Friday, September 3, 2021

Fall Calf

 "Look, over yonder,
Close to the treeline,
Do you see that little dark spot in the grass?
It looks to me like some cow
Just had a new calf!

I'll bet its legs are still wobbly
And its Momma ain't far
But, let's ride on over
To make sure it's fine
This baby's the first; at the head of the line!

Why, look there;
She's several days old!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Solar Powered

 As the early morning light
 greets my journey, 
I am struck by the fact
 that the sloshing liquid
stored in the passing train 
holds the same energy 
as the refracting light 
of the dawn.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

From the Top

 The road is often rocky
As to the heights we climb
But, the view from on the mountaintop
Is often quite sublime.

Sometimes you have to climb to the top of the mountain to see clearly what you have traveled through.  But, if you don't make it to the top, what do you do?  Make the most of the climb.  You never know what you might see or, experience along the way.

The photo above is from the top of Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Southwestern Oklahoma.  I was there when I was very small and vauguely recall watching artillery exercises at nearby Fort Sill from the top of the mountain.  On this recent trip there were no exploding artillery shells, but the day was clear and the temperature comfortable for late August in Southwest Oklahoma.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Symbol of a Bygone Time


I know this is not the first time I've led off with the photograph of a Longhorn.  They are picturesque critters and I enjoy seeing the colorful beasts in the pasture.  This one is in fact a Corriente Cross cow and not a pure Longhorn -- whatever such might be.

Painted and splashed with colors galore
She grazes the Great Southern Plains
Not know how symbolic she stands
Of an era dimmed with age.

Once great herds of clicking horns
Trailed up from the brush 
To markets the railways had reached
On their transcontinental quest

Of populating the western reaches
Of a country just beginning to feel
The strength of the mightly economic engine
Swelling with power of imagination

Into the vast unknown lands
Of bewildered tribes who found a new enemy
Much stronger than their ancestral nemises
With whom they had fought for ages.

She and her kind fed the westering hordes
As well as those left behind 
In the growing cities where
Food must be imported from elsewhere.

Today, she is as much a relic
As the American Bison
And the painted natives
That she helped to displace.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


We must first still our
Until in quiet contemplation,
Lights gently upon our conciousness,
Preparing to burst forth
In the brilliant colors of action.

Monday, August 23, 2021


It has been awhile since I left any tracks upon this page.
The past year hasn't been one to inspire much creativity.

Maybe I should ask,
"What has inspired you this past year?"

Saturday, July 4, 2020


We decided to celebrate Independence Day with a road trip to see how folks were dealing with “these trying times” as we so frequently hear on television. The answer is that in our part of rural America most people just want to get on with life. Yes, there were masks, there were stores with signs saying, “Closed indefinitely due to COVID-19” and there were people who politely put on their masks when entering a business. The vast majority, however, seemed to be defiant of the “masking” orders. 

Our trip took us on about a 450 mile jaunt that covered parts of three states. We saw red, white and blue colors and we also saw signs of cancelled celebrations. I think there are pockets of the Spirit of 1776 that still live, but the vast majority have surrendered to the Nanny State. Even here in the heart of what the coast-dwellers would call flyover country, it would be a 50-50 proposition if it came to resistance to the powers that be. 

Where have the freedom-loving patriots gone?
The ones who rant on social media
Yet, cower within their caves?

Those who would defy are blue-collar,
Tattooed and struggling,
Yet they yearn most deeply for freedom. 

The Spirit of 1776 lived in those who had most to lose;
Ship owners and Planters and those who held power. 
Today’s analogs are first to bend the knee. 

The next uprising will swell from those who do the work,
Not those who produce nothing yet breathe the air of privilege. 
It’s no wonder dissatisfaction runs rampant among the poor. 

The conditions are ripe.
The seeds are planted, fertilized and watered.
Who will provide direction to the masses?

If patriots would step forward to solve the issues that stir
Deep within the masses, there might yet come salvation for our country;
If not, we will fall to the forces of evil which seek only destruction and enslavement. 

Rise up Patriots. 
Lift up your fellow man. 
Remove his grievances 
Or, fall. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pandemics, Power and People

As a few of you might have noticed, I took a break from posting.  I suppose you could say I have been socially distant in this particular medium.

Social distancing is really nothing new for me; I am perfectly happy where there are few people and far horizons.  I've even been told that I am sometimes socially distant in a crowded room.  Oh, well.

This SARS-CoV-19 global pandemic is something new, but also something old.  Viruses periodically mutate and sometimes move between species (zoonosis).  That is the most likely explanation for what has happened.  It is something we will see more frequently as this old planet fills up with people.  Densely packed populations facilitate the spread of disease.  The answer is social distancing -- spreading apart.

Dense populations -- whether they be temporary or, somewhat permanent -- are also sources of panic behavior.  It's that old "crowd" mentality that causes people to bolt for the door when someone yells "fire!"  In this case, it caused a run on the grocery stores which has temporarily created holes in our amazing system of supply chains which rarely miss a beat.  The massive nature of the shift of consumer demand from "restaurant dining" to eat at home caught the entire system somewhat by surprise.  There is plenty of food -- at least in the developed countries -- it is just in the wrong place, but that is rapidly being corrected.

I'm thankful to live in a small town rather than a city.  Even in our rural setting there are signs of disruption.  We have also had our first case of the disease confirmed.  It will eventually pass through the population of the planet.  It won't infect everyone, but it will touch most of the people in some form or fashion -- from a disease perspective, not just as a disruption to life as we know it.

The biggest fear that I have out of this entire episode of disruption is the amount of power that is being displayed by governmental entities all over the world.  That is a genie that will not be put back in the bottle.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

"Group Think" for the Machine

"I'm sure there's a good reason we are all standing here looking at the gate, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it might be!"

That's what I thought when I saw this picture from a few years ago -- that's what's going through at least one of those cow's heads -- or, it would if they could reason.  It brought to mind "group think."

We all know about "group think."  It happens when a bunch get together and someone makes a suggestion.  The next thing you know, everyone is "piling on" to the idea and it gains a life of its own.  Politicians exploit that tendency.  They, or some political operative, plant suggestions and "suddenly" everyone agrees!  Some examples are "meatless Monday," "taco Tuesday," "Epstein killed himself" -- which, by-the-way, I doubt very seriously (did you catch how I inverted that last one?).

It is easier to follow a suggestion than it is to think independently.  We are lazy.  We are trained to "group think" -- it's called public education.  We are indoctrinated from our earliest years to think and behave as part of a group.  We stand at the gate and wait for the government to "give" us benefits which came out of what they extracted from us already in the form of taxes.  In spite of the rhetoric -- especially from one political party which is quickly morphing into socialism -- the wealthy will never pay "their fair share" of taxes.  It is the poor and middle class which carry the tax burden and it is the wealthy who gain the largest benefit -- especially the subset of the wealthy who claim to be the salvation of the poor and downtrodden. 

The whole impeachment debacle almost exposed what is really a "cash cow" for politicians -- foreign aid.  Much of it is funneled through NGO's (non-government organizations) that are supposedly established for charitable purposes.  More of it is sent directly to foreign governments that are filled with corrupt politicians (yes, even more corrupt than our own) who find creative ways to funnel it into their personal bank accounts -- such as state-owned businesses.  Both methods frequently have plenty of siphons stuck in that lead right back to family members, "non-profit" foundations or, corporations owned or, controlled by the very politicians that authorized the aid in the first place. 

Most folks that lead normal lives which include a job and a paycheck don't realize how much money is actually flowing around this planet.  The amounts are astounding.  There is so much money lying around Europe right now that the banks charge customers to hold their deposits.  Yes, that is correct.  It's not just an issue of low interest rates on savings over there, it's a case of the banks charging customers to keep their money.  Oh, yeah, it's in the hands of that top 1% than controls the bulk of the wealth.  The politicians around the globe are quite familiar with that crowd and work closely with them to make sure they get a piece of that wealth for "protecting" it from unfriendly laws while fleecing the citizen taxpayers of their countries in the process.

Yep, I'm making lots of accusations here and not really offering any proof.  If I had the proof and could lay it out I'd probably end up like Epstein.  I'm not too excited about that prospect.  My point is simply this, don't follow the sheep (or, cows) through the gate.  It might just be the loading ramp to the truck on its way to the harvest.  The politicians own and operate the plant in a very efficient manner.  They are the only ones who will profit from the transaction -- oh, and their very wealthy buddies. 

There is a difference between the two political parties in spite of the fact that both have similar goals in mind; the elephants give you a chance to earn your way into the club, but the donkeys just want you to wear chains and pull the plow.  I'd rather have a chance -- no matter how small.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Billionaire Candidates and Agricultural Ignorance

This is from a few years ago and is among my favorite images.  I find it interesting how the curiosity is strong on both sides of the fence.

Agriculture is something that is little appreciated by most people these days.  Social media has been completely crazy with how one of the current Presidential candidates gave a speech a few years ago to a group of highly educated, full-of-themselves individuals, in which he implied that it didn't take much intelligence to be in agriculture.  In fact, that speech (follow the link to see the article which includes the video) was given at about the same time the above image was taken.

The speech has been taken out of context in such a way that everyone in agriculture has gotten angry rather than thought about what was said.  Essentially, he indicated that civilization has evolved through time from what was, for most of history, an agrarian culture to an industrialized economy and now we are in the middle of a technology-based information economy.  He was correct, but his comments leave one wondering if he truly understands the amount of information and technology that are utilized in agriculture today.

Take that bunch of cows in the image above; they were from a registered herd of Angus that have been carefully selected for over 60 years to produce efficient, fertile, highly versatile animals that provide us with some of the highest quality meat in history.  Each animal is carefully measured in many ways, the data collected, collated and compared against their genetic scores which are developed from genomic testing.  They are rigorously selected based on stringent criteria so that only the best animals are allowed to produce breeding stock for future generations.

They are fed protein and mineral supplements that are carefully formulated to meet the nutritional requirements that the animals cannot attain from forage alone.  They are vaccinated to prevent disease.  They are cared for using scientifically-based methods that reduce the amount of stress to which they are subjected.  The forage they eat is also managed based on best scientifically proven practices.

That's just a small part of agriculture -- raising cattle on a ranch.  I won't even address what happens when they head up the production chain to eventual harvest and presentation in the meat case at your local supermarket.  Technology is everywhere.

When you look at farming it gets even crazier.  The tractors are guided by computers to precisely apply the correct amounts of seed, fertilizer, etc. based on satellite images.  The seeds which are planted are frequently the result of advanced breeding techniques -- including genetic manipulation to enhance disease, chemical and pest resistance.  We have more and better quality food than ever before in history -- thanks to the application of technology to agriculture -- and it costs virtually the same as it did 50+ years ago!

The candidate in question mentions the brainpower required to farm vs. work in a factory vs. create the technology which is so pervasive in society today.  I should introduce him to the rocket scientist I know who ranches in Arizona.  He truly is a rocket scientist -- used to work at NASA.  Or, maybe he should meet some of the scientists unraveling the genetic code which determines disease resistance.  Oh, wait, those are scientists.  Yep, I have worked with them most of my career.  They may be able to manipulate a gene, but most of them have no clue how their work impacts the real world.  They are isolated in their cocoon of technology of which they know much, but they don't know what to do with it much of the time.

I think, ultimately, that is the issue.  I call it intellectual snobbery.  It happens in every field of endeavor.  I've seen it in many, many scientific and engineering fields -- and I've seen it in agriculture.  It goes something like this: "If you don't have a PhD in blah, blah, blah, there is no way you can understand it.  You obviously don't have the intelligence to be able to comprehend it, or you would have a PhD in blah, blah, blah."  Sometimes it isn't just a PhD -- with Engineers it is simply a degree in Engineering -- and they have ranks.  I think Aerospace is at the top and Civil is at the bottom.  Each believes if you "aren't one of us, you ain't nothing."

Back to agriculture -- "If you try to learn how to ranch after a career in something else, you had better be prepared to fail."  "If you didn't grow up in it you will never be able to master it."  Those are incorrect too.

Getting back to the article:  I don't like the candidate mentioned in the article.  Period.  I think he would be worse for our country than most of the others.  Just look at the problems in his state and you should agree.  We shouldn't blast him for what was said, though.  Instead, we should realize that what he said is a symptom of something deeper.  The average person, or the self-proclaimed intellectual elite has no idea about what is involved in production agriculture.  Most of them don't even know what is necessary to get the food to their table.  Billionaire Presidential candidates probably have large staffs that take care of it for them anyway -- they don't even know their food comes from the grocery store -- let alone what it took to get it to the store.

If you don't like the candidate, talk about why you don't like the candidate; don't just blast him by taking his words out of context and failing to address the real issue -- ignorance.  Yep, brilliant people can be ignorant.  If you don't know about something, you are ignorant of that subject.  It doesn't mean you lack the gray matter to understand it given time and effort.  I wish all of the candidates would apply a little more of their gray matter to learning about food production.  Those in agriculture just don't add up to enough votes for it to make a difference to them -- at least in their mind.  We need to explain why it does matter.  Even billionaires won't live long without food.