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Articles written by Susan Metcalf

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 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    November 25, 2022 

Cooking in the West

Every year right before Thanksgiving back when I was teaching English, I would ask all of my junior high students to write poems entitled, "I Am Thankful For..." I always modeled a few lines of an example poem for them, so with a very straight face...

 

Cooking in the West

We have been enjoying a beautiful fall, but suddenly Mother Nature decided to turn on us with prolonged snow and cold these last couple weeks. We old timers well remember the horrible winter of 1978-79 which followed a really nice fall right up...

 

Cooking in the West

We shipped our calves this week, which generated lots of material for a humor column because funny stuff happens when you combine a bunch of cattle and horses and cowboys and elk hunters and things that break down at inopportune times. But, somehow,...

 

Cooking in the West

I receive many submissions from readers, and I love to share them. However, in my 27 plus years of writing this column, I believe this is the funniest piece about shipping cattle any reader has ever sent me. Thanks, Tom Ogle of Paris, Illinois for...

 

Cooking in the West

There are many extraordinary people living in Melstone, Montana (population 126) including Sage Newman, who has a commanding lead in the 2022 PRCA Saddle bronc standings and J.R. Vezain, who has inspired millions with his mission entitled "Will To...

 

Cooking in the West

Although it has been a beautiful autumn, the "Old Farmer's Almanac" is predicting that winter is going to be rather old fashioned. Our High Plains region is going to be colder than normal, with the coldest periods in late November, early December,...

 

Cooking in the West

When Covid hit, we decided to stop offering working cattle ranch vacations, which means my summers have become much less hectic but also less entertaining on a daily basis. One of the best parts about entertaining guests is recounting the funny...

 

Cooking in the West

Since early season rifle has been going on for several weeks, there are some hard working mule packers pounding down the trail every day packing duffel, trophy horns, dead elk and deer, and most importantly food for hunters and hay for livestock. It...

 

Cooking in the West

This is the time of year when cattle producers are busy marketing their cattle. Although technology has opened up many more options for marketing cattle such as internet live auctions, internet static auctions, drone film, etc., it is kind of tragic...

 

Cooking in the West

Since I am about to retire from my County Superintendent of Schools position at the end of December, I am constantly receiving job offers from people who are concerned that I am going to be bored at home eating bon bons and watching daytime...

 

Cooking in the West

When the bull elk starts to bugle and there is a chill in the morning air, I get really homesick for the smell of wood smoke coming from the cook tent. I spent most of two decades cooking in a hunting camp in the Scapegoat Wilderness for the Todd's...

 

Cooking in the West

Everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001. I was ironing my shirt to wear to school that morning and feeding the kids their breakfast when on the radio it said that a plane had crashed into one of the...

 

Cooking in the West

For many years, my husband has been saying that he was not going to own a cow when he was 65 years old. His sixty-fifth birthday is looming up, and yet I have heard nothing about dispersing our cow herd. Of course, there are a couple auctions this...

 

Cooking in the West

With the downturn in the economy, it is suddenly fashionable to be frugal. I grew up frugal, because my parents were 40 years old when they got around to having me, so they were children during the Great Depression. I think the definition of...

 

Cooking in the West

This week, I will go back to school for the fifty-eighth first day of school of my life, and it is bitter sweet that it will be my last first day of school. I am retiring this year after seventeen first days as a student, twenty-five first days as a...

 

Cooking in the West

Over my years of writing this column, many people have told me that they have learned about ranching through reading my column. I laugh and explain that would likely be the equivalent of feeling that one could break a colt because he/she has watched...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    August 5, 2022

Cooking in the West

My best horse, Tinkerbelle, died the other day, and my heart is broken. I sat down to write a tribute poem to her, but it was still too soon, so I started horse shopping instead. I have bought many great horses for $500 to $1000 so it is really hard...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    July 29, 2022

Cooking in the West

The 4-H Fair is this week in our county. I hope all moms and dads remember there is a fine line between extremely supportive and downright crazy! Having been a 4-H mom, I can tell you it is much less stressful to be a 4-H grandma! 4-H and FFA Fairs...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    July 22, 2022

Cooking in the West

I know many people are dealing with the tragic aftermath of unprecedented flooding along the Yellowstone river and many of its tributaries last month. I remember our experience with disaster agencies during our last flood in 2011. Fortunately, we...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    July 15, 2022

Cooking in the West

Western movies often portrayed the camp cook as a cranky drunk. I think this stereotype evolved for a darn good reason... they had to be cranky and/or drunk to survive! Camp cooking is such a fine and pleasant misery that I'd probably do it for free...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    July 8, 2022

Cooking in the West

Since the 500 year flood we just experienced, most rivers and creeks are running high and muddy, which makes all of us happy--except those planning a fishing trip. These summers of social distancing made camping and fishing the ideal pastime,...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    July 1, 2022

Cooking in the West

This is the time of year when I occasionally volunteer to do other's chores while they slip away for a day or two for a pre-haying vacation that usually lasts one day and involves a rodeo. Recently, we were tasked with taking care of our daughter's...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    June 24, 2022

Cooking in the West

I have always been a Martha Stewart fan, which I believe I can admit now that she's been out of jail for a long time. I loved her shows and website, but as a backcountry cook I would like to see Martha pack everything in on mules and serve it in a...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    June 17, 2022

Cooking in the West

When you live on a creek or a river, flooding is a springtime fear. It is ironic that we have prayed for rain since March, but now that the flooding has begun we are almost tempted to pause that prayer. Many areas of our state are still in severe...

 
 By Susan Metcalf    Voices    June 10, 2022

Cooking in the West

Facebook and Google and email are wonderful things, but I believe we are living more fearfully because of them. Every day I receive hundreds of messages, memes, and emails. Some of them are tips from readers who would like me to pass along life...

 

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