by: Wes Ishmael

Hooter McCormick followed the signs of the moon as best as he could. He'd also developed some of his own theories regarding natural laws, such as how a dappled bull's hide equated to performance—in some breeds—and how you never gave good news or bad news before Tuesday or after Thursday.

Hooter wasn't beyond superstition, either. There was the horsehair bracelet braided for him by his long-time friend, Pockets Geronimo, who began prowling the eternal hunting grounds a long while back. There was also his habit of tapping the metal lid of his chew can three times for good luck, making sure there was a genuine rabbit's foot in the glove box, etc.

“It's not superstition as much as it is seeing no reason to tempt fate,” he'd tell those who asked.

For all of that, Hooter was never much into astrology and horoscopes. Foremost, he understood when he was a kid that only God knows the future. As for fun or any practical use, he figured any truth people found in horoscopes had to do with common sense and how broadly they were written.

But, Hooter's market compass remained busted, unable to find a useful North, detached from any pole resembling fundamental forces. Cattle futures continued to whipsaw for no apparent reason. So, he paid attention when a friend in Louisiana sent him a cowboy horoscope obtained in some ancient shack from an old women who claimed to be a direct descendent of the legendary Voodoo queen, Marie Laveaux.

“It couldn't hurt,” his buddy said.

Hooter tapped the lid of his Copenhagen can three times and read:

Aquarius (January 20-February 19)

In case you don't know by now—and you very well may not, considering your inherent independence and lack of predictability–this is the year of the monkey—not just any Collie-riding rodeo monkey, either, but the fire monkey. Plus, in Chinese astrological charts, your sun sign is also known as the monkey, so you know what that means…well, let us know when you do.

Pisces (February 20-March 20)

We don't want to say that you're easily led, but we're betting we could persuade you. Taking all that time tracking down some Milking Devon semen to use on heifers may have been a unique strategy, but what did you expect? Goof grief, the breed started out in Yankeeville and you've got nothing but fescue. Heritage breeds are classified that way for a reason. At least you followed through on something.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

You and Mars are joined at the proverbial comet tail, you can't do anything about that.

But, just because you think it, doesn't mean you have to say it. Telling your new neighbor that you've seen tighter fences built in quicksand might be accurate, but may erode his willingness to lend a hand should you need it. Oh that's right, you never do.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Making the kids pull and straighten nails to use over again doesn't necessarily mean you're greedy or tight-fisted, what with life lessons, frugality and whatnot—no matter what your sun sign might suggest. But sending used semen straws back to the stud for recycling and expecting a credit might be a bit of a stretch. There's a gnat's eyelash between persistence and stubbornness.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Boo! You're not seeing things, and neither are you; there's two of you where your sun sign is concerned. That's why you could justify paying too much for that last set of calves and then apologize to the bank for being such an impulsive borrower. Both indecisiveness and over-thinking are written in red ink. At least you have company.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Remember that bull named Night Witch that flattened your belly button back in the 80's…and you figured he just got lucky…then the same thing happened the next week and the next week and…Sometimes you've got to let it go, first loss being the cheapest loss and so on. Keep that in mind as you run those put-together calves through the chute for treatment a fourth time.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Sure, the in-laws are a bunch of meddlers and freeloaders, especially with Jupiter rising. But refusing to talk to your cousin-in-law, Ed, because he left the gate open two decades ago is overkill. Goose him with the hotshot and send him down the road for a more recent transgression; you know there is one. Do keep in mind, however, that you and Donnie Trump might view confrontation as a spectator sport, but not everyone does. Just sayin'…

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Despite the logic you covet, and your never-ending analysis, the airlines didn't lose your luggage last spring. At least not technically. Neither did your broker drop the ball on that order for Feeder Cattle futures that would have made your fancy shmancy crush work like a charm. Those things happen when Mercury is in retrograde, which it will be for most of September. The same planet also rules your sign, so think about letting others handle the heavy equipment during that period. It's not like they could do any worse.

Libra (September 23-October 23)

One set of calves gathered; the same set busting out and heading for the timber. Did you really think there was a chance of snowball in Hades that those special-deal panels at prices lower than a slouching snake's behind could possibly be a real deal? Trust and compromise are admirable, but sometimes you've got to take a stand, even if that means offending someone. Hang loose; you always do.

Scorpio (October 23-November 22)

Spoiler alert: the folks you work with can't read your mind. Consider that the next time you shout Geronimo, dive into the job at hand—without offering instruction or guidance—and then wonder why the idiots didn't know what to do. One more thing, you don't own your order buyer, veterinarian, accountant, etc.; they've got other clients, too.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Indeed, why do today what could be postponed until tomorrow, next week or next year? What you see as fact gathering and the quest for truth in every situation, others see as sloth. You might view shipping those heifers to a new buyer without payment until next week as rational optimism; others deem it irresponsible. Yes, you might be misunderstood, but quit sulking; we've seen lightning bugs with thicker skin.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

We know you can find the dark cloud to go with any silver lining, but lighten up, what's the worst that could happen? Well, besides that? Yesterday may loom idyllic in your rearview mirror, but it ain't coming back. Try a little intuition for the heck of it, as opposed to say, buying heifers at the top of the market because that's what they cost and that's the time of year you always buy them.

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