Friday, February 25, 2011

World overpopulation.

Take, take, take.

Why is it that nobody talks about the one trillion, fifty billion pound gorilla in the room? If the average human weighs 150 lbs, then seven billion of them would weigh 1,050,000,000,000 lbs, and the one billion fifty trillion pound gorilla is hungry! That's a lot of need to satisfy. Maybe there are just too darn many humans on the planet. Most of Earth's critters live in symbiotic balance with nature, they give and take. The ones that took more than they gave, or gave more than they took became extinct. If they were in anyway incompatible with their surrounding they became extinct. It isn't so much that Mother Nature takes care of herself, as it is a balancing act. The dinosaurs became extinct because a comet hit the earth and caused the climate to become incompatible with dinosaur life. Some species became extinct. Some of the hardier saurians went on to be today's crocodiles, alligators and birds.

They say that the people that lived on Easter Island once lived on a land of plenty. The Islands had massive pine forests and abundant wildlife. The tribal inhabitants did quite good. They lived well in their land of abundance. They eventually cut down their forests and utilized them for their personal needs, with no regard for conservation or replanting. Some the critters, that the Island people depended upon for food disappeared, because the critters depended upon the forest for survival. As the tribe stripped their small island of all of it's resources, the island people died out or moved onto the mainland. But, their Island paradise was gone.

If Easter Island was a test sample of humanity, what should we have learned? Should we have learned to try harder to live within the resources provided? Or should we have learned to limit our population through birth control? If the island people had tried to manage their resources, but continued to breed and outstrip the islands ability to take care of their growing needs, the society would still have failed with over-population. Nobody is really sure how hard they might have tried to live within their small microcosm. I think that the end result is self-evident, the island is stripped bare of it's once abundant forests, and the indigenous people are gone. I'm just sure that there is a big lesson there!
The largest generator of CO2 is still termites, but they are in balance with nature. The trees thrive on CO2, when the trees die, the termites eat the trees and release the CO2 back in nature. It is a closed cycle, if the trees disappear, so do the termites. However, man has been adding CO2 to the atmosphere, from fossil fuel and plant material from eons past. We are adding many past generations of CO2 back into the atmosphere while at the same time we are limiting plant growth through industrialization. That makes for better growing conditions for trees and plants. So, in theory that should just add to a larger CO2/plant/termite cycle. All is well right?... Right?

If you want to feel better about us Humans, termites contribute more CO2 into the atmosphere than ALL living things combined... And, scientists have calculated that termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.

Pound for pound, the weight of all the termites in the world is greater than the total weight of humans.

Scientists estimate that, worldwide, termites may release over 150 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. In our lower atmosphere this methane then reacts to form carbon dioxide and ozone.

It is estimated that for every human on Earth there may be 1000 pounds of termites.

If Easter island teaches us anything, we should assume that at some point no mater how hard we try, we are going to crash our fragile balance, and we will become the new extinct species. I know that the world will probably be better off without us, but I have that foolish "survival thing" going on. Everything around me tells me that we are on the brink of extinction right now! (Okay, within a few hundred years, but on the grand scale, that's a blink of an eye) 

We are using up all of the arable land. We can no longer eat crops from the once fertile San Jose Valley, it is solid wall-to-wall houses and other buildings. San Jose used to be the walnut and prune capitol of the world. Now the only thing that they grow there are microchips for computers. We made our choices and decided that land was more valuable as real estate. After all, there are still plenty of places in the world to grow food... For now... unless we have more children, and start running out of food. I don't know about you, but now that I know about termites, I will probably eat them. I understand that they are filled with protein, and have a lot of moisture in their slime. So, you may starve, but I won't.

It's a good thing that my new termite type food is high in moisture, because we are also running out of fresh water in the world. The Sacramento Valley is becoming polluted with saline and selenium. The Chinese just bought the Watsonville area. They must be planning for their future. They have a lot of mouths to feed.

Why is it that, even with all the lessons that we have been able to witness, we never seem to learn. The world will, at some point become unstably over-populated with humans, and we will find ourselves like the Easter Islanders did, with no food and no way to feed ourselves or quench or thirsts. Oh well, it probably won't be something that we have to worry about. Our smart-alec kids, that think that they know everything, can figure out how to feed themselves. Maybe they can figure out how to get jobs back to America while they are at it.

Anyway, I don't think that they can depend on the old folks to help them out, we made a killing sending their jobs away, ruining their farmland, and water supplies. But, they are the ones over populating the world. The way I figure its their problem, not mine.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obsidian V chert

The small rock on the table is black chert, at the Cuttings in Garberville. It was from Stealhead creek in Alderpoint.
Piece of obsidian about 8"X10" found at the cutting in Garberville. The piece originally came from "Glass Mountain" in oregon.
The following is an obsidian arrowhead like you can buy over the internet for about $1.25.

This is the "arrowhead" that Cousin Oregon just found on a plowed field on the Yakima Indian Reservation. I'm thinking that he just couldn't wait for me to get curious enough to go to his Facebook page to look at it. Okay Oregon you got me.. Ha Ha.
It's really a modern blow-gun dart the kids use to shoot birds. The birds usually fly away with the dart in them to drop off in a field somewhere.

Most people are crazy, aren't they?

Have you ever wondered "what the hell were they thinking"? Especially when somebody thinks differently than you do? I run into that all the time. Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy and the rest of the world is sane. So, to hedge my bet that I'm sane, I only accept things that are pretty much provably real. What method do you use to prove that the things that you believe in are well founded in fact and sanity?

When you run down a flight of stairs do you feel safer with at least one hand on the railing, or do you just fly down the middle, like Obama disembarking Air Force One? Remember President Ford did a few headers of AF1. If I'm pretty sure of my subject, I can fly down the middle without grasping the rail, but other times I need that firm grip on reality, my railing, my touch stone.

When I go out in the ocean, I try to determine if I think that I can swim to shore from where the boat presently is. At some point, I have to accept that I'm just plain to far out to survive if something goes wrong with my boat. Not a very comfortable feeling for me! I don't really feel that anybody will be able to save me in time. It seems like most rescues have a high percentage of disaster.

When somebody "Loves" a redwood tree, (I do) I feel that I have to know all about that tree. I really feel That I have part redwood sap in my veins. I'm at least 5th generation of people that have lived in the redwoods. We built our own houses, mostly from redwood. My family hand split most of the lumber in the houses that they lived in in the early days. I have split many tons of redwood. I can split anything that can be split out of a redwood. I have hand-dug up small redwood stumps, and dozer-dug up larger ones. I know all about how tough and strong the roots of a redwood can be. I know that most of the trees that people look at, and admire, and think they are a couple of thousand years old, really only have three or four hundred growth rings. Yet, I also know that the same redwood is really sprung-up as a clone from the roots of many ancestor trees. Many redwoods are the same genetic stock back ten to twenty thousand years to the original tree grown from seed stock. Yet people will see a redwood, "fall in love with it" then set about protecting it, when they really know nothing about what it needs to survive. To me that's insanity. My first reflex is to reach for that railing of reality, I am compelled to learn enough about a subject to offer an opinion before I express one. Or at least ask a few questions.

People use drugs just to "get-high", to me, that's insanity. I fear not being in control of where I am and what I'm doing, yet I see people with no fear of getting high. I tip a beer every now and then, it goes away rapidly and I'm sober after and hour or so,and alcohol is a natural part of fruits and other vegetables, so it's not like I putting anything in my body that is not good for me, but to drink so much that I would not be in control of myself would be insanity to me. Remember, I don't like loosing touch with reality. Why do so many people seek that insane place of obliviousness?

Life can be so darn much fun if you live it. Why do people drop-out, hate the man, and basically become a recluse. Some people actually live on the streets out of choice. Some people have fried their brains on drugs and alcohol. Why do they do that? No amount of counciling changes them. Are people inherently insane, and why do they do the things that they do?

My solice in deciding whether or not I'm sane is, I seak the things around be that I know are real, and use these things as a base. Other people seem to take great joy in imaginary things, drugs and not dealing with reality. Who's crazy, me or people that live in a fantacy world.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Organic food before hippies.

skippy said...

Ernie, I'm wondering. Was home and restaurant food far better back then? I'm guessing from your story and between the home-raised and cured meats, dairy, Mom and her baking, Dad and his spices, fresh horseradish, and all the elbow grease-- it must've been. For example, a real home-made pie is hard to find. Now everything conveniently comes off a truck-- packaged, pre-made, frozen, homogenized, canned, and using microwaves and all.

Skippy, you have no idea how good we ate.....
Sadly, there is a whole generation, or two, that have no idea how good food can be. When I was a kid, we ate whole balanced diets, which included fruit from the orchards and wild picked berries of various kinds. We always had a vegetable garden that was big enough to feed our whole family and most of the neighbors. What was left over from the garden was fed to the cattle, chickens, pigs, rabbits, or ducks. Which also became food in the form of fresh cows milk, and meat. We made our own butter and cheeses. The meats were cured, the orchard was  picked and laid into boxes of straw, and checked periodically The rotten ones were discarded. As you may have heard “One bad apple can ruin the whole barrel”.

The gardens were kept going year around, root vegetables were left in place to be pulled as needed. The hard shelled winter squash, onions, and garlic was put in the building off the woodshed that held the winter food supplies. There were far more out-buildings than houses, but my whole family including aunts and uncles and cousins lived on the farm. The grandparents were respected for their knowledge and experience. They were an endless form of entertainment for me. I would follow them around just to hear their amazing stories. The barn was for the cattle and storing the hay that was grown in the field next to the orchard. The hen house was for the chickens. There was a pig sty and yard. The granary building held all the grain that was fed to the livestock. When money ran short, the wheat was roasted and cooked into mush. The corn was made into meal and baked. Yum! Cornmeal bread with honey and homemade butter! There was always venison for the poaching. Most ranchers thought of deer as part of their herd. Game wardens were not welcomed. Running out of money didn’t mean tough times. It just meant that you did things differently.

The water was piped in from fresh clean spring in the hills. The water was heated in coils in the wood stove to a galvanized tank behind the stove. The tank was riveted together so tightly that it didn’t leak, then neatly painted to match the kitchen walls.

The cordwood was brought in chopped into the woodshed in large chunks to be put directly into the fireplace. Some of the wood was split into two by twos for the wood stove to cook and heat the water with. Woe be unto the kid that used too much hot water, because it came back too slow with only the cook stove to heat it. In cold weather sometimes and extra tub was put on the stove to heat extra hot water for bathes and washing. The washing was done in concrete “sanitary sinks” and a washboard in the laundry room adjoining the pantry room.

The chopping block was a major part of the woodshed, it was usually made out of oak. The wood being chopped on it formed valleys and groves in the wood so even a crooked piece of wood could be stood with the end grain up, making it easy to split. One of the woodshed rules that little kids learned was, to NEVER leave a double-bitted axe sticking in the chopping-block, somebody might fall on it at night while gathering more wood for the fire in the dark. Lamps and candles were NOT allowed in the woodshed. Common sense should tell you that kindling and fire shouldn't be close to each other unless you actually wanted to build a fire. The chopping block and the woodshed were where chickens were killed. The chopping block was always bloody from the chickens, and the wood shed had numerous feathers on the floor and other places, The feathers escaped the feather bucket from the chicken pluckin'. The chicken scalding bucket was kept hot from the kitchen stove top.They were killed and butchered the day that we ate them. There weren't any thing but fresh organic free-range chickens, hatched right there by the mother hens.

We made our own sausage, headcheese, and pickles. A lot of the garden produce was canned in precious Mason jars. Mason jars and crocks were prized possessions. The crocks were used for making corned beef, sauerkraut, and various pickles. Sausage patties were fried and laid up in the crocks between layers of hot lard and stored in a cool place. When it came time to eat them they were scooped out and put back in a frying pan to heat back up. Amazingly, they didn't end up greasy, most of the grease was cooked out of them.

Every family was known by their sausage or headcheese recipe. I remember when the ladies of the house made headcheese. They were always careful to clean and scrape the pig head carefully. As most people know, to clean hog skin off, first the hog is dipped in scalding water. Then the top layer of skin is scraped completely away. Then the head is sawed into quarters. The brains are removed to eat with scrambled eggs and toast. Brains don’t work good in headcheese, they muddy the otherwise clear gelatin binder.  After the head is cleaned, it is cooked with secret spices and seasoning, Onions, garlic, whole sage, pepperwood leaves, celery and carrots are placed into a cheese cloth bag and boiled in with the meat. The recipe is  known only to close family members and friends. Or, unless somebody asks. But, they have to rave a while about how delicious the family recipe is first.   It is cooked until all the meat falls off the bone. The meat is then scooped out of the pot. The tongue and checks are cubed into small chunks. The snout is fed to the dogs, it is considered poor taste to include hog snout in the head cheese. A person has to have standards when preparing great food! The diced meats are returned to the pot and re-boiled. Once it is reduced enough to jell it is poured into loaf pans, topped with ground pepper and placed in the window box of the pantry to cool.

To make a head cheese sandwich, the cheese is sliced about ½ inch thick, placed on fresh baked lightbread toast and eaten with German mustard and maybe a slice of garden onion and tomato, possible a leaf or two of butter lettuce, depending on your tastes.  A homemade glass of homebrew goes good with it. I have tears rolling down my cheeks remembering how good we ate!

Our diets were ALL organic and naturally balanced. We didn’t know what a vegetarian was. Nobody on the whole farm liked killing animals, but it was accepted as a fact of life. The family needed to be fed and the Old-Timers did it the best that they knew how.

The scenes that I described here were much the same from 1855 to 1955.... When most people got electricity

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drunk Hogs

Olmanriver asked:
"Hey Oregon and Ernie, how was it you could afford to give 8 gallons of beer and wine to swine? "

Back in the Good Old Days, everybody had a hog to feed the food scraps and stuff left-over from the garden. Most families back then lived fairly close together and they often shared resources. But after modern science took over, they made us stop raising hogs, because they were a vector for human disease. But, to answer your question, the beer and wine was left over from the Briceland Bar.

Oregon's folks, who were my aunt and uncle Tom and Vivian Newland, and my Mom and Dad were partners in many businesses. One being a soda fountain in Garberville, and another being a bar and restaurant in Briceland. The bar didn’t have a name, that I remember, it was just a bar and restaurant. Most people called it “The Briceland Bar” or "Everett and Elsie’s”. People in Briceland ate and drank there as opportunity permitted. Sometimes out-of-towners from Garberville, Redway, Thorn, or Whitmore would stop in. They called it “slumming”, which is polite verbal slap in the face just between friends. The bar was a lot like today’s English pubs as far as everybody stopping by for a beer on the way home. Most of the wives that lived close would meet “The Ol’ Man” there and join him for a few beers then head home. Sometimes the wife would bring the kids and everybody would eat dinner there.

The bar had two sides that were wide open to each other, a bar side, and a restaurant side. Children were allowed in the bar, because it was really a restaurant with a beer and wine license. They called it a “Bona Fide eating place”, but there was a helleva lot more drinkin’ than eatin’, if you get my drift. Eight gallons of left over beer and wine oughta’ tell ya sompthin’.

The bar and restaurant had a Juke-box with speakers wired all over hell by a kid named Dan Healy, who worked for his dad, Dan Healy the elder, who owned a Juke-box rental company. Young Dan Healy went on to be the sound man, and grow up with a band named the Grateful Dead. (Maybe you have heard of them) Dan and I have been life-long friends and we still get together on occasion. The last occasion that we got together was when he fell of his ladder and shattered his knee. He had surgery and pins and is now in rehabilitation to learn to walk again.

The bar also had a bowling machine along one wall and on friday nights I would hook up my Nine Transistor Radio to the Juke-box and we would listen to "The Friday Night Fights, brought to you by Thin Gillette", featuring fighters Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston, white guys weren't considered to be very good fighters, but there was one fighter the crowd jokingly called the "great white hope" his name was Ingamar Johansson or something like that, but he turned out to be a flash in the pan. Sometimes we would listen to wrestling, that's back when we thought it was real. I remember a wrestler by the name of Gorgeous George.

The Briceland pigs loved their slop. All of the restaurant scraps went in their slop barrel, along with the beer and wine left over from the bar. The slop barrel was a lot like making sour-dough biscuits. You took a few bucketfuls out to feed the pigs and you put a few bucketfuls in to ferment. Fermented food digests better, and the pigs stay happy as hell. My uncle was also a partner in the local dairy. So, all the spoiled milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, cheese and any other spoils would be fed to the pigs. We would make butter out of the out-dated cream. We got to churn a lot of butter. Then, the whey went to the pigs. When the pigs got big enough to butcher we would put them in a separate pen and feed them nothing but fresh grain and corn to sweeten the meat. Then we would butcher them.

My dad was a great cook and he was a good  ol’ country boy. He was raised on a ranch were they butchered and cured all their own meat off the ranch. He knew how to make the best sausage that you ever ate. The Briceland bar was a real joy for him. He could whip up some of his famous recipes and try them out on the bar crowd. He would make a breakfast sausage that he made with Half venison, and half pork. Then he seasoned it with garlic, sage, salt, and pepper. He would smoke cure it, then we would eat it for breakfast. He also would make patty sausage out of the same recipe, add some cayenne, but without smoking it. My mother still knows all the recipes and she helped develop most of them. Mom and dad had a side business going of curing and smoking turkeys. People liked them so much that they would come for miles around to get them. They would only smoke so many, so you had to have your order in before they would prepare them. Mom also served a killer smoked turkey sandwich at the restaurant. It was one of my favorite snacks.

Dad liked spicy food and he would make a tamale pie. He had every kind of Mexican food and seasoning that you can imagine in it. It was delicious. I don’t think that anybody has the recipe for dad’s tamale pie, it was just too complicated. I would bet that he didn’t even know the recipe. He just stared putting everything that he liked into it so it ended up tasting about the same every time. He also had what he called “Mulligan Stew”, which was kind of an Irish stew that also had everything that he liked in it. He used to like to cook everything in a frying pan. He would always get upset, because the frying pan was never big enough. After starting in one pan he would end up having to put things that he was making into two pans. One day he went to town and he came home with what he called his “Stud Horse frying pan”. He finally had a pan that would fit everything that he was cooking. He was so proud of that pan that he would fry and egg in it just to use it. We still have the pan, but I don’t think that I’ve seen it be used since my dad died.

Dad also used to help cook the chicken for the Old-Timers-Day Barbecue in Laytonville. His sauce had sauterne, oil, butter, lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper.

As you might guess, My mom and dad had many friends in their Briceland years. The bar crowd was just like “Cheers”, where everybody knew everybody else’s name. Only much larger, and not as sissy as cheers. Most men had names back then, and they were proud of them, and they were proud of their jobs. It was an insult to NOT ask a person where they worked.

Among Mom and Dad’s many friends were some folks called Clarence and Marie. They owned a little piece of land about one hundred yards from the bar. It made an ideal place for raising hogs. So, Clarence became a partner in the pig farm. Most of the people in Briceland would bring their food scraps to the pig farm and they shared freely in the sausage that was made out of them. I’m not sure how they worked out who had what coming, but it all seemed to work out pretty well on the honor system. I think that most people were glad to have a place to get rid of their slop, and were tickled to death to get to eat some of mom and dads sausage.

One day Dad and Clarence got to complaining, over a few beers, that you just couldn’t get good horseradish like they used to grow back on the ranch, so Clarence planted some horseradish. When the horseradish was ready, they picked it and took it down to the restaurant kitchen to “process it”. They cleaned and peeled and chopped and then ground it up. The restaurant got so smelly that you couldn't even catch your breath when you walked in. I don’t know how they did it, but they got all of their horseradish “processed”. Mom came up with a brand new rule after that… “Any Horseradish ‘Processing’ will be done outside!”  Dad and Clarence were justifiably proud of their horseradish, and they always had a ready supply of their famous sauce after that.

One life-long lesson that I learned from being raised in a bar is that all problems start after 10:00 pm, so the smart folks go home between 10:00 and 11:00. Word to the wise.

Anyway. That’s where the drunk hogs came from.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dining Around

Dining around.

This morning, my wife and I made a trip to Ukiah. The day before I told the crew at the store that I would be coming in late, about 1:00 pm. They asked why I would be gone. I told them that I had to take my wife to Ukiah because she was getting a couple of implants. They just looked at me with strange looks until I said, “What?”

They asked me if I knew what I had just said. I said “Yes, I taking my wife to Ukiah because she has to see the dentist about a couple of implants”. They started laughing. Still puzzled, I asked “Whhaaat!”  again. They replied, “you didn’t say dentist the first time that you mention implants”. Still, somewhat puzzled I said “well what other kind of implants are there….  OH.” So we had a good laugh ay my poor unsuspecting wife’s expense. She came into the room and said “What!” ……………. I guess this is one that you had to be there.

I kinda’ enjoy little trips out of town, I get a chance to try new places to eat. It seems like everywhere you go anymore the only thing that you can find are the fast food formula eateries. So it’s kinda’ fun to find a place that has great food like momma makes, where all the locals eat. Sometimes we find it, and sometimes we don’t. So, we found “the spot”, and stopped to eat.

The thing that I find to be almost universally the same, is the waitpersons. Food servers are all the same. They used to call them waitresses, but now there are too many “Food Servers”. So, I have to get into the modern world. Usually the servers wear name badges, and the gleefully tell you, “HI, my name is Tiffany, and I will be your server” Great, now that my server and I are on a first name basis, I won’t have to wonder how to address them. I can just say “Excuse me Tiffany, but my wife can use some more butter”, or whatever we might need. That works well for me, that I’m on a first name basis with somebody that I would probably not even have met if it weren’t for the fact that my wife and I were hungry.

The reason that I say that “servers” are all the same, is it seems that they are stuck in their routine, and that they have “server hearing”. Being a guy, and having all kinds of preconceived notions and ideas, In my ideal world I have this notion where we walk into a restaurant with a pretty good idea of what we are going to have, but we take at least a minute to look at the menu before we order “Coffee, ham and eggs over medium with whole wheat toast.” After the server takes your order you look for the restroom, come back for a few sips of coffee, then your breakfast is placed in front of you, then you eat, pay the bill and give at least a twenty percent tip and leave. Oh yeah…You find a tooth-pick to get that annoying little ort that always hangs up in that place that always catches that little bitty ort that you will wear your tongue out on if you don’t get rid of it. I’ve even been known to stop and cut down a tree with my pocket knife, to make a tooth-pick, to get rid of that little tiny ort between my teeth. As I said, that’s my ideal world….

Well, that’s the way that I said that it should happen. The way it always happens is someone in our group, of me and my wife, has “to go to the bathroom right now”. (Hint: Not me, I’m the one that wanted to order first, remember?) So, I sit at the table and wait. I usually make a paper airplane out of the napkin. When I look up people are staring at me like- you aren’t really going to toss that thing are you?- I gently unfold it like- of course not!- Well, my wife finally comes back from the bathroom. I look around for Tiffany so I can hold up a finger like- I’m ready to order now. Strangely, Tiffany has her back turned, or is rushing back and forth to the kitchen, and eye contact is out of the question. She has “server hearing” also. So even if you called for her by name she wouldn’t hear you.

Well, mild annoyances always make me hafta pee, so I can’t hold it anymore, so I get up and rush to the bathroom. I get back and sit down. My wife said that Tiffany came by and said that she would give us a few more minutes. Damn!

Finally, tiffany comes back and asks us if we would like to order. We say yes. She says would you like coffee? We say yes, and she leaves, after a few minutes we get our coffee and she asks if we would like to order and I say yes… but my wife is still looking at the menu, so tiffany says that she will give us a few more minutes……….NOOOOO! As tiffany rushes off with her pot of hot coffee. I stare at my napkin and wonder what it might taste like.

Finally, tiffany comes back and, polite person that I am, I always let my wife order first. She asks about how everything on the menu is prepared and finally orders the vegetarian dish with a nice little green salad, “With the dressing on the side”. Now, I know what Tiffany is going to ask me, it’s almost like I’ve ordered breakfast before, like what are they going to do, after all this time?, are they going to come up with something different? When it finnnnallly becomes my turn to order,  I order: “huevosrancheros,scrambled,wholewheattoast.” And Tiffany says “How would you like your eggs?” I answer “Scrambled,withwholewheattoast”, then she asks, “what kind of toast would you like”. “whole wheat”. So much for saving time! I don’t know what Tiffany was trying to tell me, but it was plain that she has her own routine and she wasn’t about to change it, no matter how much I had everything figured out.

The service in most places is usually good, so the meal showed up fairly rapidly. “Who gets the “Nice Little Green Salad?” Uh….. That would be the lady… (DUH) Guys wouldn’t eat a nice little green salad unless they call it “The Man Salad” or something manly-man.

The food was delicious, and as usual, I ate the whole thing. My wife had a few scraps of “whatever” on her plate that she proclaimed would make an excellent lunch, so she asked me to get Tiffany to bring us a box. I held up a finger, but Tiffany had her back turned, and she was rushing back and forth to the kitchen. Finally I helped my wife scoop her nice little lunch into the box. We had the right amount of money, but to leave a twenty percent tip, we would need change. The amount of the tip ended in 55 cents and we only had a dollar. So. I held up my finger for Tiffany.

By the time that we left the restaurant, it had started hailing viciously, and I was concerned about driving and whether or not we would be able to make it home safely. Being the gentleman that I am, I opened the door for my sweet wife, she always appreciates that, then I rushed ahead to unlock the car and open her door. She has to put her purse in the back seat so that takes awhile. Then, she can’t decide whether or not to leave her coat on. She decide that the car will be warm enough and she takes the coat off. Of course it has to go in the back seat. I notice that rain and hail was starting to run down my neck and into my shorts, but I remembered that I am a gentleman and politely held her door until she got in. I ran around the back of the car, slipped in the hail and almost fell down. I got in the car and was silently congratulating myself for not falling down. My wife asked me what I was grinning about. I told her that I almost slipped and fell in the mud. She gave me that quizzical, judgemental look that only a wife can give and she said “you are getting strange, did you know that”. I pretend that I have “server hearing" and ignore her.

At about the base of Ridgewood hill, on the way home, I noticed that I had a little bitty piece of food in my teeth, and my tongue was getting raw from trying to lick it out. All through Willits I licked at it. I got as far as the rest-stop at Longvale, and… Well, remember that fir tree that used to be there? The one that looks like somebody whittled it down with a pocket knife…..

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Genesis story about salmon, from a person with self-diagnosed A.D.D.

I was over skipping through the bogs the other day, when I ran across a post about the salmon disappearing from the creeks. I do that a lot because I find blog posts to be interesting, and they pique my interest. There was this post about a fellow that was wading in a creek and came to the amazing (To me only) conclusion that the fish were gone, and.... it was the loggers fault. I don’t find it amazing that the fish were gone, only that it is almost the unanimous conclusion that anything that happen in the Eel river was, yep, the “loggers fault”. Not one word about the two floods was mentioned. At least he didn't blame the two floods on "Those Damn Loggers" as most do.

As I am wont to do. I started to wonder why everything was the loggers fault, and I started thinking about how lucky some people are that they can reach a simple conclusion and be completely satisfied with it. Myself? it makes me wonder, “What is a fish anyway?”. Where did it come from? Why does it come up the river 60 miles or so, find the clean clear headwaters of a nice fresh water creek, dig a hole in a gravel lined riffle, not too coarse a gravel, and not too fine, but just right, spawn it’s eggs and die. I get to wondering about, “why don’t they just spawn on the beach like surf-fish?” They wouldn’t have to die, but just turn back around and swim away. Then I thought that maybe they don’t like surf-fish, and their sense of modesty prevents then from displaying their most intimate moment in front of another species. I started to wonder if the “mate” in inti“mate” has anything to do with fish modesty. But, then I get back to my subject, which was why do salmon spawn in the creeks. Then I started to wonder if they didn’t like surf-fish because they are prejudiced. Are salmon really that sophisticated?

Maybe the salmon just like the thrill of swimming up a raging muddy torrent, clear up to the point that it is impossible to swim any further upstream, in a self imposed endurance test to prove their self-worth. Only the strong and lucky ones get to spawn and die. They say nothing is so alive as those that are about to die. It must be a proud final moment for them, just before they die, knowing that they are going to be the parents of all of the future of salmonkind. Their fry will head back to sea to feed, fatten, and prosper, and become the next generation to spawn and die. Only the fittest will pass on their seed. Wow! Maybe all the trash in the river is breeding a strong species of salmon. Maybe the pseudo-environmentalist will recognize this new specie of Eel River Salmon and call it the “Logger Hardy Eel River Anadromous Salmon fish“. Logging will have to be protected to keep the fish healthy and thriving. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful world? I know that I logged enough lumber to build a couple of thousand Hippie Houses, and I didn’t even get even a thank-you. Maybe if people knew that fish needed a little adversity they would worry less.

I use the term “Mother Nature” a lot when I talk about this world that we live in. Some people just attribute everything to “God”, that way they don’t have to think about it. Great for them, they can stick to their mono-focus. Unfortunately for me, I over-thought the God issue at the tender young age of 8 years old. I came to the conclusion that the existence of God is un-provable, so in my mind I concluded to take a wait-and-see attitude. I also know that the term I use, “Mother Nature”, is also not a real person, but I can use that term without upsetting the mono-focus of the truly devout religious folks.

Back to salmon, I worry a lot about the streams, and the salmon habitat. It’s not that I am not concerned for the fish, I am, but I have to think it all the way through. That means that I have to start at the beginning. Let’s just jump way ahead, to save you folks a bunch of reading. I have this theory that all life started out as a single celled animal, then evolution “complicated the hell out of things”. I think that was a line form a Harrison Ford movie about when his character fell in love. Okay, let me wander back to salmon. Lets move up to the point where “then there were fish”, the land masses hadn’t really formed yet. Fish made-whoopie and had babies, maybe right there in the ocean, or maybe they spontaneously gave virgin-birth like the Bible says that Mary did. Some reptiles still give virgin-birth today. Many species of lizards will give virgin birth if they don’t have access to a male. My mind went through a ton of digressions right there, I hope that I wasn’t too obvious…

Anyway, at some point the land masses pushed their way up out of the seafloor. They moved around on the molten magma below, they rammed into each other and even forced their way under each other in massive slow-motion collisions. It helps a lot if you try to see this as a natural progression, and not just; “Then there was land”. Hey, I’m getting closer to my point here, Okay?

As the land pushed up from old sea floor, the rain and wind washed it back into the sea. The north coast is young and tender, as far as land masses are concerned. The north coast is only 5 to 10 million years old. In fact the whole area west of about -the Grand Canyon- is about that same age. Redwoods are at least 100 million years old as a specie. Redwoods are in the cypress family, which has a tendency to grow in swamps, maybe that’s why they seem to need lots of water. I would tell you about how Redwoods grew all over the world at one time, but that would be distracting from the salmon story. But, the redwoods existed with the dinosaurs, yet no dinosaur ever wandered the North Coast. Dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago, during the end of the Cretaceous period, unless you count “birds” which  evolved from dinosaurs. Anyway, California lifted out of the sea 5- 10 million years ago, it didn’t happen “Bam” like Chef Whatsisname says. But, it was a 5 million year process, and it is still happening today. That’s how the redwood trees grew onto California after the dinosaurs became extinct. Redwoods became extinct throughout the whole rest of the world after the redwoods covered California. I‘ve often wondered, “what is unique about the north coast of California that the whole rest of the world doesn’t have?” Well, it has a land mass over a subduction zone, which means that a tectonic plate is pushing under the redwood zone, called the north coast, home of the redwoods. That insidious rape of our land mass by a sea-born land mass is what is pushing the redwood land up out of the sea. The tender young land mass, previously sand and mud, is softly formed and highly erosive, Thank-“God” for that! I mean, “Mother Nature“, or “evolution“. Can land masses evolve? When they erode is it called “devolve”? So, back to the salmon. But, you can’t go back to the salmon without talking about the redwoods first. The redwoods thrive in soft, silty, flood plains. They thrive in the loose nutrients that is highly nutritious to their root systems. They even thrive on the loose sandstone hillsides. Wherever redwoods grow, sandstone, or youngly lifted seafloor is not far underneath. Caviar for the redwoods, YUM! And the silt is creme' brulee!

Start a new paragraph here. I was getting tired of that last one. It would have probably saved me a whole bunch of thinking to have just figured out that, when the redwoods disappeared all over the whole world, that it was probably those “damn loggers”, and not the fact that the north coast of California was the last place in the whole wide world that redwoods can grow, that it had wet winters, and young uplifted soils filled with redwood yummies.

When I was a young lad, I was highly motivated to play geologist, along with my cousin “Oregon”, who owned the only geology pick between us. So if we didn’t go “fossil hunting” together, I didn’t get to pick fossils, so he was a valuable companion. I often miss the days when a kid could spend all day in the creeks and hills fossil hunting. I bet that’s why I was able to stay off drugs. But, then the back-to-the-land people showed up, along with their fences and “NO TRESSPASSING” signs. It kinda’ belied the “Back to the land” thing, because it drove the kids out of the “land”. Tis a pity, such a loss.

When we went fossil hunting, we would emulate people like Monroe Tobin, who back in the early 1900s found a whale fossil and showed a couple of famous archaeologists the bones. The geologists stayed at the Tobin Hotel in Garberville and just happened to ask the Tobin kid, jokingly, if he knew about any good fossil grounds. He did! As did most kids that grew up around here. They thanked him for the “find” and they always took him on fossil hunts with them. My cousin and I figured that if we could find a unique fossil, we could, maybe, be invited to tag along with a couple of famous geologists. Anyway, that was our goal, to become world famous fossil discoverers. My cousin and I did find Tobin’s whale bones. Sadly, they are buried beneath the freeway, just below the town of Garberville. Just across from the town sewer-pond.

All this leads me up to telling you how I know a little bit about the geology of the north coast. As we searched for “fossil grounds” we would find evidence of a great Eel River flood, much more serious than the ‘64 flood. There was a flood plain at the level of the Garberville flat, the one that the town is built on. That same flat is at the level of the Garberville airport, the town of Redway, the conservation camp and so on. There is a small ledge of river gravel just above my house in Benbow, on the exact same plain as the rest. The plain can even be found to be evident on the west side of Richardson Grove. I don’t know how the redwoods in Richardson Grove fit into this story, but on that same flood plain, there is an uprooted redwood tree, that has THREE layers of roots that were caused by at least two major floods, sometime in that redwoods life span. I’m not going to pretend to explain how the tree was flooded two times and formed three different roots systems, but I do enjoy knowing that it has to be a fact that it happened! It is well above the “normal” ‘64 flood plane of the river. In our 8-12 year old brains we decided that, that flat had to have been caused by the seafloor uplifting to the point that it backed the river up to that level for thousands of years, then slowly washed back out to sea. Remember, just recently, with-in our life spans, we had an earthquake on the north coast that lifted Kings Peak 16 inches higher, and the seafloor at Petrolia lifted 4 feet out of the seabed. I saw it myself, with my very own eyes. The earthquake was so strong that it bounced a D-8 Caterpillar Tractor off of the ground and moved it sideways three times. It was declared the most violent upward thrust ever recorded. Back to the Flood plain. We wondered how the salmon could possibly have lived through such an utterly devastating flood. See, I told you that this is a “salmon story“. It’s amazing how things can come to a person's mind if they don’t attribute everything to God, or “those damn loggers”. There have been hundreds of floods, and hundreds of  upheavals on the north coast since the beginning of the California North Coast. I can only hope that someday it will all fit together, for all of us, that ALL of life and nature is precious, and it all fits together. You shouldn't protect just one thing, but be cognisant of all of nature.

If you have been able to follow these ramblings of an obviously Attention Deficit Disorder sufferer, you might find that I don’t really consider thinking about EVERYTHING as a disorder, but I find it greatly entertaining, and in the end I hope that my mind never closes to anything, and I’m not likely to pass off the ecology of the north coast as the fault of “Those Damn Loggers”.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I-Dosing? New Drug

The last several posts have been on the same subject, so bear with me. This post has a different bent on the same old story about the teen age revolution.

Remember the 50s and 60s, when Rock-and-Roll was called the Devil’s music? The theory at the time was that listening to Rock-and-Roll would surely lead to drugs and sex. What was a parent to do? There was some truth in that theory, the music became the anthem of the Sex, Drugs and Rock-and-Roll generation. It was, and is, my theory that the Beatles, and John Lennon in particular, led that revolution to the war of teen-age independence, and by extension, sex-drugs-and rock-and-roll.

To be fair, I know that puberty is probably the leading cause of rebellion. The real danger period is from puberty to sanity, which usually comes at about age 25 for females and 30 for males. (My theory only!) If a young person can get through that period with out self-destructing, like moths to the flame, chances are real good that they will do well in life. But, some drop through the cracks and spiral into the oblivion of drugs and/or alcohol addiction. Some of the lucky youth get through the danger period with good mentoring. There is nothing that gets you through life better than someone that cares enough about you to keep you out of, and away from, the bad things.

There was a program in California called “Scared Straight” where they took at-risk youth to jail and let the prisoners terrorize them. The theory being that no sane person would want the live in a jail society like that. The program failed miserably. The At-Risk group that attended these scare-sessions ended up in jail at the rate of 40% more that the ones that did not attend. Go figure’. Kids wanted to be seen as being tough enough to handle what ever society wanted to send their way, and being a non-conformist in the slammer is as tough as they could get to be. The program was dropped. The youth rebellion won. Some people just don’t want to be nice!

Well, the youth of the world have run out of things that parents will object to. The parents of today have rebelled against everything already. Tattoos. piercing, sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, what the heck do kids of today have left that their parents haven’t done wrong already? What is there that is totally out of their parents purview? Well, the average parent of today is left behind in the “Data World Revolution”. Kids have calluses on their thumbs from texting, and they whip through the programs on their I-phones to the amazement of their parents. Parents are living in confusion over their children’s use of technology.

Soooo… The natural progression of the rite-of-puberty revolution is TECHNOLOGY. Yep! Want to block out their parents? They hang earphones in their ears and make parents guess if they are listening to them or their music. They send naked pictures of themselves to each other on their I-phones. Their revolution is taking place by the use of their I-Phones and I-pads. Sex, drugs and Rock-and-Roll over the e-waves. Well, we know about the music, we know about sexting, but what about “drugs” over the internet. Yep, “I-Dosing”. They are selling music to get high on. “The first song is free“. Supposedly the music is tones at a frequency and pitch that can lead to euphoria, similar to marijuana or ecstasy.

Click on the link below to check out the I-dosing. If you want to try it, remember the first dose is free....
Link to I-high