Some of the best thinking I do is in the Mountains. This last trip was a special one.
I’ve had more than 30 years to observe the animals and the plants up here and I’m just beginning to know what to look for! I’ve told you about a past experience, the time I watched what appeared to be a snake slither off into the tall grass before I could get close enough to see him. It took me another 20 years to see another one and photograph it! A very shy snake that very few ever see. This trip up, I stopped by Snider’s log cabin, Rich Snider was there along with others who have been hunting in the area for a life time as well. They were there for Muzzle loading Elk season. This is a fun and respectful group of hunters who always put a smile on my face.
During a short visit at the Snider Camp, we exchanged a few stories of past years, when I mentioned the snake with a skin the color and texture of an earthworm, Nick replied, I know what you saw, I’ve seen one! He’s been in the woods here since 1955, and seen only one Rubber Boa!
The wife and I took long walks, and visited places tied to good memories like the time we came across a fawn right at our feet that was carrying out orders not to move! She lay there so still, and not even her eyes blinked. We looked up and saw a very nervous Doe looking on, and once we made eye contact with her, she stomped the ground in an attempt to divert our attention away from her fawn. After all these years, we recall so many experiences where we’ve met the wild life head on, like the time we met a Cow Elk and Calf at the water hole; and we got within 20 feet of them before they discovered us. How rare that was, and how busy they were digging out a hole in the spring to drink from.
As we sat on the Porch one morning we both noted that we had not yet had a visit from Raven, perhaps he was so well fed this year, he wasn’t bothering to come by and see what might be left for him in the yard? Another common and most welcome visitor missing was the Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel we always see here. They are normally keen at noticing a new visitor to the hill, and we have fun watching them investigate a gift like peanuts or sunflower seeds. When a Golden Mantle alerts to the presence of a Falcon or Hawk, small birds, chip monks, and other creatures take immediate action, either running for cover or watching the sky for an incoming intruder.
This trip, there was no sign of the Golden Mantle, not at our cabin, or on any walk we took. We never got a visit from Raven either, although we heard him off in the distance, and we recalled the wonderful aerial displays they’ve put on in the late fall in years past. They dive and roll above the deep canyons of the area and put on memorable displays.
As I sat on the porch, I saw a larger bird working it’s way up the ridge of our mountain and onto the table top where our cabin lies. Could it be what I thought? A tail so much longer than other birds, and a very distinctive call. Sharon and I have wondered about this bird and his range, we normally see him in the lower elevations but NEVER here where we are well above 4000 feet elevation. Yes, you likely guessed, it was a Magpie, and he really is a handsome bird if you study him up close. He first landed in a nearby tree, and watched a Jay haul off some oatmeal scraps from a rock pile we use to BBQ on top of. He watched the Jay scoop up more of the oat meal and fly off to the North… the Magpie followed, and watched him make a stash in a nearby pine tree. He returned and watched the Jay make one more Haul from the top of the rock stack. With caution, he swooped down to chase off a chip monk or two, and ate a good portion of meal and carried off more to his own stash.
The Jay visited every day, the Magpie visited two days later and we watched him clean out the Jay’s stash and visit our BBQ Rock for more scraps. the Magpie knows the games Jays play. I bet he knows their ‘hawk’ call, and maybe even the great imitation one Jay made of a coyote call we heard this time.
I reflect on my age, the rhythm of the hill, the fact that nature wipes out squirrel populations from time to time with a plague or other event. How I might have formed an opinion that Magpies NEVER travel into the mountain tops, how I might have noted the norms of 20 or more years and thought I knew the patterns of this Mountain top. I’ve watched a grove of pine tree starts put up what looked to be a promising forest, I’ve seen them reach twenty feet in height, and die, all of them! I study the patterns of the forest and note the different species, where they thrive, and where they don’t. Some are more immune to pests than others, and of course the water that lies below the ground is key.
I have developed theories over the years, and of course I’m no Forrester, but we all know weather is variable, just how long can a tree grow before that one dry year comes along? with the new pines out in the open, it’s a race. Can they sink a tap-root into the rocky hillside deep enough to support their ever-growing need for more water BEFORE that dryer than average year comes along? It’s a roll of the dice sometimes I think.
On the tops of some ridges, you’ll find a big lone pine, it may be two hundred years old or more, and you may even find the bones of one who stood before it. These trees are often far different looking than any of their relatives close by in some protected ravine. Looking high into the tree, you can often see the battle scars, missing tops, branches that volunteered to reach upwards to form a new top only to be hit by lightning or a 100 MPG wind gust and to be broken off again. It’s not just trees that carry these scars, it’s Nations too.
One year I noticed a fresh crack that ran 20 or more feet down the side of one of these huge lonely pines on a ridge top. This particular tree was massive, and may have been here before white men arrived for all I know. Over two dozen or more years I watched the tree die, and now it is a pile of bleached bones. Some lightning strikes injure a tree, others kill them, there’s so many variables and all to them come into play at times. I remember cutting two cedar trees years ago. They were both the same species, but one was so wet inside, the water almost ran from the end cut, the other tree no more than 40 feet away might have weighed 2/3 or less being far dryer. I’m sure the water content, whether the sap is up or down, and so much more plays into a lightning strike and how it affects the tree, same goes for a Nation, what it can survive has so much to do with near countless variables.
For me it’s a lesson in understanding that Man lives a very short life, and in no way should he expect to live long enough to see the rhythm of a single hill-top yet alone the whole Forest. The best a man can do is read of careful observations made by others, and always make room for error. Perhaps you need a collection of reports, and sort the chaff best you can?
One evening Sharon turned in early, and I happened to flip thru the channels of the small TV we haul in with us to a PBS channel. It ended up to be an excellent story of Prohibition and how it became to be American History. As I watched, I was reminded of the rhythms on the mountain, the disease that sweeps through the squirrel population and the battles going on all around us…. Mountains rising from the sea, and right here from the table top , I can look at Mount Saint Hellens and see the entire Mountain top is gone! I witnessed that, it’s really hard to believe.
This Documentary on Prohibition running on PBS may be timely and key to understanding human behavior and our Nation’s future? Many claim we humans are the smartest Animal to walk the Earth thus far, but I reflect on the Magpie, and think he may be our equal. He’s totally non-partisan, and what follows is too. The Prohibition years is an example of what Humans do regardless of their political affiliation, and it will likely help us predict what to expect in the days to come.
I was discussing AGW with Quinn F. one day and he said he shared a theory with his Son that this Global warming thing may be all about money, power and influence. His Son replied that he found it near unbelievable that the US Government could be in on the hoax. This will forever stick in my mind as a “Bell Weather”.
THIS LEADS TO A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION!
What is the US Government? Perhaps you’ll see it is an entity held together by the rule of law?
The Prohibition years beg other questions to be answered. But perhaps we note current events as well before we attempt to form an answer? Just like my new and different experience on the mountain top this year, there may be new and different things going on in American politics, that will suggest what you need to do with your time and money starting today. I recall a person I know who was angry or frustrated with a certain talk show host who claimed things were getting bad, she said all he accomplishes is scaring people.
We look at the groups who supported Prohibition and those who didn’t, we learn that both the wettest and the dryest of our elected officials ‘caved in’ and voted in favor of prohibition or made sure they didn’t oppose it! Some even naively believed that it wouldn’t deny US Citizens access to beer and wine. Perhaps they were asked to vote on it before they read it? It’s clear that the Prohibition movement had grown so large and powerful, few had the courage to even ask the questions for fear of being voted out of office, sound familiar, what could be worse than ‘voted out of office’?
As I mention elsewhere, we DIYers are naturally curious…. and thrifty too, so most of us have learned that man has been using fermentation for 6000 or more years to prepare beverages that literally allowed man to survive in many regions. Whether you choose to stay away from alcohol all together or not has no bearing on reality. It is necessary that you note the food value of beer, and the fact that it can be stored for years when properly fermented and put up. It’s no accident that Beer became part of a Sailor’s diet hundreds of years ago, and easy to note how few food stuffs could be kept on a long voyage without spoilage. How many died from poor nutrition and likely became food for the fishes on long voyages when the Beer ran out?
As for the chemistry, we all know we can simply let some Apple Cider sit for a week and have a delicious alcoholic beverage. This is no secret, and I doubt you could keep it from the Magpie yet alone the Public. The Question becomes, how did a plan like prohibition which was so obviously flawed and impossible to enforce become the law of the land? How was it that the elected officials making up the US Government agreed to put an end to existing Federal Revenues and put US Citizens under the yoke of Federal Income taxes in an effort to put an end to man’s 6000 Years (or longer) use of Alcohol? You need watch this documentary, and if you learn how to order it on DVD, post it here under comments. simply scroll all the way to the bottom.
I laughed when I learned that the Governor of Washington State during the times of Prohibition said that he wouldn’t spend so much as a postage stamp in the effort to enforce prohibition, it was clear to him it was something the FEDs wanted, and they could pay to enforce it, he didn’t help place that burden on Washington State Citizens, and perhaps this is a good example of why States should have far more say than the FEDS over how things are done.
So, can we at least take a stab at answering the question as to what “United States Government” is?
I personally think it’s a lot like the Mountains I visit, it may be one thing today, and another tomorrow, and perhaps we need several answers. but aren’t we here today, and isn’t it appropriate that we deal with the here and now? Perhaps our survival depends on how we adapt to the very bad and corrupt decisions made in the past years?
Having framed the question, and considering current events, here’s my conclusion. The U.S. Government is >presently< no more than a collection of elected individuals attempting to hold onto their seats for another term. The majority of them put their office and their personal goals well ahead of the survival of the nation, just as those during the times of prohibition did. We ( Our Nation) watched resources squandered on prohibition, and we note it went on long after we knew the battle was lost and hopeless. We watched as Supply and Demand took over (as it always does) and nearly immeasurable wealth left the coffers of the U.S. Government in the form of taxes, and fell directly into the hands of those who decided to meet the demand (Criminals some called them) but we note that those who decided to meet the demand became powerful, and some of their Children or was it Grandchildren were even elected to the office of President of the United States. Perhaps they were like the Magpie and knew enough to adapt to the situation?
All we need do is learn from the past. We have another powerful movement underway and this time it’s world wide. We need add in some important current events and understand the present markets are far different from the past. In a few minutes time, the markets can sell the future of our children for the period of their productive lives thanks to the Government’s present involvement in the market place! At this very moment, I listen to the radio and hear President Obama talk to the American People about the Mission of the Department Of Energy “Betting on future winners” and answering questions about Solyndra and more.
Another facet of US Government has always been “Rule of Law” today we see that the Justice Department knew about an illegal gun running operation. I don’t place many bets, but I WOULD place the bet that the Justice Department is the entity that proposed the operation and ordered the ATF to conduct it. The mission itself makes no sense IF you apply their rationale for having the operation in the first place. I think the reason is far more sinister than the reasons given. To think the head man in the rule of law department is all for breaking the law.
We find ourselves amongst people who vote for the impossible, amongst people who have willingly handed over incredible power to a totally inept Government (elected officials) who would rather promise the impossible to the people who elect them than to take the steps required to save the nation. We knew how to do these things during WWII, but the thought of a young mother having to pluck a chicken for dinner would likely bring on years of need for psycho therapy!
I recall what an activist I once worked with told me here recently, he’s a union man, and he knows that all corporations are evil. He told me we all need to take it on the chin to get out of this mess… I think that’s exactly the attitude that put us in this situation, too many believed it was Governments job to suckle them. Is it now the Majority who feel that it is the duty of a totally inept government to bail us out, and they expect in done without any inconvenience to them?
All you need do is look at what Government has done, look at Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae. They (Government) couldn’t keep their hands off the Market, they had to take over, but of course they played withour money not their own. In an attempt to hide the stink, they’ve placed the debt on the backs of all Americans instead of those who were willing to gamble on home loans made to people with no work history and balloon payments only five years off.. Yes it was insanity, and people who vote still don’t get it!
Yes, America will return to being a great Nation one day, but how are you going to get thru the mess your Government created?
We DIYers now have the answer, we get it! President Obama has organized an Administration full of people just like himself, they know nothing of business, they’ve never left a concrete pathway. They’ve never watched a Jay, or a Magpie, yet alone spent time in the deep piney woods.
According to our own President, it is our Government’s mission to gamble with our children’s future in an attempt to pick winners and losers, and it is for all the world to see how fatally flawed their picks have been. All one needed is a pencil and eight grade math to prove the products of Solyndra and Evergreen Solar had no chance in the market place.
Expect the underground economy to flourish, expect the dollar to inflate like never before, what can you trade that dollar for now that will make your life easier? How do you keep your stock pile when even your government is out to swindle you? Nothing new huh?
Well how about this.. Remember the Bloombox? Some of your friends gushed over this Hoax, remember?
So here’s the next comedy, we can watch together.. will the People of Delaware prove they’ve learned a thing, or will they buy into another obvious Hoax? Consider the proposal, doesn’t it reflect who the pitch is being made to? A group of desperate Activists who are looking for a miracle. Let’s hope the voices of thinking people is loud and clear, we need put a stop to the Government turning our meager savings into monopoly money through insane investments in snake oil!
Oh.. yes you’ve been waiting to say “We are the Government”, well if that’s the case, we better do our part really fast before there’s nothign left but bleached bones..