Last day of a very good year. It’s -8 degrees, I’ve got all my animals taken care of, so it’s a good time to reflect on 2017 and make some plans for 2018.

I feel like I had a very good year with very few conflicts. I upset a few people with some things I’ve done or said, but I feel real good about how I handled myself in reacting to the situation.

I have had very few animal conflicts. I have gotten along very well with the horses I have ridden and the livestock I have worked, and actually feel like I am getting along better with animals right now than ever before. I have two cats purring on my lap as I am writing this.

We have all these animals of different species and I really like how they are all getting along. I can walk up and pet every horse on our place, can scratch all but two of the bovines, (I only have 5 here at the moment) and the sheep are about the same.


I have been reading a book titled “Dawn in Golden Valley”. Golden Valley is the county I live in, and it is all about the settling and history of this country, from big ranches to homesteaders. It is a great lesson in how good and easy we have it in 2017, but it also makes me wonder why when we have all these conveniences and “stuff” why we aren’t more content and happy.

As I was walking up to the 3 room cabin we moved into this year, I realize we have both worlds covered. We womanized and modernized Fred Cougill’s masterpiece that he built by hand with no power tools. It has propane heat and electricity, internet, and running water,and a refrigerator/freezer. All the things that make life so much easier and convenient than the earlier days I am reading about.

We have a wood cook stove that will heat the place, and I have a shed full of wood I cut, split and stacked, a freezer full of beef and pork, the Musseshell river real close, lots of good hay, and some good saddle horses, and a good rifle and shotgun so I feel pretty well covered no matter what happens.

I have lost one thing that I really enjoyed this year. Cargill sold their feedlot business, and I don’t get to go spend time with Katie Holcolm and the crews that made them work. I really enjoyed the time I spent working for Cargill.

I made up for it with NCBA’s new Stockmanship and Stewardship tour. They partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim and had really great events around the country that I was proud to be part of.

I also contracted to work exclusively for Zoetis in Canada. A great group that took me to lots of great operations of all differs types in Canada. It was one of the best things that I have done as a business decision.

I also got to go to Mexico with Zoetis and work with some of their feedlot customers. It was amazing to see all those bulls(no castration)and how good they are ate feeding cattle and how interested they were in improving handling.
I really love the Mexican culture and language. The people are so happy with whatever they have, no matter if it’s a lot or not much.

I also got to go to two very different operations, Twin Willows Ranch in New Mexico, and Paicines Ranch in California that were just the opposite of the mega agriculture I am around so much, and I enjoyed being there and hearing the philosophy of each. I am real lucky to get to see lots of different types of operations from dairy’s to bucking bulls and everything in between.

I have said it many times that I have the best job in the world, and I really think
It’s true.

My last presentation of the year was in Townsend Montana. This was real special to me and brought back some great memories. We stopped and visited with Larry and Shelley Richtmyer. I worked for them and Boyd Iverson many years ago. It was right in the time I quit the auction business and went to work cowboying full time.

We summered at “Battle Creek”. It was big pastures, lots of cattle, and a great headquarters with lots of history. It was about fifteen miles to the closest telephone at Ringling, Montana and about 25 to get groceries in White Sulphur Springs.

While Tammy was getting groceries she saw a poster for a colt starting clinic just down the road from us. I had no idea who Buck Brannaman was but went to the clinic, and it really helped me with the goal of becoming the best stockman I could possibly be.

I’ve been through lots of phases in my life since the good old days at the Bar FL,
some I’m ashamed of and some I’m real proud of, but I feel I have never lost sight of the goal to become the best stockman I could be, and that goal is why I have the best job in the world.

Here are some of the things I think are important that I have learned last year and the previous fifty.

-Consumption is very important thing to consider. Are the things you are consuming really adding to your quality of life?

-Soil health is most important thing as far as sustainability goes. When I go to the farm country that have produced vegetables (soil mining)for many years it looks like it must have very little nutritional value. (My Dad said it’s like eating cardboard.) I feel livestock grazing/feeding and redistributing nutrients to the soil is so important to soil health.
This is why I feel I need to take good vitamins because of not knowing what is in our food. We supplement our cattle with minerals and vitamins, why wouldn’t it make sense for us?

-When you build a fence around an animal to restrict its movement you have just taken responsibility for the caring of that animals nutrition needs and mental needs, and the better you are at creating high quality of life for animals, and potential for profit the better stockman you are. (My opinion)

-I have spent quite a lot of time in Yuma, Arizona with retired people. Health, money, and companionship are very important for quality of life no matter what age. I’d recommend starting now, no matter your age preparing for the future on all these things. If you have them now, you will most likely have them as you age. That goes right back to the consumption thing.

So as we roll into 2018, I feel we are in the best time ever for high quality of life. If we consume technology wisely it will really improve our quality of life. The physical demands on us is less than ever, and the ease of getting food and entertainment is easier than ever. We have lots of choices on what to consume for our entertainment and quality of life. We also have lots of choices for things that diminish quality of life. Your decisions will make it the best or worst.

I read in the book “Sapiens” that humans developed because of bone marrow and gossip. Nutrition is at our fingertips, and gossip travels fast with the internet, so now the good hunter is the one that understands good nutrition, and the wise one is the person that can separate good gossip from bad gossip.

I think this is a good time to not only think about one New Years resolution, but look at your whole situation and fix the “Whole” rather than just one little part.

I sometimes wonder why I am writing this stuff and why you would want to read it. I feel I have been real fortunate to be around some real thinkers that caused me to take a old time common sense way of looking at things. I don’t like confrontation with animals and horses. This gives me the advantage to think of different ways to approach learning and presenting ideas. I guess you don’t have to read it, so you must find some value in it.

I’ve got some things I am going to do this year. Several years ago Ron McDanials gave me a daily bible. I have made the commitment three or four times before but it’s been a few years so I’m going to do it again. I really enjoy the story of Jesus.


I have lots of aches and pains. I think it’s because when I’m on the road doing my job I don’t get the right kind of movement, and when I get home I work muscles that aren’t worked and I’m always sore. I am doing a yoga workout to see if that helps.

Im going to get better at understanding and speaking Spanish.

I am going to work as much as I can this year. I have even agreed to present at a couple of horse fairs this year. When I ask myself why I want to do it and travel so much when I could probably make just as much staying home and working for someone, my answer is for the animals. I really like animals and hope I can be a help at creating better quality of life for them. That’s my addiction and it has been for a long time. Some of you may disagree with my thoughts and methods, but I know I am trying to do what’s best for animals and humans.

I’ve made lots of changes and what I think as progress since the days at Battle Creek. I can’t imagine not wanting to keep working with animals for the rest of my life. I hope you feel the same way.

The proper pressure and approach when dealing with them will improve your life and theirs in 2018 and beyond.

5 thoughts on “2017

  1. Ed Magonigal

    I had the pleasure of meeting you in Sacramento Ca. at a Cattlemens Day show during the state fair, I was working behind the chutes putting cattle in and out of the arena for the show. I very much enjoy reading your story.

  2. Sven Forsgren

    Happy New Year from Sweden from me and Bengt. Keep up your inspiring work and keep writing, its more then interesting, not only when it comes to our four legged friends, but even what concerns the “Homo Sapien”.
    All the best to you and your family.

  3. Don Halladay

    Happy New Year Curt, I really enjoy your writing and your ideas on making the world a better place for animals and humans. I am sure you have read the 3rd edition of Allan Savory’s book on Holistic Management, if you have not, I am sure that you would really enjoy it. Thanks for all your good work.

  4. Michael Bain

    Hi Curt:

    Pleasant thoughts to end the year on and to give a meaningful start to a fruitful new one!

    Thank you.

    Happy New Year!

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