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The Scoop View All →

Kathy Goes to Washington

By   11 hours ago

I went to Washington D.C. the last week of June to talk to our Natural Resources Conservation Services partners about On Pasture and its future. We had a great meeting, where I got to meet the new Chief, Matt Lohr. He is a fellow farmer from Virginia and so he knows a lot about the […]

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On Pasture Articles in Books Designed Just For You

By   1 week ago

With this week’s issue, there are 2,363 articles in On Pasture’s archives. It’s that archive that has made On Pasture the most read grazing magazine around. Our stats show us the search terms folks use to bring them to On Pasture for answers. One question leads to more and, before you know it ,they’re regular […]

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BYOB Week at On Pasture

By   2 weeks ago

On Pasture is on break this week. You might want to take a break too. But if not, then it’s BYOB Week, meaning you can “Build Your Own Batch” of articles from the 2,800 that we’ve got in the archives. Here are some hints for finding something great to read: • Search by category by […]

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Really Good Reasons Not to Change – Even When You Should

By   3 weeks ago

It’s not that we need a paradigm shift. It’s that we have some very real things that get in the way. And it’s hard to figure out how to overcome these challenges.

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Here’s the Silver Bullet

By   4 weeks ago

Today’s Scoop comes to us courtesy of On Pasture author John Marble and a conversation he and I had this morning about farmers and ranchers trying new things and the ongoing search for a silver bullet that will solve all our problems. Here’s what he shared: “We’ve all heard the talk about the BIG IDEA […]

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Farmers and Ranchers Who Talk With Each Other Are More Profitable

By   1 month ago

A few years back, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland analyzed the impact of farmers participating in discussion groups. They learned that members of these groups grossed the equivalent of about $100/acre more than their non-member counterparts. Now, just leaving a comment on a discussion board, or being part of a farmer/rancher group […]

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How to Find Answers to Your Grazing Season Questions

By   1 month ago

As grazing season rolls in, I know you’re all busier and busier. And questions are coming up for you. Whether it’s problems with fencing or getting water to the herd, or trying to adjust your grazing management, you need answers NOW. So, here’s how you can find answers at On Pasture, along with some ideas […]

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How Do You Graze When Your Pastures Are Saturated?

By   2 months ago

I got an email from a reader this past week asking just this question. Rain, rain, and more rain had soaked his soils. Not wanting to damage his pastures, he delayed turn out for a month, but his hay supplies are running out, and the pastures are maturing. He wondered what folks in the know […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    A Step by Step Approach to Building Pasture Productivity and Soil Health

    By   11 hours ago

    If you’re working on change, I think you’re going to love this interview of Ronnie Nuckols of Crozier, VA. He talks about how he started with small steps, building on each one, and the progress he saw at each step inspired him to keep going. He started with what may be the hardest step: changing […]

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    Mob Grazing in South Dakota Ten Months of the Year

    By   1 week ago

    Charlie and Tanya Totten rent 4,000 acres of flat, fertile pasture land and rocky river breaks near Chamberlain, South Dakota. In this video he talks about how he manages his cattle and his land to improve productivity and natural resources. Charlie says, “I’m not doing it for my grand kids. I’m doing it for me […]

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    Best of OP – Managing Multi-Species Grazing

    By   2 weeks ago

    On old MacDonald’s Farm, there were all types of animals—here a moo, there an oink and over there a cluck, cluck—but managing multiple species and the pastures that support them in a forage-based environment is more akin to a complex symphony with you, the farmer, as the conductor.  Regardless of the players (aka: species), there […]

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    Top Ten Grazing Management Misconceptions

    By   3 weeks ago

    Sometimes we all suffer from perceptual misconceptions that affect our operations. Resolving them may require a rather steep and abrupt learning curve to achieve success. Here are 10 common grazing management misconceptions. If you’re saying any of these things, you may need to take a step back and reconsider. 1. “In this county, I can […]

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    Offset Fencing – An Option for Keeping Wily Animals in Pastures

    By   4 weeks ago

    This is my second summer buying, breeding and flipping yearling heifers in New York. I use two-day moves and high density grazing to get good animal performance and pasture utilization. My success of depends on my herd respecting a single electric wire. To make sure they have that respect, I’ve made some adjustments to my […]

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    Making Hay While the Sun Shines, Even If You Don’t Want To

    By   1 month ago

    All the drought indicators were met, so John’s drought management plan kicked in. And then it rained.

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    Birdwell and Clark Ranch – Moving 5,000 Head of Cattle Multiple Times a Day

    By   1 month ago

    When Emry Birdwell and Deborah Clark bought their 14,000 acre ranch in north Texas in 2003 it was a monoculture of little blue stem with 25% bare ground, and areas that were overgrazed and undergrazed. Today, it produces two times the county average of beef per acre and in less time. For that, and the […]

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    Greg Judy Talks Electric Fencing and Gates for Sheep and Cattle

    By   2 months ago

    While Greg designed these fences to keep goats, sheep and guardian dogs in, they work for his cattle too. See what he’s using and consider how you’d adapt it to your operation.

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      Pasture Health View All →

      I’ve Got This Weed Growing in My Pasture. What Does It Say About My Soil?

      By   11 hours ago

      Can weeds tell you about soil health issues? Well, yes and no. I’ve got a lot of experience with weeds since I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching cattle, sheep, goats and bison to eat them under all kinds of soil conditions in and all kinds of landscapes. My observation is that spotted knapweed does […]

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      The Thrill of Soil Sampling!

      By   1 week ago

      From what I’ve read in Facebook groups and heard from folks, soil sampling isn’t something anyone wants to do. But, the results from a well-executed soil sample, can tell you what your soil is lacking and give you some ideas for how to manage to improve the situation. It can also tell you if your […]

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      Best of OP – Great “Grass Farmers” Grow Roots

      By   2 weeks ago

      If you go to enough workshops about grazing, you’re bound to see an illustration that shows how biting off the tops of plants impacts their roots, and how if you graze short enough, the plant won’t have enough roots to rebound and produce more leafy material. In fact, if you’ve been with us at On Pasture for […]

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      Forage Sampling For Haying and Grazing and Tips on Bale Size

      By   3 weeks ago

      Forage sampling in a standing pasture allows us to get a feed value estimate of forages that will be fed to livestock. It’s also helpful for making sure your forage is at the best stage for cutting hay. While you can look at it, checking the color, leaf to stem content, and the stage of […]

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      Cover Crop Legumes That Are Great Forage

      By   4 weeks ago

      This study may not have turned out as planned, but it did provide some great information about just how useful some pea and hairy vetch varieties are for providing forage for spring grazing.

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      Stockpile, Clip, or Hay? What To Do Now

      By   1 month ago

      I cannot believe the weather. I have never seen a spring quite like this. After a long discussion recently with an old friend who is 79, he said he hadn’t either and we both agreed that we would rather not see another, but only because the weather didn’t repeat itself. We have gone from soggy […]

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      Greg Judy IDs Grasses and Legumes in His Pastures

      By   1 month ago

      Folks like to know what I grow in my pastures – and it’s what’s in a lot of your pastures too. So here’s a video that shows what I’ve got and why I like it. (Again, there’s a bit of wind in the video, so I apologize.) Kathy added some pictures of these grasses to […]

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      How Does Carbon Get From the Atmosphere Into the Soil?

      By   2 months ago

      Understanding this process can inform how you manage your livestock, forage and soil to not only increase your ability to produce food, fiber and flora, but to make a big difference in slowing and even reversing climate change.

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        Livestock View All →

        DIY Mineral Feeder

        By   11 hours ago

        Hello to John, one of our readers in Victoria, Australia! He asked for an article on a mineral feeder design that would be accessible to sheep and would keep his mineral blocks off the ground. This DIY mineral feeder designed by Matt Poore (of Amazing Grazing fame) could be just the thing. It’s designed for […]

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        Placing Cattle – The Art of Getting Cattle to Stay Put Without an Extra Fence

        By   1 week ago

        Thanks to Dawn Hnatow for co-authoring this article! Imagine how expedient it would be if we could drive our cattle to a particular place in a pasture—say an area that they normally don’t graze—and have them stay there without the use of additional fence, at least until they ran out of feed or needed to […]

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        Best of OP – The Importance of Tail Docking Lambs

        By   2 weeks ago

        Ever had a rotten tooth pulled? I have, and it smarts a bit. But would I rather that tooth was still there, or that it abscessed and dumped toxins into my bloodstream? Not really. And that’s essentially the case in favor of docking most lambs’ tails shortly after birth. “But Bill!” you protest. “A lamb’s […]

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        Stone Barns Mobile Chicken Coop Free DIY Plans

        By   3 weeks ago

        Check out this short video showing Stone Barns’ mobile chicken coop. It was built with materials available at any hardware or farm supply store, and designed to be customizable for each farmer’s particular operation. Special thanks to former Farm Data Coordinator Shannon Rooney for making the CAD drawings.  Download the plans now to build your […]

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        Multi-Species Grazing Part 3 – Grass and Soil Management Principles

        By   4 weeks ago

        No matter what kind of stock you’re grazing, these management principles apply.

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        Multi-Species Grazing Part 2 – Birthing Season and Grass Management

        By   1 month ago

        Tom Krawiec has been handling 2,000 to 3,000 head per year for close to 15 years. His MOBs can include saddle horses, cattle, sheep and even pigs. In Part 1 of this series he described how he gets different species to behave as one herd and some of the helpful behaviors he’s seen as a […]

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        Multi-species Grazing Management Part 1 – Saddle Horses Are Jerks

        By   1 month ago

        First off, let me assure you I do not hate horses. In fact, this article is not really about horses at all. It is about soil and grass. Horses, though, can really improve grass and soil even though the way they are currently managed does the opposite. It’s just that when horses are grazed in […]

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        Polioencephalomalacia – A Danger for Young Goats, Sheep and Cattle

        By   2 months ago

        In 2002, I was raising 60 baby goats by hand. We started them in a barn, and by Spring had transferred them to pasture where they were learning to graze. One morning, during my usual check on them, I noticed one was acting oddly. He didn’t seem to be able to see, and was turning […]

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          Consider This View All →

          Livestock Genetic Diversity is Being Preserved Thanks to an ARS Collection

          By   11 hours ago

          This is an edited version of an article by Dennis O’Brien of the Agriculture Research Service. When the sample of semen from the Duroc boar—a breed of domestic pig—arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado this spring, the scientists and staff at the Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Germplasm Collection had a little celebration. Why? Because it […]

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          Best of OP – More Ways to Keep Flies Off Your Livestock

          By   2 weeks ago

          There’s more than one way to skin a cat or catch a fly. On Pasture reader Fred Forsburg was inspired to share his method of keeping flies off his cattle by the article several weeks ago on Loran Shallenberger’s Farm Hack Fly Trap. We thought you’d like to see what works for Fred. We love […]

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          Sheep Cross Hanging Bridges

          By   4 weeks ago

          Farmers and ranchers everywhere face challenges when it comes to moving their stock, especially when it comes to crossing water. Shepherds have solved water crossing problems by building hanging bridges. Here’s what that looks like for shepherds in Nepal. These Himalayan sheep are crossing a hanging bridge in Ghumliband, Rukum Nepal. A total of 687 […]

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          Not “No” but “Hell No”

          A policy that destroys farmer and farmland cannot be accepted in agricultural terms. It also directly contradicts our goal of national defense. A Country that is heedlessly destroying its capactiy to feed itself cannot be defended.

          By   1 month ago

          James Matthew Craighead asked this question: “Is grass fed the worst thing that happened to agriculture?” Don Ashford, one of On Pasture’s Writers in Residence shares these thoughts. No, absolutely no. What is Grassfed? If I understand the labeling requirements correctly, any animal that has eaten grass anytime in its life can be labeled grass […]

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          Tapas: One Bite of Local Opportunity

          By   2 months ago

          My first first response to the idea of a tapas menu or plate was “That’s too small to  satisfy a hungry farmer!”  My meat and potato mentality couldn’t be more wrong. I also realized this delicate, small, Spanish-style savory dish has the potential to be the best marketing opportunity yet because that one bite tells […]

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          Is Grass Fed the Worst Thing That Happened To Agriculture?

          By   2 months ago

          James Matthew Craighead has studied sustainable agriculture for a decade and the result is a lot of questions. Some of these are hard questions and may trigger a little defensiveness in us all. Just remember, he’s sharing them here to open a constructive dialogue that might lead us all to a place where we are better both individually and as a group.

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          Surviving the Naysayers – Part 2 of Thinking Outside the Box

          By   3 months ago

          Greg has spent a lot of time thinking and working outside the box. Last week he shared ideas on how you can do it to. This week, he talks about surviving the folks who will laugh at you for stepping out. I’ve watched farmers do the same thing for 40-50 years and all they do […]

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          The Conservation Stewardship Program – Funding for Improvements to Your Operation

          By   3 months ago

          “What CSP has done for us, it has allowed us to explore better options and produce a better product. it gives you a little more financial freedom to do things, things that you dream up and say ‘Gees, I wish we could do this, but money wise you just can’t’. It’s given us more freedom […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            How to Graze Trampled Grass

            By   11 hours ago

            For some On Pasture readers, there was way too much rain early in the grazing season and the grass got way ahead, causing more trampling issues. If you’re wondering how to graze it now, Bruce has some ideas for you. (From an August 2018 issue.) How should you graze regrowth in pastures that had tall […]

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            How One Farm Family is Improving Soil Health

            By   1 week ago

            From our July 2018 archives, here are some ideas about adapting practices to fit different operations, and the importance of working with others. Today I have two videos for you from JP and Holly Heber who raise row crops and cattle in east-central South Dakota. They’re talking about their no-till and cover crops and how […]

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            Best of OP – How to Be A Successful Farmer/Rancher in the 21st Century

            By   2 weeks ago

            Forrest has been thinking about this for a long time. We first published this in October of 2014. Read on for how he’s gone deeper with a new book on the topic. As Bren Smith recently explained in his heartfelt editorial for the New York Times (Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be […]

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            How Much Time and Money Should You Spend on That Calf?

            By   3 weeks ago

            From June of 2017 – It’s a good time of year to think about this so you can make decisions about management and taking calves to market. We added an Excel-based “calculator” to make it easier. 🙂 It is important that cattle producers know the cost of adding gain to cattle and the marginal value […]

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            Study Shows Management-Intensive Grazing Impacts on Forage Quantity and Quality

            By   4 weeks ago

            This article was first published in June of 2016. Not everyone believes that pastures under management-intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) differ from grasslands under other management in terms of forage quality and quantity, carbon sequestration and biological soil activity. So researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to run some trials to find out, comparing management-intensive […]

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            Create Another “Acre” of Pasture By Managing the Grass You’ve Got

            By   1 month ago

            We first ran this piece in April of 2018. The two articles in the series are drawn from a presentation Jim Gerrish did in 2015 sponsored by the Iowa Beef Center.  We’ve embedded the 15:20 video of the presentation where Jim talks about the benefits of “wasting grass.” We’re also summarizing it in two bite […]

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            Timing for Pasture Recovery Part 1 – Rest is NOT a Four-Letter Word

            By   1 month ago

            Well – technically it is a 4-letter word, but we shouldn’t use it like it is one. Here, Dave Pratt talks about why it is one of the most important words in a grazier’s vocabulary if you want to build capacity on your farm or ranch.

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            Feed Your Microbes to Make Great Soil

            By   2 months ago

            This piece first published in a 2017 issue of On Pasture. Since we’re looking at the Marin Carbon Projects efforts to improve soil carbon sequestration, (here’s Part 1 and Part 2) I thought it would be helpful now. Enjoy! In June of 2014, Grist reporter Nathanael Johnson reported on a battle between two men in […]

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              Money Matters View All →

              A First Step in Reducing Inputs to Increase Profitability

              By   1 week ago

              We talk a lot about reducing inputs so that the farm or ranch can be more profitable. But how do you figure out what you should cut and what you should keep? Do you have a goal that can provide direction? For some ideas on that, here’s a jam-packed 2:13 interview with the Noble Research […]

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              This New Podcast Will Get Your Business Going

              By   3 weeks ago

              Charlotte Smith heard some disturbing USDA statistics a few years ago: “Three hundred farmers go out of business every week in the United States. Eighty percent are are out of business by year two, and only 2% of farmers are still around at year five.” That’s something Charlotte is determined to change, so, with her […]

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              Making Dreams Come True

              By   1 month ago

              There is a line in one of Bruce Springsteen’s songs, “is a dream a lie if it don’t come true?” We all have our dreams but the ones that become reality and were not a lie are the ones that we really worked on to make come true. My Daddy used to tell me and […]

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              Are You Running a Marginal Business?

              By   2 months ago

              What starts out as a bar conversation becomes a lesson in what to do if you want to make more money farming or ranching.

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              Partnerships Demonstrate That Profitable Ranching and Healthy Ecosystems Go Hand in Hand

              By   2 months ago

              Thanks to my co-author on this piece, Pete Bauman. He sent me the video and shared the key takeaways that makes the video so helpful. Pete is a Range Field Specialist for South Dakota State University Extension. His specialty is helping producers combine profitability and ecological balance. Bill Sproul loves prairies and all that open […]

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              Check Out the Programs That Helped This Start-Up Farmer Succeed

              By   2 months ago

              Whether you’re a start-up, or you’ve been in the business awhile, here are some programs that provide assistance to get you going, or provide support for new projects, or to get through emergencies.

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              A Model for Getting Local Meats and Produce Into Supermarkets

              By   3 months ago

              Fifteen years ago, it was unheard of for a small farm to sell beef to a supermarket. But today, thanks to Diana Endicott and several projects supported by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Educatioan grants (SARE), over 100 farmers in the Kansas City area supply 30 supermarkets, with meats, fruits, vegetables and specialty goods. Diana and […]

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              DEADLINE ALERT: Conservation Stewardship Program Applications Due May 10, 2019

              By   3 months ago

              $700 million is available nationwide to support conservation efforts on your operation. But you have to fill out a short form and apply by the deadline to be considered. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is USDA’s largest conservation program, offering whole farm, comprehensive conservation assistance to farmers and ranchers across the country. CSP helps producers […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                Terrifying a Cab Driver

                By   11 hours ago

                Plenty of cab drivers have terrified me, so it seems like turn about is fair play. Here’s a little story a friend told me….. My husband and I were dressed and ready to go out for a lovely evening of dinner and a movie. Having been robbed in the past, we turned on a night […]

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                Multi-Use Car Air Freshener

                By   1 week ago

                And if you get stuck somewhere with no food, you can eat it!

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                If Your Music Doesn’t Have Cannons, You’re Doing It Wrong!

                By   2 weeks ago

                Here’s an excerpt from the performance of the 1812 Overture played by the Boston Pops on July 4, 2016 accompanied by the 101st Field Artillery. The fellow in the white jacket is the conductor for the artillery. And he’s reading the actual score that Tchaikovsky wrote that included the timing for the cannons. And here’s […]

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                Help Me Answer This Question

                By   3 weeks ago

                Do you know the answer? (Pardon the misspelling of “argument.” :-))

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                Beware of This Rare Bird

                By   4 weeks ago

                Be sure to watch this bird from a distance.

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                An Animal Rescuer We Could All Use

                By   1 month ago

                Better than a St. Bernard?

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                The Horses Tell the Story of the Kentucky Derby

                By   1 month ago

                Everyone was running, so I ran. I assumed it was a fire alarm. Also, there was a small man clinging to my back. I don’t know why.

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                What’s in a Name?

                By   2 months ago

                The difference between success and failure….

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