Jan Swan Wood: Review of 2013, barrel clinic, manure pile builds in N.M. | TSLN.com

Jan Swan Wood: Review of 2013, barrel clinic, manure pile builds in N.M.

By the time you read this, Christmas 2013 will be in the books. I hope great memories were made and that many photos were taken. Writing this before Christmas, I am anticipating some great times with the grandboys and their Daddy. I'm sure there will be time spent pulling a sled with a saddle horse and making little boys giggle.

Since Christmas is past, it must be time to be looking forward to 2014. I anticipate difficulty making a "3" look like a "4" on all the checks I mess up for the first 11 1/2 months of 2014.

Many are very glad that 2013 is over at last and are hopeful that the new year will be better. We had two major disasters in 2013: on the northern plains the October blizzard was the worst thing that happened and it's effects will be felt for years to come. I would say that Obamacare was the other one on a national basis, also with long term negative effects.

The positive points of 2013 though, are also memorable. Again, for the northern plains, the drought finally broke and did it with style. After the driest year in 2012, spring of 2013 was just more of the same. The end of April brought a winter storm with some moisture, then in May the monsoon began. It rained and rained and rained. The country drank it in, the dams ran over and creek and rivers flooded. It was miraculous. I've never been so thrilled to fix water gaps as I was in 2013. We had grass growing everywhere and lots of hay when it gave one time to get it put up between rains. Cattle prices are at an all time high and even sheep have made a decent recovery.

There are always so many blessings in our lives that sometimes we don't even notice them. I hope that in 2014 I take time each day to notice and be thankful. I'm sure thankful for all of you and for the opportunity to get to do this column each week.

Well, enough mushy stuff….

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There will be a Kelly Kaminski barrel clinic on April 5 and 6 at the Leanin' Pole Arena, Killdeer, N.D. It's two separate clinics with one for beginners and one for advances and are $200 per clinic. Contact Amanda Lundquist at 701-870-1378 for more information.

I can't say as I'm surprised that someone has stepped in to once again screw up the startup of horse processing. New Mexico's attorney general Gary King has filed a suit that claims Valley Meats of Roswell violated environmental and safety laws between 1986-2005, therefore the suit will address "anticipated violations" if the plant opens. Really? For one thing, the "facts" the alleged violations from back then are a bit sketchy, and also, how can a suit be based on something that might or might not happen. I'm wondering where the "burden of proof" will come from on this? It's also linked to Valley Meats not renewing its wastewater permit from 2010 to 2012. Valley Meats has jumped through every hoop presented to get their doors open, so I'm thinking that one has an "off" smell to it too. Something King has overlooked apparently is that the NM Environmental Dept. has jurisdiction over the wastewater and environmental concerns with Valley Meats, not the A.G.'s office.

Attorney for Valley Meats, Blair Dunn, says that King has really stepped in it and it's going to cost the state of New Mexico a bundle. He also says that King is running for governor in the next race in N.M., so obviously, he wants to get lots of "do gooder" headlines to enhance his income in preparation for that race. Valley Meats, in the mean time, have 15 employees ready to go to work and horses standing in the pens waiting. If this frivolous lawsuit could get dropped, they could start processing the first week or so in January. Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo., are still being held up by some state permit problems, no doubt brought on by someone digging where it isn't their business to dig, so no word on when they can open if all of this gets resolved.

Just as expected, FRER (Front Range Equine Rescue) and their evil twin, HSUS, have vowed to file another injunction to stop horse slaughter as soon as their shopping turns up a judge who will do it. Their attorney Bruce Wagman says he'll "play all the cards in the deck" to stop slaughter. He also says that FRER makes funds available to help horse owners humanely euthanize their horses (be a shame if they could get a little money out of that horse and have the horse humanely euthanized in a plant). FRER was established in 1997 and claims they are dedicated to rescuing abandoned horses and preventing abuse and horse slaughter. Well, they are sure preventing slaughter. I haven't heard of them writing any checks to help with the rescue of the estimated 400,000 unwanted horses in the U.S. annually.

Well, that's my circle for the week. Have a wonderful New Year and a richly blessed one as well. Happy trails my friends.