Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I am sorry to say that I am suspending posting until further notice.

Family illness and responsibility to such requires my undivided attention.

Hopefully, I can get back to writing in the near future.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Well, the drought continues, hardship abounds...out of the darkness comes BRIGHTNESS!!

Our newest additions to the herd:

Saturday, September 10, 2011


FROM: The Austin American Statesman

Photographs by Jay Janner
Story by Brenda Bell
Austin American-Statesman staff
The meanest drought in modern Texas history looks different out here, away from the cities.
There are no emerald swaths of St. Augustine lawns, no blooming shrubs, no misters cooling bar patrons as the sun goes down on another cloudless, 105-degree day. The disconnect between what rural Texans are experiencing and sheltered urbanites are seeing has never seemed greater.
Out here, the brutality of the drought is measured not in annoying water restrictions or water pipes bursting in the dessicated ground — all now commonplace in Texas cities and towns — but threatened livelihoods, and the waning of life itself.
Livestock and agricultural losses are already estimated at $5.2 billion, and expected to rise. Stock tanks have dried up, hungry cattle are being rushed to market, crops plowed under. Wildfires have torched more than 3.4 million acres; deer are abandoning their young; oak trees that have weathered many a hot summer are fading.
The state’s aquifers, which supply 60 percent of its water supply, are dropping, squeezed by development pressure and lack of rainfall. Some of the brightest jewels in the river system - the Blanco, the Pedernales, have slowed to a trickle. The Sabine, in normally lush East Texas, is at an all-time low.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows an angry red blotch covering almost all of Texas, denoting extreme to exceptional — the most severe — drought conditions. In the past 12 months, just 15 inches of rain have fallen, the driest such period on record. The average daily temperature in July (87.1 degrees) beat the old 1954 record, by nearly two degrees. August temperatures, currently averaging over 89 degrees, are on target to set a new record too.
These “phenomenally consistent” weather conditions are the result of a long-running La Nina weather pattern — the same set-up for the infamous 1950sdrought, says Mark Rose, meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority. When it began in 1949, one of every two Texans was still living in rural areas; by the time it ended seven years later, Texas had become an urban state, most of its population unfamiliar with the yearning for a good, two-inch rain.
There is no better depiction of that earlier time and place than Elmer Kelton’s “The Time It Never Rained,” the story of an old rancher’s struggle against the unforgiving “drouth” (in the Texas vernacular) — a story that rang so true that many readers believed the main character was based on their own fathers.
“I hoped the novel would give urban people a better understanding of hazards the rancher and farmer face in trying to feed and clothe them,” Kelton wrote in his preface to the book. “The heaviest readership, however, was west of the Mississippi. In effect I found myself preaching to the choir.”
Kelton died in San Angelo in August, 2009, a few months before the last statewide drought ended.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Well, almost a month since I posted....Between the "BEYOND SEVERE" drought, wildfires and a hay shortage....

The situation here is very dire. There is little forage left and hay is in short supply...and what is available is coming in from other states at 4 to 5 times the normal price. Hundreds of thousands of acres have burned in the numerous wildfires and lakes/rivers are literally drying up.

These are pictures of a couple of wildfires that have added to the misery.

Just as Americans across the Gulf Coast after "Katrina" and those hardy "East Coasters" now, We will PERSEVERE...for we are not only Texans, but Americans to boot!!

Will be back to posting very soon.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Traveling Through "The Heartland" con't

Almost Home!
Drought conditions in Texas are continuing to worsen. Long range forecast says no significant rain until the first quarter of 2012........

Here is a pic of a vineyard over looking Lake Michigan at sunset.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Traveling Through "The Heartland"

As Mentioned, I am currently traveling. I am visiting "America's Heartland" where I have visited with a couple of farmers in Ohio and will be in northern Michigan for the next 10 days.

I can honestly say...The family farm is still alive and once again beginning to thrive. Will be posting an article with some pictures on "buy local" and some of the innovative businesses that are springing up "from the farm" in a few days!

In the meantime, here is a pic of the road that leads to part of our comes in many forms and structure...

Friday, July 29, 2011

The DROUGHT Continues

27 Consecutive Days of 100+ Degrees

The Texas Drought is worsening
This picture was taken on our 23rd consecutive day of 100 degrees or higher.

Due to their deep and extensive root systems, the trees in the background will stay green longer than grass. However, close inspection will reveal a browning effect on the leaf edges caused by stress from lack of adequate moisture.

I will be traveling for a week or so. Hope you enjoy the photo.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

GROW! the Movie

THIS is why I write...because there is a "Growing" movement, slowly, surely, spreading across this great land. The Renaissance of our heritage.  A heritage, though bruised and battered, is healing...there is real hope that the family farm and ranch will rise again!

is a documentary profiling a group of young farmers in Georgia

A new 50 minute documentary that captures the energy and independence of a fresh crop of young farmers.

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It's not just 'Old MacDonald' on the farm anymore. All across the U.S. there is a growing movement of educated young people who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life. Armed with college degrees, some are unable to find jobs in the current economic slump. Fed up with corporate America and its influence on a broken food system, they aim to solve some of the current system's inequities by growing clean, fair food. Mostly landless, they borrow, rent or manage farmland in order to fulfill their dreams of doing something meaningful with their lives.

GROW! takes a look at this new generation of sustainable farmers through the eyes, hearts and minds of 20 passionate, idealistic and fiercely independent young growers. In the film they speak of both the joys and the challenges involved in tending the land.

Filmed on 12 farms throughout the state of Georgia during an entire growing season, GROW! provides an honest and inspiring look at this next generation of farmers.

Anybody who appreciates the value of good, wholesome food grown close to home, who cares about our food supply and the future of farming will want to see GROW!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HISTORY - It is All Around Us

This Cemetery is located within the boundaries of our ranch

Oldest Headstone date is 1845

I will be traveling for a week or so. Hope you enjoy the photo.

Monday, July 25, 2011

REVISITING "LET THEM EAT GRASS!" - (Cattle and the Greenhouse Gas Myth)

  1. **Warning! This is a  continuation of a "SMOKEY" Rant and an exercise in Self Indulgent Pontification**

    As I have stated, my interests and passion lie in protecting and promoting the “small producers” in agriculture…if you browse my writings, you see that I have tried to communicate the major disadvantages “we little guys/gals” face in the current food production model(s). I advocate, vociferously for the family farm/ranch, eat local/buy local, farmers markets, etc, etc.

    I have been engaged in healthy debate, in the comment sections, on a couple of websites, regarding my harsh remarks about the new book by Environmental Working Group (EWG) Meat Eaters Guide to Climate + Health
    In the interest of “full disclosure”, I have not read the book.
    What I have read is an article, about the message in the book, on “Civil Eats” , that slants the material to give the reader the impression that beef production is not only bad for the environment, but a bad food choice as well…read the article again, carefully because there is a “negative tone” towards beef (the word is beef, not grain fed or grass fed) in the opening paragraph:
    “Yes, I buy meat. I’d rather not”
    Now, as any trained journalist knows, the writer must “set the message and tone” in the first paragraph because a high percentage of readers “skim” the first few sentences of an article…so, this authors message, in the opening, is negative toward BEEF in general. 
     Later in the article, the author, does attempt to differentiate between production styles with a tepid endorsement of grass fed beef…I say tepid because they then close the article with: “Start today by taking EWG’s pledge to eat less meat. (and hey, it’s Monday, why not make today your first Meatless Monday?).” It doesn’t say less grain fed or CAFO beef…just beef.
    NOW THEN…how many people read Civil Eats daily? How many readers could be influenced by this article?…My response was harsh and inflammatory because I was (am) trying to get people to at least look at both sides of the issue…not make a snap judgement.
    I’m sure the EWG authors are very nice people. BUT, they are trying to sell a book and bashing the meat industry is fashionable, right now…regardless of who gets caught in the web of negativity.
    Let’s look at “Peer Review”
    The book is putting forth a “Theory” that the authors have surmised based on their interpretation of the data gathered.
    VERY SIMPLY PUT: Peer review is the presenting of a study’s data (facts) with detailed information on methodology and interpretation, then published in an accepted journal for other scientists to review..."review" means that other scientists can see if proper/accepted scientific methodology and protocol were followed in order to reach the stated conclusion(s)...not, necessarily to say the conclusion is "right or wrong".
    Facts may be interpreted in different ways by different individuals.
    Which is why I stated in my comment on Civil Eats, WE *MEAT* AGAIN, and the first part of this article on my blog, that I could interpret the authors data to fit my theory…of just the opposite.
    PARA-PHRASED from “Cattle Today”
    (article is based on the above referenced study)
     …Until recently, some claimed the level of atmospheric methane was related to the number of ruminants in the world (mostly cows, sheep and goats). It seemed as though for each additional billion large ruminants (where 8 sheep = 1 large ruminant), atmospheric methane increased by 1 ppb (parts per billion). Between 1979 and 1999, methane concentrations increased by 10.8 ppb per year, and large ruminant numbers increased by about 8.7 billion per year….
    …the increase in methane in the atmosphere has slowed. On November 17, 2003, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the concentration of methane in the atmosphere was leveling off and it appears to have remained at about the same level as in 1999 (there has been a nonsignificant increase of 0.3 ppb/year). Now it seems the strong relationship between number of cows and methane that once existed has vanished. Since 1999, it seems as though for each additional billion ruminants, methane now increases by only 0.005 ppb….

    …a recent report, by an organization that won the 2007 Nobel Peace prize, said “If methane emissions grow in direct proportion to increases in livestock numbers, then global livestock-related methane production is expected to increase by 60 percent up to 2030 (FAO 2003),” The slow increase in methane now raises questions about the accuracy of this prediction by Nobel laureates….

     The Defense Rests, Your Honor.