Thursday, June 30, 2011

Politics, Again

IT'S BEEN AWHILE: Since I actually blogged just about the tics. Maybe I should say politicians. Or, even nicer, those who hold public office. Why do I want to be nicer. Well, a few days ago, we received one of those forwarded messages from a friend. You know the ones. this one was anti Obama cartoons. Some of them crude, some of them humorous, none of them necessary. So, we deleted them and didn't send them on. We felt we needed to be a little nicer. Having said that, I will say I didn't vote for Mr. Obama in the last election, and given the chance, I won't vote for him again. I don't feel that he has done much of what he said he would do. And he has blamed Bush for the things that haven't gone right. OK, the economy was going into the tank while George Bush was still President. And the wars we are involved in were going on while Bush was still President. But President Obama has just dug the tank deeper, and the wars are still waging. And while we are struggling, as a country, with unemployment, he is causing more of it daily. A Democrat started, or accelerated, the space program in the early 60's. It has been a success and we are the world leaders in the space program. Or we were. Now, President Obama is ending the space program and handing it over to the Russians. And putting thousands of Government and private individuals out of work. I'll not belabor the issue, as that is just one item. He now wants to raise taxes. Guess he did, as the taxes that come out of my check are now more than they were when I started in February. He says "We don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem." And he wants to raise taxes to fix the problem. Won't work, McGee. Never has, never will. Do the Republicans have the answer. Not totally. Spending cuts are in order, but maybe not as deep as the Repubs want. We all know, at least those of us that have a house hold budget, that if we spend more than we take in, we have a spending problem. Maybe it is a revenue problem, also, but raising our wages just don't work. Even if we did get a raise, most people would just spend more, causing a continuation of a spending problem. Who should be president? Don't know. I like Sarah Palin, but I won't vote for her for President, for several reasons. Will just have to see who has a good platform.
Now a moment on local politics, then I'll quit boring you. Oh! guess if you actually read this far, you may not be bored. Smiling or frowning, depending on your own feelings on the matter. Because of the wild fires in the Southwest, many of the politicians in Arizona and New Mexico want to get legislation going that will give the forests, along with other rights, back to the States and the people. More on this in the future. President Obama wants to sign an executive order relating to a United Nations Agenda 21 program, that will give control of our forests over to the U.N. We need to watch that one very closely. We also need to watch closely the various environmental acts that will affect people adversely. Namely, the Clean Water act that will affect ranchers and their stock tanks. The clean air act that will affect farmers plowing and disking their fields. The Food safety act that will affect farmers markets.
Well, guess I got a little carried away. More on a later blog. But
That is The View From The Ditch Bank

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Now What???????????

NOW WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO? Some time back, decades, actually, centuries maybe, the people here in the US of A were what we now call Indians. And there were Buffalo roaming and Deer and Antelope playing and occasionally there was fire. At least I would assume there was fire. In spite of what many think, I'm not old enough to remember back that far. And as the Deer and Antelope played and the Buffalo roamed, the Buffalo created chips that fertilized the land, and their cloven hooves cultivated the land, and things grew, and there was occasional fire. Or so the history books say. Then came the white man and the deer and antelope continued to play, but the buffalo gradually ceased to roam. But in their place came the white mans cattle, and they created pies that fertilized the land and their cloven hooves cultivated the land and things like grass grew. And the western range was taken care of. And the white man wanted houses, so the trees in the forest were cut and milled into lumber, and minerals were dug out of the land and the land was taken care of, mostly. And you could see the water in the streams, and occasionally there was fire. Some as big as 30 square miles. And then 40 years or so ago, ( maybe you have a different timeline ) there was a movement in the land for environmental awareness. And the cattle ranchers and the loggers said OK. They thought it was a good idea, cause they were already being environmentally correct about the land. they were pruning the trees and cultivating the land and keeping the land clean and the streams flowing, and life was good. What they didn't understand was, the people, or groups, that were sponsoring this environmental movement, weren't interested in keeping the land clean, the streams flowing and the ground cultivated. They wanted the pies to disappear, the cattle rancher to disappear, the logger to disappear, the miner to disappear. And by the time these hard working folks realized this, they were way behind in the movement. And losing their way of life. Laws were passed by city folk's in the west and people in the east, who didn't understand what was going on. So, the land was "saved" for Mexican Spotted Owls, who had coexisted with the loggers and ranchers for decades, maybe even centuries, and then there was the willow fly catcher, a small bird, and the spike dace minnow, a small silver fish, and so many other animals that it makes your head swim to think of them all. Or it would swim, if you could find some water to swim in. Now, the streams are choked by the trees on the river trying to use the water. many of those trees are dying, cause there isn't enough water for them all. The loggers and sawmills are shut down, cause they can't cut trees. The ranchers are out of business cause they can't ranch. So the land is dying, cause it isn't being cultivated and fertilized. And then there was fire. Not the 30 square mile fire, but the 600 to 800 square mile fires. Yes fires. plural. And the land is cleansed. And the streams are clogged with ash, and the silver minnow chokes to death, and the fly catcher has no where to catch flies, or what ever it does. And the owl? Well, it has no where to lay it's head, cause the trees are all burned up. So what are they gonna do now?
I HOPE THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE HAPPY NOW. Oh! they said it is not their fault. Yeah! Right.
And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Saturday, June 11, 2011


SMOKE: No, don't run out and buy a pack of cigarettes. Not talking about that kind of smoke. Here in this area where we live, ( if you are not sure, see my profile ) we have literally been under a cloud or haze of smoke since back in March. Every day. From forest or grass fires. Several of them almost next door. Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas are especially hard hit fire wise. Right now there are several fires burning in Southern Colorado, more near Flagstaff, Arizona, others in various parts of New Mexico. But the big one, on the news, is the Wallow fire in Eastern Arizona. Nearing 400,000 acres and 5% contained. There is another one in South East Arizona, called the Horse Shoe Two fire, that had grown to 116,000 acres and was 60% contained. Thursday afternoon, that fire got away from the firefighters and is now around 166,000 acres and only 40% contained. The Wallow fire is as big as Chicago, ( having never been to Chicago I will take their word for that ) and it wasn't a cow that kicked over a lantern to start it. Rumor has it that it was started by a camp fire that got out of control. By two or three campers. Rumor or not, it is under investigation. And it happened in a campground Sunday, Memorial day weekend.
Having said all that, let me get to the point of this blog. A few decades ago, not that many, actually, buffalo roamed and antelope played here in the west. And there was fire. Occasionally. Then the buffalo went away, (I won't get into that topic ) and ranchers brought their cattle and put them on the range. And timber men came and logged the forests for lumber to build houses and buildings for all the people coming west. And there was fire. Occasionally. A 30,000 acres fire was extreme. Most were small and put out quickly. Then came the environmentalist and said that cattle were bad for the land, and logging was bad for the land, and they made the people in the East, who are mostly clueless about the West, to pass laws making it unlawful to ranch or log. If it is unlawful, why isn't it illegal? Think about it a moment. Now, the forests are a mess. Where there used to be 50 trees to the acre, now there are hundres and even thousands of trees per acre. Mostly small saplings, growing close together, and all vying for what little water there isn't. I have a picture I took several years back of a river that had a nice stand of trees and a cabin in the river bottom. It was just a little ways off the highway. Now, because cattle are not allowed to drink from that river, cause the environmentalists say they pollute the river, you can't even see the river for the trees and brush, much less the cabin. Thus, we have wildfires like the ones mentioned at the start of this post.
This fire has started a dialog from western politicians and ranchers and loggers, and other people that we need to let the Forest Service manage the forest, in conjunction with the ranchers and loggers. And others that know how to manage the land. And take care of it, and thin it of the small saps, uh, saplings that are choking it to death. And I, for one, support that idea whole heartedly. Otherwise it will just continue to burn out of control. Or blow away like a dust bowl, for lack of rain. Of course the environmentalists are opposed to that, and said that this is just scare tactics. That is a quote from Bryan Bird of the organization Wild earth Guardians. Wonder where these guardians are now? Bet they are not on the fire line. Well, nuff said for now. Oh! The reason it isn't illegal is cause unlawful is against the law, but illegal is a sick bird. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Thursday, June 2, 2011


CODE OF THE WEST: For the few of you that read this blog, I have not left, just don't post as often since I returned to full time employment. And while that is not the purpose of this posting, my returning to work, I will mention it in a passing fashion during this blog. As to the first line. there used to be one. A code. still is, mostly. So I'll quote this poem and then elaborate a bit.
It don't take such a lot o' laws to keep the range land straight
Nor books to write 'em in, 'cause there are only six or eight
The first one is the welcome sign, written deep in western hearts
My camp is yours and yours is mine in all cow country parts
Treat with respect all women kind, same as you would your sister
Care for neighbors' strays you find, and don't call cowboys Mister
Shut the pasture gates when passin' through, and taking all in all
Be just as rough as pleases you, but don't be mean or small
Talk straight, shoot straight, never break your word to man or hoss
Plumb always kill a rattlesnake, don't ride a sore back hoss
It don't take law nor pedigree to live the best you can
These few is all it takes to be a cowboy and a man
Author Unknown
Cowboys have always wore hats. The style of hat sometimes varies from area to area, but they are still worn. Now a days, hats are becoming more of an item to ward of the sun, because more people are aware of the likely hood of skin cancer, especially here in the Southwest. Along with the poem quoted above, there was a hat etiquette that cowboys practised. It used to be common for hats to be checked at the door of a public place, such as restaurants. That has mostly become obsolete, so here are some thoughts on how to wear your hat today.
One hat maker has written on the back of his business card "Take it off at the table, leave it on at the bar, and treat it like your sweetheart." Trent Johnson of Greely Hat Works. While the hats off at the dinner table used to be a hard and fast rule, many cowboys now leave it on when dining at a public restaurant. However, you should remove it when entering a private residence, a house of worship, or a business meeting. And around the ladies? While the days when men were expected to remove them when a lady enters the room has kinda disappeared, it is still good manners to do so, and it is mostly appreciated, even if it is unexpected. It is also not a bad practice to tip your hat to the ladies in public. In a respectful manner.
So what does any of this have to do with me returning to work? Simple. Many of the men I work with are very disrespectful of the ladies. Their language is crude and lewd at best, and the ladies in the crew are disregarded or treated as one of the boys by most of the men on the crew.
And as a last thought. Manners as a general rule seems to have gone the way of rotary phones and typewriters. You can still find them, but they are in the minority. When people return to the cowboy way of life, in the country or the city, showing respect for your neighbors and your neighbors property, curbing foul language, and treating ladies with the respect they deserve, especially your spouse, then the country will be on track to return to the kind of country we would all like to live in. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.