Columns

Thu
18
May
atodd's picture

A hero in the eyes of a black horse

It was over 15 years ago that the news reported about the Texas woman who drowned her five children. They said she suffered from postpartum depression. I have four beautiful children and I have never felt anything less than love for any of them.
My daughter, Caitlin, was just an infant at the time and I recall thinking, "What kind of a monster kills her own children?" I didn't know much about mental disabilities nor did I believe in postpartum depression or psychosis. I couldn't fathom the possibility of hurting one of my precious children.
I know now that postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are real, and cattle suffer with the symptoms, too.
Some five years ago, I was visiting the calving barn with my husband to check on some newborns belonging to the first calf heifers. A first calf heifer is basically a "teen mom.” She was bred as a one-year-old and gives birth around her second birthday.

Thu
18
May
atodd's picture

Can identical twins get away with murder?

“Hi, Tom! How ya doin’?”
The greeter was a grinning Grant M., my friend and neighbor. He had just walked out of his front door. I was working in the yard. I looked up and said, “Oh, hi there, Gordon.”
He was a person I’d never seen before in my life, but I knew at a glance that his name was Gordon, not Grant. A mystery wrapped in a riddle, right? Here’s what you need to know to solve the riddle:
1) Grant has a lively imagination and a good sense of humor, but he’s a little like Dennis the Menace. He just might take a big bite out of the apple in your lunch pail if you don’t keep an eye on him.
2) Grant has an identical twin named Gordon. I knew he lived in Chicago, but I didn’t know he was in town for a visit.
Gordon’s daughter, Julie, once confused the two of them. She thought Grant was her daddy. The only reason I wasn’t fooled is that Gordon had recently gotten a haircut and Grant’s hair was, shall we say, a little less stylish.

Thu
18
May
atodd's picture

When I was young like Juliet

Imagine you're a "Millennial" from Seattle. It's been cold and wet for weeks—downright dismal with more drizzle and snow than should be allowed.
Rents in “Boomtown” are ridiculous, so you must work three jobs in order to keep extortionist landlords at bay. The weather never seems to cooperate with your one day off per week. But you're young and strong and smart, have naïve dreams to leave "home," maybe go someplace with shorter winters, less rain and more sunlight. You have a fuzzy plan to get there, too… if the “Universe” would just get off your back. In the meantime, Seattle is "home." One could do worse, except for the traffic.

Fri
07
Apr
atodd's picture

Truisms of the game

Truisms of the game
Do not show up to the Community Center in Ouray this Friday to help the City of Ouray place bubble caps on Douglas-fir trees around Ouray. Although a story ran within these pages last week inviting volunteers to assemble at the Community Center Friday, April 7 at noon, we now hear from the organizer that it's a little early in the season, and the excursion into Ouray's surrounding woods to help blunt the spread of beetle kill will have to wait just a bit.
So for now, according to Bevin Campbell, the date is "TBD," and she'll keep us posted when we can help round up the troops again.
I'm betting that if you're wanting to help, and you want to be notified by Bevin, you can just email her at bevincampbell@gmail.com, and she'll put you on her volunteer notification list.

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Fri
07
Apr
atodd's picture

The little lost calf and the case of the aliens

The morning opened with a beautiful sunrise. It was just the beginning of the calving season on the ranch but there was an older cow in Pleasant Valley in active labor. The prerogative of the cowboys is to let "her do the work at her own pace.”
She was doing it.
The two front feet were visible from yards away. The cow circled the same area repeated times. She finally lay down and in just two long heaving motions out he came. The calf was pure black with an adorable pink nose and two little flappy ears. She was a good mom. She cleaned him up "lickety split" (pun intended).
In just minutes, he is on his wobbly four hooves and making his way to his very first breakfast.  Suddenly, the cow steps away from her nursing calf and calls to him in a low murmur. She feels threatened. She's not sure that her baby is safe where they are.

Wed
08
Mar
atodd's picture

Expecting a miracle

We're going to be grandparents, and it hasn't really hit me. It may not sink in until it's time to drive to Utah and see Ross and Kelly and our new granddaughter, Olivia, at the end of this month.
Grandchildren are truly a blessing from above.
They are also not as mathematically likely to occur, especially to me and Beecher.
It's not that our two boys couldn't get a date. Rather, with only two children, our chances are greatly reduced compared to what our chances would have been half a century ago.
The more children, the greater the chance at grandchildren. Especially if the fertility rate doesn't decline.
But since the 1960s, it has steadily declined.
And for a couple of average white parents, our chances are even less than others.
According to the Pew Research Center, since the World War II baby boom, the trend to smaller families has been on the rise.

Wed
08
Mar
atodd's picture

Random encounters of the fourth kind

On the road in Chiricahua National Monument, a dazzling landscape of improbably balanced boulders, granite figurines and Déjà vu.
Listen up: Itineraries and reservations are fine for business trips and family reunions, but if you want to let Miss Sara N. Dipity out of her box, wandering is best done with plans cast in “Jello.” Thus, we land once again in Chiricahua—as far off the beaten path as one can get without disappearing—way, way down in the southeast corner of Arizona, at the juncture of Old and New Mexico.
It’s an all-day “white knuckle” drive to get to Chiricahua from Camp Madera, a renowned “birding” canyon midway between Tucson and Nogales. Roads are frighteningly narrow and shoulder-less. RV “Goldie’s” wide body struggles to stay between centerline and pavement’s edge. Still, it’s a heart-melting back-road drive, meandering sky-island mountains and seas of golden grassland savannas, the likes of which would bring Kerouac and Kuralt to tears.

Thu
23
Feb
atodd's picture

I'm mad, too

Seems to be a lot of angry folks around here lately, so I'm going to start selling bumper stickers.
In the late 1970s, early 1980s, there was a charismatic figure in the Fort Worth, Texas area named Eddie Chiles. Eddie, who was on a first-name basis with all of Texas, was a self-made man, having started an oil supply company with two trucks and a few employees.
He grew the company to over 5,000 employees, bought the Texas Rangers baseball club and was an economic force in the state.
But what he was best identified with were the bumper stickers. The sticker read, "I'm mad, too, Eddie!"
It all started with his disdain for big government. Eddie was known to colorfully express his views about big government spending, especially the "Liberals in Congress," so much so that he was encouraged to express his views on the radio, where he could have a lasting effect.

Thu
23
Feb
atodd's picture

Commentary

Thu
16
Feb
atodd's picture

Time to fix winter water woes in Ouray

The Ouray Ice Park had to close for the season last week. A statement from the folks who run the Ice Park said the recent warm-up of temperatures in Ouray, coupled with the extended warm weather outlook, pointed toward their inability to keep what ice they had in good, safe condition.
Last year the Ice Park stayed open a month and a half longer than this year, closing on March 20. As we reported in early March 2016, sections of the park did not receive the amount of water the ice farmers would have liked, so there was less ice than desired. This year, there was even less water available to make ice.
Weather, lack of ice and a lack of an "ice box" effect played a role this year. It's certainly not all attributable to the weather. Last year in February, for instance, there were eight days in Ouray in the 40s, 13 days in the 50s and one day in the 60s. Pretty much like this year.

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