Friday, June 26, 2009

HONEYBEES AND THE COWBOY

By Julie Carter

Fighting honeybees. Not something that would immediately come to mind when you think about cowboys, but then, there is a long list of things that cowboys do because it needs doing.
Doesn't mean they are good at it, or that they ought to, they just do.
It takes a lot to back down a cowboy because his very nature is to fight things until the bitter end. Wisdom is rarely involved.
So, when a cowboy finally throws up his hands and says, "Call for help," you know he's reached the end of it.
Our hero had been fighting uninvited honeybees for most of the spring. He managed to convince them to relocate a number of times.
The last had been from the front porch where he used a guaranteed bee-removal spray that had a range of 27 feet.
If you hit them square in the eye, they would get only mildly ill on their way to find a new nest.
Decimation was minimal.
After feeling somewhat confident that visitors were now safe at the front door, the cowboy realized his opponents had taken up residence in the horse pasture.
Using height as a human deterrent, they were busy buzzing in a huge oak tree, about 25 feet from the ground.
Not wanting to be on a ladder with hundreds of angry, buzzing, stinging bees on attack, the cowboy wisely called in a professional.
Everyone, in theory, finds his or her specialty in life and in the geographical area of this bee infestation, there is a man known as the "bee guy."
When telephoned, he promised to come that very morning and ended the phone call with some bee knowledge.
"The bees are just like the English. Kill the queen and the whole colony will fold up."
He promised his mission would be the assassination of the queen.
The bee guy arrived and offered his business card that read, "Beez-R-Us, If you've got'em, we'll come swat'em."
He said his fee would be $150 but he guaranteed his work.
Upon arrival, the bee guy donned a rather spectacular suit similar to those used for moon walks, along with a fetching hat reminiscent of a cross between "Dr. Livingston, I presume" head covering and a diving helmet.
The cowboy felt this was one project he did not particularly need to supervise personally, which in itself, was a rare occurrence.
The only other time in recent memory was when the rattlesnake hunters arrived at the New Mexico ranch.
The goofy snake hunter insisted on showing the cowboy his biggest catch of the day.
He scooped him out of the snake box and laid him on the ground at the cowboy's feet. Didn't take the cowboy long to look at him.
Meanwhile back at the beehive, it was only a day after the bee guy's attack on the oak tree bees that the lady of house was startled to find bees swarming in her master bath.
The queen-less colony of bees apparently had a Lady Camilla bee-in-waiting.
They had migrated to the eaves over the bathroom window, set up housekeeping and were coming through the attic, down the light fixture and into the bathroom.
The little lady's effort to discourage them from joining her bath was to fog them with an entire can of spray, aimed at their general vicinity.
The bee guy was promptly requested to return, based on the guarantee of his work.
When the cowboy called, he explained that the bees had migrated back to the house.
With a wily tone to his voice, the bee guy asked the cowboy how was it he recognized them to be the same bees?
Warranty coverage may prove difficult with that looming question.
Stay tuned. Bee season is just now in full swing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IT HAPPENED WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

By Marita K Noon

Polls out today show an increasing dissatisfaction with Obama's policy's with Gallup speculating that the administration's deficit spending; public concerns about the cost of Obama's healthcare reform plan; and his cautious response to the election protests in Iran have caused the plunge. Despite this sudden turn of opinion, Obama has been able to rush through his personal trove of policies that are contradictory to basic American ideology-leaving many to scratch their heads and ask, "How can they do this?"
Regarding conservatives, I've repeatedly been asked the question above and, "Why are we always on the defense? Why are we not more offensive?"
After Tracking New Mexico's battle for Mount Taylor for 17 months--while private property rights, free-market principles, energy freedom have been trampled, I've come up with an answer to all of the aforementioned questions. While most of the new legislation being rushed through is not in the publics' best interest-the public has not been interested. Read on to find out why! (Attached and pasted-in-below.)
While the example I use is from New Mexico, please know the bigger issue the story illustrates is national!
If you have an avenue such as a website, blog or e-zine to distribute this piece, please feel free to use it, post it or pass it on. I'd appreciate knowing when you publish this.
If you prefer that I not send you any future commentaries, just let me know. I'd rather remove you from my distribution list than irritate you. J
Thanks!
Opinion Editorial by Marita K. Noon
Executive Director, CARE: Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy
marita@responsiblenergy.org


Public's Best Interest, Disinterested Public

June 5, 2009 was the culmination of a seventeen-month battle for Mount Taylor where the decision to make the temporary Traditional Cultural Property designation (TCP) permanent was announced--New Mexico's 1 million acre land grab.
An opponent to the decision said, "I could hear the jobs, stability, and growth in our community suck right out of our town as the vote was cast. Corporate dollars will be spent in other communities where progress is encouraged and growth is a way of life."
The television news cameras were all there to record the contentious decision. While I gave my comments to ABC news, locals stood behind the cameras and mouthed "thank you." A documentary news crew, who sought out my thoughts following the meeting, asked if I'd been out to the reservation to talk to the people. "No, I have not because this is not about reservation land. This is about a mix of state, federal and private land." They were surprised with this information. They'd not done research and just believed what they'd heard.
Others have questioned, "How can this happen?" or "How is this in the best interest of the public?"
The sad truth is the decision is not in the public's best interest as the jobs and uranium would have been a major asset to both New Mexico and America. It can happen because the public wasn't interested. Few general citizens even know what took place and most who do know, found out about it through reporting after the fact. Most of us sat it out while the proponents pushed hard to get it through. The local citizens in Grants, the attorneys representing the locals and small mining companies, and a couple special interest groups (like CARE) were not enough to stop the wave of political correctness.
Why should the public be interested? Why would people not in Grants and not in mining even care?
The Mount Taylor TCP decision has far-reaching ramifications. The nomination had many technical and procedural flaws as noted by New Mexico's Secretary of Cultural Affairs Stuart Ashman in his presentation to the committee on May 15--but it was unanimously passed. While it was repeatedly stated throughout the multi-month process that private property was "non-contributing," at the eleventh hour, the Historic Preservation Officer, Katherine Slick, did acknowledge that it will impact private property owners. And, it will hurt the economy and take money out of America. An international partner in a mining project is now expected to pull out. Potential mining projects will be delayed and have increased costs. Many will never happen. Some companies have already given up and pulled out-giving environmental extremists another victory.
These consequences are troubling, but at first-glance, they do not seem to have a "far-reaching" impact. Yet, this was not just about the five nominating tribes. Environmental groups have participated in the TCP nomination. You can be sure that they have been watching this battle closely. As the largest TCP in the Continental United States by far, it sets precedent and gives courage to mineral resource development opponents to repeat the process throughout the country. There are already rumors of beginning a similar land grab over the Zuni Mountains.
They can do this because those of us who value free-market principles, believe in private property rights, and support energy freedom were sleeping-and we've been asleep a long time. Meanwhile, those who prefer government control and who think America should be more socialist have been working hard to push their agenda. They have been on the offense because they wanted change. We have the world we like, so we have been happily going about our business, oblivious to what is going on around us with only a few defensive efforts.
We can make a difference. We can wake up and get involved. The release from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division stated that they'd received approximately 2,000 letters and e-mails addressing the Mount Taylor nomination that supported the TCP by a 4-1 ratio. I believe the ratio could have been reversed, but those of us who have what we want have been asleep while those who want a different life have been busy.
Choose free-market principles, private property rights, and energy freedom by waking up and getting involved. If you do not, don't complain when you wake up one day and find the world you thought you lived in no longer exists. Don't ask, "How could they do this?" It happened while you were sleeping.
Marita Noon is the executive director of CARE, the nonprofit organization that is advocating for your right to use energy as you see fit and as you can afford. CARE is working on your behalf to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom and the American way of life. Find out more at www.responsiblenergy.org.

Friday, June 19, 2009

KIDS AND HORSES

By Savvy Julie Carter

I was a kid once and yes, I had a horse. Only for a very few, and very short, periods in my life have I been without a horse. There is nothing like that kid-with-a-horse experience.
Loving horses isn't something you are afflicted with by choice. You don't just wake up one day and think, "Today I'm going to love horses."
Somewhere in the human genetic makeup is a signal switch that gives us a heart for animals and one more click of the switch focuses our love toward dogs and horses.
That's not scientific you understand, just my theory based on experience.
I hosted a 4-H Horse Show Clinic last week, and to my delight, a dozen kids on horses that showed up to learn.
Most of them had never seen a horse show, let alone been in one. A number of them were relatively new to riding and those that weren't, were new to show ring disciplines.
By the end of the day, thanks to the steady instruction of a great "coach," the entire bunch morphed into riders with a plan and horses with the same goal.
Kids are very adaptable and horses teach them as much as kids teach a horse. Put a kid on a horse and there is basic communication that rivals anything the high-tech world can provide.
There is an understanding between the horse and the child that defies description but with the naked eye, one can see the horse evaluating his rider while the rider thinks he is the one in charge.
As with people, the personalities of horses either jive with their rider or have no connection whatsoever.
A horse may, quite obviously, like his kid immensely, but won't be anything but a brat for an adult. It is a common personality grind that keeps mothers gritting their teeth and fathers determined to outlast it.
I'm not sure exactly what makes my heart swell more - a tiny girl on a big horse determined to do anything and everything the "big kids do," or a young boy who lopes off to meet the challenges of the day, riding his new best friend in the whole world.
In my distant youth, living very remotely from any real civilization, horses were my best and only friends. My only alternative was brothers. I whiled away long summer days, always with a horse as my company.
I'd sit on the top rail of the fence and tell my horse the burdens of my heart.
I'd often slip a bridle on him, slide onto his back and take off in a lope up through the meadows toward the looming mountain range with no particular destination in mind.
This four-legged best friend and I explored the world around us and watched Mother Nature in her rawest form. It was freedom at its finest.
It wasn't until many years later that I fully understood how much having horses in my life had taught me. Love, trust, forgiveness, patience, understanding, happiness, loss, confidence are all part of owning a horse ... and living a fulfilled life.
As I watched the horse clinic kids riding around the arena, my heart smiled. I knew something they didn't. I knew that this day, and every day, with their horses, mattered in their lives in ways they had no idea.
Mattered more than the fun they were having, mattered more than the lessons they were learning that day.
In all that, they were shaping their hearts for living and I was privileged to watch it unfold.
Julie can be reached for comment at www.julie-carter.com.

Friday, June 12, 2009

IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY TO BE BROKE

By Julie Carter


Superstition suggests bad luck comes in threes and for Rob, the third had just hit. Actually, it was the fourth, but the rules say after three, quit counting.
Rob and his wife had been subsidizing their cattle ranching in the usual sweaty, working ways. Lately, those hadn't been too successful. Perpetually looking for a way to keep the wolf from the door, Rob had a plan.
The cutting horse reject colt he had bought to make a heeling horse to sell was working out fairly well. That is, until a steer came out of the roping chute, cut hard to the right and the colt, true to his training, did the same.
Rob had not cleared the end of the roping box when everybody went "hard right" and his boot caught on the corner. The sickening sound told the story before anyone had to look. The bone was broke and the shin was split. This didn't bode well for any money-making activity in the near future.
Later, with a walking cast in place, Rob decided he would cut a few cedar stays out of the brush pastures to sell, but his chainsaw was on the blink.
His wife Sue recalled an ad in the paper where a chainsaw was offered at a weekend garage sale.
When Rob returned with his treasure, his plan was to show it off to his bride. He pulled the rope and got the usual chainsaw resistance to starting.
He pulled it again. Nothing. After about a dozen tries with no luck, Sue remembered something she had to do in the house, knowing it was a good time to remove herself from the premises.
When she went back a couple hours later, Rob was nowhere around. The bar and chain were lying to one side and a thousand pieces of orange plastic were scattered throughout the area.
The sledgehammer was leaning up against the barn door.
Next, Rob decided that since their ranch had some good coastal Bermuda, he'd sell some of the upcoming hay crop. He laid down a good-sized field of it in anticipation of the income that it would bring.
Of course, it had not rained in that part of the world in anybody's distant memory, but that night it poured down three inches.
He also had some farm ground and decided a crop of peanuts would be just the thing. He worked the ground, planted his peanuts, and went to bed that night counting his millions.
The next morning he found that every peanut had been rooted up. Feral hogs had never been a problem on his place, that is, until the peanuts were in the ground. He did reflect with some gratitude that the pigs hadn't helped themselves to his beer stash in the barn to wash down the peanuts.
As soon as he could find someone to tell him what pigs wouldn't eat, he'd consider replanting.
The next accounting issue came when Sue announced that their son needed braces.
Rob asked how many sets of teeth the kid had because they'd just put him in braces a year or so ago. Sue informed him there were a couple of kids and this was a different one.
Rob was a good hand at roping but had put the sport on hold while he married, had a family and set up his ranching enterprise to seek his fortune.
However, there was a big team roping coming to town. He had many bills to pay, but uncannily, he had just enough money to pay entry fees. He called a former roping buddy and they entered up.
It worked out better than anything had so far. They won the roping, got their names called, new trophy buckles and a big payout.
On the way home, Rob bought new tires for Sue's pickup and an extra case of ropers' aiming fluid (beer).
The logic was clearly before him. He could ride in a cast and had proven he could still catch his share at the ropings. Subsidizing the ranch in this manner was going to be a whole lot more fun than riding colts, chainsaws, hay or peanuts.
Some cowboys have to work a little harder to get to the same result; heeding the call of the roping arena.
Julie can be reached for comment at www.julie-carter.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GRANDMA'S KITCHEN

By Julie Carter


It had been more than 35 years since I first saw it and yet when I looked through the doorway, I could see that nothing of consequence had changed.
The kitchen, lit by a single window over the old single basin sink, stood exactly as it had when I took my first baby girl to spend the day with her grandma.
The same as when, a couple of decades later, that baby girl took her baby to spend the day with his great-grandma.
Look around your life and see what, if anything, has not changed in appearance in 35 years and you can honestly say, "It looks exactly the same."
I absolutely cannot look in the mirror and say that. Sure can't point to the pickup and say that. I have owned about, oh, six or seven since then.
The house - I can't even begin there because I've moved at least a dozen times. Good horses and dogs have come and gone. So have the bad ones.
Fresh paint, a new curtain and new floor tile. That was all that was different in her kitchen. Except, in the interim, they invented microwaves so there was one of those and the old wall rotary dial phone was gone.
The table sat where it always was and the center of it, as before, was filled with napkins, condiments, a silverware holder and an assortment of other things deemed important enough to just stay there.
The old bright white wood cabinets filled the east wall broken only by the sink in the middle. The sink with it's signature Rubbermaid dishpan inside and no cabinet below it, so a curtain covered up those things you put under a sink.
The cabinets went up the wall all the way to meet the 10-foot ceiling and the top row of cupboards could be accessed only by standing on a stool. The very limited counter space was always full of canisters, a bread box, dish drainer, percolator coffee pot and assorted packages of cookies and crackers.
Knick knacks, a corkboard full of keys, a big calendar and grandma-kind of decorations filled the walls.
In any kitchen except Grandma's, it would have been clutter. In her's, it was personality, warmth and comfort.
It was her favorite room and she liked it the very best when it was filled full with family members of all ages and generations laughing, talking and telling stories. Stories like the one about how the refrigerator got a bullet hole in it.
As each generation of grandmas passes on, the matriarchal crown moves a little closer to home.
My mom is a wonderful grandma who has many special things she has shared with her grandchildren. They will each have a little different piece of her in their hearts forever.
When the rolling pin passes, it makes us all put on life's brakes, look around and reflect.
We take just a moment to ponder what legacy we are leaving for those coming behind in our tracks.
Aprons, cookies, hugs and plenty of sympathy. Good smells from the stovetop, bushels of apples to be made into jam, jars of canned fruits and vegetables.
Perhaps mine, or yours, may not look and smell the same as the generations before us.
However, there is something about grandmas that makes each one special to those who love them.
Thank God for grandmas. They keep us grounded in what really counts. Pass the cookies, please.
Julie can be reached for comment at www.julie-carter.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A DECAY OF THOUGHT IN TODAY'S SOCIETY

By Mary Dowling

I am a teenager. I am in 8th Grade, one year short of a freshman. However, despite the normality of this, I am not like most kids my age. I am not egotistical, vain and selfish. I do good deeds just to do good deeds, without expecting anything in return. This makes it very hard for me to be accepted in my academic career. Today’s children have been taught to eliminate those who are different, those who think, those who feel, and those who are grounded to a deeper level. Truly, everyday we get closer and closer to my favorite book, ‘Fahrenheit 451’. I love it, thought the fact that it is far from escapism for myself and other like me, is slightly frightening.
I have always loved to read, ever since I can remember. However, my school library is less than adequate. Although my friends and I make a weekly trip, most students have never been inside it, or any other library. I was once talking in my art class to a boy who sat across from me. There was a question posed, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ That came up across the table. I said that I’d like to be a librarian, to which he responded, “Why? Librarians don’t make that much money.” I told him that job satisfaction is more important than money; however I greatly lost that debate after a class poll. Nine out of ten students that I asked haven’t read a book since summer, when we were required to.
Most girls you see will be wearing ‘green’ t-shirts, or shirts printed on ‘organic cotton’ with ‘natural dyes’. These same girls can’t tell you what constitutes ‘organic’ or even what it means. Most girls are also vegetarians. I’m a true animal-lover, and have contemplated vegetarianism many times; however I can’t due to a protein deficiency. They also can’t tell you what animal bacon comes from, but they can tell you the calories in it.
I doubt that any good that has been done at school was not in vain. I’m one of the only girls who don’t dye their hair, or wear makeup. They won’t do anything if it won’t make them look good, or they get something in return. When someone knocks on the door, someone will run half way across the classroom when I’m three steps away. “It doesn’t matter who opens the door! You don’t have to do everything, Mary!” They scream at me, when the last time the teacher called on me… I can’t even finish that sentence, I admit, after five minutes of thought; he’s never called on me.
Most people need other people to do things for them. Why else do we have calculators? People today aren’t thinking anymore. Everything’s just rush-rush, mechanical systems, and everything you see is just a complicated machine. A tree, you ask. A tree is just a simple system of photosynthesis and plant cells. I see a tree as a living figure of strength and protection, but then again, I’m just crazy. Ask anyone, it’s unanimous; I’m crazy because I think. I’m crazy because I have integrity. I’m crazy because I can see that a sunset is beautiful.
My advice for parents who are concerned:
Teach your child that everyone has different ideals.
Teach your child that no one is below you.
Teach your child that everyone deserves respect.
Teach your child that doing a good deed reward or not, is good.
Teach your child that everything has beauty, from a thought to a flower.
Teach your child to think for their selves, and not to be lazy.

Believe me, they will pay off.

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