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Paul Marchant

Paul Marchant is an active rancher who tells stories as though we're all "sittin' horseback and ridin' drag" together. His Irons in the Fire articles both entertain and spur thought about personal values and goals.

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It was just past 2 p.m. It was hot and dusty as they pushed the tail-end of the straggler calves and leppies out of the last draw and up to the little pond that brought welcome and cool relief to trail-weary cows and worn-out horses.

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As I snaked around the last bend in the rough, washboard road before the wide spot at the base of the hill where I intended to pull over to unload my horse, I glanced in the mirror and noticed the swinging trailer gate. I didn’t take this as a good omen to start my day.

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Punctuality is a highly prized trait in my world. The reason for its value is because of its rarity. It’s not that I don’t have good intentions, of course. I hate being late. But I’ve laid far too many bricks on the good intentions pathway. If it’s true about where that pathway leads, then I’m well on my way to a warmer climate.

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Several years ago, we decided to change things up a little bit on our place. My dad was getting older, the kids were starting to leave home for college, and I was spending more time away from home. It seemed like the ideal time to cut back on the number of cows we were running to ease the stress, headaches and burdens that accompany calving time.

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Old Mother Nature can surely be a crafty old gal; just ask anyone in Texas and Oklahoma who suffers through a three-year drought twice a decade or the folks in Iowa, Illinois or Ohio who were trying to calve in 2 feet of snow last spring.

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Like many small towns and communities in rural America, my hometown plays host to a raucous and reverent celebration every summer in honor of its earliest settlers and pioneer heritage.

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