Monday, October 31, 2022


The backstraps of any critter have to be the most popular cut of meat. But especially on a cow; this is where you get your choicest steaks. It doesn't take much training to locate them. There's two, one on each side of the backbone. Cutting them into steaks, now that's just plain fun. 

If I don't T-bone the six steaks closest to the pelvis, I can get about 24 steaks out of one full backstrap. 

Like catching 20# Bass, pulling a full backstrap out of a cow is quite a feat. 

It is located right along the vertebra. I didn't get a real clean split on this cow, which took away the T part of the T-bone, which is why I decided to just steak the whole strap. It can be easy to damage the meat as you're removing it from the rib cage. So I like to ride the ribs with my knife. As you get to the front third of the strap, it really dives down. If you're not on the ribs, you'll cut the ribeyes in half.

Once pulled, I remove the cap from the front third, which is where part of the shoulder blade is and the tougher muscles surrounding it. Then I cut the strap into 1 1/4" steaks. Imagining folks enjoying these beauties really makes a guy take pride in his cuts. 

I basically divide the strap into thirds. The back third are New Yorks. 

The middle section is what I simply call Rib Steaks.

And the front third are Ribeyes. 

Ribeyes are definitely the most popular cut on a cow. I've had super good luck on these grass fattened critters. This cow was a sale barn heiferette who we ran in the Black Hills for the summer. She has been aging for three weeks. 

Looks like a good time to me.

Cutting steaks makes my day. There's a few other places on a cow with tender cuts, but nothing beats the backstrap. Not only do you get a tender cut of meat with no gristle, you also get a good amount of fat to go with it. At Lungren Brother's Cattle Company we not only help America stay strong, we help fuel her fun.

Dinner Time

Inviting Jesus to dinner.

Sunday, October 30, 2022


On Saturday, October 29, Grandpa Edward Schmeltzer would have turned 100. Grandma and he have been gone for twenty years now, but we still decided to throw him a birthday party. No better way to do so than with a Mass followed by a party.

Mary Jane and Ed Schmeltzer. Mom's mom and dad. 

After Mass and brunch, all the kids and grandkids that could come spent time telling stories. That was a pretty comical hour. 

Grandpa built this barnyard. The land was part of my great-great grandfather Neiber's homestead. Grandma's dad had a feed yard for sheep down here at one time. But Grandpa started fresh when they bought the ground and set it up. I feel pretty close to them all when I work down here. 

Grandpa always liked to see men at work. He appreciated being tired at the end of a day's labor and he enjoyed watching people do their job well. Here's to you Grandpa. Thanks for your witness of faith, family, and fun.

Happy Place

If you find yourself lost, put yourself in a place to be found.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Good Ride Cowboy

Paul had been bugging me saying, "You ain't no cowboy unless you trail cows off of the Bear Lodges with my buddy Ray." I told him, "I ain't scared." Friday was the day. Ol son swung by the rectory with his saddle ready for Chief and we hit the trail by 6:00. I ain't gonna lie, it was a good time.

Paul and Ray have been ranchin together in these parts north of Sundance for the better part of 20 years. 

The ranch ground we were riding on was part of the old GUN Ranch which was established before Wyoming was even a state. 

The cows were scattered about, but they were no match for this posse of riders. 

Scrub oaks are pretty in the spring and summer, but a bear to trail cattle through.

Fortunately, Hank showed up to lend a hand. 

We did some cross countrying and this mountain proved to be a challenge. Mollie really did good today. 

The flip side made the push worth it through. Ray and his three year old knew right where we were going. 

Lake from Hawaii and her two year old red roan made for some interesting conversations. She just hung up her spurs from the Ranch-bronc riding circuit. A cowgirl that's hard to be throwed, she is known as the Flyin' Hawaiian. 

Once we hit the main road, the 10 mile or so drive to the overnight pasture was pretty easy going. 

The cattle were pretty good about obeying the traffic regulations. 

We stopped on the down hill side for a little pick-me-up.

I was a little embarrassed when Paul took a call in the middle of the drive. YANC.


We ducked them across the highway for the night. The boys will gather them and head to the home place in the morning, a 15 mile drive or so. 

After a good day of ranching, we all swung into the Longhorn for a burger and beer. 

Giddy up. 

Well I'll admit, that was a fun ride. Beautiful country and good people. I love cowboying. And when it's alongside a good buddy it's even funner. Thanks for the good ride, cowboy. That's another notch carved on my gun.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Pray Always

Let's be intentional about petitioning God.

Mystery Tools Revealed

Old timers were pretty innovative for their day. In our time we look back at their work and wonder what the heck that was used for. Take a peek at these contraptions and see if you can identify their purpose. All of them are hanging on the wall of the Gulch Bar and Grill at Devil's Tower.

This is what’s called a calf weaning ring. If you wanted to self-wean a calf from it's mother, put this bad boy in its nose. Mom will gladly kick son or daughter in the head when it bumps her utter to let down her milk. Eventually after getting kicked enough the calf gets the hint and they go their separate ways. A less medieval version of the same tool is still used today, usually on dairies. I think they're made of plastic. Modern cattle aren't as tough as they used to be. 

This guy was the ultimate coyote killer. Stab it into the ground, tie a piece of meat onto the hook, and wait for a hungry predator to come by. The main body of this contraption held a .22 round, which would be discharged out of the barrel protruding the right side as soon as the victim tugged on the meat. I suppose one or two curious ranchers who came upon a live trap outlawed these devises. 

This is a wheelwright's traveler. Wagon wheel makers would run this along the inside of the rim to find the circumfrance of the wheel. Then they could made the felloes and other wooden parts. I suppose there would be some mark the wheel of this tool that would allow you to count the revolutions as you went around. 

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Cowboy Josh

Josh Meier and I go way back to seminary. My first two years in Denver we lived right next to each other. Though God has led us on different paths, our friendship has remained. Needing to get out of big city Colorado, he ventured up to Wyoming to hang with his old buddy for the weekend. Might as well give him the full experience of Catholic Cowboy life. 

After Friday morning Mass and breakfast at Lula Belles our first task was to move the horses to Joann's till the water starts to freeze. Chief loves it out here. 

Since I had some extra help thought we'd move a little hay. 

The main mission was to move the cows at Joe's. Finding them was tricky, but proved easy compared to loading them. We were only gonna bring the blacks home but after a broken corral board or two we figured we better load them all while the getting was good. 

So we stopped for a victory beer at Devil's Tower. 

And had us a good ole burger while we were at it. 

The girls seemed happy to be back in town.

So the next day we decided to bring ole 48 home to the cooler. 

Josh was a natural at skinning. 

From pasture to corral to cooler... dinner plate.

Hope you enjoyed your time brother. I know I did. Sometimes you got to get away from those city lights and get back to reality. No better way to do so than getting blood on your hands and dirt on your boots. Denver could use a little more of the Catholic Cowboy Way. Keep wearing your hat brother. It looks good on you. Peace partner.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Mystery Tools

Old timers were pretty innovative for their day. In our time we look back at their work and wonder what the heck that was used for. Take a peek at these contraptions and see if you can identify their purpose. All of them are hanging on the wall of the Gulch Bar and Grill at Devil's Tower.


(The right end has about a 1/4" bore running through it)


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Monday, October 10, 2022

Saturday, October 8, 2022


Saturday is the perfect day for softies: soft boiled eggs. Its a family tradition around our place, and the precision that goes into getting it just right is important. If I have the time and wanting to step up my game from a bowl of oatmeal, softies are my breakfast food of choice.

It all starts with the right eggs: farm fresh. Now this is crucial, so listen up. You fill the pot with water and put the eggs in it at the same time you turn the heat on. There has been controversy over this throughout the years. But I'm here to tell you, don't wait until the water is boiling to put your eggs in. You risk the chance of them cracking because of the temperature change and the outcome becomes inconsistent. Put the eggs in at the same time of the water! 
That being said, bring the water to a rolling a boil and the second it starts to boil set your timer for 4 minutes, no more no less. Hard whites and runny yokes is what we are looking for. Once the timer rings, kill the heat and head to the sink. I grew up with Dad barking in my ear, "run cold water over them so they stop cooking." Words of wisdom. Cool them down and they're ready for the table.

The crack is crucial. No limp wrist here. Wack it! It takes technique but after 40 years of softy Saturdays, you'll learn the trick.

Then take your spoon and gently scoop out the egg from the shell.

Like so.

This is also important to the experience, dispense used egg shells in the pot you boiled in. This is the one time Mom will allow a pot or pan to be on the dinner table. Take advantage of it!


That's how it's done more or less. When I'm cooking for one I'll usually make three eggs and spit them between two pieces of toast. Salt and pepper is also a necessary ingredient. Juice and coffee as well. This might not get you till lunch, depending on what time you get up on a Saturday, but it will definitely get your day off to a good start. 

Brace Post

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