“Yellowstone Effect”

Devin Murnin, Western Livestock Journal, 8/29/2022

Most people have seen or heard of the hit TV show “Yellowstone” that airs on the Paramount Network. Admittedly, I have watched the show. It is set in picturesque Montana and packed with drama, lots of action and overly-fictionalized storylines around a ranching family trying to keep together the generational ranch that has been passed down to them.

This show is hard to watch if you are involved in production agriculture for the many incorrect portrayals of ranching practices and the over-the-top daily issues faced by this fictional family. However, it seems to be resonating with the public and is causing an influx of people wishing to move to the Big Sky state. The “Yellowstone effect” is real in Montana, and we have seen population growth and skyrocketing demand for real estate.

It’s no secret that the pandemic changed work dynamics, and the ability for employees to work remotely resulted in people moving away from areas with a high cost of living to more affordable locations around the country. Montana saw a huge demand increase for property. For example, in Bozeman, where the storyline of “Yellowstone” is based, the median price for a single-family home was a mere $500,000 a few short years ago.

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Tarantula vs. Tarantula Hawk

Video by Katy Fry

While feeding hay, the girls caught this footage. More about the intriguing behavior of the Tarantula Hawk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantula_hawk


                                                Change is made of choices

                                                & choices are made of character.

                                                                    – Amanda Gorman (“We Write”)


Nothing stays the same,

even the Earth wobbles on its axis.


We are not the same people—

we were raised with, and finally by.


Reason and truth have been inflated so

they have no value now, like fiat currency.


Yesterday, a man’s word defined him.

Today he speaks a foreign tongue.


But that’s all we have, a lifetime of words

to ease the speed and pain of change.



Up here, the deer unafraid.

We freeze together

to see who melts away first.



Dry, Dry, Dry


An all too familiar sight across the West, this spring and rainfall fed stockwater pond has gone dry.  Rainfall for 3 of the past 4 years has been below average https://drycrikjournal.com/rainfall-history-1/ following the 2012-2016 drought. In short, for 7 of the past 10 years rainfall has been below average.

Though currently temperatures have been running above 110 degrees https://drycrikjournal.com/journal-2022-23/ our summer has been relatively cool with more monsoonal presence than we’re used to, but without moisture.  Typically, it’s too warm for our grass to survive before the middle of October anyway.

As new calves hit the ground, we’re looking forward to fall and a chance for moisture and feed for the remainder of our cattle.




                                       Poetry is its own prayer,

                                      The closest words come to will.

                                                 –  Amanda Gorman (“CORDAGE, or ATONEMENT”)


To untangle a knot of fishing line

you must begin with the hook—

work reason gently backwards.


Don’t pull tight but take a breath,

give time away and listen

to the words that swim by.


Free the mind to find itself

not coifed in sheep’s clothing

but wild as a wolf in the woods.


Watch the water riffle and eddy.

See rocks and cobbles talking

from an ever-changing streambed.


This is fishing.

This is poetry.

This is solace.




Occasionally, I feel guilty.

I’ve killed so many

that I may allow

one to escape

my will to kill


before becoming numb

as machinery,

before squeezing


               the pellet gun

               the .22,

               the .223

               or the 17 HMR—


…like now as I write:

one breaking from

the dogs’ empty pens

with cheeks full

of puppy chow.


Little bastards,

I’ve fed tens of thousands

to our local wake of buzzards

waiting for the first report

of war in the canyon.


Falling off hillsides in hordes,

battalions of vermin

to strip tomatoes

green from the vine—


every sweet and juicy issue

from my darling Elberta,

our plump grapefruit

and leather-hided pomegranates

that will never spread

as jelly on toasted bread.


Serious business in a drought

to become an oasis

for the flea-infested

and their underpopulated

predators, but I’d like a day off.


First Calf 2022

In the feed grounds this morning (8/29/22), our first calf of the season with its mother (7052), posted here as part of our age and source verification program and to share with those following this blog. Due September 1st, there are several other cows pretty close up, so it’ll have a playmate soon. An Angus calf, no Wagyu this year.

How To Beat The Heat


What a delightful afternoon after work (8/19/22).  109 degrees at the ‘Sip and Dip’: Katy Fry, Allie & Shawn Fox with Robbin, Buster and Tessa. 



I look to the ridges for clarity,

for a sign of an approaching storm

gathering somewhere north—


trace silhouetted skeletons

of drought-killed oaks, branched

like Challenge Butter bucks.


As my eyes escape the first waft

of chaos and claustrophobe,

I leave my flesh to rest among


all the old cowmen with nothing to do

but watch the learning process

over and over again.


The Natives retreated to the hills,

but at the top of mountain peaks,

there’s no place left to go.