Features & Stories
Articles By: Trudy Frisk


FROM ON THE HOOF TO ON THE PLATE - Transforming Canadian beef on the hoof to beef on a plate, especially when that plate is in a foreign country, requires close collaboration between several industry groups and government agencies...

SHOULD ANIMALS HAVE THE VOTE? - Suddenly we’re surrounded by elections. Provincial elections, party leadership elections, Papal elections. Candidates list their credentials and promote their platforms. The media praise or chastise them...

PARTNERS - Patricia Porter has been working with horses professionally for thirty-five years. In her opinion the trouble some owners have with their horses is due to a simple misunderstanding...

CONCERT IN A COW BARN - We’d gone to the historic Tranquille Farm fifteen minutes from downtown Kamloops for an afternoon of Celtic music...

SUMMER TIME AND THE COWS ARE RELAXING - We could learn a lot from cows if we’d only pay attention. We might start with bovine lessons on how to enjoy summer...

A COWBOY CENTENNIAL - It’s an iconic Canadian event which was founded by an American. It’s a rootin’, tootin’ cowboy party which has been enjoyed by generations of the British Royal family. It’s a celebration of the western ranching way of life...

HOW CLEAN IS TOO CLEAN? - How clean is too clean? There are some easy tests. If you’re swabbing your horses’ noses with disinfectant wipes before allowing them to search...

THE KNUTSFORD HALL-HUB OF THE COMMUNITY - "The hall", says Donna Frolek "is the hub of the community. We’re very proud of our community, but, without the hall it would be very hard to keep it together. "

SO YOU THINK YOU’RE TOUGH? - City dwellers don’t usually realize how much weather affects comfort and mobility. It’s different in the country. During winter cold spells, my family phone calls focus on four basic questions...

THE HORSE BARN - The Horse Barn, located in Kamloops B.C., is more than a store; it’s an experience. Because it sells western merchandise, people might say it appeals to a niche market...

XMAS DINNER - I thought I knew my friend. That was before she invited my son and I to Xmas dinner. When we began planning the menu, I realized that ‘Xmas dinner’ means very different foods to different people. Dessert, for example...

SOOT-BEGONE! - Cleaning the stove pipes is an autumn ritual for owners of wood stoves. There’s no avoiding it. Clean them now before the cold and the snow. Or hide in shame as the photographer for the local newspaper angles...

A PROMISE KEPT; THE WARNER PHILIP CONSERVATION AREA - Humans instinctively want to protect what they love. Connie Philip promised her husband Warner to protect in perpetuity part of the family ranch...

“ALAN, YOU’RE NOT ON KINGSWAY ANY MORE!” - Until he was ten years old, Alan Forseth lived an idyllic urban life. His home, just off Kingsway, wasn’t too far from Nat Bailey Stadium and Queen Elizabeth Park. His schools, Tecumseh Annex B, and Lord Selkirk, were located in interesting neighbourhoods...

THE ABANDONED HOMESTEAD - It sits, like so many others, a reminder of the hopes and hard work of B.C. pioneers. They built well. The house roof sags a bit, the hen house and...

A COW BY ANY OTHER NAME - The next livestock auction will sound very odd if editors for the new Journal of Animal Ethics have their way. They call for a totally different vocabulary regarding animals. First, we must eliminate that very word...

NORMAN; THE BLACK ANGUS HISTORY LESSON - Casual visitors to Kamloops’ Plaza Heritage Hotel on January 26, 2011, were surprised to hear muted bellowing from a stock trailer parked just up the street. A black Angus steer emerged...

MONA SAEMEROW : STORY-TELLER - Kamloops author, Mona Saemerow, has always written from her own extensive experience. Mona is a creative artist, as well as a writer...

SNOW DAYS - Comedian Rick Mercer recently recommended that Canadians, Torontonians in particular, embrace snow days. Snow days are days...

WHO’RE YOU CALLING A HOARDER? - My friend, Connie, didn’t believe what I said. “It’s true.”, I assured her. “ The City of Vancouver has formed an Anti-Hoarding Task Force. They’ll be fully operational within months.”...

THE YEAR I KNEW THERE WAS NO SANTA CLAUS - “ Is Santa real?” To a ten year old that’s a very important question. I talked it over with Roger, my six year old brother. We’d heard whispers from older kids at school. There was no Santa...

PROJECT COWBOY – THE NEW CHALLENGE - Doug Mills trained his first horse when he was eight years old. That horse was for his own use. He turned professional when he was ten...

WORKING TOGETHER - It might have been a scene from pioneer days: family and friends gathered together to process the apple crop. The oldest person present...

SAVING THE BOYS - (GIRLS, TOO) - Catie Ward jokes that she spends her leisure hours surrounded by gorgeous males. She doesn’t always explain that one of them has four paws and barks, while the other three have hoofs, manes and tails, and neigh...

PEN-PALS - When we were children we were forbidden to touch the bundle of letters kept in a trunk in our parent’s room. We knew, vaguely, that our parents wrote them to each other...

RIDING AND WRITING; GARRY GOTTFRIEDSON - Garry Gottfriedson says his ideal life consists of riding and writing. He seems to have found the perfect balance. Between his popular author’s readings...

A BIRD’S EYE VIEW - I expected more sympathy from my coffee partner. “That darn Lynne promised to go birding with me on Sunday, but she said it was too cold and refused to budge.” “She knows her birds!.” , was the gruff reply...

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT AN ARTIST - Painter Arnold Mosley has no illusions about being an artist. “It’s a compulsion! I could be a millionaire and I’d still paint. Every morning when it hits nine o’clock, I tell my wife, Sonia, it’s time to go downstairs...

AUDITIONING HORSES - Larry Foss settled back into the armchair at Cowboy Coffee, and looked off into the distance recalling the years he’s spent preparing horses for parts in movies and TV shows. He’s trained them, trucked them, positioned them and ...

ED PEEKEEKOOT-MUSICIAN - Whether Ed Peekeekoot is performing at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival or at a benefit for the Society for Community Living he treats his audiences exactly the same...

FRIENDS WITH HORSES - Kerri Colquhoun got her saddle for Xmas as a gift from her parents. "It wasn't wrapped. I looked under the tree and there it was!" Her sister gave a Navajo blanket as a saddle blanket...

PORRIDGE - After all these years my son can still surprise me. When I asked him recently if he wanted me to get him any groceries, he replied, "Yes, some porridge." "When did you start liking porridge?"...

THE WORKING SQUIRREL RANCH - When a man has spent over one hundred dollars relocating squirrels, he begins to seriously consider his options. The squirrel problem, like so many others, resulted from the best of intentions...

WEATHER FORECASTERS DON’T FEEL ANYONE’S PAIN - I’d shoot the TV, “ stated my sister, “if I wasn’t afraid of the flying glass!” She was reacting to the nightly weather report and, she’s not alone...

THE OLD LOG HOUSE: 1947 TO PRESENT-THE KERSHAW YEARS - When I went to interview Gary and Lynda Kershaw I gazed around their home in fascination. “So, this is the old Pratt house!” Lynda looked hurt. “We think of it as the Kershaw place.” , she replied...

THE OLD LOG HOUSE: 1890-1947 - Places have personalities. The old two-story log house on Barnhartvale Road in Kamloops is friendly. Friendly but reserved, as you might expect from a house which has been home to a prize-winning orchardist, three generations of a pioneer family...

AGNES JACKSON; RANCHER - That wide open ranch land is vanishing quickly. With its disappearance goes a way of life, an industry, and western Canada’s best chance of preserving intact, natural grasslands and many rare and endangered species living there...

REVELLING IN ROPES - I was strolling through the trade show at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival when my friend clutched my arm. “You have to see this!” she exclaimed...

DOCTOR MOM - Our homestead was a long way from a doctor. The nearest doctors and hospital were in Jasper, Alberta. In the early days, the only way to reach them was to take the CNR train...

IT TAKES A VALLEY - Belle and Sundance seem like ordinary horses. Nothing in the appearance of the three year old mare or fourteen year old gelding indicates that, in December of 2008, they featured in news reports around the world...

WINTER FASHION - As the snow falls interminably, the temperature drops like an auctioneer’s cry in reverse, “Minus seventeen, minus twenty-one, minus thirty-five!” , wind flails the house and barn...

CHRISTMASES NEAR AND FAR - Pat Philip has celebrated Christmas on three continents in cities and climates far removed from her childhood home on the Philip ranch in British Columbia...

COMMUNICATION - It was a message I’d never heard before. “This is not an answering machine. This is a personal screening machine. It is now a federal offense to activate this phone...

BULL RUN - As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, the range cattle become restless. Slowly they begin to ramble downward from their summer pastures in the high country...

COOKIES AND HISTORY - “It all began when I was living in a log cabin in the Purcell Mountains and cooking on a wood stove”, Carole Ruth explains. Before that Carole knew nothing about wood stoves...

'But, Is It Bluegrass? - Bluegrass fans could give lessons in loyalty. At outdoor festivals they sit for hours under blazing sun, or chilly snow, absorbed in the music. In rainy weather the audience doesn’t scatter for cover...

NO ORDINARY MINISTER - The average clergyman is not expected to extract a horses’ tooth. But then, Anglican Archdeacon Charles H.R. Bradshaw was anything but an average clergyman.

TWO MILLION MONGOLIAN HORSES - The post card in Roger Hicks’ photo album sums it up. “Mongolia’s a great place. Two million horses can’t be wrong.”

SELLING NOSTALGIA - In 1868 Joseph Ray Watkins of Winona, Minn. established the J.R. Watkins company. It all began with liniment. Joseph was so certain that his preparation was superior to others he offered to refund his customer’s money...

GUARDING AGAINST WEST NILE - Mosquitoes are the biggest killers of humans on the earth. No war or famine has killed more people than mosquitoes by way of dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, black-water fever and encephalitis...

Horse Power - Where did all the horses come from? Aren’t they part of the past, shunted aside by the internal combustion engine?

THE CHANGING FACE OF 4-H - Blaine Frisk had a plan. As he stood guard over the small animal barn at the Barriere Fall Fair, he explained what to do when the animals get out of their cages...

No Hobbits Live Here - Many first time visitors to the home of Brian and Carolyn Lefferson are puzzled by a structure in their back yard. Beyond the garden shed and trampoline a thick wooden door with a brass knob is set into the base of a grassy hill.

THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT - The sound of music came from the school house. “Silver bells, silver bells; it’s Christmas time in the city. Strings of street lights, even stop lights, blink a bright red and green…” ‘Street lights? ’...

TRAVELS WITH SCOTTY - Charles (Scotty) Simpson may well have created the first truck and camper, with one small twist...

WOMEN HELPING WOMEN - “Where are all the animals?” That’s what Irene Crowson wondered as she, with other Canadian Women’s Institute members, rode the bus from Helsinki to Turku.

‘YOU CAN’T RIDE ‘EM ALL’ - Dan Danielis would know just how long a second can be. He was a rodeo rider. For twenty years he competed in saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding.

WHAT GOOD OLD DAYS? - Parts of the 'good old days' weren't all that good. Outhouses, for example.

ONLY IN CANADA - Few people realize how deeply animals have influenced Canada’s history. Not large, charismatic creatures, either. No, the animals which beckoned explorers and helped establish boundaries were humble ones; beaver, a cow and a pig.

SHAKESPEARE'S TEAMSTERS - By the opening night of MacBeth, Ellen had spent weeks with actors and horses working towards a smooth blend of the two at this unusual outdoor location . . .

THE BOUNDARY RIDE OF 1992 - From 1872 to 1876 the North American Boundary Commission mapped and marked the 49th parallel between Canada and the United States, in conjunction with the North West Mounted Police . . .

Korby & Jill - Korby looked out happily over the fields from his perch on the wagon. The 2006 spring plowing contest seemed to be a success...

Trevor Schubert: Descendant of Pioneers - You don't expect history to come along and shake you by the hand. So, I was surprised when a tall distinguished gentleman having coffee at the next table stood up, held out his hand and announced, "I'm Trevor Schubert."

Animal Magnetism - The Kamloops Mounted Patrol - It happens every time. After riding around the perimeter of the crowd listening to Music In The Park, the Kamloops Mounted Patrol forms up at one side. . .

February: The Wood-Cutters Moon? - It's a common mistake, assuming that rural activities are identical across Canada. A friend, recalling her childhood on the prairies, talked of cutting firewood in February . . .

Rover The Christmas Dog - He was probably the best loved Christmas present we children ever had. . .

What A Competition! - The annual spring plowing contest held near Kamloops by the Inland Draft Horse and Teamsters Association is a glimpse into a quiet, family-oriented rural life that's almost vanished.

COFFEE: THE THOUSAND YEAR SUCCESS - The old coffee pot stared out at me reproachfully as I opened the door of a seldom-used cupboard. “So”, it seemed to say. “this is all that friendship and loyalty mean to you!” . . .

He'd Rather Be Riding - Since his retirement Ray Scott's had time to do what he enjoys most, work with horses.

Vicky White: Equine Massage Therapist - Vicky White thought she’d seen every reaction a horse could have to massage therapy. But, she was astonished when the horse she was working on gave a heavy sigh and slowly crumpled to the barn floor . . .

Once a Horse-Logger ...Always a Horse-Logger - Dugan Montjoy misses going horse-logging. There’s a lot to miss. Dugan began horse-logging during school breaks and summer holidays fifteen years ago. He’s been working at it steady for twelve years...

GRASSLAND SECRETS - “Make the meadow-larks stop shouting at us!” demanded my friend, as we paused for a moment during our hike. He was joking, of course. Six romantic meadow-larks trilling together aren’t exactly a deafening roar. In fact, the inhabitants of B.C.’s interior grasslands are generally quiet and shy.

HORSE PAINTERS - Appreciation of art is an intensely personal matter. Picasso people denounce Bob Bateman buddies. Traditionalists scoff at impressionists and both abhor Andy Warhol. What would these critics make of the Moneighs?

THE MESSAGE BROADCAST - When it began there were no e-mails, cell or satellite phones. Long distance communication was by land line, radio phone, regular mail or telegraph. Many rural communities didn’t even have electricity, let alone telephone lines. People in B.C.’s Cariboo country were lucky. Most of them owned battery-powered radios. And they had the Cariboo Radio Network.

Why Should Yesterday Be Forgotten? - “Why should yesterday be forgotten?” Looming against an autumn sky, three threshing machines seem to demand an answer. Far from any museum, they stand on a gentle hill in the open grasslands near Kamloops British Columbia. They are not alone. To one side sit a hay-tedder, and a buzz saw, in front is a disc, and, in the back-ground, plows, rakes and seed-drills wait for the horses which pulled them decades ago.

FRIENDS - They’re an unlikely pair. He’s a blue-blooded aristocrat from New Jersey, in the eastern U.S., accustomed to comfort and luxury. She’s a wild Albertan from Canada’s rugged West, used to fresh air and adventure. He grew up in an orderly world where, as long as he did his best he would be rewarded, and people could be trusted to take care of him. In her experience even a lady had to look out for herself. As a youngster she learned to forage, fight off danger and find her own place in an ever-changing group. He was respected in his field. She was just another face in the wild bunch she ran with.

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN? - We’re hearing a lot these days about the split between urban and rural Canadians. Pollsters ponder us, politicians compete for our votes, professors published learned essays on our differences. But, none of these studies considers a truly fundamental division: traffic. More and more urbanites flee the cities for the supposed quiet and comfort of rural life bringing with them their attitudes towards driving. To their shock, the city style of motorized propulsion doesn’t endear them to their new neighbours.

THE SINGLE TREE - Xmas is a nostalgic time. Now, as the lights glow, we remember old friends separated by time and distance. This is the story of how two young cowboys from the Gang Ranch, having lost touch with each other for years, were re-united by a single-tree.

BUGGED - I phoned my son to report. “I just killed a giant spider in the family room. I hit it with a shovel!” “It’s about time”, he replied. Ah, Fall, the season when insects which have been annoying us outdoors try to make their way into the house to den up before the cold comes.

PARDON MY TURKEY - People who believe all that separates Canadians from Americans are the 49th parallel and the interrogatory “Eh?” should consider Thanksgiving. Timing, traditions, even turkey, are treated very differently on either side of the border. I realized this when saying goodbye to my brother and his American partner after a visit. “Come back to see us at Thanksgiving!” they chorused. “I certainly will.” I replied happily. There was a moment’s hesitation. Kitty and I stared at each other and asked in unison “Your Thanksgiving or mine?”

JACK GREGSON- A MAN ATTACHED TO TICKS - “Wood ticks”, says acarologist John D, .Gregson, “are friendly little creatures. You can get quite attached to them!” Jack would know. He is Canada’s leading expert on ticks and tick-borne diseases. He has published over one hundred scientific papers, identified and named three species of western ticks and had an eastern boreal forest tick named for him as a tribute to his forty years of contributions to understanding the complex world of tick physiology. His research at Agriculture Canada’s Veterinary and Medical Entomology Laboratory in Kamloops , B.C. is known and respected world wide.

ALWAYS TRUST A RANGE COW - Something was scaring horses in Vaughan, Montana. On Dec. 26, l975, when the sheriff’s office received a report of horses rearing, pawing the ground and acting frightened, they went to investigate. The two teen-aged girls who’d called the sheriff said they’d seen what spooked the horses. In fact one had even shot at and possibly hit the creature scaring them.

A HAT IS NOT JUST A HAT! - Vern Elliott makes, sells and repairs hats. From his shop, The Cowboy’s Choice, in Vernon, B.C., he travels to rodeos and cowboy festivals. He’s researched the construction of western hats. And, he has strong feelings about those hats. “A hat”, says Vern, “is not just a hat. For the rancher a hat provides defense against rain, sun or brush; it adds to the style of trainers in the show world and even gives rodeo riders a certain amount of protection when they land.”

MUDDY BOOTS AND ALL - The spring of 2004 was hot and dry until May 22nd when rain fell in torrents. Arne Raven, manager of the Wolf Ranch, stared down the narrow road to the South Thompson River. The normally dry track teemed with water. "Usually we’d drive down", declared Arne, "but, today, we’re walking." He shouldered a shovel and led the way.

LOST A CITY? CALL A COWBOY! - In 1888, on a cold December day, ranchers Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason rode along Mesa Verde searching for cattle which had strayed from the Alamo ranch. They dismounted and followed tracks to the mesa’s edge. To their amazement, in the opposite wall of the canyon, they saw an ancient city of the Anasazi. There were over two hundred rooms. The cattle could wait. The two men used their lariats and nearby dead trees to fashion a rough ladder with which they descended the cliff. They made their way across the canyon floor and scrambled up the other side to inspect the ruin. Mightily impressed,

A COWBOY’S SWEETHEART - Mona Chester always wanted to be a cowboy’s sweetheart, a natural ambition for a girl with her family background.

BESIEGED BY BOOKS - "All who are smitten with the love of books think cheaply of the World & Wealth: the same man cannot love both gold & Books.." Richard of Bury, Bishop of Durham, 1346

UNITED WE SHIVER - Winter unites Canadians. Sure, we have other seasons, but they vary widely; summer may be scorching hot in B.C. but dreary cold in Ontario. Winter cold affects us all. From Bamfield to Bonavista, Cambridge Bay to Cut Bank, regardless of our gender, religion or ethnic origin, winter shapes our attitudes, influences our recreation, snarls our traffic and gives us faint hope that there is natural justice.

QUILTING; ADDING COLOUR TO LIFE - If a friend invited you to a ‘Stack and Whack’ would you assume you’d been asked to attend, a. a pancake eating contest, b. a display of logging skills or c. an encounter with a homicidal maniac? Likely the last possibility to cross your mind would be an introduction to a group of gentle people stitching fabric together. In other words, a quilting society.

ROUNDING UP THE XMAS TREE - "There are light fruit cake people, and there are dark fruit cake people", observes a friend of mine. "Invariably they marry each other leading to a lot of strife during the season of peace and good will."

TOOTS, THE ALL-PURPOSE HORSE - The receipt is still crisp and clear after fifty-eight years. "Received from Mrs. G.E. Hicks, $l50.00 for one bay horse." Signed, "Edna Burgoyne, Oct 19, 1946." My sister and I puzzled over that receipt when she unearthed it recently from a trove of family documents. Wasn’t $l50.00 a lot of money for a horse of any colour in the B.C. Interior in 1946? And, didn’t men usually transact business? I investigated further.

BETH AND HER ANGEL - Beth Tilden can’t remember a time when she didn’t love horses. During her childhood on the Saskatchewan farm where she was born horses were used for all sorts of tasks. She rode a horse to school or to town for supplies. Beth thinks her natural love of animals including her dog and cherished cats, was enhanced because she and her older sister always helped their Dad on the farm. She got to know animals and appreciate them.

THE LOW DOWN ON LLAMAS - The traditional image of a pack train is a string of horses striding along, their loads safely secured by the diamond hitch; or early prospectors with mules carrying their gold pans and rock hammers. Recently a very different animal has been muscling in. Llamas are touted as handy hiking companions for non-horse people.

LARKS AND OWLS - It’s one of the fundamental natural differences. Larks and Owls. Morning creatures and evening creatures. Innate biorhythms governed by light affect plants, birds and animals.

CONFUSED CITIZENS - Being a good citizen gets harder every day. Consider fire-fighting, for example. May 1st, 2004 was a scorching hot day. Forecasters were gloomily predicting a wildfire season as devastating as the summer of 2003. So, when our group of fourteen bird-watching hikers found an abandoned campfire blazing at the remote lake that was our destination, we were horrified. The overnight partiers had hauled in logs and stumps for their fire. Big logs and thick stumps. This was serious.

SCANDINAVIAN MEMORIES - It looks like a war memorial. But, this monument, in the town of Svege, in the province of Harjedalen, in Sweden, commemorates another loss. The inscription reads, “In memory of the people of Harjedalen who emigrated to Canada and the United States of America, this stone was raised in 1964 and officially accepted in 1965”

FARM WIVES - There’s a story about a couple getting married in a little Prairie town. As they paced down the aisle to sign the register whispers followed them. "Can you believe they got married before crop insurance day? No wonder half the community’s not here!"

CULTURE AND COUNTRY LIFE - It happened again last night. A group of sophisticated city people denigrating small towns as uncultured. Apparently any previous education or natural sensitivity vanishes once a person leaves the city limits. Rural dwellers revert to rural habits; chewing and spitting, kicking tractor tires, walking chickens.

WINTER FUN - As I peered like a furtive groundhog into the winter darkness, trying to determine if the predicted storm had arrived, I tried to recall a time when "snowstorm" meant more than treacherous roads, driveways to be cleared and roofs to be shoveled. Shouldn’t there be some fun in winter?

MIXED MARRIAGES; CAN THEY EVER WORK? - Ours is a tolerant era. Nevertheless, my friend’s family was startled and distressed recently to discover that their youngest sister, Mary, is considering marrying out of their faith. “Oh, Jimmy’s a fine man; hard-working, reliable, respected in the community. “ say Mary’s brothers. “Plus he’s good to Mary. But…..”

THE COWBOY; MYTH OR MODEL? - "They ride through myth and legend Down a thousand dusty trails….." What is it about cowboys? Surely, in the era of Palm Pilots and Global Position Trackers a lone man on a horse chasing a cow is an anachronism. Isn’t he? It doesn’t seem so.

Agri-Chic - "Do I use hoof protector?" I repeated, staring at my friend Mavis in confusion. "Yes. I use it all the time," burbled Mavis, "It's wonderful!" Mavis has always been practical, but these long Canadian winters take their toll on a woman. Hoof protector?

ARE COWS ADDICTIVE? - I didn't believe it could happen to my friend. Not till he phoned to say he was back from his holiday in the Okanogan. Just a pleasure trip was the plan.

BACK TO THE LAND - Land.To ranchers, farmers, and growers, it's where they make their living. To ecologists, it's habitat. To most Canadians, small, suburban plots are their independent castles. Rebels, from mountain men to hippies, fled to the land from a world too complicated for them. Aboriginal people called it their hunting ground. For all of them having land meant self-sufficiency and economic security.

BARNARD'S EXPRESS - THE LEGEND LIVES ON IN BARKERVILLE - "Here comes the stage coach!" The cry sends loafers and gossips scattering as Barnard's Express stage rumbles up the main street of Barkerville. Hens squawk and scurry before the thudding hooves of straining Percherons.

Bears in the Barn - My smug pride in the wildlife in my yard, meadow-lark at the bird bath, garter snake under the dogwood, was under-mined by a letter from my brother. "I'm going to check the barn for bears one more time, and then I'm going to bed.", it concluded.

BULL PROBLEMS - It was a sight to make a rancher rejoice. Two fearsome bulls faced each other. Dust swirled in clouds as they pawed the ground. Menacing bellows resounded throughout the valley. A circle of admiring cows watched in eager anticipation. Nature at work on the range.

Canny Cows - Cows are smart. It's been said on television so it must be true. After years of being dissed because they refused to fetch, heel, roll over or perform other humiliating tricks to please humans, cows have been recognized as having their own skills.

Christmas at Mountain House - It was Christmas Eve. Looked like a good Christmas, too, thought twenty-two year old Willie Crosina, as he finished the late afternoon chores. The war, thank God, was over.

Cottonwood House - Cottonwood House is a step back in time, a quiet place, where, if you concentrate, you can almost hear, below the rustle of cottonwood leaves, the jingle of harness, the thud of horses' hooves, and the "Whoa!" of the driver as a stage-coach rumbles down the hill.

Cowboys and Curlews - "Curlews", he declared, " are personable birds, they'll greet you, they're easy to talk to, they're very likeable, they make you feel good." Is this man a dedicated birder completing his life list? Not at all. Arne Raven is spokesman for the Wolf Ranch, a working ranch in B.C. managed for conservation values as well as for cattle.

CROP CIRCLES: ANOTHER SIGN OF WESTERN ALIENATION ? - Carl Sagan didn't care for crop circles. The late, great American astronomer had only scorn for people who said the circles were marks left by space ships setting down in grain fields or attempts by extra-terrestrials to communicate with Earthlings. In his book, "The Demon Haunted World" Sagan has no less than twelve entries dismissing crop circles as hoaxes.

FIRE ON THE RANGE - Until the traffic began to back up on August 6, it was just a regular morning commute along 8th St. in smoky Kamloops, grim faced drivers resenting every red light. When traffic stopped they peered angrily about for the cause. It was obvious, a long line of cars taking donations to the SPCA. In the small parking lot stood a transport truck being loaded with food and supplies for animals rescued from the McLure fire.

Frontier Justice - When you hear the words "Frontier Justice" what's the first picture that comes to your mind?

GARDEN TEMPTATIONS - Child, girl and woman, I've gardened. I know the pitfalls . So, in spring, I approach my mail box with trepidation. For, spring brings gardening catalogues. These purveyors of fantasy lure gardeners with pages of vibrant colour. There are tempting illusions of delectable-appearing vegetables and vivid flowers. Each page offers an implied promise that the reader can create a harmonious oasis of water, colour, leaf and loam, home to singing birds and friendly small animals.

GLEN ESCOT - BARKERVILL'S STAGE COACH DRIVER - Restoring a stage coach is one thing, but, where, in the twenty-first century, do you find a driver?

GOOD FENCES - Old wooden fences still partition the West. Reminders of another era, they stand solidly beside highways in cattle country or gently tilt back to earth along forgotten trails. Their very names, snake fence, Russell rail fence, leaning rail fence, bring to mind a time when a skilled fence builder was a very desirable ranch hand.

Gopher Wars by Trudy Frisk - "But, they were here only this morning!" I exclaimed, staring at vacant earth where lilies had flourished. They'd disappeared, vanished as if pulled into the Underworld. I ruled out Hades or Orpheus; neither would leave sundry piles of dirt. By inference the culprit was a pocket gopher......

HAY AND THE SPIRIT OF GIVING - One day last August viewers in Salmon Arm, B.C., stared in surprise at the local news. The usual pronouncements of doom were superseded by a positive story. A farmer from nearby Enderby announced that he and his son were trucking their extra hay to drought stricken farmers in Alberta. He asked anyone with hay to spare to join them.

HOWDY, PARDNER! - It could be the cross-over music. After all, those 130,000 fans at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival must carry some country influence with them when they return, weary, but happy, to their regular surroundings. Or, maybe it's the result of international cowboy poetry readings. Why, even the topics of cowboy songs, cattle drives and life on the trail, aren't musical anachronisms; they've become an annual event on the main street of Kamloops, B.C. every July. Cowboy culture is spreading.

IN DEFENSE OF DANDELIONS - They're every mother's first bouquet. To a toddler nothing could be more beautiful than those fuzzy, golden flowers. Surely Mommy will love them too! Unfortunately, most people don't greet dandelions with the joyous glee of a small child. Spring's arrival is announced by a rising cacophonous chorus from members of the species 'Lawnus Harrumphus' emerging from their winter dens to discover dandelions blooming everywhere. Immediately the anti-dandelion forces muster every physical and chemical method available to eradicate them.

Knapweed: To Pull Or To Spray - That Is The Question - As anyone who's tried to pull it knows, knapweed does not 'go gentle into that good night.' Its roots seem to twine firmly round Precambrian rock. We tried using shears. Better, but still slow going. I work during the week and there was too much knapweed to deal with....

LED BY A SONG - In the blue Canadian Rockies Spring is sighing through the trees, And the golden poppies are blooming Round the banks of Lake Louise." The first time I visited Lake Louise I ignored chateau, mountains and lake till I'd found the poppies and seen for myself that the words of that old song, which resounded through my childhood, were true.

LILACS AND RHUBARB - SIGNS OF THE SETTLERS - They are survivors. Scattered throughout the West, their presence marks the settler's paths, often when all other traces of settlement have vanished. Many a spot now returned to wilderness or pasture, or, even transmogrified into housing developments, has, still a stubborn patch of rhubarb or a grimly determined lilac as a reminder that, once, people equally resolute built their homes here, tilled the fields or logged the forests, raised their families, and tried to make a living on the wild frontier.

Men in Stetsons - Call me sexist. Label me politically incorrect. Just round me up for the next Cowboy Heritage Festival.

Men, Women and Machines - When my friend, Laura told her husband that a transmission bolt on their van broke as she drove down a steep hill, this fellow who'd calmly coaxed dozens of tractors to run, and persuaded reluctant hay balers to bale, reacted like any other man. "What", he howled, "did you DO to it?"

Muriel Scheltens, Country Teacher - Closing rural schools not only changed small communities but also eliminated the profession of country teacher. Most of the educators who kept order in one-room country schools in the early l900s were young women.

NAN'S WEEKEND AT THE WOLF RANCH - The first "Nan's Weekend' in Canada took place June 7-9, 2002 on the Wolf Ranch near Pritchard, B.C. Enthusiastic participants declared it an unqualified success. The concept of "Nan's Weekend" originated eight years ago in Oregon on the Prineville ranch of John and Lynne Breese as a tribute to their late friend Nan, a teacher and problem solver. It has become an annual event there.

Post-Agricultural Cats - Are pigs the pets of the future? In socialist communes, perhaps. In our hierarchical, uncertain, society, I'm betting the tuna on cats.

PROSPECTING FOR BERRIES - Once upon a time, in the cooler zones of the West, wild fruit was the only fruit available to the homesteader. Late summer and early fall were berry picking time. Settlers scoured bog, flat land and hillside for the prized berries.

SALUTE TO THE HANDY-MAN - It was definitely déjà vu. "I need something to wipe this with, " exclaimed the man fixing my bathroom. "I'll get a cloth," I began, but, too late. He seized a pastel face cloth; one carefully matched to its fellow towel, and began mopping. It took me back. This fellow has done home repairs for me for many years. During this time I learned that, if I was missing a paring knife, mixing bowl, or spatula, the first place to search was among the pieces of his latest project. Sometimes I resigned myself and bought new ones. They never lasted, especially paring knives which he took, muttering that the one he already had was dull. No wonder that, to this day, I peel my vegetables with butcher knives.

SANDHILL CRANES: THE VOICES OF SPRING - Spring is a subtle process in the dry grasslands of B.C.'s interior. A week of warmth may be followed by chill snow. Slowly aspen and willow leaves open into pale green haloes. Under the sage brush buttercups and fritillaries hide modestly among last year's grasses. Tentatively ducks, robins, meadow-larks, mountain blue birds return to the ponds and ponderosa pines. March and April are months of turbulent winds. One day, from the blustery air comes a clear, lilting musical call. The sand-hill cranes are flying north. Now, it's truly spring.

SAVING HISTORY: STEAM ENGINE 2141 - From the days when it was a fur-trading post, Kamloops, B.C. has prided itself on being a ransportation hub. Here North and South Thompson Rivers meet. CN and CP RAIL lines run through the town. It's a centre for highway travel in all directions. So, it's no surprise that Kamloops should be a major vantage point for historic travel experiences.

SAVING HISTORY; BILLY MINER - Billy Miner robbed stagecoaches. Not that he was mean about it. His regular greeting, "Put your hands up and no one gets hurt", earned him the nickname 'The Gentleman Bandit'. But, even gentlemen can be caught. When Billy got out of a long stretch in San Quentin, times had changed. Stagecoaches were almost gone, replaced by trains. Billy realized that trains were the way of the future.

SIGHTING ON THE PAST - It was a scene from bygone days. Gentlemen in frock coats and long dusters stood in conversational groups, gallantly doffing their Stetsons to bow and greet a pair of ladies in ruffled caps whose flounced skirts trailed among the Ponderosa pine needles. Laughing children played tag through the Sagebrush.

SIGNS OF CARING - It's become a neighbourhood tradition. Every Dec.1st a lighted Xmas tree appears on the hillside above the line of houses. For years it was all alone. Then, one winter, a few houses to the west, a star glowed. A year later, just before Xmas, the figure of a snowman shone down from the hill a kilometer to the east. Last December it was joined by a cross. For a month these bright figures illuminate the darkest winter nights.

STOP Don't Touch That Clock! - "Welcome to the bi-annual meeting of STOP (Saving Time Offends People). Hands up, all those who agree that daylight 'saving' time is a devious plot perpetrated on a gullible public!"

TRAVELLING LIGHTLY - When my mother was a girl, in Manitoba, an old Red River cart sat on the river bank not far from the Adolph farmhouse. Her grandparents and their children had traveled in it from North Dakota to the Canadian frontier.

URBAN CHICKENS; THE NEW GARDEN GNOMES? - Chickens are 'in' in urban Atlanta. In fact, right across the U.S. sales of chickens to urban residents are up by 25%. Is this some new form of self-reliance? City people taking their eggs into their own hands so to speak? Not exactly.

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