Friday, September 29, 2006

A Bozeman Skyline....

As the days have drifted by I realized I have been lacking in my duty to providing thoughtful insight into this world we have created on the internet (aka the Blog). It was about a year ago when this little venture started. It took a while to catch on but soon people from all over the country were logging on and checking up on what the 511 ranch house is up to these days. This network of people that we call friends are all in some way connected to the 511 house. Lately though, I feel like the fanfare for the blog has really dropped off. In the old days you could expect at least 4-5 blogs a week on the happenings and lives of the 511 Ranch. Today we are luvky to receive 1 blog every two weeks. This is a call to action to all of those out there priviliged enough to be invited into the blog. Take responsibility for the duty that has been bestowed upon you and blog away (be sure to include a few photos).

Enough of that nonsense. I just feel like I had to get that out there a nd yes I feel as though I am partially to blame for the lack of blogging lately as well. So lets see, where do I start. I think we will just go with last night and work our way back from there.

So last night, TGR film at the Emerson with the crew and priviliged guests. Good time but no freebies were won in the raffle by anyone from the Ranch crew. Post film drinking occured at the Pourhouse until a decent hour. The situation with the Pourhouse should be the subject of another blog altogether maybe more so the situation of the bars in Bozeman in general. We can get to that another day.

My memory kind of stinks so I will sum up what has been going on. Work during the week, bike, run, exercise/outdoor activity after work leading into dinner and maybe some socializing outside of the house or maybe some guests drop by for a visit. Simple yet pretty much the story of how things go at the Ranch, at least how my life goes during the week. Weekends tend to be a tad more adventurous with possibly more extreme outdoor adventures, a challenging exercise activity, or maybe an excursion to a far off distant land near or in Bozeman.

So that was pretty broad but I would like to include some details that have been going on which I think everyone will appreciate. Finally, but welcomed with open arms, my parents visited this great place I have lived in for the past two years and realized why I have no desire to leave. A good time was had by the rents as I took them to Yellowstone and most of the other touron things you can do here. About two weeks before that our friend Mel accompanied me to the wedding of a co-worker. It was a great time with dancing and awesome food and Mel is a great wedding date. I don't know if anyone blogged about this yet but about a month ago 3 Ranch hands traveled to a little town called Dillon for maybe one of the coolest rodeo's to date. Tucker, Aunge and Patrick all were in costume for this wonderful event. So this bog is becoming rather long and I will try to wrap it up here.

Like I said before, I will promise to make an effort to blog more frequently and try to revive the vitality that this site once had. I am asking everyone else who can blog to do the same. So in closing, I would just like to give a big "YA HEY DER" to all the ranch hands far and near. They know who they are. Peace out, good luck and stay in touch.

Word to your mother,


Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Cowboy Life

I sit here at my desk in the Homestead/ Ranchhouse not fully able to comprehend what an amazing opportunity this is. I am humbled by the generosity Max exudes to even extend an invitation in my direction to partake in this Earth shattering congregation of superb writers. To be seen in the 511 Times is equivalent to having your story published in the New York Times of yesterday. Hats of to our fiercest competitor even though they can no longer hold a candle to the journalistic perfection seen here within.
I have little idea where I should take this article, but in times of confusion I believe it is best to fall back on familiar events. Therefore I will describe some experiences and express some opinions about the way of life that I have chosen, hopefully to paint a descent picture of who I am and what I bring to the Ranch. Many of my fellow Ranchhands are probably lead to believe I will be orating about a decision to become "brokeback", and to you I apologize, because that is not what I wish to talk about at this time. Instead I want to share with you things I have learned from my adventures around the world about our way of life.
What does it mean to be a Cowboy in the ever shrinking global world, and more importantly, what does it mean to be a Cowboy in the suburbs of Bozangelas? First, I think what is essential to our way of life is an established community, something you find in all parts of the ranching world, and something that I need not describe because it is what the 511 Ranch is best known for. So, in the ever shrinking world the communities of cowboys are becoming compressed and tighter, and as a result, stronger than the communities of cowboys from a century ago. Light was shown on this subject as I became integrated with a community of Goucho's in the Peruvian Andes of South America. As the cities are growing and the outside interest in their mountain resources are expanding they are finding themselves pushed ever further away into smaller and smaller pockets of wild land. It is on this windswept land that we practiced traditions of the Goucho passed on through generations traced as far back as the Inca Empire; To ride in the open land with nothing but a few of your closest cowboys and your giant herd of Lamas as your responsibility. I was instantly saddened because it flooded me with memories of riding the open ranges of Montana herding the great buffalo, but now due to the constraints of the suburban life we are left herding a few measly Golden Retrievers.
The great Cowboys of Asia (xaquingh, as phonetically correct as is possible) are struggling with similar changes to their way of life. However, it is both the land shortages and the economic hardships that have left them herding smaller species as well. Yet, as cowboys always do, they have found a niche market that needs their work and expertise. It is a trend that originated in Beijing (Peking) that has exploded all over the world and demands the huge numbers of duck consumed in fine restaurants. These great Xaquingh of Asia are working their hands to the bone herding these flocks of duck (believe me, until you have tried to rope a duck, you have no idea how hard a job it is. I have a hard time saying that as we here at the 511 Ranch take great pride in our roping abilities.) It was while watching these tight communities of Asian ranchers that I realized our purpose here in suburban Bozangelas is as important as ever. We need to be proud of our heritage as Cowboys and hold our heads high as the pressures of the world seem to squeeze in on all sides. In the end the Cowboys always win and we will ride into the great sunset of the Big Sky State to once again play horseshoes around the campfire instead of cornhole on the driveway.

Rope 'em -

Justin Smith - aka - Ranchhand extraordinare, ladies man, man's man, and one hell of a fine gentleman.

I want to apologize for some potential factual errors that may be present in my article, I was more concerned with the emotional aspect of the story than the factual correctness. I believe that is something stressed here at the 511 Times, and something I greatly appreciate.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

On Being Men...

Our latest exploit here at the ranch is to be the best men we can. It all may have started with the Man Laws website, but really that simply formalized the process for us. Plus, we all know that it is much more manly to drink PBR or Leinies than Miller Lite. Still, the man laws provided us with inspiration. So, we have realized that many things we already do is quite manly, such as drinking excessive amounts of beer on a near daily basis, eating brats and burgers several times a week, and thinking of and talking about hot girls. On the other hand, things like carrying man purses and talking about our feelings is not as manly. Good to know. Today, Patrick and I loaded up the Escapepod with a few beers, a 20 gauge shotgun and enough clays and ammo to last us nearly a half hour and drove out to do some shooting. Really, what could be more manly? I suppose if we were to have shot each other to toughen our skin a bit... But, we came back, disappointed that we couldn't stop at the hardware store because it was closed, and ate brats.
In other news, but really along the same lines, we're residing the ranch house right now. Tucker insists on putting in 15 hour days, but so far I have resisted getting up before dawn, even if it is for the purpose of using a pneumatic nail gun. Oh, the power you feel with that in your hand... It's a big project. With any luck, we'll be able to admire the new siding within the next few weeks. If you'd like to schedule a viewing, shoot me an email.
The Volvo took a turn for the worst. The ignition system crapped out, and so far has not been fixed. Perhaps I'll have a moment to work on it if tucker gets distracted by the table saw, or a cute girl.
Justin has a date coming up, and we're not sure what Danny is up to, but right now he is at the hot springs with a totally hot babe. Patrick and I are wondering what's up - isn't spring supposed to be the season of love? Allegedly not. Men are probably getting excited about the upcoming hunting season here in Montana, which in turn, of course, is going to increase the sex drive. It's crazy how much it's a man's man's world.