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'The times, they are a'changing'

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

My grandfather Charley Trew used to shake his head and say, "the changes, they just keep a'coming." As we modernized our farming equipment and methods after the Great Depression and Dust Bowl ended, it seems we were making big changes almost every week.

The same holds true today. The ideas and advertisements in farm and ranch magazines make my head swim trying to figure out how they work and how to pay for them.

A visit recently with a long-time used farm equipment dealer told of a change I had not heard. Seems the high price of scrap metal for the last few years has finally about cleaned out the old horse-drawn and early tractor machinery. He said those type of auctions held on old farms are a thing of the past. Sure makes me proud of my collection of 60-plus horse-drawn implements and other old farm tools. At least I can show them to my descendants and explain how they work.

Not so long ago, if you wanted to see an arena you had to go to a rodeo ground to see one. Not so today. When we travel around the Panhandle we see many nice arenas at ranches, farms, feedlots, in towns, at churches and other mysterious places.

There must be lot of interest in such arena sports participation. On the other hand, maybe the presence of so many private arenas is the reason why rodeo attendance is down.

My brother and I often laugh at how smart our dad was. Every time we even casually mentioned entering rodeos to ride or rope, we could expect within the next few days to find new colts, raw broncs or older horses that "needed a little riding" awaiting us in the corrals.

We would be needing more horses in New Mexico or to take up to wheat pasture this winter. By the time the new stock were dependable we would be fresh out of the rodeo notions.

Although wind power seems to be all the rage today, solar power is slowly becoming the biggest change in ranching. The long-time faithful windmill, dependable if the wind blows, has become so expensive to purchase and maintain, solar-powered water pumps are becoming more numerous.

For a while the new pumps had troubles; but the latest models seem to have that solved, and our solar pumps are working in great fashion, providing water whether the wind blows or not.

If Ace Reed were still alive and drawing cartoons, he would have old Jake the cowboy up on a rickety ladder by a solar panel, rag and soap bottle in hand, cleaning the hoot owl poop off the screen and wishing for days past when he was checking the oil in a windmill.

Through rainwater harvesting and the use of solar pumps, we have removed our windmill towers and they are lying on the ground for sale. It's been two years now and I still have not lost the habit of looking for the mills to see whether the wheels are turning in the breeze or standing at the pipe listening for the clicks of the checks as they slowly jack the water to the surface.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" October 19, 2010 column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.

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