Merry Christmas to you from Sage to Meadow!

A December day two years ago.

A December day two years ago.

Merry Christmas everyone from Sage to Meadow!  I wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

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Filed under Life in Balance

Sage blossom and sky noir

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A mid-morning rain fell on the place. The air is cool, almost cold, and the sky has not cleared and probably will not this day. This photograph shows a break in the clouds towards the south, the town of Stephenville, lying about nineteen miles away. My mother came to Stephenville–I tagged along–and bought plants at Wolfe Nursery. The nursery had a large sign of a wolf that signaled the entry to the nursery that encompassed acres and acres of tended trees and several hothouses.

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The rain caused an eruption of this blossom upon the sage near the house.

Fall has come to the place, the farm, the ranchito, the people of Sims Valley, and all the wildlife abounding.

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Filed under Life in Balance, Plants and Shrubs, Recollections 1942-1966, Uncategorized

Sunlight in stalls

As I finished throwing hay to Star, I saw this sunlight in stalls and thought it artful.

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Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Horses

Prickly pear fruit

There is a super-abundance of prickly pear fruit this year. I have never seen the eruption of fruit like this year. I buy an Italian sweet soda made of prickly pear. ‘Tis the season! It is 102F in field at 7:04 p.m.

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Filed under Life in Balance, Plants and Shrubs, Salt Creek, Succulents

Rio de Pueblo

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As I traveled this week from Mingus, Texas, to Taos, New Mexico, I stopped in the Kit Carson National Forest, alongside the Flechado Day Campground that bordered the Rio Pueblo seen above. The water was cold, flowing, gurgling, clear.

Back home today at my ranchita in Texas, I filled water troughs with Barton Creek Coop water so that my last horse of the remuda I once husbanded can have water to drink in addition to the cow tank that is the lowest I have ever seen.

I placed cedar posts in all three of the water troughs–stable, corral, far field round trough–so that squirrels when they fall into the water while slacking their thirst can have something to climb onto and escape a watery grave.  Three squirrels have drowned in the stable water trough and a roadrunner was nearly drowned when I pulled him out several years ago.

Rio Pueblo, Barton Creek, and my water trough in the far field proffer life.  I accept the gift.  When the animals of this semi-arid region accept a gift of water, I can, at least, make sure that it is not their last benefit.

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Filed under Salt Creek, Taos

Soft Fascination: Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park

The effects of walking in parks, green spaces, the outdoors, are listed here and backed by new scientific technology that registers such experiences.  Natural settings, i.e., parks and green spaces invoke “soft fascination,” a term for “quiet contemplation.”

When I lived in Amarillo, Texas, I walked in Ellwood Park near the Amarillo College campus, and often drove to Palo Duro Canyon State Park for relaxation and exercise.  My brain fatigue–never knew what that was–eased and I felt better after the walk in the park.

Read and apply the lessons of the article below when you have a chance for it describes life in balance.

Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park – NYTimes.com.

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Update: saving the sage grouse

Saving the Sage Grouse – NYTimes.com.

The following quote from The New York Times is a letter about NOT putting the Gunnison sage grouse on the Endangered Species Act, reminiscent of the nineteenth century effort to eliminate the buffalo along the transcontinental railroad routes to California.

Re “Newly Discovered, Nearly Extinct,” by John W. Fitzpatrick (Op-Ed, March 7):

The proposed federal listing of the Gunnison sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act would devalue state and local efforts already under way to conserve the species while simultaneously undermining energy development — both renewable and conventional — in the habitat region.

A federal listing would affect wind energy projects in the Monticello, Utah, area, oil and natural gas production in San Miguel County, Colorado, and potential geothermal development in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Agricultural interests would also be greatly affected, as 90 percent of the bird’s habitat sits on federal and private land grazed by domestic livestock.

Energy producers — from wind to natural gas — and local landowners are already working with state agencies to provide protection of the bird, while also providing domestic energy and hundreds of jobs. Placing the grouse on the endangered species list will not only undermine these efforts but will also halt energy development in the proposed region — a devastating, job-crushing, unintended consequence.

BARRY RUSSELL
President, Independent Petroleum
Association of America
Washington, March 8, 2013

From a post on my blog, Poprock Hill, February 22, 2010.

Fat-Takers

Buffalo Skulls at Michigan Carbon Works (1895) Detroit Public Libarary

The Sioux have a name for the white men.  They call them wasicun–fat-takers.  It is a good name, because you have taken the fat of the land.  But it does not seem to have agreed with you.  Right now you don’t look so healthy–overweight, yes, but not healthy.  Americans are bred like stuffed geese–to be consumers, not human beings.  –John (Fire) Lame Deer, in “Lame Deer Seeker of Visions: The Life of a Sioux Medicine Man,” p. 44.

Life is out of balance when people trespass into nature with two notions:  there is a superabundance of resources and nature can be harvested because man has dominion over nature.  Neither are true.  What teachers instructed the men in hats and suits to stand arrogantly on top of a carefully-stacked pile of buffalo skulls to be ground into fertilizer?  Life is out of balance when the photograph above was taken, the men standing on skulls and the teachers and preachers that taught that man has dominion and rights to harvest indiscriminately.  Lame Deer calls such people fat-takers and they are not human beings.  Life is still out of balance when coyote hunts are contests for pelt count and young persons shoot prairie dogs for blood sport.

Photograph above of John (Fire) Lame Deer (1974) Heyoka Magazine, November 2006.

So much to learn by going and sitting down in the woods.

So much to learn by walking the mesa.

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Filed under Sage Grouse, Sagebrush

Monarch Migration Plunges to Lowest Level in Decades – NYTimes.com

Monarch Migration Plunges to Lowest Level in Decades – NYTimes.com.

But an equally alarming source of the decline, both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Vidal said, is the explosive increase in American farmland planted in soybean and corn genetically modified to tolerate herbicides.

The American Midwest’s corn belt is a critical feeding ground for monarchs, which once found a ready source of milkweed growing between the rows of millions of acres of soybean and corn. But the ubiquitous use of herbicide-tolerant crops has enabled farmers to wipe out the milkweed, and with it much of the butterflies’ food supply.

“That habitat is virtually gone. We’ve lost well over 120 million acres, and probably closer to 150 million acres,” Mr. Taylor said.

A rapid expansion of farmland — more than 25 million new acres in the United States since 2007 — has eaten away grasslands and conservation reserves that supplied the monarchs with milkweed, he said.

The monarchs’ migration is seen as a natural marvel and, for Mexico, a huge tourist attraction. But naturalists regard the butterflies as a forward indicator of the health of the food chain. Fewer butterflies probably means there are fewer other insects that are food for birds, and fewer birds for larger predators.

Here on my ranchito I have seen no monarchs this year.  It is a little early for their migration through central Texas (at least here in north Erath County, Texas), and I will hold off making any conclusive statements about their pattern for several more weeks.

I have only a few sprouts of milkweed on my 53 acres.  I know precisely where the milkweed is and seek to keep it flourishing for the butterflies.

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Filed under Life Out of Balance, Monarch Butterfly

The drumming lover: the plight of the Gunnison sage grouse

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SEVERAL springs ago some friends and I arose before dawn in Moab, Utah, to witness the sunrise mating dance of the Gunnison sage grouse: a surreal display of nine ornately plumed, chicken-size birds tottering about amid the sagebrush like windup toys, fanning their spiky tails and uttering a magical sound — “pop … pop-pop!” — as they thrust yellow air sacs out of their snow-white chests.

The Plight of the Gunnison Sage Grouse – NYTimes.com.

Read the rest of the article and support adding the Gunnison sage grouse, the drumming lover, to the endangered species act.

On the matter of we people expanding into the wild, the veld, we decide whether to deep clean and cultivate assiduously the earth or whether to leave unturned and uncultivated the earth upon which we trod.  In between this binary choice–turning or not turning the soil–there is no middle ground.  This choice is one of those locked-down moments of either-or, either alive or dead, nothing in between, either turning the soil for cultivation or leave it alone.

Therefore, to keep alive and robust the biota of this good earth–the Gunnison sage grouse, for example, –we must as a people, as temporary tenants of this space, here and now, leave sufficient areas of territory for species to live, to roam, to rest, to raise families.  Yes, we need to cultivate land as well, but large tracts of it?  At the expense of destroying major habitats?  In response to all living things, therefore, let us ratchet down, pin down less tightly, our clearing land and cutting trees and brush, so that we as a people can rise early in the morning and attend the dance of life in those spaces we have tenderly set aside.

(To be continued, The post-industrial order.)

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Filed under Birds, Life Out of Balance

Winter lingers

In the late fall, my whole front field appeared as snow with these flowers.

In the late fall, my whole front field appeared as snow with these flowers.

Winter lingers in north Erath County, Texas.  Grasses remain brown, although buffalo grass emerges through dead grass of the late fall freeze.  My paint gelding, Star, has lost weight and his laminitis has remitted completely.

New neighbors, the Stroebels, have moved onto the land to the southeast.  The husband is an English teacher.  The wife is an engineer, originally from eastern Europe.  At the first instance, I like them.  They purchased the five acres mainly for the new stone house.

By my stated goal a few months ago, I have only a month or so before my photographing all flowers on my place comes to an end.  I know I have missed some flowers over the last eleven months, but I think I have captured many.  Some flowers, like the wine cup, did not unfold last spring so they fell outside my range, but not my thoughts.

 

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