Friday, November 27, 2015

After the Gold Rush---Missionary's Position

As artists, we see many different presentation, and it doesn't have to be paintings and sculpture which has been our lives. Still, we always look and have noticed that many artist have taken things farther than we have. That is they have gone out on a bigger limb. Some are cartoonist, other singers and painters. Some of the presentations are derivative like the one below--but so what? While this painting makes a point there is so much more here to discuss and one has to hope that it does make folks look around. Does this have anything to do with global warming, overshoot, religion or history?/


 Cartoonist have a way of throwing stuff right in our face, but sometimes I wonder if it is only me and a few friends that see this stuff. Am I really willing to change? Not so much!

I thought this was interesting and could resist adding a little Neil Young After the Gold Rush Makes wonder where this is going. Of course, people ask that about me. Is there a choice? 

Revolution Watch---Population Growth

I recently have read a number of accounts of how nothing we do to solve our issues with air pollution will make a lick of good as long as the population is growing exponentially, or geometrically for that matter. The minute one goes over the amount of change that needs to be made, let's say in percentage of change the following response is, "As long as the population of the earth is changing by 240,000 a day we can not hope to offset the increase of emissions." It is just math.

Even Boone Pickens ran into this a few years ago when he proposed a 600 unit wind farm in Texas. He was pleased to announce that the farm could power 1 million homes. He said this could all be done in 5 short years. I was impressed until I did some math. Lets see, The USA is still growing by 2-3 million a year so in, say a year and a half there would be about a million new homes needed. Now wait a minute, 5 years of great new technology and we can hardly provide enough new clean energy for 25% of the new population.

As a result of all this math, I have always wondered why this excessive population growth is never really discussed, after all there are a million examples of this dilemma. Even today as I write, I remember reading limits to Growth and recalled that one of the expected problems of excessive growth, and exceeding carrying capacity, would be large amounts of human migration.

So what do we have in Europe and what really is the cause? Strife, hunger, thirst, crowding, war mongering and religious wackery. Then today in the NYT is an article on the increased immigration into the USA from the south.Border

At the same time I hear military experts saying in future mass migration will be a security issue. Then there is me just wondering where all the resources are going to come from to provide for these 7.4 billion (heard today some are now projecting a future of 15 billion as birth rates are apparently stabilizing). Still there is no discussion.

So, I remembered the piece written in '68 called Tragedy of the Commons Tragedy of the Commons  and went back to only to be discouraged. Garret Hardin said in conclusion, "The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon. "Freedom is the recognition of necessity"--and it is the role of education to reveal to all the necessity of abandoning the freedom to breed. Only so, can we put an end to this aspect of the tragedy of the commons."

And so the tragedy goes on, and on and on. Seems like all we can do is watch.

First Day of Deer Hunting---and More

The Wisconsin forest, on this November 21st, was by no definition a warm place, no matter how one looks at it. Twenty-two degrees simply has to be appreciated as being chilly, not bone cold but crisp as old man winter reaches out extending his frosty fingers. Walking out there in the early morning all encumbered with mounds of clothing, may feel even momentarily hot but once sitting motionless, that cold seems to have a way of working its ugly hand into every button hole and fold.

The path to the stand had numerous obstacles put there by the meandering deer who in their desire to harm hunters, have left no rock unturned. Those erratics left over from the last ice age appeared to have been ever-so-slightly lifted an additional couple inches out of the soil. The blackberry canes have somehow been planted on both ends making a tripping lanyard suitable for taking down older hunters as they shuffle out. It is a tough life being a hunter and that frost-kissed, lonesome morning walk was a reminder of the ageless struggle my Neanderthal brethren had to endure---oh wait, they were Cro-Magnon and they only had spears. Well, there is a similarity.

Having struggled early-man-style to establish my stand, the next issue was concealment which involves not only blending in with the natural terrain but also eliminating all signs of human scent, either by having none or by covering up those natural fragrances with the odors of the forest. Eliminating all odors is cumbersome in my world in that I like soaps that make me smell like a French prostitute (just kidding) but I do like to smell “good”, not too musty, or organic, or overworked, but tolerable. The idea of covering up my scent is also problematic because that would require sopping oneself with various deer extracts, fungal exudates, or obnoxious fecal aromas commonly found scattered on the forest floor.

My choice was to sit on the ground, face into the breeze hoping my human odors would not be able to travel upwind. Hunting while sitting on the ground has its disadvantages from those hiding in trees---like scent dispersal. I justify this ground dwelling by claiming being high in the forest is unmanly because I don’t “do” trees---I’m scared. Cro-Magnons didn’t do trees. The concept of only hunting into the wind does have limitations in that one’s field of vision is only about 180 degrees which for me is fine because if I turn quickly to consider a backward shot, this will involve flopping on the ground in a day-glow orange heap.

Initially, a proper site had to be chosen, one that will give some concealment and also accommodate my three-legged chair, the one given to me by my wife after she learned of the Lazyboy incident. This would be the episode when a cheap deep-seated Chinese chair was used to turkey hunt. For reasons still discussed, I was not able to extract myself from the comfort of the seating  enough to blast a turkey five miserable yards away--behind me. The three-legged outfit (her solution) is fine but has the tendency to tip if not soundly stabilized on the ground, or f I do not anticipate the blast from my giant, antiquated buffalo gun.

The site chosen was behind a few branches and fallen logs but still very exposed considering the fact I was entirely clad in orange of the most obnoxious sort.  My face was completely visible to every half blind rampaging rodent. So once in place, the forest now had this clump of day-glow orange, and a fully visible Lincolnesque face. My running nose was also being attended to with a flopping white tissue. Downwind of my position was a huge wedge of scent found only in France and big cities. Yes, the scene was set for the harvest.

A few minutes into the hunt and well adjusted, life in the forest was starting to come alive, indicating my efforts had been well thought out. The morning started off by checking my clothing for ticks forgetting it was now 23 degrees---but I have seen them walking toward me while I was sitting in snow. No insect life on this day.

Settled in, comfortable, and tick free, nature began to reveal itself. Above me in the morning light, unimaginable amounts of Seagulls quietly jetted over either looking to simply circle in the morning light,  or to scout out a hot lunch so frequently provided by the spreaders of manure. They came in waves, quietly, almost reverently, maybe searching, maybe just holding a communal flight looking for Jonathon Livingston .

While the forest initially offered no sounds, in time a Nuthatch begin busying itself on the tree in front of me, probably looking for that one special grub, the one which would power him for another hour. The bird was like me, a hunter---not that I was busy. I was an ambusher. The ambivalence of the Nuthatch indicated my act was working well, really.

A Downey Woodpecker joined the early morning crowd banging on a distant tree. The gulls continued their flights and I found myself contemplating the soaring bird’s goals in life almost forgetting they had a pack with the deer to distract hunters. I drifted in thought seeing myself as a lone hunter hundreds of years ago struggling to bring home food.

Unlike the earlier Paleolithic hunters, after two hours alone in the forest, a frozen forest, the warmth of the fire called. Not disappointed, appreciative of the trees and this reality, I stretched and rose knowing two-hundred yards away was a leather sofa next to a warm stove.

As I drifted off, face to the warmth, a quiet sleep gained the day. I later learned a large flock of elegant swans whispered over the tree tops.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Wood Pile Continued

So the wood came home and there it sits all in three massive piles looking much like a considerable amount of physical labor.This statement is, of course, uncomfortably true. Still, the piles are in MY yard and therefor my possession and even in this disheveled form is future heat---provided I have the ability to get it in the house and snug in the old stove.

First, I feel it is necessary to put all the split wood in nice, meaning attractive,  piles which is where the real toiling part dwells. Ya, ya, some of it requires additional splitting so the work is two fold. Be it known I am not intimidated for time is my mistress and she is not running from me too fast, as near as I can tell. However, there is a certain discomfort in having these dispersed, and discordant piles looking me in the face as I drift in and out of the backyard. I will have to embrace the mistress of time and give up on immediate action of the rambling tonnage of winter heat.

To get the wood so comfortable in the yard, it turned out the window of a borrowed pickup had to be sacrificed, not by purpose but by accident of a small log just touching the edge. It shattered all over the cab and now will be adding another $200 or so to the cost of the wood. This was not planned but funds had been saved earlier by borrowing a wood splitter, so while costs mounted in broken car parts others costs were eliminated

In addition to my own labor, I was fortunate enough to secure the labor of a younger, more agile young man to stack the first 2 cords thus giving me an idea of not only the labor needed for the rest of the project but also to get a look at the real quantity of wood I had--in truth I thought it was maybe 5-6 cords, but once the 2 cords were stacked and admired it was obvious the original estimation was lacking for here was maybe 9-11 cords. I was feeling better as the price per cord had now just dropped righteously.

Once the wood was piled up on the land, I did find it important to make my first tidy stack as a way of thinking I was up to the task, plus a person just needs to have an aesthetics wood pile to look at. So in haste I started on the willow which is easy to split and effortless to carry due to its light weight---and ridiculously poor heat value.

So each day as I step into the backyard there in front of me is three piles of dumped wood just waiting but also three growing stacks, one of willow and two of oak, one in the shed and the other in the back garden. I'm on it and still thrilled with myself as I will be as I, each and every day,  do my one hour of exercise.