Friday, May 14, 2010

New Mexico Congressman Secures Seat on Key Committee

Northwest New Mexico is expected to be well represented on the House Committee on Natural Resources. Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan has been appointed to a committee that has oversight on land and water issues, ranging from fisheries and wildlife to minerals and mining interests. New Mexico Rural Water Association national director Jim Dunlap said Lujan can help the state protect its share of San Juan River water through the committee. The committee's jurisdiction also includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Lujan represents the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation and 15 Pueblo tribes...more

Harold Runnels, Joe Skeen and Steve Pearce all sat on this committee. The Congressman from the 2nd congressional district served on this committee for almost 50 years because of its importance to southern NM.

Of our three freshman reps, Heinrich from Albuquerque was appointed to this committee last year and Teague wasn't. That seemed odd at the time.

Now with the Lujan appointment, the reps from Albq. and Santa Fe serve on the committee but southern NM is left high and dry.

The question is why? Does Teague not want on the committee? Does he not have enough standing with the leadership to receive the appointment? You would think with his upcoming tough race with Pearce the dem's would be itching to help him, but instead they give it to Lujan?

Given the importance of oil & gas, mining, grazing and public lands recreation to the district, we deserve an answer as to why Mr. Teague is not serving on the Resources Committee.

Judge rules on complaint over hunters defecating in woods

Overwhelmed by what he saw as the idiocy of a recent complaint to the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality, Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen felt compelled to author an appropriate response after being asked to investigate whether a hunting lodge owner was allowing patrons to defecate in the woods. "We have had some delay in our investigation of the incidents alleged in the complaint which you kindly forwarded to us," Judge Burkeen wrote in his investigation report to TCEQ. "The problem is, we have recently had a rash of reports of cows, horses, sheep and goats defecating at will in pastures throughout the county." TCEQ received the complaint March 9, which alleged Thornton resident David Cousins had been leasing out a hunting cabin that had no bathroom, forcing hunters to void their bowels behind a tree. A week later, the complaint was assigned to Judge Burkeen, who comically responded by writing in his investigative report that on top of hunters and farm animals, "we suspect that wild hogs, deer and all sorts of other animals are defecating without even trying to find a proper facility. "In addition, I have personal proof on my windshield of a mischievous bird defecating in flight. The culprit flew away, but I did get a description. It was red. The gift it left was white."...more

Maybe you can't mess with Texas, but they will let you mess in the woods.

Let us all pray the EPA doesn't get involved. I'm sure they don't like us folks who cling to our guns, our religion...and our toilet paper.

HT: The Outdoor Pressroom

The Federal Fat Police: Bill Would Require Government to Track Body Mass of American Children

A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are. States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis...more

What we really need to be measuring is the Bureaucracy Mass Index with a mandatory report sent to every eligible voter.

EPA Moves to Regulate Smokestack Greenhouse Gases

The Environmental Protection Agency moved Thursday to more tightly control air pollution from large power plants, factories and oil refineries, a step to limit emissions widely blamed for global warming and aggravating breathing problems for some Americans. The EPA said it is completing a rule requiring large polluters to reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that they release. Those emissions can exacerbate asthma and other breathing difficulties, which are worsened by particles in the air. The rule would require companies to install better technology and improve energy efficiency whenever they build, or significantly modify, a plant. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the rule applies only to large polluters such as power plants, refineries and cement production facilities that collectively are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States...more

Senate energy bill faces job-creation doubts

Long-awaited legislation designed to reduce fossil-fuel use, curb carbon emissions and impose tighter restrictions on offshore drilling was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, although the bill faces scrutiny from Republicans and moderate Democrats concerned about its economic impact. Promises that the bill — authored by Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman — would add a significant number of energy-related jobs also has come under question, most notably by the independent Congressional Budget Office. The Senate bill, which had been months in the making and involved hundreds of meetings, aims to cut by 2020 carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 17 percent below 2005 levels, and more than 80 percent by 2050. It also would set a price on carbon emissions for large polluters such as coal-fired power plants. But a recent CBO study casts doubt on the measure's job-creating potential. The May 5 report, which analyzed how policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions could affect employment, concluded that total employment during the next few decades "would be slightly lower than would be the case in the absence of such policies." The report, which didn't specifically take the Kerry-Lieberman bill into account, said job losses in industries that shrink would lower employment more than job gains in other industries that would increase employment, thereby raising the overall unemployment rate...more

Green Movement Hits Yellow Light on Climate

If a climate scientist falls in the forest, does anybody hear? Not if the old media have anything to do with it. Thankfully, in 2010, their hold on the news has started to weaken. But it’s not like they didn’t try. For more than five months, from Nov. 20, 2009, to April 1, 2010, the broadcast networks did all they could to hide a crisis in the climate alarmist movement. That first event, now called Climate Gate, has grown into a series of global warming scandals that have shaken faith in both the science we are fed on a regular basis and the scientists who do the feeding. This week in Chicago, the Heartland Institute is bringing together the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, a meeting of hundreds of scientists and policy experts who dare to challenge so-called conventional wisdom on global warming. Instead of having a meeting, they should be having a celebration. Not that they’ve won. They haven’t. But for the first time in many years, there is a public understanding that our daily diet of climate propaganda might be somewhat or even entirely bogus...more

EPA Uses Mules to Fight against Radioactive Contamination at Los Angeles Lab

The Environmental Protection Agency has a new weapon in the fight against radioactive contamination at a Los Angeles-area lab: Mules. The EPA will use four mules to carry high-tech scanning equipment to detect radiation on steep and rocky terrain at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The EPA is conducting a survey of soil and water contamination at the lab near Simi Valley, where rocket engines were tested for years and a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor took place in 1959. About 500 acres of the lab will be scanned for gamma radiation. Results will be turned over to the state, which is overseeing a cleanup. AP

Chevron breaks ground on NM solar plant

Chevron Corp. has broken ground on what it said will become the largest concentrated solar photovoltaic installation in the country. The facility will be on the tailing site of Chevron Mining Inc.’s molybdenum mine in Questa. The plant was lauded by The Wilderness Society, one the advocacy groups pushing for renewable energy development on brownfields (abandoned or underused industrial facilities where some level of contamination is present). The facility will have about 175 solar panels on 20 acres producing one megawatt, and the electricity will be sold to Kit Carson Electric Cooperative through a power purchase agreement. Generally, one megawatt can provide power for about 700 average New Mexico homes. The mine has operated under various owners since the 1920s, including a period of open pit mining from 1965 until 1983. Waste rock, tailings, runoff and leachate contaminants have been designated for cleanup under the federal Superfund program. Some of the mining-impacted areas are in the process of remediation. Other areas are slated for cleanup at the end of mining operations...more

Western Peak Joins Most Endangered Civil War Sites

A Southwestern desert peak where cavalry clashed nearly 150 years ago has joined an annual list of the nation's most endangered Civil War battlefields because state budget cuts are set to close the park that marks the site. Picacho Peak in Arizona, the Western frontier in the battle between the North and the South, was named for the first time on the Civil War Preservation Trust's annual list of 10 historic battlefields most threatened by development or neglect. The list was released Thursday in Washington, D.C. The state park is slated to close June 3 because of budget cuts. On April 12, 1862, Lt. James Barrett led a detachment of Union cavalry to the rocky spire 50 miles northwest of Tucson and skirmished with Confederate Rangers, intent on blunting an ocean-to-ocean Confederacy. While Barrett was killed and the Union army retreated, Union forces from California eventually moved on to Tucson and snuffed a Confederate settlement...more

NM wheat farmers see high yields

Rick Ledbetter, who farms near Portales, said he and his neighbors have finished harvesting wheat to use the plant for silage and hay. Farmers growing wheat for grain expect to harvest in June. “The wheat has been a very good harvest,” Ledbetter said. “You know, the winter moisture really helped the wheat crop.” Not only did the winter snow help the crop, said Dave Sanders, who farms south of Elida, but rain also came in April when the wheat was hurting for water. Ledbetter said he harvested about 8 tons of silage wheat per acre and 2 1/2 tons of wheat hay per acre. He heard of silage yields up to 12 tons an acre and expected others would have gotten higher yields on hay as well. The silage wheat in the area goes to dairies, and the wheat hay feeds horses and dairy cattle, Ledbetter said. Sanders estimated that he would harvest an above-average 15-20 bushels of grain an acre from his dryland wheat, although he said the price he could get for it was looking weak. For his irrigated wheat hay crop, he harvested about 1 1/2 tons an acre, which he said was good...more

Check your inbox: There are cows on the loose

A rookie RCMP constable with rancher roots is using newfangled technology to wrangle an old-fashioned problem: escaped cows wandering on Williams Lake-area roads. RCMP Const. Colin Champagne was frustrated by on-the-lam livestock causing car accidents, but discovered it was difficult to track down the animals' owners because they often didn't live near the expansive ranges where the cows were grazing. "One particular group of animals were owned by a man in Kamloops and were grazing on Crown range. We were knocking on all these doors, and people were saying, 'No I don't know whose [cattle] these are,' " said Champagne, whose first posting as an RCMP officer was in Williams Lake last June. The constable's search for answers led him to the president of a local cattlemen's association, who knew the owners of most local cows. By December, Champagne had created an e-mail chain to the presidents of seven area cattlemen associations, who would in turn alert their members when fences were down or cows had escaped...more

Song Of The Day #310

It's been a rough week for the proprietor of Ranch Radio. So, can you pick the blues on the dobro? You bet.

Here's Gilbert Caranhac with M.C. Blues and Jerry Douglas playing Before The Blues.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The story of Rob Krentz, rancher

by Jim Olson

Don called Rob up one day and said, “Hey Rob, I’ve got this prolapsed cow over at the Double Adobe Ranch locked up in the corral and I was wondering if you could give me a hand?”

“Sure,” says Rob, “just come on over and get me on your way.”

So the two men headed over to the Double Adobe Ranch which is about an hour away from Don’s main ranch at Apache. They didn’t take a horse with them because Don had trapped the cow in the water lot earlier. Upon their arrival they found a mean old hussy who was none too happy about her current uncomfortable condition or the arrival of the two “would be” cowboy doctors.

“You run her up the alley and I will catch her with the head gate,” Don instructed.

After giving Rob quite a run around in the alley, he finally got her headed up the lead-up. She was really moving fast as she hit the front. As a matter of fact, she hit the front with such a force that the old bolts holding the head gate in place just popped like buttons on a shirt! The old gal then proceeded to run around the water lot with the head gate on her head and Don still holding on to the lever. Don didn’t want to let her go for fear she would escape, or worse yet, chase him around while wearing the head gate.

After a minute or so of dragging Don around, the cow smartened up and back out of the contraption till she was free of it. She then chased Don around the lot until at last she cleared the top rail of the fence like a hurdler at a track meet.

Laughing at the sight of all this, Rob says, “Well now what are we going to do boss?”

It would take about two hours to go back to the main ranch and get a horse, so Don rummaged around behind the seat until he came up with an old catch rope.

“We’ll rope her using this old truck,” declared Don. “You drive!”

Rob says “Your ranch…your cow…your truck…you drive…I’ll rope.”

So off they went across the mesquite flat dodging bushes and arroyos chasing after the prolapsed cow. The rope was tied to the gooseneck ball in the back and Rob had fashioned a hand hold onto the headache rack for balance and support. After chasing the cow far enough that she finally began to wear out a little bit, Don was able to line out on her in a fairly level area. As Don pulled up beside the cow, Rob swung a time or two and then landed a loop that should have made a professional roper proud.

Rob threw the trip and Don turned the pickup off to the left just as if he was in Cheyenne at the Frontier days! The truck didn’t quite work like a good quarter horse would have, so the cow was difficult to throw down. Don figured that after a while, the old cow would just choke down enough that they could tie her up and doctor her. The ole gal was too smart for that though and she always kept just enough slack in the rope to keep her breath.

As Don and Rob tried many different methods of getting the cow down, about all that was accomplished was she was mad. Very mad. So mad as a matter of fact that she spent all of her time trying to chase the two cowboy doctors. Around the truck, in the cab, on the back, it didn’t matter; she was after her antagonists with a vengeance.

Finally the two men came up with a plan; they had rummaged around behind the seat and came up with another catch rope. This one they tied off to the base of a larger mesquite bush.

Don says, “Let her chase you by here and I’ll heel her.”

Rob says, “You’re skinny and fleet of foot…you chase…I’ll rope.”

So as Don let the cow chase him around like a champion bull fighter, he finally got her to go by the spot where Rob waited. With a heel shot that was sent by the Gods, Rob snagged a hind leg. Don jumped in the truck and took out the slack; the cow was tied down. Then, and only then, was she given slack.

Well they got her stuffins put back where they belonged and sowed her up, then they cautiously let her go. Both men were wore out from the ordeal. As they headed back towards Apache Don told Rob, “I sure do thank you for helping me out pard. That would have been quite a job for one man.”

Robs reply? “Well that’s what friends are for.”

This is a true account as told by a neighbor when asked, “Just what kind of friend was Rob Krentz?”

The immigration vs. secure border issue has gotten more press lately than a political love scandal. It seems everybody has an opinion on the subject and most are quite vocal. But you know what they say about opinions . . .

While this subject is not new by any stretch of the imagination, if you could point to one thing that has brought it to the forefront of political issues lately, it would have to be the murder of a southern Arizona rancher on his own property. On March 28, 2010 Rob Krentz became the poster child for the secure border issue. Unfortunately, it cost him his life.

At the time of this writing Rob is without a doubt the most widely known rancher in America, maybe the world. Just ask anyone, anywhere, to name an American rancher today and they will more than likely say Rob Krentz, or at least, “You know…that guy that got killed down along the border.”

As I read with interest all of the stories concerning the border and immigration, I started to wonder “just who was Rob Krentz?” I mean the person Rob Krentz, not the image or martyr that he has become for the secure border issue. I know several of the Krentz Ranch neighbors, and when one of them approached me about doing a story on the subject, I readily agreed on the condition that it was with the Krentz family blessing and that it would be a story on the man himself, not the political issues. I am honored that they agreed, because now I feel as if I know who Rob Krentz really was. I only wish that I could have met him prior to March 28.

While interviewing several family members and neighbors of Rob’s, I got a glowing report of a great man. Friend, family man, conservationist, good rancher and kind-hearted were all thrown about. Of course they wouldn’t have bad things to tell me about one of their own, I thought, but you know what? I read articles and contacted several people who are on the other side of the political issue, if you will, and couldn’t find one single person who had anything bad to say about Rob. Even the most adamant immigrant rights people had nothing bad to say about the person Rob Krentz himself. All they could talk about was being against the reform issue. Amazing! Even the so-called enemy could not run down Rob’s character. Here is why:

Rob Krentz was a man of values. From the time he was just a little boy, Rob’s dad Bob grilled into him the importance of doing things the right way. Throughout his life, Rob worked extra hard on doing just that. He wouldn’t cut corners when it might have been easy to do so – not if it weren’t the right thing to do. Little things that some people don’t think twice about like moving cattle without the proper inspection papers or running red (illegal) diesel in his pickup truck were out of the question as far as Rob was concerned. You never cheat, not even one little bit, was what Rob lived by and he inspired friends and family in the same way.

To understand Rob, you need to know more about his family history. The Krentz family emigrated (legally) from Alsace-Lorraine (which once was a little country between Germany and France and now is part of France) around the turn of the last century. They were butchers by trade and first went to St. Louis. Family lore says that after government regulations became too cumbersome there (even back then), the Krentz family headed west. Upon leaving St. Louis, they settled in Winslow, Ariz., about 1902, operating a butcher shop and a ranch. While operating the Chevelon Creek Ranch south of Winslow, the family recorded one of the earliest brands in the state of Arizona, the 111 bar brand, which is owned by the Babbitt family today. In 1907 the family sought out new ventures in the border town of Douglas, which was booming at the time. The Krentz’s bought the historic Tovrea Meat Market in Douglas and also the Spear E Ranch at the foot of the Chiricahua mountains. In about 1918, the meat market was sold and they concentrated their efforts solely on ranching from then on.

It took several years, but eventually the Krentz family was able to buy up the little homesteads surrounding them when they became available. Back then just about everyone in that country had a section or two of land that had been homesteaded. As people went broke or moved away, the Krentz family was in a position to buy out the smaller outfits and eventually put together one big ranch. Most of their pastures had been individual homesteads at some time, and are named after the original homestead. Each has its own history as well.

In media reports that circulate these days, the Krentz ranch is said to be 35,000 acres. I can tell you that isn’t quite right, but it is impolite to ask a person the size of his or her spread. It’s kind of like asking people how much money they have in the bank. Only the IRS and a rancher’s banker are privy to that information in the eyes of most ranchers, including the Krentzes.

The family were pioneers. They were the kind of people that settled and developed this country and made it safe for others to follow. They are the kind of family that should be considered the backbone of America. Surviving bad droughts, cyclical markets, government regulations, and a myriad of other issues made them into the strong ranching family that we have today. The Krentz Ranch has been there since before Arizona was a state. It has been there since long before there was ever a United States Forest Service dictating rules to them. This is the background and legacy that Rob was born into, a salt of the earth kind of old time ranching family.

When asked about some of Rob’s other qualities, over and over again I am told about his willingness to help out. Rob’s wife, Sue, says, “Most of the time when Rob left the house he would say, ‘I am going to help (fill in the blank).’” Rob’s neighbors all have great stories to tell about Rob going out of his way to help them out of a jam. Not only would he help a neighbor, but Rob was kind to strangers as well, including the illegal immigrants that inundated his property.

Rob was known to help out a thirsty, starving or wounded immigrant on more than one occasion. That may have been what got him killed. Rob’s last radio transmission to his brother Phil was something like: “going to help an illegal in distress.” Rob and his dog, Blue, were found shot several hours later.

Rob’s friends and family could not stress strongly enough that he loved to help people. “A friend in need is a friend in deed” was a motto of Rob’s. Not only did he help out friends and strangers in and around the ranching country of southeastern Arizona, but Rob was very involved in many other projects as well.

Rob was very active in the cattle growers’ associations at the local and state levels. He worked with the Malpai Borderlands group trying to preserve ranching and wildlife habitat for future generations. He testified numerous times to congressional leaders about the issues facing the international border and always seemed to find the time to continue helping out where he could.

The Krentz family were well known as good stewards of the lands that they control. They were honored for practices such as their long gravity flow water pipeline that served cattle and wildlife across their large ranch. Rob and his family took such good care of their land that they were used as examples of range stewardship on numerous occasions, and to top it off, the Krentz ranch was inducted into the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, 2008.

Rob was a favorite around brandings on the nearby ranches. He was nicknamed “Crunch” and everybody laughs as they recall the “Krentz Crunch” that Rob used on waspy calves. Rob was a large man physically and after watching younger or smaller cowhands get mucked out by an unruly yearling, Rob would come running and put the Krentz Crunch on the offending animal. The move has been described as a cross between tackle football and wrestling.

Rob loved to hunt, fish, and do just about anything outdoors. He was a good roper, rancher, horseman, cowman, husband and father. Everybody I talked to had nothing but praise for Rob. He was easy to get along with. He was always positive. He was a genuine kind of person. Those are just some of the comments.

Rob loved life and would constantly tell his family, “We are so very blessed. We are blessed to live in this beautiful place that we live in. We are blessed to get to live the lifestyle that we want to and do what we want to every day.” As one of Rob’s friends put it “Rob was one of the good guys, he was a good ole boy.”

Jim Olson was raised a cowboy on the high plains of Eastern New Mexico. There he learned to ride young colts, tend cattle, and also drive heavy farm equipment at an early age. Jim spent a few years competing in the calf roping event at the PRCA level and even went to the “Circuit Finals” a few times; now he is a weekend team roper. Jim is the owner of Arizona Ranch Real Estate, a business that deals with Rural Property sales throughout Arizona. Today, Jim lives on and operates his own ranch near Stanfield, Arizona (which was once a part of John Wayne’s “Red River” ranch). All of these things have led to great life experiences which Jim now uses in his writing career. Jim writes stories about interesting and extraordinary people of the west including short stories of both fiction and non fiction. He writes a monthly column titled “My Cowboy Heroes.” Jim’s articles are published monthly by several magazines throughout the southwest. Jim has received national coverage also. Jim currently has two books in print and is constantly working on several other projects as well.

From the Tucson Citizen.

Kerry's Powerless America Act

Call it cap-and-trade or bait-and-switch, but John Kerry and Joe Lieberman continue to tilt at windmills with a bill to restrain energy growth in the name of saving the planet...

Check out the chart of 60 new programs, studies and reports in this bill by going here.

Farm Groups Wary of New Climate Change Bill

The new legislation got a stamp of approval from the National Farmers Union, who supported the House version of cap-and- trade, “NFU has long supported legislation that provides an opportunity for agriculture to play a positive role in addressing our climate and energy needs. The discussion draft announced today continues along that path,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. Tamara Thies, Chief Environmental Council for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, says agriculture needs to beware of all efforts to regulate climate change, “All this regulation and expense is based on an alarmist environmental agenda and not on sound science.” She says, regardless of the specifics of the legislation, the science behind climate change is flawed, “The American people deserve better than decisions from this administration that are not based on science or truth, but rather are based on a radical, anti-business, anti-agriculture, alarmist agenda that lacks a credible scientific foundation.” The American Farm Bureau Federation also expressed concerns about efforts to regulate climate change. AFBF President Bob Stallman released a statement that said, “As with other climate change bills, we have concerns about the economic impact on farmers and ranchers because of potentially higher fertilizer and energy costs. We do not want to see farmers driven out of business due to additional regulation and the potential for higher input costs. Agriculture also could be forced to shrink due to land moving out of production into trees to sequester carbon. We also believe it is imperative that any energy legislation must assure a greater supply of nuclear energy, renewable fuels, and natural gas for American consumers. Further, we note the absence of renewable electricity standards in the bill and will work toward their inclusion in the future.”...more

Expanding the grouse conversation

As a rancher, David Andreason thinks the government’s not focused on the right ways to recover the greater sage grouse. What about the effect of predators like coyotes and ravens, he asks? And why isn’t grazing used more to fight wildfires? “Are we dealing with real issues, or are we chasing our tails with these feel-good ideas?” Andreason asked state wildlife officials Tuesday evening. That perspective is exactly what those officials say is needed as they rebuild a working group focused on helping grouse in the southeast Magic Valley. The South Magic Valley collaborative group is one of several across southern Idaho having problems keeping its non-agency members. The problem, said Mike Todd with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, is that state and federal government representatives attend as part of their jobs, while private citizens have to make time themselves. “It’s come down to nothing but a bunch of bureaucrats agreeing with each other,” Todd said. “We’re struggling. … This is a monumental effort.”...more

Dere's too much collaboratin' goin' on out dere.

Snowstorms kill hundreds of cattle

Ranchers in southern Alberta's Cardston County are in emergency mode after a barrage of spring snowstorms killed hundreds of cattle. Losses are mounting as melting snow reveals calves that succumbed to the winter-like weather of the past couple of weeks, said Reeve Cam Francis. The county declared itself a "disaster area" earlier this week, Francis said, noting that some ranchers lost more than 100 calves. "It's been devastating. A lot of cattle got piled up from the wind, cows got trampled, some cows were pushed into the dugout and drowned," Francis said. County officials haven't tallied the number of cattle lost. The situation is particularly dire because the snowstorms hit during calving season, when the newborns are especially vulnerable, said Francis...more

Song Of The Day #309

Ranch Radio brings you two instrumentals with the classic dobro sound: Hound Dog Blues by Shot Jackson and Big Howdy by Tut Taylor.

The Jackson tune is on the various artists compilation That Dobro Sound's Goin' Round.

The Taylor tune is on his Dobrolic Plectral Society.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interior Secretary Salazar Wants to Split Energy Agency

The Obama administration is proposing to split up an Interior Department agency that oversees offshore drilling, as part of its response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, The Associated Press has learned. An administration official who asked not to be identified because the plan is not yet public said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will urge that Congress approve splitting the Minerals Management Service in two. One agency would be charged with inspecting oil rigs, investigating oil companies and enforcing safety regulations, while the other would oversee leases for drilling and collection of billions of dollars in royalties. Currently, the Minerals Management Service, an arm of the Interior Department, is responsible for collecting more than $10 billion a year from oil and gas drilling and with enforcing laws and regulations that apply to drilling operations. Some critics have said the two roles are in conflict and are one reason the agency has long been accused of being too cozy with the oil and natural gas industry...more

Senate Might Take Up ‘Smaller’ Energy Bill This Year, Reid Says

Legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions from industrial polluters may be set aside this year in favor of a measure that ramps up electricity production from renewable sources such as wind farms, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. The “smaller energy bill,” which includes a national renewable electricity standard, has the support of “a couple of Republicans,” the Nevada Democrat said in an interview on Univision network’s “Al Punto” program. He didn’t name them. A “big” energy bill limiting the greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil doesn’t have Republican support, Reid said in yesterday’s interview. The 57 Democratic senators and the two independents who caucus with them usually need the support of at least one Republican to pass major legislation. The bill would, among other things, require utilities to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021, set new energy efficiency standards and open more of the eastern Gulf to oil and gas drilling...more

Scientists Unite Against Climate Skeptics

The latest issue of Science carries a letter that calls recent political attacks on the work of climate scientists “McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution.” The letter was written and signed by 250 members of the National Academies of Science, a grouping of the most distinguished scientists in the country. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a research center in Oakland, Calif., that works on environmental preservation issues, helped lead the effort. “It’s a witch hunt,” Dr. Gleick said in an interview. “Let’s have a debate about the science; these attacks on climate science are not based on science, they’re based on politics.”...more

Now they want to have a "debate about the science." Up until recently they told us the science was "settled" and scoffed at their critics. With some of their scientific chicanery exposed, they seem to be changing their tune.

Congressman Says Climate Science Should Be Simplified to ‘Sixth Grade Level’ Because Americans ‘Don’t Get’ It

Americans are growing skeptical about the threat of global warming because “they don’t get” the complex information that scientists deliver, according to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). Unless scientists can simplify their arguments to the level of newspapers that “print at the sixth grade level,” Cleaver said, the public is “going to get a headache and bail out.” Cleaver made his comments to a panel of scientists on Capitol Hill at a hearing last Thursday of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. The committee was investigating the “foundation” of climate science after the Climategate scandal saw thousands of damaging e-mails leaked from scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit...more

Maybe they need to lower it even Congress can "get it".

Veterans Group Vows to Rebuild Mojave Desert Cross

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has vowed to rebuild a 7-foot high cross-shaped memorial to the nation’s veterans which was stolen by vandals over the weekend. The cross was at the center of a legal fight that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the cross should remain on federal land. “The memorial will be rebuilt and the vandals will be caught and prosecuted in federal court, since the crime occurred on government property,” said VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr. Thieves cut the metal bolts that attached the cross to a rock in the Mojave Desert. Police believe the cross was stolen late Sunday or early Monday...more

Green power line project in N.M., Arizona draws opposition

If a recent public-input session is any indication, power transmission lines are not welcome neighbors, even if the electricity they carry is generated by renewable resources. The Bureau of Land Management held its 14th public-input session regarding the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. SunZia is a proposed 460-mile, high-capacity 500-kilovolt transmission line across New Mexico and Arizona. It would tap into wind energy generated in New Mexico as well as solar energy generated in New Mexico and Arizona, said Ian Calkins, a project spokesman. And it would present the opportunity for several substations to set up along the way to tap into the energy as well, he said. Arizona mandates that utilities generate at least 15 percent of their energy through renewable resources by 2025. In New Mexico, the mandate is 20 percent by 2020. But the proposed routes have people buzzing...more

Swarms of grasshoppers predicted to plague the West this year

A storm of 2-inch-long grasshoppers swept across Roaring Springs Ranch in southeastern Oregon's high desert last summer -- turning roads slippery, crunchy and "kind of gross" on their way to devouring 7,000 acres of grass intended as spring forage for the cattle. "Most people slowed down out of curiosity and awe" as clouds of grasshoppers carpeted Oregon 205 that passes through Roaring Springs, said ranch resident Elaine Davies. The onslaught may be a mere prelude to a grasshopper invasion of near-mythic proportions predicted this summer in Harney County and across the American West. Hungry grasshoppers are starting to hatch in Arizona and New Mexico and could make 2010 the worst grasshopper year since the mid-1980s -- consuming huge swaths of grasslands and crops, said U.S. Department of Agriculture expert Charles Brown. The anticipated glut results from natural population cycles and widespread drought conditions that grasshoppers thrive under...more

Vilsack confident farm programs will help

Vilsack continues to spar with mostly GOP congressmen in farm states over the direction of federal agriculture policy. Last week, House Agriculture Committee Republican leader Frank Lucas of Oklahoma blasted Vilsack's emphasis on nontraditional farm issues such as regional food systems, organic vegetable cultivation, community gardens and other initiatives as threats to turn rural America into "bedroom communities." GOP U.S. Senators John McCain of Arizona, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Pat Roberts of Kansas, the ranking Republican on the powerful Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote Vilsack last week accusing his "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" program of helping "small, hobbyist and organic producers whose customers generally consist of affluent patrons at urban farmers markets" instead of traditional producers who grow most of America's food. "Well, it's really an unfortunate circumstance," Vilsack told the Trib. "These senators have not taken the time to understand and appreciate our 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' program."...more

Tighter rules fail to rein in farm subsidies

New rules that were supposed to cut off farm subsidies to rich landowners and farmers did little to stem the flow of payments to Iowa's largest corn and soybean operations. Twenty percent of the subsidy recipients in Iowa accounted for 63 percent of the payments in 2009, compared with 64 percent in 2007 before the rules were tightened, according to government data. Some farm leaders and members of Congress say the disclosure of the subsidy numbers — and the looming federal budget deficit — may lead to a significant overhaul of farm programs when lawmakers are due to write the next farm bill in 2012. Farm groups are likely to resist efforts to tighten eligibility rules further, but Congress could change the way growers and their landowners get paid. In the middle of the cross hairs are the $511 million in fixed annual payments that Iowa landowners and farmers got last year. One farm operation in Iowa, Sonstegard Family Farms, received $294,296 in such payments in 2009 for acreage in three counties...more

Tax Dollars Going To Dead Farmers

Millions of your tax dollars are being paid to nearly 2,400 people in Florida, just over 250 in Central Florida, who may not deserve one cent. That's because federal records show they're dead. WFTV obtained the entire federal list of dead farmers (read it) who may still be receiving tax dollars. Reporter Berndt Petersen reveals abuse in the federal farm aid program. John Arnold's family has grown citrus in Lake County for three generations. But if there's one thing about farming that really burns him up, it's fraud. He hates government subsidies that are paid to people who don't deserve them. Nearly 2,400 people in Florida, who received more than $88 million tax dollars in the form of federal farm aid, have one thing in common: they're all dead. "People do the same thing with social security checks. Their relatives are cashing the checks when the person is dead. That's against the law," Representative Cliff Steams (R-Ocala) said. Stearns said the U.S. Department of Agriculture was told about it in 2007, when the Government Accountability Office discovered 172,000 dead people nationwide received $1.1 billion in farm aid. "The federal employees are derelict in their duty. They know about it. Why aren't they doing something about it?" Stearns questioned...more

Who knows, the federal employees might be dead too.

Song Of The Day #308

Ranch Radio will stick with the dobro but slow things down with McHattie's Waltz by Rob Ickes.

You'll find it on the 21 track CD Great Dobro Sessions, a various artists compilation by Sugar Hill records.

NMSU Rodeo team finishes season strongly

The New Mexico State University Rodeo men and women’s teams each placed second overall at the home National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association rodeo April 30-May 1 in Las Cruces.

“NMSU held their own during the final rodeo of the season. I was proud of the performances by our student athletes. The rodeo was great, the fans were great, the weather not so great. But it was a solid weekend for us, enabling NMSU to keep a hold of our top spot in the region,” said Jim Dewey Brown, NMSU Rodeo coach.

For the men’s team, JoDan Mirabal, of Grants, N.M., won first in the tie-down roping, with teammate Johnny Salvo, of Horse Springs, N.M., placing second.

In the team roping, Rodee Walraven, header, of Datil, N.M., and Salvo, heeler, received second.

Carlsbad, N.M., native Brooke Hughes placed second in the breakaway roping event. Staci Stanbrough, of Capitan, N.M., received second in the goat tying.

Salvo was named the men’s all-around champion for the weekend.

Members of the rodeo team will go on to compete at the College National Finals Rodeo June 13-19 in Casper, Wyo.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

'Smart dust' aims to monitor everything

In the 1990s, a researcher named Kris Pister dreamed up a wild future in which people would sprinkle the Earth with countless tiny sensors, no larger than grains of rice. These "smart dust" particles, as he called them, would monitor everything, acting like electronic nerve endings for the planet. Fitted with computing power, sensing equipment, wireless radios and long battery life, the smart dust would make observations and relay mountains of real-time data about people, cities and the natural environment. Now, a version of Pister's smart dust fantasy is starting to become reality. "It's exciting. It's been a long time coming," said Pister, a computing professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "I coined the phrase 14 years ago. So smart dust has taken a while, but it's finally here." Maybe not exactly how he envisioned it. But there has been progress. The latest news comes from the computer and printing company Hewlett-Packard, which recently announced it's working on a project it calls the "Central Nervous System for the Earth." In coming years, the company plans to deploy a trillion sensors all over the planet. The wireless devices would check to see if ecosystems are healthy, detect earthquakes more rapidly, predict traffic patterns and monitor energy use...more

This should, of course, immediately raise some privacy concerns. The CNN article quotes Lee Tien

"It's a very, very, very huge potential privacy invasion because we're talking about very, very small sensors that can be undetectable, effectively," said Lee Tien, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocate. "They are there in such numbers that you really can't do anything about them in terms of easy countermeasures."

Scott Bowen paints this scenario:

What is not voluntary give-away of information is when I go hiking in a remote place and think I’m all on my own, but the trees, coated with “smart dust,” are watching me. Perhaps in the year 2040, the Forest Service, Park Service, and BLM will post disclaimers at trailheads: “Dear Citizen: The trees of this publicly owned land have been coated with ’smart dust’ and will be collecting air, soil, and tissue samples. By entering this National Forest, you consent to the National Institutes of Health collecting your DNA.” That’s not too far fetched, and it is also creepy and wrong...

You can bet those D.C. dust fairies will have all kinds of fun with this.

Just imagine the BLMers or Forest Rangers driving by ranch headquarters sprinkling dust as they go. And you're worried about animal ID?

All you city folks just go right ahead and invite those census takers into your house. Better damn well vacuum up when they leave though.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice to spread a bit of that dust in some of those government offices? Hell, we might even restore the Republic.

I can just see them boys now, sneaking around the federal building late at night. I'll tell you who they are in my next Stockman article...maybe.

Controversial real estate speculator alone in the wilderness

Real-estate speculator Tom Chapman has long thrived on threats. His threats to bulldoze roads for a community on the rim of Black Canyon along the Gunnison River. Threats to build helicopter-access luxury homes in the heart of wilderness areas. Threats to burn down famed mining structures to make room for mansions. Threats to close off recreational access. Over the years, federal and local officials have caved and paid his price before anything gets built. This time, he has moved beyond brinkmanship and built a 4,700-square-foot luxury home, now for sale, on 33 acres atop the south rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Last week, he sold 79 acres inside the park to an out-of-state buyer in an undisclosed deal. The Black Canyon home marks Chapman's return, after a break of several years, to high- end, high-stakes development on islands within public land. He's foreclosing on a conservation-minded buyer who acquired 19 of Chapman's wilderness parcels in Colorado in 2007 and says he will again market the remote acres as home sites. He also vows to block skiers and hikers on land he owns in a popular backcountry drainage next to Telluride ski area...more

Crested Butte ski resort loses appeal on expansion proposal

The U.S. Forest Service has rejected Crested Butte Mountain Resort's appeal of a decision in November that blocked a long-planned expansion at the resort. Deputy Regional Forester Jim Peña affirmed the decision by Gunnison National Forest supervisor Charlie Richmond, who last fall decided the resort's proposed expansion onto neighboring Snodgrass Mountain was not in the public interest and should not proceed into deeper environmental review. Tim Mueller, Crested Butte resort's president, said Peña failed to consider "fundamentally unfair aspects" of Richmond's decision. Mueller spent four years and $2 million working with Richmond to sculpt the Snodgrass proposal in a "pre-application" process before the project entered into formal review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. He said Richmond indicated the proposal had met pre-application concerns, and he thought the project was set to move ahead. "Richmond abruptly reversed his decision in November 2009, citing a previously nonexistent test," Mueller said...more

Knievel, agencies explore possibility of 1974 repeat

At age 48, Robbie Knievel’s already pursued his daredevil career longer than his father, the late, famous Evel Knievel. But there’s one jump the younger Knievel hasn’t tried. In 1974, Evel Knievel brought spectacle and, by many accounts, chaos to Twin Falls when he attempted and failed to jump the Snake River Canyon on his “skycycle” — essentially a large rocket. On Monday, Robbie Knievel asked local-government agencies and tourism groups to let him try his father’s failed feat, with a jump proposed for the same site on Fourth of July weekend in 2011. “I don’t ever think I’ll be too old to push that ‘fire’ button, but let’s get it done,” Robbie Knievel told reporters after the meeting. Knievel faces a number of hurdles if he’s going to pull the jump off, including a range of agreements with city, county, state and federal entities. He’ll also have to overcome any bad feelings lingering from both his father’s visit, when biker groups rioted and Evel allegedly skipped town without paying some debts, and his own attempt in the early ’90s to stage a second jump, when Twin Falls County commissioners threatened to secure a court injunction against him...more

Bozeman officials propose building dam

City officials in Bozeman want to build a dam on Sourdough Creek to supply enough water to allow the city to double its population to about 80,000. ``We're anticipating 10 to 15 years to make this thing happen,'' Mayor Jeff Krauss told the editorial board of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. City engineer Brian Heaston said the city's current water system can handle about 57,000 people. Heaston said the dam would be built downstream from the old Mystic Lake dam, which was breached by a landslide in 1984 and knocked down in 1985. The dam would cost up to $50 million, officials said, and create a reservoir with a surface area of about 100 acres to meet water demands. ``Our responsibility is to see a little farther down the road,'' Krauss said. ``We know conservation efforts will only go so far, and we need to incorporate water-supply planning into those efforts.'' Officials also said the city has a water storage right on Sourdough Creek of 6,600 acre feet. An acre-foot is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre with water 1 foot deep. But officials said they could lose that water right if they don't start using it...more

5 reasons to carry guns in our national parks

In February a federal law went into effect that allows firearms in many national park areas, including Grand Canyon National Park. The new law (Sec. 512 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, Public Law 111-24) was passed by Congress and signed last May by President Obama. Since then, many have been concerned about people carrying guns in national parks. Before this law was passed, people did carry guns in national parks, but they did so illegally. The law levels the playing field. Now law-abiding citizens, who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law, can now possess those firearms in the recreation area. Not that carrying weapons is a solution to crime, but it might deter those plotting against park visitors and employees. Here are fives reasons to carry a gun in the national parks: 1.) Yosemite National Park – In 1999 motel handyman Cary Stayner sexually assaults Juli Sund, 16 and Silvina Pelosso, 15 before murdering them and Sund’s mother, Sund, 42. The woman and children were staying at a Yosemite lodge where he worked. 2.) Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Ranger Kris Eggle, 28, is killed in 2002 while helping Border Patrol agents capture two suspects of a drug-related quadruple murder...more

Illinois wild-horse complex heads into sunset

Tucked among the rolling fields of southern Illinois, Walt Gentry may have found his little slice of heaven on the farm where he tends to 160 horses and burros that once galloped the wilds of the American West. The 75-year-old retiree, his boots mucked with mud and manure, tries to find loving homes for the horses — among the most stirring symbols of the former frontier — as part of a federal effort to thin mustang herds on the Western range. But seven years after the farm that Gentry manages for a Nebraska man became the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s only holding facility for horses and burros east of the Mississippi River, he’s hosting his final adoption event. The Department of Interior decided not to renew the farm’s contract and plans to move any horses not adopted on Friday and Saturday to a new holding site near Jackson, Miss. For Ewing, the news is bittersweet...more

It's All Trew: Winter scene paves way to ranch memories

That same year we received a pot load of light steers, conditioned them and taught them to eat cake. When all were well and coming to the feed truck we turned them into a big pasture for the summer. The pasture contained many cap-rocks and deep canyons. A few days later a spring blizzard hit, leaving a foot of snow and ice on the grass. The load of fresh steers just disappeared into thin air. Deep snow drifts limited getting around in the feed truck so I walked to some of the cap-rock areas peering into the canyons trying to find the steers. After three days I was convinced the young southern steers had drifted before the storm and dropped off the tall cap-rock, falling into the canyon below. I rehearsed my lines of how to explain to my banker how I had literally lost a pot load of steers to the storm. On the afternoon of that third day the sun came out and I walked to the head of the deepest canyon in the pasture with a drop off of more than 100 feet. I peeped over the edge expecting to see a pile of cattle at the bottom frozen to death...more

Song Of The Day #307

Ranch Radio is having a hellacious week so we ain't gonna slow it down this morning. That, plus me wanting to feature the dobro this week leads to today's selection: Eight String Swing by Mike Auldridge.

The tune can be found on his 13 track CD Eight String Swing which is one of Ranch Radio's favorite instrumental albums.

Bucky's Birthday Bash

Guy Howard Schickedanz 10/20/1913 – 05/07/2010

Guy Howard Schickedanz, 96, passed from this life on May 07, 2010 and journeyed to a new adventure to be with his heavenly Father. His adventure began when he was born at home near Gage, Oklahoma, on October 20, 1913. He married Teola Faye Schneider, October 20, 1935, and raised three sons, Larry, Jerry, Glen, and a daughter, Susan. He was preceded in death by his parents, August and Mildred Morrow Schickedanz; three brothers, Thomas, Grafton, and Ray Schickedanz; a sister, Marie Luthi; his wife, Faye; and daughter, Susan Millyana Broadfoot.

Guy was a lifetime member of Liberty Baptist Church and Deacon for most of his adult life. His father, August, helped found Liberty Baptist Church in 1906.

Guy grew to manhood on the Oklahoma Plains. He remembered the hard times and good times, which included: droughts, blizzards, grasshoppers, family and friends - all part of survival for homesteader families.

Guy always liked to see what was over the next hill. During his lifetime he visited all 50 states as well as 13 countries. When work was scarce in the early 1930s, he and a friend drove a Model T Ford to California looking for work. He found work on a lemon ranch near Ventura, California. He said that the first day of picking lemons was the hardest day of work he had ever experienced - carrying a wooden ladder, wooden boxes, and a picking sack.

He was married to his one and only girlfriend, Faye Schneider. Guy made a living for his wife and children by farming and raising cattle in Oklahoma and South Dakota and was able to send all of their children to college.

Guy liked learning something new each day and viewed life as a gift from God. He lamented recently that his first and only helicopter ride was to the hospital and “that it got dark and he wasn’t able to see the country.” He always said he would like to go to the moon. Hopefully, he was able to get a good look as he passed by on his way to his new adventure.

He is survived by his sons and their wives Larry and Charleen of Perryton, Texas; Jerry and Dale of Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Glen and Elaine of Piedmont, Oklahoma; a son-in-law Ronnie and Karin Broadfoot of Wood River, Illinois, fourteen grandchildren, twenty-one great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and numerous friends from all around the world.

Church services will be held at Liberty Baptist Church, Fargo, Oklahoma at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, with the burial and graveside services to follow at Fargo Cemetery in Fargo, Oklahoma. Reverends Donnie Higgie and Junior Zollinger will officiate. Pall bearers and honorary pall bearers will be Guy’s grandsons, grandsons-in-law, and nephews. Arrangements are being made by Billings Funeral Home in Woodward, Oklahoma.

The family requests that memorial gifts be made to the Guy and Faye Schickedanz Family Endowed Scholarship c/o Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, Inc., 2932 NW 122 Suite D., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120. Education has always been important to Guy and Faye Schickedanz and the scholarship’s goal is to continue the Schickedanz legacy in Agriculture through education for qualifying students from Fargo, Oklahoma. More information can be found at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Group pushes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on wolf recovery

The Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation organization dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places, challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take action in the next two weeks, to move along the agency's efforts on the issue of the Mexican Wolf Recovery. The call came on the heels of the release of the Mexican Wolf Conservation Assessment, a non-binding document that assesses the results of Fish and Wildlife's Mexican wolf recovery efforts. The assessment documents the significant threats to the Mexican wolf from poaching and from the Fish and Wildlife Service's own management decisions in removing wolves from the wild, and the vulnerability of the single wild Mexican wolf population in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona - last counted in January at 42 animals and two breeding pairs - and of the approximately 300 wolves in 47 captive-breeding facilities in the United States and Mexico. Robinson challenged Fish and Wildlife to act immediately by appointing a panel of scientists to a new Mexican wolf recovery team in the next two weeks who would work toward completing a new Mexican wolf recovery plan by October 15...more

One Way to Save the Wolf? Hunt It.

The hide from the wolf Carl Lewis shot stretches 7 feet, 9 inches long, the back and ruff as black as a Montana midnight, easing along the legs and flanks to a color that Lewis likens to that of a blue roan horse. Lewis shot the big radio-collared alpha male on his ranch, high on the east side of the Big Hole Valley, last fall. "I really wanted to get a wolf this year," he says, "because we have to live around them, and I wanted to see a few less around our place." Lewis and his family saw wolves 22 different times on their ranch during the past summer, so he knew where to start hunting. "I went out that morning on a fresh snow, and saw no tracks at all. Got up to the top of the ridge, though, and there he was." Lewis shot the wolf from 400 yards with his .338, the rifle he normally uses for elk hunting. Three days later, his son Tanner got a wolf of his own. Montana's first-ever wolf season was viewed with horror by many environmental groups, and by many people who have celebrated the charismatic predator's return to the Northern Rockies. The hunt was simply too much, too soon, they said; it would kill off the alpha males and females that are the primary breeders and break the slowly building matrix of genetic diversity that is key to the long-term health of the returning populations. They predicted that leaderless wolf packs would go after even more livestock, leading to more wolf-killing by the federal Wildlife Services...more

Klamath farmers will see fraction of water needs

An operations plan released Thursday for a drought-stressed federal irrigation project in the upper Klamath Basin offered no new hope for farmers struggling to find water for their crops. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said farmers on the 200,000 acres irrigated by the Klamath Reclamation Project can expect 30 percent to 40 percent of normal deliveries this summer. The deliveries would start by May 15 -- six weeks late. The cutbacks were triggered by drought and Endangered Species Act requirements involving protected fish. Federal grants are paying for extra well water and for farmers to leave land dry, but about a third of the project area is still looking for water or money. Many farmers have gone outside the project to rent land with wells. Farmer Rob Unruh in Malin said the irrigation districts he relies on inside the project will be dry this year after officials agreed to land-idling payments, so he will use well water to irrigate his potatoes. Klamath Project water that would be available will probably be too little and come too late to save his grain, he said...more

Coyotes hungrily eye watermelon farms

Florida's watermelon growing season is in full swing, and for the next few months, farmers across North Central Florida will be busy caring for their rows of melon plants. But as the melons ripen on the vines, farmers will not be the only ones watching. Hungry animals are always waiting for a chance to feast on the juicy melons, and in recent years, farmers have had to keep a wary eye out for one particularly cunning foe: the coyote. Coyotes are not historically found in Florida but have quietly crept into the state over the past 40 years and as their population continues to increase farmers have found that, especially during dry years, coyotes seek out watermelons as a succulent meal and will devour between 10 and 15 watermelons a night. Lois McPherson, a watermelon grower at Bellevue Gardens Organic Farm in Archer, said she will always remember the first time her fields were visited by coyotes. One morning about 20 years ago, when she went out to inspect her fields, the melons were demolished. It looked as if they had simply "exploded on the vines", she said, and all that remained were large chunks of rind strewn across the field...more

Yellowstone bison drive

Montana livestock agents plan a major push over the next week to haze several hundred wild bison back into Yellowstone National Park to protect area cattle ranches from disease. Helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and horseback riders will attempt to drive about 400 animals into the park. The bison had exited Yellowstone over the winter in search of food at lower elevations. Critics say the hazing is unnecessary, particularly in areas where cattle no longer graze. But facing pressure from the ranching industry, Montana officials said they plan to remove all bison from public and private lands around West Yellowstone by May 15. That's about a month before cattle will return to their summer grazing plots. Whether the bison cooperate remains to be seen: Late spring snowstorms have stalled the emergence of grasses inside Yellowstone that bison depend on for forage. The park's chief ranger, Tim Reid, said the delayed "greenup" of Yellowstone could complicate the hazing effort unless warm weather sets in quickly. Reid said if conditions are not right, bison hazed into the park could simply circle around and leave again. The animal disease brucellosis can cause infected animals to abort their young. It has been eradicated nationwide except for the Yellowstone region. About half of Yellowstone's bison test positive for exposure, although the rate of active infections is much lower...more

Having a Cow About Steak Quality

Let's talk about steak for a moment. Was the last one you ate good? How about the one before that? Be honest. The first bite, in all probability, was juicy and tender. Not bad. A brief hit of beefiness, enough to spur you on to bite No. 2. But by bite No. 4, there was a problem: grease. The tongue gets entirely coated in it. It is at this point that many hands reach for that terrible abomination called steak sauce. It's acidic and zingy and cuts through grease, but it blots out the weak flavor of the steak. At steak houses all over the country, wine drinkers know the variety of grapes used to make the wine, the patch of earth where they were grown, and the year they were picked. They might even know whether the wine was aged in a barrel made from oak grown in France or America. They don't know nearly as much about their steak. Not the breed, not what the cow ate, or where it was raised. All anyone seems to know about steak today is this: It doesn't have much flavor. The great American steak is great in name only. It has become like its hated nemesis, boneless chicken breast: bland. The decline started back in 1926 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture began grading beef...more

New book offers colorful pictorial history of Florida's cowboys

"FLORIDA COWBOYS: Keepers of the Last Frontier." Photographs by Canton Ward Jr. Publisher: University Press of Florida. $45. There are 232 pages in this handsome book about cowboys and the cattle country they work and protect. There are twice that many full-color photos by Canton Ward Jr., who founded the Legacy Institute for Nature and Culture - all of this in one of the most extraordinary books ever published on the Florida cowboys. You will want to frame nearly every photo - especially the close-up of the rugged sunburned faces of these men and women to whom we owe so much. According to Patrick D. Smith, author of "A Land Remembered," Florida is this country's first cattle state - not the Southwest or West, but here. There are still, large and small, about 15,500 cattle ranches in Florida. One of them is the largest beef producer in the nation, and six are in the top 10. One can read and read and marvel at the many ranches and the people who work them - the owners and their hands. To name a few, there is the Lykes Ranch in Glades County, the Duda Farms of Hendry County, Two Rivers Ranch in Hillsborough County, the Lightsey Cattle Company in Polk County, Strickland Ranch in Manatee County, Clay Ranch in Putnam County and Big Cypress Rodeo in Hendry County...more

It's hard to tell where facts end and legends begin

In the Western classic "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," Jimmy Stewart plays a fictional U.S. senator who recounts the real story behind the shootout that made his reputation and launched his career. When he's done telling a much different account than was popularly believed, the newspaper editor he's been talking to tears up his notes. "This is the West, sir," explains the newsman. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." He wasn't off the mark. Naturally, many people would prefer to believe that their Western heroes were tough but honest men rather than listen to people who cast aspersions on their character. Wyoming had two 20th century lawmen who were charged in sensational murders: Tom Horn and Ed Cantrell. The criminal justice system treated the pair very differently, but their legends continue to grow. For many years, both men have been the subject of considerable debate about their innocence or guilt. Word that a screenplay touting the exploits of Cantrell, known as "the fastest draw in the West," is making the rounds in Hollywood stirred a lot of memories recently in the Cowboy State. It also raises the question whether he will be remembered by future generations by the historic facts of his case, or the legend. There's no doubt that in 1978 Cantrell shot and killed an undercover narcotics agent, Michael Rosa, who was in the back seat of a car in a Rock Springs parking lot...more

Sycamore Inn in Rancho Cucamonga served an historic crossroads

Long before the Sycamore Inn in Rancho Cucamonga became a gathering place for diners, the land was a gathering place for Indians and explorers. The local Indians met at this spot where large sycamore, cottonwood and willow trees grew. In March 1774, Spanish explorer Captain Juan Batista de Anza brought his exploration group to the lush, shady oasis with a creek and a view of the mountains. The Indians invited him to stay awhile. Because bears loved the gathering place too, the Spanish named the spot Arroyo Los Osos or Bear Gulch, a name that lingers today. One of the Spanish soldiers decided to stay. Felipe Santiago Tapia, and his grandson, Tiburcio Tapia received the land grant of more than 13,000 acres by then governor of California, Juan Alvarado. It became known as Rancho Cucamonga. Over the years, he said the place has been a lot of things. Stagecoaches and other travelers used the rutted Santa Fe Trail as a main thoroughfare from San Bernardino to Los Angeles. William "Uncle Billy" Rubottom from Missouri saw an opportunity to build a place where they could stop and rest. He built an inn and tavern there called the Mountain View Inn where he served southern fare of buttermilk biscuits, corndodgers and southern fried chicken. It became a popular place not only to travelers, but to the local people, including southern sympathizers during the Civil War. Another southern thing Uncle Billy brought to the area was slavery, but the slaves emancipated themselves and stayed to help settle the area...more

Murder in Mogollon

In 1912, the bustling mining town of Mogollon was part of western Socorro County. While the mines and mills around Socorro were in decline, those at Mogollon were producing 70 percent of New Mexico’s gold and silver. The dominant mining operations were the Last Chance and Maud S. mines, operated by the Ernestine Mining Company; and the Little Fanny and Champion mines, operated by the Socorro Mines Company. Mogollon, with a population of about 1,500 people, had produced nearly $3 million in gold and $7 million in silver by statehood. This wealth allowed Mogollon, in many respects, to become a modern town. Some of the mines were electrified and electric lighting illuminated the main street and some businesses. Telephone service had arrived for those who could afford the $2 monthly fee. Even Mogollon Deputy Sheriff Cipriano Baca had a telephone in his office. An automobile or motor-truck would occasionally be seen on her dusty streets, although mule-drawn wagons and folks on horseback were still the common sight. In spite of these modern 20th century conveniences, Mogollon was still a very remote mining camp filled with rough miners, hard gamblers and others keeping the reputation of the “Wild West” alive. To them, it was still the 1800s. Although the Gun Law of 1899 prohibited the carrying of deadly weapons in New Mexico’s towns and cities, this seemed to have had little effect in Mogollon...more

Baxter Black: Yes, Rural Arizonans Cling To Their Guns

During the presidential election, Barack Obama made a very telling comment about "bitter, small towns, clinging to their guns and religion." He is from the big-city prey mentality. If the president thinks the community is bitter, he just might be right. They are on the front lines in a war to supply recreational drug users their daily toke or weekly snort. The smugglers are doing quite well. I hear of no shortages from celebrities and potheads. And, in truth, I would guess most ranchers are ambivalent about dope smokers and drug users. Unfortunately, they are trying to ranch on the battlefield where the self-righteous, self-centered stoners, snorters, smokers, shooters and suppliers are fighting the law. You can see in this Arizona rural community why we cling to our guns. We don't have police cars patrolling our neighborhoods. The nearest neighbor could be 10 or 12 miles away, and the criminals pass like ghosts in the night. We use our guns because we are not prey, we take responsibility for our own lives and livelihood. The president's unfortunate denigration of religion as a source of strength is something he probably wishes he could take back. His past church membership speaks to his faith. Suffice it to say when we turn to God for help it is because he has proven to be more reliable than the stream of politicians' promises that continue to pour over us like dirty water sluicing down the drain. And nobody seems to have a clue...more

Song Of The Day #306

Ranch Radio will help get your heart started this Monday morning with Doc Watson flatpicking the fiddle tune Black Mountain Rag.

The song is available on the 12 track CD Doc & Merle Watson's Guitar Album.

This one goes out to my friend Burt at BEEF Magazine.

Wounded men cross Rio Grande, sent to El Paso hospital

A group of people bleeding after being shot in Mexico splashed across the Rio Grande into Hudspeth County on Sunday afternoon, officials said. A Hudspeth County sheriff's lieutenant and a Border Patrol official said four wounded men running for their lives crossed the border west of Fort Hancock. Border Patrol spokesman Agent Ramiro Cordero said an agent spotted the men and summoned medical help. Cordero said agents could see a truck on the Mexico side of the riverbank. The wounded men were rushed in ambulances to a hospital in El Paso. Names and the medical conditions of the wounded men were not available. One ambulance transmission stated a man had been shot multiple times. The spillover comes as tensions have been high in the Fort Hancock area because of the bloodshed across the border in the Valley of Juárez. The Valley of Juárez, with its collection of rural farming communities along the Rio Grande, is a prime smuggling point and a battleground between forces working with Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel and the Juárez drug cartel...more

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

I love them too

by Julie Carter

Dear Moms and Dads,

I want to thank you for your great kids. I am blessed to be able to share with you in their successes as their final days in high school bring the accolades they have earned.

"Our" babies are about to graduate.

I sit at each end-of-the-year ceremony and watch them with tears in my eyes and pride busting out all over, just as you do.

For eight years I've followed them around to sporting events, FFA, 4-H, county fair, rodeo, academic showcases with my camera in hand and note pad ready.

They were 10 years old and about to embark on their fifth grade adventure when I started this journey of documenting them for the "county news" section of the newspaper.

They were shorter, chubbier, tinier, ganglier with freckles and bad hair cuts or wild pony tails and braces. They giggled and snorted over nothing and traveled in pairs and trios of silliness.

The first couple of years they ducked my camera and were shy about it most of the time.

When that was over they followed me like ducklings wanting to know if I'd put them in the paper and they delighted in antics that might get them there.

Those kids in the outer county schools soon became part of my life. I watched them grow and mature.

I watched their personalities take shape and the foundations of their adulthood form one block at a time.

Teachers, coaches, family and friends all added another block, year by year ... building the child that would become the adult to be sent out the door this May.
I know great kids don't just happen. They are created, encouraged, admonished, nurtured, guided and directed.

They take a step forward and fall back two. They are caught, lifted, nudged and pushed toward a standard of excellence set before them.

Sometimes they rebel, argue, give up on themselves and think the world hates them. They are irritated by their parents who have got to be the stupidest people in the world, not to mention so archaic in all they know about anything.

They vow to never, ever be like them when they grow up.

They are sure that the system that held them captive for 13 years was pointless.

They plan their escape with an attitude of "I'll show you I don't need you to tell me what to do every day."

Which is pretty much the point, but most of them haven't figured that out just yet.
I love those kids, all of them. I feel so very much part of the lives I have documented in word and picture. I've been there for their set backs and their victories. I've watched them work hard and gain great ground in so many places.

I hold such hope in the future when I see the great young men and women they have so quickly grown to be.

I am proud with and for you, the parents, who sacrificed, hoped, prayed and worked through each stage of their life to bring them to this portal of the future.

I thank you for allowing me into their lives and into yours.

Your children are a gift, not just to you, but to the world that is about to become their challenge. You've done your job and done it well.

As you take your hands off them and let them fly, together we will watch them take wing into the next phase of their lives. Summer will dry the tears that mark this traditional transition.

With great anticipation, I will turn and look behind me at those budding young adults that will follow these into next year.

Each one is stretching and striding to find their place in the mighty footsteps left behind by this class of 2010.

Julie can be reached for comment at

It's The Pitts: Suture Self

by Lee Pitts

A carpenter friend recently showed me a gruesome scar on his arm that was the result of some surgery he performed on himself with a sewing needle without any form of anesthetic! He said he played doctor and sewed up the nasty cut himself because he had no insurance and felt qualified because he’d once sewn some sails. From the looks of his arm I can only assume the sailboat subsequently capsized or ran aground.

It’s only in the last 100 years that people, like my friend, haven’t had to be their own doctor. If a cowboy in the 1800’s was seriously sick, kicked by a horse, wounded by an Indian or run over by a stampede he was simply out of luck. And out of time.

Early in our nation’s history doctors were as scarce as tuba players in a submarine, and even if one could be found the sawbones performed most operations without any anesthetic. If you don’t count the whiskey, that is. Now days when people go to the doctor for an ingrown toenail it’s hard to imagine that women had their babies at home and the only provision for pain was a stick they could bite down on. You couldn’t have found a log big enough for me to chomp on! And you think you have it bad because you have to read old magazines and wait awhile to see a doctor?

In the days of old there were no urgent care facilities or emergency rooms and if the doctor came at all it wasn’t until you were nearly ready to be cultivated under. In this day of Dr. Oz and Viagra, when there seems to be a pill for every inconvenience and a TV telethon or walkathon for every ailment, it’s hard to imagine that the best the pioneers could do was apply a poultice of fresh cow manure. If they sprained an ankle they wrapped the joint in brown paper, soaked it in vinegar and slept with their head pointed north. Often times the people used the same treatments they used on their livestock. Cowboys got the same cure as the horse they were riding. If you were wormy you took a thimble full of sheep wormer and if you ached all over you applied a little Sloan’s Liniment for Livestock. It contained turpentine and “sassafrassy” and was said to cure bruises, kicks, flatulent colic and bumblefoot. I’ve been tempted to try it once or twice myself.

Just like my buddy who sewed himself up, the pioneers improvised a lot. They were practicing holistic medicine long before anyone ever heard the phrase. In an era when doctors with tiny cameras boldly go where no man has gone before, it’s hard to imagine that people once bled, purged and puked themselves to better health.

The doctors of the nineteenth century seemed to believe that a person could not get well without a sufficient amount of pain being suffered first. And maybe they were right.

You may hate the dentist but at least you have one. If the old-timers had a toothache they jumped up and down so the blood would go to their feet and then pulled a tooth or two with a pair of horse nippers or hog ringers. If a limb needed to be amputated the only anesthetic was to have a fat man sit on the patient. Allergies and cosmetic surgery? Forget it. If you broke a leg you had a lifelong limp; a broken rib and you suffered every time you breathed for the rest of your life. If you had an excess of sagging body parts you lived with them. Hypochondriacs didn’t stand a chance.

Some things never change though. In a letter to his family in 1849 a California miner wrote, “Have now paid all my gold to the Doctors and they leave me worse in health.” See what I mean? Who knows, maybe a lot of lives were saved back when folks didn’t have access to all the over-doctoring that goes on now days.

By the time our leaders in Washington get through messing up our healthcare system, the way things are headed we’ll have to anesthetize our cattle to brand them but you and I won’t be able to get in to see a doctor. We could find ourselves living once again in a society where the rule of thumb will be, “Cowboy, heal thyself.”