites from Bugging Your Cattle. It covers all the main points the speakers shared, and it even includes links to specific topics in the webinar to make it easy for you to watch the parts you’re most interested […]

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        How Good Are You at Assessing Animal Temperament?

        By   1 month ago

        Thanks to University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s BeefWatch, and  Jamie Parham and Dr. Ronald M. Lewis, UNL Professor of Animal Breeding and Genomics for this article. Some edits were made to fit On Pasture’s style guide. We also added UNL chute behavior videos so you can test your skills. Temperament is an animal’s behavioral response to handling […]

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        Answers to Temperament Scores

        By   1 month ago

        1. Temperament Score – 5 2. Temperament Score – 3 3. Temperament Score – 2 4. Temperament Score – 4 5. Temperament Score – 1

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        Low-Stress Livestock Handling Part 2 – Observation, Driving and Parallel Movement With a Focus on Sheep

        By   1 month ago

        Last week we shared a video from Boyd Holden about best practices for low-stress sheep handling. Boyd is an animal handling consultant from Australia who covers handling of both cattle and sheep in a series of training videos. I appreciate his approach of starting from the beginning and then sharing techniques in little chunks like […]

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        Low-Stress Livestock Handling – Best Practices for Sheep Part 1

        By   2 months ago

        If you’ve been reading On Pasture for very long, you’ve certainly seen Whit Hibbard’s articles sharing the ins and outs of moving cattle and other livestock. But sometimes it helps to see the principles in action. So here’s a video prepared by our friends down under, with the help of animal handling consultant Boyd Holden. […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Record Keeping and the Importance of Journaling

          By   5 days ago

          In keeping with the spirit of the Thanksgiving week, here’s a little something about how record keeping can make us remember the past and be grateful. There have been, over the years, many discussions of the importance of records in the livestock business. There are production records. There are breeding and birthing records. There are […]

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          How Much Should I Charge/Pay for Pasture Rental?

          By   3 weeks ago

          Good question! And one I’ve been asked quite often. One good place to start is at the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. NASS is the federal agency tasked gathering and reporting the facts on American agriculture for people working in and depending on the industry. In addition to a Census of Agriculture every five years, […]

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          Here’s a Tool to Make Farm/Ranch Financial Analysis Easier

          By   1 month ago

          If you’re not a great record keeper, you’re not alone. Most folks I know would rather be outside doing chores than inside filing receipts or going through records to figure out if the latest enterprise is bringing in the expected profit. So, to make it easier, and set you up for success, the Center for […]

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          Is “Tradition” Harming Your Operation?

          By   2 months ago

          Agriculture is steeped in tradition. These traditions serve as a source of pride and continuity which help make us who we are in agriculture. However, these same traditions create a paradox of sorts when it comes to managing the business of ranching. Balancing respect for traditions and fostering innovation can be tricky to navigate. Another […]

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          How to Start a Ranch From Scratch

          By   2 months ago

          Can’t be done. At least that is what conventional wisdom says. I’d agree that it can’t be done, if you follow the rules of traditional ranching – running cows the way everyone else does and owning everything. If you are willing to break some rules and challenge conventional wisdom maybe you can join the amazing […]

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          A New Meat School Coming to a Town or Computer Near You!

          By   2 months ago

          Are you interested in learning more about production, processing and selling your pasture-finished product to diverse market channels? Would you like new ways to manage risk in your meat business and improve your profitability? If the answers are yes, then you’ll want to check out the Western Meat School. The Western Meat School is organized […]

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          Overcoming Challenges to Create a Successful Grass Fed Beef Supply Chain

          By   3 months ago

          A case study of a regional grass fed beef supply chain that came out this past Spring gives us a good look at how one producer addressed the issues that direct marketers in this business usually encounter. From building a brand and successfully marketing it, to having enough product to meet the demand of customers, […]

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          Solar Panels for Powering Your Farm/Ranch – Here’s What to Consider

          By   3 months ago

          If you’re wondering if solar power is a good option for your operation, this four-part video series from John Hay and University of Nebraska Extension is for you. Though the series bills itself as information for beginning farmers and ranchers, it’s really beneficial to anyone interested in solar power options. I’ve included all four videos […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            A Fall, Post-Drought Pasture Walk at Greg and Jan Judy’s Green Pastures Farm

            By   5 days ago

            This article comes to us from November of 2013 and On Pasture’s first year of publication. After a 6 month drought, you’d think that Greg might be a little down about his winter grazing prospects, and you’d be wrong.  He’s found that managing his animals as one big herd is especially beneficial during drought.  In […]

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            Can We Replace Man-Made Fertilizers With Manure?

            By   2 weeks ago

            From November of 2018, here’s a look at why we use inorganic man-made fertilizers even though we know that manure does a better job of improving soil structure and health. Andrew McGuire’s answer, after doing the math, is that there’s just not enough manure in the world to produce the amount of food people on […]

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            A Simple Spreadsheet For Figuring Forage Availability, Winter Feed Needs and More

            By   3 weeks ago

            I created this calculator for the OP community way back in 2013. The calculator is really an Xcel spreadsheet. You plug numbers into the yellow boxes and the answers you need show up in the dark green boxes. There are several different part to the calculator, depending on the questions you’re asking. Forage Available The […]

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            The How-Tos of Pastured Turkeys

            By   4 weeks ago

            From November 0f 2013, these pointers still hold true today! This time of year, most people only have two questions on their mind: 1) Why has the Christmas music started already? 2) Where am I going to get my Thanksgiving turkey? Although I can’t explain away Burl Ives songs in early November, I’m more than happy […]

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            Early Weaning During Drought is Good For Cows, Calves, and Producers

            By   1 month ago

            We originally published this story in October of 2014 and it’s great information as more and more folks face off against drought conditions. It comes to us from the 2013 issue of Agricultural Research, a former publication of the USDA Agriculture Research Service, and was written by Sandra Avant. At the beginning of 2013, cattle […]

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            Grazing Pigs – Fencing Tips

            By   1 month ago

            If you’d like to raise pigs, this piece from the On Pasture archives is a great way to start. Check the end of the article for opportunities to learn more about raising livestock and marketing and selling meat. Of all the animals we have raised (cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs and cats), we like the […]

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            Forrest Pritchard’s Secrets for Successful Farming

            By   2 months ago

            Forrest Pritchard is the New York Times best-selling author of three books on his experiences as a farmer, including “Start Your Farm,” Kathy’s favorite book for folks considering taking the leap. Here he shares some of his insights.

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            Do Animals Know Which Minerals They Need?

            By   2 months ago

            This is the latest knowledge we have on how animals and their response to mineral feeding. It’s an important part of building a mineral program to meet your herd’s needs. A number of companies in the U.S. sell free-choice or cafeteria-style mineral supplements. Their rationale is that ruminants will select the minerals they need and […]

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              Consider This View All →

              Engineered Soil Pulls Moisture From Air to Water Plants

              By   2 weeks ago

              Thanks to the University of Texas at Austin for this article. A new type of soil created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin can pull water from the air and distribute it to plants, potentially expanding the map of farmable land around the globe to previously inhospitable places and reducing water use […]

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              Match.com for Grazing? These Exchanges Match Graziers and Folks Who Need Them

              By   4 weeks ago

              There are lots of reasons for adding livestock to landscapes. Grazing crop residue and cover crops is a low-cost way to recycle nutrients back into the soil and increase crop production. It’s also an easy way to reduce residue for more successful no-till seeding. Land managers can use livestock to manage weeds, improve water quality, […]

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              Build Your “Room” for Success

              By   1 month ago

              A year ago I listened to an interview with author David Weinberger on CBC radio. The host was asking questions about Weinberger’s book ‘Too Big To Know.’ Weinberger posed the question, “Who is the smartest person in the room?” His answer….the room! In the book, the author talked about how the internet and our access […]

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              Getting Paid For Good Grazing: The Carbon Market of the Future

              By   2 months ago

              Oregon Forage and Grassland Council’s free Zoom series “Lunch With Forages” kicked off last week with a look at a potential new revenue stream for graziers: trading good grazing practices for cash. Debbie Reed, the Executive Director of Ecosystem Services Marketing Consortium, was the featured speaker and she described the carbon market and making it […]

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              The Time I Almost Died On My Tractor…Mom Please Skip This One.

              By   2 months ago

              I was sitting here thinking about how I’m glad I don’t wear my mistakes on my person. Like many of my farming kin, I have done some really thoughtless things on the farm. It seems that the end of a long day, under the sun, with deadlines looming, animals needing to be fed, and bills […]

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              Managing Vegetation in Solar Arrays With Sheep

              By   3 months ago

              Last spring we shared a series of stories from the American Solar Grazing Association on the increase in solar developments, and how sheep grazing is becoming an important part of managing vegetation so solar panels work most effectively. The first in the series described the opportunities and potential income for sheep graziers. In Part 2, […]

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              Make Sure Your Equipment Doesn’t Turn Into Just a Pile of Steel

              By   3 months ago

              “I need you to come right away. The driveline just snapped off the baler” “IT DID WHAT?! Shut it down. I’ll be there in five minutes” Click. The heat of the afternoon sun smacks me in the face as I scramble down the steps of the big, blue New Holland PowerStar 120. I hit the […]

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              It Takes a Village (of Insects) to Raze a Manure Pile

              By   4 months ago

              The manure your livestock leave behind in pasture can provide beneficial nutrients. But how do the nutrients get from the pile and into the soil? If you said Dung Beetles, you’re only 1.5 to 3% correct.

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                The Funnies View All →

                Be sure to follow recipes carefully!

                By   5 days ago

                If you’re cooking this Thanksgiving, don’t skip important steps! Save

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                Exploding Whale

                By   2 weeks ago

                To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the infamous beached whale incident that took place in Florence, Oregon on November 12th 1970, the Oregon Historical Society arranged for a 4K transfer of the original raw film footage from their archive. KATU has re-edited the package from the new high resolution video. Enjoy!

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                Rare Photo of the First Dodge Ram

                By   4 weeks ago

                Who knew it had been in the works so long?! (Although I’m pretty sure this is actually a buck. :-)) Now I keep wondering, “Where is the gas peddle?”

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                Sheep Discovers the Fun of a Trampoline

                By   1 month ago

                No back flips, but it’s a start!

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                Tools Explained

                By   1 month ago

                From some friends on Facebook – these descriptions explain perfectly the way I’ve seen these tools used! DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which […]

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                Dog Breads

                By   2 months ago

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                Stella’s Best Leaf Jumps of All Time

                By   2 months ago

                Stella the Dog has a thing for piles of leaves. It’s 3:10 of fun – with a cute ending. Enjoy watching her enjoy!

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