Monday, April 23, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Calling environmentalists an "enemy to humans," Bundy Ranch son speaks in Modesto

Invoking God and railing against government and environmentalist interference, Ammon Bundy spoke at the Range Rights and Resources Symposium at the Modesto Junior College West Campus Saturday afternoon. The two-day national symposium attracted a crowd of about 50 attendees. But its main attraction was an address by Bundy, a member of a Western ranching family that made national headlines in recent years after engaging in armed standoffs with authorities about the use of federal lands. Calling America a "bible nation," Bundy warned against environmental groups who believed in the Earth over God. "In the scripture, in the bible, we have guidance on what we are to do and how we are to act and what is our right and what the Earth was created for. What the animals are for, what the grass is for, what the trees are for, what the fruit is for," Bundy told the attendees inside the MJC Ag Pavillion. "Do we see a different doctrine? Do these different doctrines affect us? .... What if I told you that these people, these individuals or groups, if they are allowed to continue with their plans that they will entirely destroy the happiness of human life?" Bundy also warned of collusion between the government and environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity. He said their beliefs run counter to the human species' survival. "Who in their right mind would do what they are doing? Who would destroy the ranches, destroy the dams, destroy the farms? Who would do that? Only someone who does not want humans to be fed, for them to live in a place they want to live, to be able to enjoy life and, as the founders said, to pursue happiness," he said. "They are an enemy to humans. They live by a different doctrine. And it is not based upon Christian principals. It is based upon a completely different theology." Since his release, the nonprofit environmental group Center for Biological Diversity has been protesting some of Bundy's appearances. About a dozen local protesters joined leaders from the group, based out of Arizona, to hold signs and chant slogans outside the pavilion before Bundy began his talk. Ryan Beam, a public land campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, said they wanted to come to the Modesto event to counter Bundy's message, which espouses the largely unfettered private use of public land. "Our main mission to make sure the lies they tell get exposed.." Beam said. "They think they can do whatever they want on public lands as long as they have enough cowboy hats and guns."...MORE

Scott Pruitt is the target of no less than 10 federal investigations

The feds are really, really curious about what Scott Pruitt’s been up to. As the controversies surrounding the EPA chief have mounted in recent weeks, so have the federal investigations. Now, the EPA’s internal watchdog has lots of questions for Pruitt, as does the top federal ethics watchdog, and the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Trey Gowdy. There are at least 10 federal investigations focused on Pruitt’s first-class travel, unusually large security detail, frequent association with lobbying interests, pay raises for staffers, and, somehow, more. The mounting appearance of misconduct and corruption at the EPA has started to attract not just the attention of Democrats — 170 of whom have called for Pruitt’s resignation — but Republicans, too. Amid all the scrutiny, Pruitt’s office has been quick to deny any wrongdoing. EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox has repeatedly responded to allegations with, “This is not news.” The denials, however, haven’t stopped federal agencies from poking around. Here are the big probes currently roiling Pruitt’s scandal-ridden EPA:...MORE

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

Uh huh, sure he did. I believe you.

By Julie Carter

I offer a caveat for the following story by saying "as it was told to me" simply because, while the source is quite reliable, the story itself is so wild your first instinct will be "that's a lie."

This is one of those "you gotta hear this one" stories.

Greg and Nancy headed out, stock trailer in tow, to get a neighbor's pink-eyed yearling (that's a young calf with a bacterial eye affliction that can eventually cause blindness) out of their pasture.

They didn't have a real plan of any kind but they also didn't take a horse. The calf was so blind they figured they could sneak up on him and "coax" him into the trailer.

The neighbor the critter belonged to didn't know how to rope and Greg was still nursing his $27,000 and counting shoulder surgery. So Nancy was the designated roper.

Her plan was a simple one. Just rope the calf and let the rope go. No problem.

She eased up on him and surprisingly, even to her, caught him with the first loop. He was blind enough he didn't go very far; at least until the young overly-enthusiastic neighbor ran to pick up the rope and spooked the calf.

The blind calf, now wearing Nancy's rope and towing the neighbor, ran off with the rest of the cows to the other end of the pasture. Reaching warp speed rather quickly, the neighbor finally had to turn loose of the rope.

The calf, still on the run, made a big circle through the cows. Running and stumbling, he was more afraid of the rope than anything else. It was a monster he couldn't see but knew it was following him.

The calf appeared to be headed home to his proper pasture but then he circled and headed back toward the cowboy crew standing at the trailer watching all this unfold.

Nancy made what at the time seemed like a smart-alecky comment, "Let's just open the trailer gate and maybe he'll load up on his own. He looks like he's heading right for it."

Still in joking mode, she moved to the end of the trailer and unlatched the trailer gate. The calf was still coming and at a pretty fast clip. She threw the gate back just in time for the calf to jump into the trailer.

They were all laughing very hard at that point. Nancy began claiming "Top Hand" honors when they realized someone probably ought to close the trailer gate.

That done, they were still in shock at the sight they had witnessed and were glad there were three of them to attest to it. Of course, then the discussion of where the credit was due began. Greg was sure he should have all the honors because he positioned the trailer just right on the road.

The neighbor claimed accolades for running the calf fast enough and far enough for him to circle back to the trailer and get in it with considerable momentum.

This exciting adventure took about half an hour and nobody had to unsaddle horses when they got home. It seems like if a day was going that well, they should have gone on to town and bought up some lottery tickets.

Telling that story to some poor west Texas winter wheat pasture puncher who is wearing an entire dry goods store on his back could elicit a violent reaction.

It's been my experience that any complaining done about the difficulty of loading sick cattle in a trailer brought, not ever, the highly unlikely moment of a critter loading by himself.

It did get me a new trailer ball welded to the top rail of the trailer to dally a rope around for leverage.

Not everybody can be a "top hand." I'm glad I at least know a few.

© Julie Carter 2006

Brains and Eggs

You are what you eat
Brains and Eggs
That’s Larruping!
Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The box was totally unexpected.
            It had my name on it, though, so out came the pocket knife and the taped seams were cut. Upon opening, there were school annuals from home (or at least what seems to be more like home than any other place on this earth). They were Cliff school annuals from 1955 through 1958.
            Holy Cow!
            I haven’t seen one of those old annuals in years. I suspect my uncle has his and those would have been the ones that were most familiar. He had graduated by 1955, though, so these were all new to me, but there they were … cousins, friends, and images of sports heroes I knew even as a little kid. If we hadn’t moved to Silver City, my counterparts would have been in the earliest grades and I knew so many of them.
            That was a different world, but it is a world that I think more about as time passes. We certainly were closer to our surroundings. Nobody had much more or less than anybody else, but what a wonderful time it was. Certainly, there will be those who disagree, but there will be more who understand the implications of then and now.
            Ask any of those folks where some of the most vivid of the Cliff school memories were sown and I’ll wager that the school cafeteria in the basement will be among them. Everybody ate together, and everybody grew together.
            You are what you eat
            In my great grandmother’s diaries, it is clearly apparent her table was a major feature of holding her entire family together. There was so much daily effort that went into the planning and the preparation of the meals. In her case, it was apparent from looking off the mesa into the Gila Valley and her home. The big garden was north from the house near the cottonwood planked barn. There was an adjacent orchard and yet another south from the house. Water came from the west side ditch. Her yard was watered similarly, but it was served by a system of canales that she would operate through an intricate series of headgates and turnouts.
            It was a kid’s paradise and was clearly made that way by her insistence of family presence.           
            My memory of her kitchen is overwhelmed by two things. The smell of something baking and the warmth of her big wood burning cook stove are chiseled in memory. She certainly could have afforded a modern gas or electric range, but her preference was that big stove that she steered like a sailing ship.
            Writing so much of it at 3:00 AM, her diary was a seamless conversation with herself about the work, the food, and the family to which she devoted her entire life. Her entertainment was visiting with the constant stream of family and friends and that extended into meals that were made only more dear to her by numbers around her table.
            Brains and Eggs
            Although there may be exceptions, I don’t recall any of us who were actually touched by her hands who were picky eaters. We were expected to eat what was put in front of us and it came with a singular demand.
            “You eat it.”
            That was reinforced by our grandparents in both directions. By example and inclusion, we were taught to celebrate abundance around us. We ate the butchered milk pen calves, we ate the pullets and the old hens, we drank the raw milk, we poured the fresh cream on peaches in season, and we ate every vegetable that was gathered and placed on the table. We loved venison in greater part because we were taught to love to hunt from the time we could crawl in the pickups before sunup. Trout or catfish we caught ourselves were no different. We watched pigs being butchered and scalded from the time we could walk. We knew that the pig’s head were better than desert when it returned to us in the form of tamales from the genius and the oven of Mrs. Peru.
            The first days after butchering something were the days when the exotic stuff was eaten. Brains and eggs was an example. I can remember sitting on my maternal grandfather’s lap and he feeding me the first I can remember tasting. He told me I would like it and he made sure it happened by sticking a fork of the scrambled mix into my mouth. It didn’t take long to know I liked it best when the brains were fried crisp!
            Although we didn’t know it, we were on the edge of societal transition. That was best witnessed by the preferences and the preparation of food in that little frame house on the Mangus by my paternal grandmother. There were some things that we witnessed under her influences that are just gone from our tables and our knowledge today.
            That’s Larruping!
            Certainly, the food reflected her background. She came from Missouri during the First World War and she was fond of things like persimmons that the rest of the community just didn’t know. Her cooking also had continued hues of the Depression and the spartan implications of harsh ranch life. Although, I don’t remember it, that is where nothing from a butchering was thrown away. The memories of “son-of-a-b*tch stew” were recounted by her children. To a mix of vegetables, the cuts of what would now only be known from the contents of potted meats were added.
            It was also the place where breakfast always started with oatmeal before the sun came up and continued with something fried (often including bread she called windy willies) in one of her cast iron skillets. Suppers were not big meals and might consist of left over corn bread dunked in buttermilk followed by a small glass of Welch’s grape juice. She didn’t believe sleep was good on a heavy stomach. The big meal, dinner, was served at midday. That was the meat and potato type deal that stuck to your ribs. Lunch only took place if work off somewhere kept you from going to the house at noon. That was when chunks of cheese and bologna were cut from big rolls, wrapped in waxed paper, and placed on the seat of the ranch truck in a sack with an apple.
            My Grandma was one of the many ranch wives that must have introduced horehound to the proximity to ranch kitchens. She loved horehound candy and the introduced plant was used for that purpose. Eating it without smiling I liked it less when the milk cow got into it. It made fresh milk undrinkable.
            “Oh, no … the cow got in the horehound again!”
            If something sweet was needed for buttered biscuits in her house, chances were Brer Rabbit molasses was the object of affection rather than honey or syrup.
“That’s larruping,” Grandpa would proclaim as his jaw popped as he ate (from having it broken years before from a horse kicking him).
The most savory parts of steaks were the untrimmed fat and the marrow from the rounds. If you had a belly ache she would drag out the castor oil. If you needed something to settle you stomach, she would open a Pepsi. With a propensity of using vinegar and the occasional pan of sauerkraut, her kitchen didn’t smell as good as the one under the mesa or the one at the mouth of Bell Canyon, but it, too, spread its charm with her love.
            It was always a safe place and the center of social life. We learned to play Canasta and Chinese checkers around her table in the evening before bed time, and we got to know our grandparents on terms that were not shaded or conditioned by any influences.
            In combinations, that is what this world needs in big doses.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Arguably, those times in Grant County in the ‘50s and early ‘60s were the absolute best of times.”

Baxter Black: The Day The Ranch Changed Hands

I first met the crew in the bunkhouse the day that we bought the 4 D's.
I'd come in that night after supper and found'em all takin' their ease.

My job was to count all the cattle and stay till the transfer was done.
I offered my hand to the cowboys and asked how the outfit was run.

"My name is Man'well Palamino. Vaquero. I came here to ride.
The boss said eef I wass illegal, I only could work the outside.

He put me down-there on the desert, at Cow Creek. Eet wassn't a crime.
They brought us the grocery on Tuesday an' that wass how we tol' the time.

Four hunnred cows. Yus me an' a kid whose name I remember was Yak.
Eet wass col'. I come from Chihuahua but no way wass I goin' back.

Jew remember Yak, doan jew, Tombstone? Jew wass here back then, eese por sure."
"Yeah. I's here when you hit the country. You was green as a pile of manure.

You couldn't say nuthin' in English. Pore Jack, he'd forgot how to speak.
When you guys come in for the brandin' he wouldn't shut up for a week!

I wonder where Jack ever wound up. He didn't stay long around here.
All I know's that Spring I'd been workin' the 4 D's for over a year."

When some of these ranches change owners they come in and clean out the place.
It's ain't no big deal if they do it, it's just that it seems such a waste.

Like Manyul, he know every canyon and Tombstone he knows every cow.
Them hay meadows needs to be watered and Mick, he's the man that knows how.

Even Pete, back there in the corner don't say much and always looks grim
But he's a mechanical genius and nuthin' don't run without him.

Lee Pitts: The Devil’s Hat Band

As far as I am concerned, Joseph Glidden was the most miserable SOB that ever breathed a breath. I curse his memory every October 27th because that's the day Joseph got the first ever patent for barbed wire.

Joseph Glidden is known as "The Father of Barb Wire" which to me is like being known as "The Father of Leukemia" or "The Father of Hitler." It is simply something that I would not aspire to be. But Glidden was quite proud of it, so much so that he kept on "improving" his invention. He started out innocently enough with a wire he called "Glidden's Barely Barbed" but he regressed quickly and towards the end of his miserable life he came up with "Glidden's Hog Wire with Rusty Extra Long Barbs."

The life of the common cowboy has been immortalized in song and the golden screen but the cowboy is always portrayed in a romantic light, breaking wild horses, turning a stampede, or serenading a herd going up the trail to Abilene. Hah! I am here to tell you that the average old cowboy living on Social Security in an old age home spent far more time stringing a piece of Devil's Hat Band whose sole purpose was to inflict pain and ruin shirts than he ever did singing under the stars to a bunch of steers. And any cowboy worth his spurs has the scars to prove it. Look at any sun burnt, crippled up old cowboy and amidst the wrinkled skin, pitted like a cratered moon, you will see the scars. The old wire cuts are worn proudly like a badge of honor.

There are something like 1,400 kinds of barb wire and some brain dead people are actually collecting it, as if it was art or something. (I only have 200 pieces in my collection.) I wrote a story one time about a rancher near Henrietta, Texas, who has three rolls of "Brinkerhoff Twisted" sitting in his shop and the poor old coot thinks he's wealthy. He's leaving the rusty wire to his grandkids and it says so in his will!

It's amazing to see some of the types of wire these demented inventors came up with. At a barb wire show I recently attended I saw one version that was nothing more than serrated steak knives welded together. The English on the other hand were much more humane, their version was simply smooth. Now it's the Japanese who are on the cutting edge of barb wire technology and if you want to put a little spark in your otherwise dreary marriage try stretching a mile or two of the Japanese version with your spouse. You'll be hauled into divorce court before you get a third wire stretched.

What my wife and I do is get a smooth digging bar and shove it through the middle of the roll. This allows us to unwind the roll of wire as we walk. The only problem is that my wife is afraid of having the roll of barbs slide too far to her side of the bar so she raises her end which of course means as the roll unwinds it takes the hide off my hand. And of course she is wearing the only decent pair of gloves.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Our gospel tune today is I'm Seeking A Harbor by Doc Williams & The Border Riders.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

White House reportedly exploring wartime rule to help coal, nuclear

According to reports from Bloomberg and E&E News, the Trump Administration has been exploring another way to help coal and nuclear generators: the Defense Production Act of 1950. The Act was passed under President Truman. Motivated by the Korean War, it allows the president broad authority to boost US industries that are considered a priority for national security. On Thursday, E&E News cited sources that said "an interagency process is underway" at the White House to examine possible application of the act to the energy industry. The goal would be to give some form of preference to coal and nuclear plants that are struggling to compete with cheap natural gas. link

Otter Poop Helps Scientists Track Pollution at a Superfund Site

The Duwamish River, which winds through Seattle, contains a lot of unpleasant stuff. In one industrially contaminated stretch, which has been designated a Superfund site, levels of many pollutants exceed state health standards. The compounds, which include notorious chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), settle in river sediments and make fish and shellfish unsafe to eat. Swimming amidst this pollution is a population of river otters. Now researchers are proposing to use otter poop to help monitor a 17-year-long plan to clean the river, recently approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Biologist Michelle Wainstein, from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, says the charismatic mammals are top predators who mainly eat fish and crabs but also dine on frogs, birds and small mammals. All these river denizens take in pollutants and pass them along to otters. The otters, in turn, use communal latrines on shore to defecate, making it easy and noninvasive to sample their scat for pollutants. “They like to get together and have poop parties,” Wainstein says. This kind of sampling can give scientists a much better idea of what is getting into a body than simply analyzing water or river sediment. Picking up scat to determine pollutant levels also is preferable to trapping otters, because handling the creatures “can be extremely stressful for animals,” says Elizabeth Peterson, a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University–Pueblo...MORE

California announces tentative funding for new giant dams

California officials said Friday that eight major water projects qualify for a share of billions in state drought funds, an announcement that breathes new life into plans for two reservoir expansions in the Bay Area and two new massive dams in the Central Valley. Bids to enlarge the East Bay’s Los Vaqueros Reservoir and Santa Clara County’s Pacheco Reservoir were deemed eligible for the highly sought Proposition 1 money. So were proposals for a new, 13-mile-long reservoir in Sites (Colusa County) and a new, 18-mile-long reservoir known as Temperance Flat near Fresno. Friday’s funding decision was good news for proponents of the storage projects, most of whom had been denied money in a tentative verdict announced in January. The California Water Commission initially determined that just three of 11 proposals submitted met Proposition 1’s strict terms for providing public benefit. Most of the applicants appealed the original decision, which could have doomed many of the projects, resulting in a new round of scoring...MORE