Scarecrows vs. Scaresheep

Sometimes birds can be a nuisance. I don’t care if they’re blackbirds, pigeons, seagulls, starlings or guinea hens.

Starlings have always been a problem for feedlots. They eat a lot of grain, besides desecrating the feed bunks. One particular afternoon when I was having visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, I sent one of the feedlot hands to town to get some replicas of owls. I had read that decoy owls would scare off birds. I left that afternoon before he returned.

The next morning I got a call on the two-way from the boss. He was in a fowl mood (sorry). “What the *(#%@ do ya think this is? Halloween? Do ya think the EPA and the Audubon Society would approve? Are they waterproof? Packing guns? Where did you go to school again?”

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Mad Hatter

Sheila KirkpatrickWhen it comes to a cowboy's topper, the moniker "Mad Hatter" refers to more than an eccentric character in Alice in Wonderland. The origin of the term comes from the phrase "as mad as a hatter," referring to the neurological disorders some old-time hat makers suffered from breathing vapors from the mercury used to cure pelts. Today, most hats are made in factories where machines do much of the manufacturing, but there are still custom hatters who preserve and perpetuate their traditional cowboy craft.

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Silver & Saddles

Capriolas InteriorTraditional craftsmanship, family dedication and the legacy of G.S. Garcia gear have enabled this historic Nevada saddle shop to survive economic booms and busts for 80 years.

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Off the Grid

Waddie MitchellUsing alternative energy sources, cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell and his wife, Lisa, have created a self-sustaining lodge in tune with Nevada's high-desert ranchland.

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