Shade up during the afternoon |

Shade up during the afternoon

We’ve yet to hit the 100-degree mark, but we’ve clearly entered the Dog Days of summer. Last Friday, as I strode to and from the mailbox, the thick, oppressive scent of pine trees hung heavy in the air. Grasshoppers, super-charged by the elevated temps, clicked and clacked and rattled in the drying grass.

As noted by The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the 40-day span of Dog Days begins July 3 and ends Aug. 11. It coincides with the sunrise-rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. Here on the Northern Great Plains, it also coincides with haying, harvest and rapidly maturing gardens. The race is on to bring in the crops before pests, hail, fire or drought beat you to it.

When the thermometer exceeds the century mark – and not even a kitten-sniff of a breeze interrupts the baking rays – it’s a treat to shade up during the worst of the afternoon heat. Birds do it. Beeves do it.

Riders In The Sky Live in Concert can keep you entertained while you wait out the heat. The 75-minute DVD was recorded in celebration of their 30-year career in the entertainment industry as keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. The songs and shtick are a cross section of the tunes and hijinks they’ve performed in concert, on the radio, and in the movies: Bob Nolan classics; instrumentals; a bit of jazz; the “Clarinet Polka” (sans clarinet); the oft-requested “Lonely Yukon Stars”; a Toy Story medley; “The Orange Blossom Special”; and Gene Autry’s “Call of the Canyon” and “Mexicali Rose.” Not to disappoint, they bring the show to a close with “Happy Trails.”

With the goals of keeping old-time cowboy songs alive, as well as writing new songs, the Grammy-award-winning cowboy quartet marked 28 years as members of The Grand Ole Opry in June 2010. Listen to an assortment of tracks from various albums by Ranger Doug, Joey the CowPolka King, Woody Paul and Too Slim under MUSIC at

The 19-song Riders In The Sky Live in Concert DVD was released in 2010. Filmed at Utah’s Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair, it sells for $25.50 (postpaid). Order from Too Slim’s Mercantile, 4865 Little Marrowbone Road, Ashland City, TN 30715; 615-414-1278;

The Gypsy Cowman … a Vanishing Breed might make you appreciate the heat. There are several winter scenes included in the documentary. Filmed over a 10-year period, primarily in eastern Montana, the 41-minute film focuses on Montana-born Owen Badgett. His mother’s family came to Montana Territory in the 1880s, establishing the Knowlton community east of the Powder River. His father’s side came to Otter Creek in 1893. Both families learned to survive in below-zero weather or 100-degree-plus heat.

A project of longtime newscaster and public television producer Linda Lou Crosby, it captures the essence of Badgett’s life: honor and friendship. The two met when Badgett was working as a wild horse wrangler for the Bureau of Land Management in California. Badgett eventually returned to Montana where he hired on with several cattle outfits.

An itinerant cowboy, Badgett says he never owned a square foot of the land on which he rode, but that it was all his. He used the term “gypsy cowman” to describe an arrangement whereby he ran a small herd of his own cattle on the various ranches where he worked as partial payment for his labor. The ranches where Badgett worked were remote; the camps where he lived often lacking electricity. Crosby takes the viewer to the camps, corrals and kitchens of Badgett’s day-to-day existence. As a bonus, she includes additional film footage accompanied by Bob Petermann’s original song, “In the Badlands of Montana.”

The Gypsy Cowman … a Vanishing Breed sells for $25 (postpaid). Order from Inyokern Horse Hotel, PO Box 1149, Inyokern, CA 93527; 760-377-5001;

Spectacular scenery and an engaging story await in Return to Little Hollywood. The 38-minute documentary chronicles the history of movie making around Kanab, in southern Utah. Watch the trailer at

In 1924, Fox Studios sent a film crew to Utah’s red-rock country to film Tom Mix in The Deadwood Coach. Kanab liked what the movies did for the economy. Hollywood liked the scenery and the one-stop convenience. Since then, more than 200 movies and television series – predominantly Westerns – have been made there, earning Kanab the nickname of Little Hollywood. For more on Kanab and Kane County go to

Return to Little Hollywood sells for $18.50 (postpaid), Visa or Mastercard, no checks. Order from Frontier Movie Town, 297 W. Center St., Kanab, UT 84741; 435-644-5337; For more about the Frontier Movie Town/Little Hollywood Movie Museum, go to

Submit books, recordings and films for consideration to Jeri L. Dobrowski, Cowboy Jam Session, 1471 Carlyle Rd S, Beach, ND 58621.

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