The Scoop View All →

Want to Get Paid for Providing Ecosystem Services? Start by Lunching With Forages

By   12 mins ago

Meet Debbie Reed, Executive Director of the Ecosystem Services Marketing Consortium. This Thursday, she’ll be talking about the work she and her colleagues are doing to develop markets that can pay farmers and ranchers for improving soil health and protecting water quality. Reed is the first in the Oregon Forage and Grassland Council’s “Lunch With […]

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Paint Cows Like Zebras to Reduce Flies

By   1 week ago

For years, scientists have tried to answer the question, “Why do Zebras have stripes?” Theories included that stripes were good camouflage, that they were some kind of “air-conditioning” or a signal to herd mates. But lately, there’s growing agreement that it’s all about protection from biting flies. The conclusions come as a result of a […]

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Why Do We Believe Cows Prefer Grass?

By   2 weeks ago

If you’ve read On Pasture for very long, you know that before I created On Pasture, I was best known for creating a method for teaching cows (or any other ruminant) to eat weeds. Starting in 2004, I developed steps that anyone could use, testing them and then refining, until the process only took 8 […]

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Why Do Farmers and Ranchers Adopt Regenerative Practices?

By   3 weeks ago

This week’s Scoop comes to us from Michelle Klampe of Oregon State University. Regenerative ranching, a holistic approach to managing grazing lands, enhances ranchers’ adaptive capacity and socioeconomic well-being while also providing an opportunity to mitigate climate change, a new study from Oregon State University has found. Regenerative ranching practices rebuild ecological processes, allowing ranchers […]

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How to Think, Not What to Think

By   4 weeks ago

Over a decade ago, I was a teacher/mentor for a program a friend and I founded to help students make the transition from the academic world to a potential job with land management agencies like the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service. Before heading out to summer-long internships, […]

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Marketing Cattle and Heifers Strategically

By   1 month ago

One of the silver linings of living through a pandemic is that everyone and everything has gone online. That means you don’t have to travel to take advantage of some really great learning opportunities. And this is a great one! On September 1, you can connect with Noble Research Institute consultants and Integrity Beef Alliance […]

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Rattan Lal Reinforcing Soil Health Principles For a Healthy Planet

By   1 month ago

Even if you haven’t heard of Dr. Rattan Lal, you’ve probably been influenced by his work. More than 40 years ago, while doing research in Nigeria, Lal encountered an idea that changed his life – and led, eventually, to global recognition that soil is an important part of our response to a warming climate. A  […]

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When Have You Been Your Happiest?

By   2 months ago

Thanks to Don Ashford for this week’s Scoop. Like Don, I’ve been remembering all the good fortune and fun I’ve had. It felt good to read Don’s memories of happy times and I hope it will remind you of good times too. When have you been your happiest? I was asked this question the other […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Greg Judy on How to Use Portable Fence Reels and Set Up Electric Fence Quickly and Easily

    By   11 mins ago

    Lately I’ve been seeing questions from folks about portable electric fence reels – which ones to use and how to use them. The next question is “Now, how do I use these to set up my fence?” Here are the answers in two great videos from Greg Judy. If you already know all this, consider […]

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    Three Keys to Being a Successful Grazier

    By   1 week ago

    In this video, we take a trip to Nye, Montana to visit the Keogh Ranch. It’s been in the family since Noel Keogh’s folks purchased it in 1947. It may be larger than the operation you run, but his management addresses the challenges that each grazier faces: Managing for good grass utilization with fencing and […]

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    Grazing Through Drought, Too Much Rain, and Fire

    By   2 weeks ago

    Because Oregon has been in a long-standing drought, John Marble has lots of practice acting on his drought plan and rebounding when it rains. His examples of what works can get you through, rain or shine.

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    Limit Feeding Corn With Forage an Option to Get Through Drought

    By   3 weeks ago

    OK, I know I’m going to get smacked around just for mentioning feeding corn. But hear me out. Drought has hit a lot of places this summer resulting in poorer pastures heading into winter, and as usual, the cost of hay goes up when precipitation goes down. Alternatives for folks in this situation are to […]

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    The Answer to “Why Do We Ranch This Way?” Leads to Better Grazing for This Rancher

    By   4 weeks ago

    The Atlas Blizzard of October 3, 2013 was a big shock to Jody Brown of Faith, South Dakota. The freak storm dropped as much as 4 feet of snow in some places and wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour blew in drifts that made travel outdoors all but impossible. About 43,000 cattle, horses […]

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    Grazing Stockpile in the Snow

    By   1 month ago

    As we talk about swath grazing, and grazing stockpiled forage, one of the questions that always comes up is “What happens when it snows?” The answer, as always, is “It depends.” Grant Taillieu says, “You can’t just take a group of cows and say, I’m going to graze in the middle of winter. If they’ve […]

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    Benefits and How-To’s of Swath Grazing

    By   1 month ago

    Even though it’s only early August, we’re all thinking about what our fall and winter grazing and feeding is going to look like. One option is swath grazing, where instead of baling the cut forage, it’s left in the field in swaths. As Dr. Vernon Brown of Agriculture and AgriFood Canada says in this video, […]

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    On Spaghetti, Silvopasture and New Opportunities

    By   1 month ago

    When you think of Italian food, what pictures come to mind? Scrumptious spaghetti. Luscious lasagna. Perfect pizzas. What do they all have in common, other than the ability to send you into a carb-induced coma after a heavy lunch on a hot day? Tomatoes. They all use tomatoes. When Julius Caesar wanted something to go […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Cheating Cheatgrass

      By   11 mins ago

      I got an email not long ago from a researcher who wondered if I could help her find a place to purchase cheatgrass seed. I wasn’t aware of anyone selling the seed, but I did want to help, so I wrote back, “My suggestion is a little odd, but I think it would work. I […]

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      Twice as Many Cows, Twice as Easy

      By   1 week ago

      This piece comes to us from Clarence Kelly,* work unit conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service (now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service). It was first published in September of 1962 in the Soil Conservation magazine. This rancher faced a lot of the same challenges many of us face today. His solution was to […]

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      Using Trees as Forage

      By   2 weeks ago

      Spring and fall are wonderful times to be a grass farmer. The weather is pleasant, the livestock are fat and happy, and the forages are lush. But of course, summer comes right after spring, and the lean, dry times can wipe away the memory of those beautiful lush grasses of spring. It doesn’t take much […]

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      Graziers and Crop Farmers Benefit From Working Together – Part 2

      By   3 weeks ago

      This two-part two of a series from the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada on the ins and outs of graziers can work with crop farmers to feed animals during the winter months while improving soil health and productivity. Last week we looked at communicating, assigning value, and the importance of good fences. This week […]

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      Graziers and Crop Farmers Benefit From Working Together – Part 1

      By   4 weeks ago

      If you’re looking over at the remains in your neighbor’s crop residue or cover crops and are seeing potential forage, you’ll like this two-part series. It will give you some ideas and tips for creating a win-win opportunity. You feed your livestock while improving soil health and productivity for your neighbor! Thanks for this series […]

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      Stressed Plants Can Pass on “Memories” to Create Hardier Offspring

      By   1 month ago

      Penn State researcher Sally Mackenzie didn’t really set out to scare soybeans. But that’s what she did when she silenced the plants’ MSH1 gene. Though the plants were growing in perfect conditions, they suddenly sensed they were encountering a wide range of stresses all at once – drought, extreme cold and heat, high light levels […]

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      On Spaghetti, Silvopasture and New Opportunities

      By   1 month ago

      When you think of Italian food, what pictures come to mind? Scrumptious spaghetti. Luscious lasagna. Perfect pizzas. What do they all have in common, other than the ability to send you into a carb-induced coma after a heavy lunch on a hot day? Tomatoes. They all use tomatoes. When Julius Caesar wanted something to go […]

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      Utilizing Summer Annuals in Your Grazing System

      By   2 months ago

      Thanks go to Ben Beckman, Nebraska Extension Educator, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s BeefWatch team for this article.   Whether grazed, harvested for hay, or cut for silage, warm season annual grasses are the kings of forage production. Common species like forage sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum/sudangrass hybrids, and millets grow best under warmer temperatures, with peak performance […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Help Your Animals Adjust to a New Location by Feeding Familiar Foods

        By   11 mins ago

          One of the challenges your livestock face on a daily basis is picking out something safe to eat without the benefit of food safety labels, or any labels at all for that matter. They’ve solved this dilemma by eating what those around them eat. But when we haul them to a pasture with forages […]

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        Red Clover Hay Supplementation Grows Fat Cattle

        red clover

        By   1 week ago

        To jump right to the end of the story, researchers have found when 15% of the diet of steers in pasture was a supplement of red clover hay/ with about 3 pounds of dried distillers grain, they gained more weight than those on pasture alone – 2.45 pounds a day compared to 1.94. That’s interesting […]

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        How to Choose Your Replacement Heifers

        By   2 weeks ago

        This is the time of year when many folks are choosing their replacement heifers. These tips from Nebraska Extension Beef Educator Aaron Berger and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will help you make good choices. First, get rid of heifers whose mothers were troublesome. Send on heifers that are: • from cows […]

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        Teaching Cattle to Graze Through Snow

        By   3 weeks ago

        We’ve covered some of this information in other articles, but I thought it would be helpful to gather it in one spot for you so you can begin to plan your winter management.

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        Avoid the Danger of Being Associated with the Feed Bucket

        By   4 weeks ago

        We’ve probably all experienced that scary moment when the animals we care for become dangerous to us because they’re just excited to be fed. Here’s how to break that cycle and be safe.

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        Fenceline Weaning for Calves

        By   1 month ago

        Last week we shared a two-stage weaning process that reduces stress and illness and maintains or improves weight gain. Here’s another option that also reduces stress: Fenceline weaning. Abruptly separating mother and young is noisy. There’s a lot of mooing and fence walking. It can go on for up to three days, and while it’s […]

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        Two-Stage Weaning is Calf, Grazier, and Scientist Approved

        By   1 month ago

        Weaning may be the biggest stress that a calf endures in its life. When calves are abruptly separated from their mothers, they bawl, they don’t eat, and they pace their pens and fence lines, walking an average of 25 miles a day in one test. They also become more vulnerable to respiratory infections. How do […]

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        Preventing African Swine Fever – First Ever Vaccine Created

        By   2 months ago

        African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and wild pigs of all ages. It is found in countries around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, it has spread through China, Mongolia, Vietnam, and North Korea as well as within parts of the European Union. ASF […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          How to Start a Ranch From Scratch

          By   11 mins 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 weeks 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   4 weeks 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   1 month 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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          Rancher Loren Poncia Talks Covid-19 and a Shift to Direct-to-Consumer Sales

          By   2 months ago

          Loren Poncia of Stemple Creek Ranch near Tomales Bay, California is a fourth generation rancher raising grass fed beef, lamb and pork. His goal is to “raise an awesome, wholesome, nutritious product, and, at the same time, do the dance with Mother Nature to build soil health and biodiversity.” When Covid-19 hit, the ranch lost […]

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          These Could Be The Best Cows

          By   2 months ago

          Back in May, John wrote “What Makes a Really Good Cow” where he talked about judging the cows in your herd by blaming them for how their calves turn out and selling the cows that fail that basic test of performance. That’s a great theory, but how does it work out in practice? John shares […]

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          Diverse Income from Your Scenic Pastures: Consider Glamping

          By   3 months ago

          In the early 2000’s, I had the joy of spending a memorable four days with Bill Burrows, a 6th-generation rancher and Holistic Management practitioner from Northern California. Bill told us the story of how his family very nearly lost the ranch in the 1980’s when the bottom fell out of the cattle market, and how […]

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          Working With an Apprentice – Setting Expectations & Balancing Work and Education

          By   3 months ago

          This is our fourth in our series to help you find and work with apprentices or interns. You can catch up with the whole series here. Your apprentice is about to arrive! How do you structure the workday, week, and month so that both education and the work get done? Today we’ll share strategies from […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Which Feed Is A Better Value? Here’s a Calculator to Help Figure it Out.

            By   12 mins ago

            From October of 2016, here’s a timely article to help you get the most for your money. There are a variety of reasons why you might decide to feed or supplement grazing cattle in the fall and winter. One might be providing a little extra for a pasture that doesn’t meet your herd’s nutritional needs. […]

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            Get Rid of Bio-Film and Clean Lines, Tanks and Floats With the Easy “Slug Method”

            By   1 week ago

            From 2018, here’s a great way to keep water troughs clean and working well. Oregon is a funny place. We recently changed our State bird from the Meadow Lark to the Osprey, mostly because several other States were claiming the Meadow Lark, and Oregon likes being….unique. Some would say bizarre. Our State Flower is called […]

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            A Very Helpful Grazing Systems Planning Guide

            By   2 weeks ago

            From our September 2014 issue, here’s a guide that is still very valuable. Pictures and simple tables – that’s what I like in a book, especially if they illustrate what the author is trying to explain in a way that cuts to the chase. If you like that too, you’ll really appreciate this Grazing Systems […]

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            Livestock Combine With Cover Crops to Build Soil Health

            By   3 weeks ago

            From January of 2017, here’s why livestock are an important part of cover cropping.

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            Electrified High-Tensile Woven Wire Is a Great Option

            By   4 weeks ago

            From August of 2013, here’s how a grazier in Vermont dealt with fencing for her growing herd of sheep and cattle. How is it that flocks and herds can grow so fast? Ten ewes turned into 20 and starting with one steer we suddenly find ourselves with 15 head! Well, okay, it wasn’t that sudden, […]

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            Winter Strip Grazing – Determining Strip Size

            By   1 month ago

            Here are the ins and outs and the math for figuring out how big each strip should be to feed your cattle and make best use of your stockpile. It comes to us from our November 2014 issue of On Pasture. We reconfigured our farm’s permanent, hi-tensile fence to better allow the use of portable […]

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            Two Videos Demonstrate How Grazing Management Affects Soil Health

            By   1 month ago

            From August of 2013, here’s a good look at the difference between continuous and rotational grazing on soil’s ability to absorb water. This video by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in South Dakota does a great job of demonstrating that how we manage our livestock on pasture determines how sustainable we’ll be as farmers and […]

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            Romance vs. Reality Part 1: A Grass-fed Beef Marketing Cooperative Shares Lessons Learned

            By   2 months ago

            There’s a lot of interest lately in figuring out new ways to create a food system that is more resilient and that meets the needs of both the producer and the customer. With that in mind, here’s the first of a two-part series that could add to the discussion. It was originally published by On […]

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              Consider This View All →

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

              By   1 week 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 weeks 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   1 month 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   2 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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              Rethinking Methane – Why Livestock Are Not the Problem and Could Be a Solution

              By   2 months ago

                Cow burps and farts – that’s mostly what first comes up when people talk about agricultural methane, making it seem kind of silly. So why all the concern? It’s because methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide for the decade it lasts in the atmosphere. But, […]

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              Build a Self-Starter Apprentice/Employee With Feedback and Mentoring

              By   3 months ago

              Adding an apprentice or intern to your operation is a great way to add energy and new ideas to your operation while providing training to the next generation of graziers. But, like any new practice, there’s information to make it easier, and skills we must develop to be successful. For the past 6 weeks, Leah […]

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              Will Eating Dirt Make Us Smarter?

              By   3 months ago

              Back in 2014, there was a lot of buzz about how a bacteria found in soil may help reduce depression. But that’s not the only thing dirt might be good for. Additional research shows that same bacteria might even make us smarter. Let’s start with depression.  Based on results in lung cancer patients, who said […]

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              Evaluating Apprenticeship Applications & Conducting Effective Interviews

              By   4 months ago

              This our third in the series to help you find and work with apprentices and interns. Last week, we talked about how to be clear about what kind of opportunity you have to offer, and the kind of person you’d like to work with. Now, let’s talk about evaluating applications and conducting effective interviews. Go […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                Pass the Pepper – Joseph’s Machines

                By   12 mins ago

                Ok, I liked “Pass the Salt” from last week, but I think this one is even better. Enjoy!

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                Pass the Salt – Joseph’s Machines

                By   1 week ago

                I like how the salt gets distributed in the end. It’s 4:26 of wonder. Enjoy! If you liked this and would like to see out takes and more, you can support Joseph’s artwork here. Next week, “Pass the Pepper!”

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                Man Finds Fabulous Giant Crystal

                By   2 weeks ago

                You may find these in your own backyard!

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                Best Septic Trucks Ever!

                By   4 weeks ago

                A sense of humor is important in this business!  

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                This Tractor Needs Serious Repair

                By   1 month ago

                It seemed like a good idea at the time… And I was surprised by how many different videos I found of tractors suffering this particular breakdown.

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                Silly Signs and Headlines – Part 1

                By   1 month ago

                Communicating in writing is not always easy. Here are some examples of folks who may not mean what they wrote.         There’s more where these came from. Stay tuned! 🙂      

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                Recreating “Night Watch” by Rembrandt

                By   2 months ago

                You’ve probably seen photos from the #GettyMuseumChallenge where regular folks recreate classic works of art at home, like the examples below. But the folks at the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands were way ahead of them. See how they recreated “Night Watch” as a flashmob at a local mall back in April of 2013. And here’s […]

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