Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Articles written by Dick Geary

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 By Dick Geary    Columns    March 13, 2019 

The birds of spring, a harbinger of summer

This last siege of storms has made for long winter. The snow is welcome, but it may delay spring grass and the return of migratory birds. As kids,...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    March 6, 2019

The cold frustration of winter

This last blizzard got me thinking about how hard the old timers had to work just to keep the house warm from September to May, and to cook every day...

 

Kenny

When I was at my sickest in Brazil, and my legs didn't work to the point I sometimes couldn't get off the toilet by myself, I remembered a rancher...

 

'Sundry rubber goods'

I've always kept myself on the outer edges of society, preferring to observe its actions and ideas with a soft contempt, always keeping my "ironic...

 

Learning patience from the farm flock

Years back almost every ranch kept a "farm flock" of 100 – 200 ewes. They provided extra income from their wool and lambs, but could be a nuisance...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    January 30, 2019

An ongoing loss of heritage and history

Some time ago I saw a photograph taken at the Helmville cemetery on the day they buried my great grandfather in 1922. In the picture there's a...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    January 23, 2019

Rites of Passage

It took me a long time to fully appreciate the differences between a rural upbringing and an urban upbringing. These differences are not especially...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    January 16, 2019

Habits of cleanliness

Our mother had four children under six years old in the house (two more came some years later,) a wringer washer, but no clothes dryer or dishwasher....

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    January 9, 2019

The just noticeable difference

That summer that I was ten - Can it be only one summer that I was ten? May Swenson – The Centaur [1958] We all say that as we age, time seems to...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    January 2, 2019

Feeding the haying crews

Tis not the meat, but 'tis the appetite Makes eating a delight. Of Thee, Kind Boy John Suckling 1609 - 1642 The haying crews were large during the yea...

 

The changing culture of ranch life

Agricultural techniques, like all other facets of life, have progressed over time. With cattle and other agrarian businesses, the cultures themselves...

 

Ranch Christmas and Forgotten Santas

In the days of loose hay, when the cattle were fed by hand, Christmas meant two days of extra work. - the day before and the day after. In order to...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    December 5, 2018

The Brazilian irony of murder and murderers

I was eating lunch at the hotel in Barra do Bugres, where I had been sent by the Peace Corps. The establishment offered rooms plus meals, and was the...

 

Road trips and roller skates

Back in the 1950's people didn't travel much. The vehicles of the day weren't that reliable, tires weren't dependable, and the roads were difficult....

 

Gilding the technological lily

One afternoon, back in the 1990's, an old friend and I were philosophizing. The question came up as to what technological development of the 20th...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    November 7, 2018

Good neighbors, good fences

Robert Frost wrote that one time he came upon the owner of the land next to his. The man was building a fence in the woods, where there was no actual...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    October 31, 2018

Re-adjusting to the seasons

Winter lies too long in country towns; bangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen. Willa Silbert Cather 1873 – 1947 The consistently...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    October 24, 2018

Respecting the Halloween traditions

Every fall, about 2,000 years ago, the Celts celebrated a festival they called Shahmain (show-in). As the centuries passed, some Roman and Catholic...

 

Lessons from the hospital in Cuiaba'

I still think a lot about the hospital in Cuiabá. That place changed me a lot. I used to be quick to become irritated with the smallest thing, but...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    October 3, 2018

Term Life

I have the propensity to make decisions with little forethought, then when things fall apart, cast around for help to get out of the situation I...

 

The Yearling Days

Here in western Montana most ranches are what's called "cow/calf" operations. The owners maintain a herd of cows and sell the offspring at about six...

 

Grouchy ducks, grumpy geese and other undesirable animals

Our mother was out at the clothesline while the rest of us were in the house. Suddenly, she burst through the back door, so frightened and angry she c...

 

Surviving with help from Rosana, a person of rare caliber

I had been incubating a case of pneumonia for some time before I got sick enough that a woman whose name I didn't even know took action and saved my...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    August 29, 2018

Family milk cows, and the chores they meant, now a thing of the past

Along with the beaverslide stackers and teams of horses, the family milk cows have disappeared into the past. I don't think anyone misses them. The...

 
 By Dick Geary    Columns    August 22, 2018

Farm flocks, Judas sheep and surprise of ovine intelligence

For many years it was traditional for almost every ranch to run 100 – 200 head of sheep. "Farm flocks" they were called. That lasted until to the...

 

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