Friday, September 9, 2011

Bastrop County Wildfire - Hay Donations and/or Help in Locating Hay Needed

UPDATE 9/20/11:  See link below video for current hay ads in the Lousiana Market Bulletin

All week I've watched this fire from afar, sort of wide-eyed and unbelieving, plain shocked; and I can't begin to imagine what it has been like to actually be in the midst of this great fire, under the threat of this great fire moving my way.  The WunderMap at has a 'fire' option to show satellite views of the burning fires and the smoke cover as well.  It reached the point where you couldn't see where the Bastrop fire was burning on the satellite view unless you opted out of viewing the reach of the smoke cover - it was just that solid black for miles and miles and miles.  My thanks to Christine Files, a fellow BWCAA member, who sent me the link to the youtube video below.  Christine was just south of the fire and part of the large scale evacuation of the area.  So far her home and land have been spared.  When she made it back there a couple of days ago there were charred remnants of the fire blown in by the winds and scattered around her property - any of which could have become yet another raging fire in her own backyard. 

Hay was scarce and grotesquely expensive in this area before this fire -- it is now practically non-existent.  Anyone (except thieving hay brokers) who can help Chris and other BWCAA members, as well of course as the many other horse and cattle raisers in the area, with locating hay is encouraged to do so. 

Update:  Take a look at the current Louisiana Market Bulletin published monthly by the State of Lousiana.  See Page 15 for the beginning of the Hay Ads.  This is a pretty large PDF document, so be patient for it to load.  Bookmark this Lousisiana Dept of Agriculture page to check back for the upcoming September issue of the Market Bulletin.

Texas Wildfire Livestock Supply Points for Hay and Feed Donations - Donations of Hay and Feed and Hauling for Livestock Needed

Texas Fire Support - Active Facebook page for current information on resources available to assist humans and animals in the Bastrop and Smithville area. - Online access to Live Police and Fire Scanner Feeds
Volunteers rescue livestock and horses - Hay Donations Needed
WeatherUnderground - WunderMap - Once the map loads, scroll down the options on the right and you will see a 'fire' option, click that, and then click on the actual fire location for a closer view of the fire perimeters.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Climate Change is Not a Modern Day Topic - It was Refuted by the U.S. Government in the Early 1900's

Climate change is certainly a hot topic right now, from Al Gore's latest laughable, pitiful and puzzling efforts to get in the limelight, to lots of finger pointing at Hurricane Irene and the Texas drought as proofs.  I understand the premise of the science that backs up the global warming gurus -- but as long as livestock continue to be falsely targeted as the greatest contributor to climate change -- my ears will remain deaf and the motives of the likes of Al Gore and the United Nations quite suspect.

I was very surprised when I stumbled on an old U.S. Department of Agriculture article from 1908 entitled, "The So-Called Change of Climate in the Semi-Arid West".  Clearly there were alarmists spouting off about human caused climate change to such an extent that it warranted a rebuttal 103 years ago, and I would say it was soundly rebutted as the poppycock it was then -- and is now to a large extent, as cows continue to be touted as the greatest cause of global warming, and a vegan diet necessary for us common folks:

"The former Vice President also said we need to initiate an organic vegetarian diet for the general population since industrial agriculture is contributing to the relentless, growing problem of global warming. According to Gore, meat eating has prompted forests to clear due to higher demands for cattle in the interview, adding that synthetic nitrogen use in fertilizers continues to contribute to global warming." (Al Gore, 8/29/11)

Sunday, August 28 - View of our Parched Pastures and a Fire Top above the Trees -- on Monday evening there was another fire so close that big particles of ash fell around us at the cattle pens just to the left in this photo.

The Texas drought is not a weather event brought on by human caused climate change (nor some divine judgment by an angry God as the likes of a Louis Farrakhan tell their followers), and neither is Hurricane Irene a storm to be blamed on climate change.  Certainly, the level of carbon dioxide in earth's atmosphere is a factor in our weather, but to presume that the human and livestock activities on the land mass of the United States can somehow change the climate of the world, for better or worse, is simply preposterous.  We can't allow ourselves to be used to "set an example for the world" that literally destroys our economy while the rest of the world laughs their butts off in to the next century -- and our EPA is now being used as a tool to backdoor accomplish that so-called example.

The drought of 1886/1887 that I blogged a couple of weeks back was a severe Texas and Plains area drought, much like the one occurring now.  Coincidentally, just a mere couple years later, in May 1889, there was a "great storm" that severely impacted the northeast, and caused the catastrophic Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania.  This storm occurred on the heals of quite abnormally high levels of spring and summer rainfall in the northeast.  Sound familiar?  There has been well above average rainfall in much of the northeast this spring and summer.  This was the weather forecast for Memorial Day 1889 in Pennsylvania, from The Tribune :

"A Storm of considerable energy has developed in Southwestern Texas, which is now centered in the Mississippi Valley, moving northeastward. General rain has fallen within the track of the storm. Elsewhere fair weather has prevailed. The temperature is unusually low throughout the lake region, heavy frost having occurred in many places and light frosts are also reported from the county districts in this locality, with no perceptible damage, however. The temperature has risen slightly in all other districts. The barometer has fallen decidedly in the Mississippi Valley with manifestations of cyclonic disturbances, and is highest in the extreme Northwest."
I certainly wish that the above weather forecast was actually for Labor Day Weekend 2011, without the subsequent heavy rain and flooding in the Northeast!  No doubt in the days that followed the devastation of the great Johnstown Flood there was a creepy person somewhere at a podium postulating about God's divine judgment on Pennsylvania.  Hopefully, someone laid him out with a good punch of divine judgment to his belly paunch.

Did you know there is now yet another factor of great import in projecting carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and will require new 'climate change' analysis models?  Check this out: Nitrogen in Rocks Could Help Counter Climate ChangeNow why is this not headline news this morning all over the world?  And just what else is out there yet to be discovered about the resourcefulness of this grand and ancient earth we all call home? 

J.West's El Presidente standing in a patch of green that remains over our sewer, it is rare for the cows to ever eat this grass.  What must he think looking out over his pasture at nothing but dead grass and worm eating cattle egrets?  Is he blaming himself for Climate Change?

Here are some excerpts from the 1908 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's 'The So-Called Change in Climate . . .' :

"It is the man that has changed, not the climate, and the face of nature has changed with efforts far exceeding those of the early eastern pioneers. The western man who has observed the wilderness blossom as the rose -  decries his own power when he charges to the account of change of climate the blessings resulting from his own initiative. It required much more than the buzzing of the drones while the climate was "changing" to make orchards, meadows, grain fields, and vineyards in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Perseverance placed the city of Denver on the site of the Indian tepee in the valley of the upper Platte, and "change of climate " did not plant Salt Lake City in the deserts of Utah."

"Droughts, hot winds, and high temperatures are not impossible in any section at any time. Francis Parkman says that during the summer and fall of 1764, at the time of Pontiac's war, a great drought prevailed over the region north of the Ohio River, and British soldiers suffered great hardships in navigating the streams. Yet the settler had not then had much chance with his ax, and the lands were covered with an interminable forest."

"Prof. Alfred J. Henry, in Climatology of the United States, says:
'The greatest drought this country has experienced in the last one hundred years, both as to Intensity and extent of territory covered, culminated in the middle Mississippi and Missouri valleys in 1894, and in the Lake region and Atlantic coast districts in 1895. The drought of 1894 was the culmination of a period of deficient precipitation and high temperatures that began during the early summer of 1893. . .'
'In September, 1908, the Susquehanna River was lower than it had been in more than one hundred years, and instances were published of boys playing ball in the river bed of the upper Ohio.'
'In the Middle States, as well as the entire region between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River north of Texas, the great hot wave of July, 1901, broke records in many sections, the temperatures ranging from 109° to 116° in the shade. These figures were published by the Weather Bureau at the time, and clearly show that abnormally high temperatures or hot winds are not confined to any particular locality.'"
"The semiarid States are contending against stupendous forces in the form of the great air currents, which are charged with billions of tons of moisture and dust before they come within a thousand miles of the Middle West. . . . It is evident, then, that the cultivation and forestation of the semiarid region, even though (if) they had proceeded much farther than they have, could not change the climate. . . In spite of the great differences in density of population and in the proportion of land improved, the records show that no single part of the areas mentioned, or any other part of the vast territory remaining in the country, has been exempt from droughty periods."
" . . . climatic changes have been as numerous as the epochs in geological history. . . If the ancient ancestors of the mound builders could be aroused from their slumbers, their medicine men would relate a hoary legend to the effect that the waters of the southern seas once tossed over the western plains, and the great Southwest and washed the feet of the Rockies."
"Aristotle, the sage, one of the greatest of scientific observers, flourished about two thousand three hundred years ago; since his day there have been many scientific observers; yet in all these years there has been no record of a permanent change of climate in any part of the known world."
"Western Asia, northern Africa, and portions of North America were called deserts in remote ages, and we still believe they will continue deserts during the vast periods of time to come. The Chaldeans, ancient Persians, Ninevites, and Egyptians exerted untold effort in producing verdure (green growth) that succeeding peoples have allowed to disappear before the blistering desolation. Geological evidence shows that extensive forests once flourished in these regions, and remains of highly creditable irrigating works have lately been discovered in the Arizona desert. But man's efforts did not change the climate in these regions. When his efforts ceased, the desert reoccupied the territory which he had for a time subdued to his needs."
". . . such as the great storm of 1889, originated by the intermingling of masses of warm air from the equator and cold air from the pole, and which cover a greater extent of the earth's surface than the territory of the United States, and then imagine the influence of any semiarid State lying in the pathway of such a disturbance, we can understand that a whole series of States, much less the man with his plow, is unable to control climate."

Source: Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1908; The So-Called Change of Climate in the Semiarid West,  by Richard H. Sullivan, Local Forecaster, Weather Bureau, Wichita, Kansas

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Army Worm - A 19th Century Account of Infestations & How to Combat the Army Worm

THE ARMY WORM, Mark Vernon Slingerland, Bulletin 133. April, 1897. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.


"Apparently the native home of the army-worm is in North America, although it is known to occur in England, South America, India, Java, Maderia, Australia and New Zealand, thus making it nearly a cosmopolitan insect. However, it is known as an especially injurious insect only in the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains and in Canada. '' The region in which it especially flourishes extends from Iowa to Maine and from Texas to Alabama. East of the Blue Ridge Mountains its southerly range as an injurious species extends to North Carolina. The moth is often captured outside these limits and frequently in considerable numbers, but the caterpillar does not seem elsewhere to be a factor in agriculture.""

"1743 is always mentioned as the first army-worm year of which we have pretty definite proof. Perhaps it was the army-worm that appeared by the millions in Massachusetts in 1762 and ate up the corn. Graphic and definite accounts have been recorded of the ravages of the insect in New England in 1770 and 1790. The next army-worm year was in 1817, and since 1825 the insect has appeared in injurious numbers somewhere in the United States almost every year; but rarely, if ever, has the insect been destructive in the same locality in two successive years."

"The army-worm was known in the early chronicles as "the black worm;" just when it came to be known as "the army worm" we have not ascertained. Sometime in the latter part of the eighteenth century, a specimen of the adult insect—the moth, found its way into the then celebrated collection of a Mr. Francillon in London. Upon the breaking up and sale of that collection early in this century, this moth passed into the possession of a Mr. Haworth, who published a description of it in 1810; he named it unipunda, the white speck."

"It is a curious fact that no one seems to have discovered what the parents of the army-worms were like until 1855, when Mr. Kirkpatrick reared some of the moths in Ohio. It was not until 1861 that Dr. Fitch, then State Entomologist of New York, identified the army-worm moth as the same insect which had been described in England fifty years before."


During the spring and summer of 1896, the army-worm appeared in destructive numbers in portions of ten states, constituting what is probably the most serious outbreak of the pest known in the history of the country. In some states most of the damage was done in May, but usually it was the July brood which appeared in almost incredible numbers; in a few localities, however, it was not until September that the pest was seen in injurious numbers.

Nearly all kinds of field crops were ravaged by the caterpillars. Corn and oats seem to have suffered the most; there is no data upon which to base any definite estimates, but one may safely say that thousands of acres of these two crops alone were ruined by the worms in New York. In many localities, rye, barley, wheat, millet, meadows, pasture lands, and Hungarian grass suffered.

To fully realize the destructive capabilities of the insect one must see, no description will suffice, an army of the worms on the march and at work. In most cases, the caterpillars in each of these armies must have been numbered by the millions; even an approximate estimate of the number of worms in a single army would have been impracticable. Oftentimes when an army was marching across a lane or roadway, nearly the entire surface of the ground for several rods would be covered with the crawling mass of worms; one could not step without crushing several of them.

They soon strip all the leaves from the stalks of oats, rye, and similar plants, and often cut off many of the heads, leaving them uneaten on the ground. In one instance, a barn loomed up before the worms directly in their line of march, but nothing daunted, many of them valiantly scaled the perpendicular wall and soon succeeded in getting over the eaves onto the roof. Here, however, they met their Waterloo, either from the exposure on the heated shingles to the sun's rays or from other causes, and a windrow of dead worms was formed under the eaves.


". . . However, the worms can be prevented from entering other fields, and may, in many cases, be checked and killed even after they have entered a new field; in some cases, especially in corn fields, an advancing army may be stopped in the middle of the field and thus half of the crop saved. The simplest and most effectual method of doing this is to either dig a smooth-walled ditch, or plow several deep parallel furrows in front of the invading army; the perpendicular, smooth side of the plowed furrow should be towards the field to be protected. The worms not being readily able to scale the perpendicular wall of the ditch or furrow will drop back and begin crawling along the bottom seeking an easier place of ascent."

"If deep holes have been dug in the ditch or furrow at intervals of a few feet, the worms, in their wanderings, readily tumble into these holes and cannot get out. Bushels of them have been trapped in this way, and then killed with a little kerosene or by burning some straw scattered along the furrow. The holes or pits in the furrows are very essential to the success of this preventive method. It has been aptly said: "To one who has never before seen the army worm in its might, the sight of the myriads as they returned thwarted in their endeavors to cross a ditch or furrow, or of the living, moving, and twisting mass which sometimes fills a ditch to the depth of several inches, it is truly interesting." "

"In some soils a little extra work will be necessary to keep one side of the furrow perpendicular and to keep the earth loose and friable in the furrow; some accomplish the latter by dragging brush along the furrow. A ditch or several furrows well taken care of in this way will afford an almost impassable barrier to the worms, as many, who followed the directions carefully last year, can testify. It is such an easy matter to make a furrow and as one is not so effectual a barrier as a ditch, we advise that two or more parallel furrows be made, so that the worms which may scale the first one will be confronted by another."

"A strip of coal tar will effectually stop the worms as long as it remains sticky, but it has to be renewed once or twice a day and is thus expensive."

"When the worms can be confined to a small area by a ditch, it may be practicable to spray this area with a strong Paris green mixture to poison the worms. Sometimes much can be done to lessen their numbers by drenching with Paris green a narrow strip of the crop on the side toward which the army of the worms are marching, or even a strip just ahead of the worms in an infested field. A bran mash, to which enough Paris green has been added to give it a distinct greenish tinge, scattered about where the worms are at work will attract and poison many of them."

"In fighting army-worms, it is necessary to act quickly, for a day's delay often means the destruction of an acre or more of a promising rye, corn, oat, or hay crop. Stop the onward progress of the worms, or confine them in a limited area if practicable, with ditches or deep furrows in which holes have been dug every 10 or 15 feet. Then kill as many of the worms as possible, either in the holes in the furrows, or by the use of poisons, or invite the poultry to a feast."
European Whitestorks feeding on Army Worms, Soysambu Conservancy,

"What a feast many of the birds, including chickens and turkeys, had last year in those localities where the army-worm was numerous. On July 23d, Mr. L. T.Yeomans, of Walworth, N. Y., wrote us: "We think we have disposed of the greater share of our army-worms. The birds were our greatest helpers. They came in flocks—blackbirds, thrushes, and even the English sparrow condescended to help."

"Mr. F. A. Sirrine, of the New York Experiment Station staff, has reported that in addition to the birds just mentioned, the cowbird, catbird, robin and the lark were seen feeding on the worms at Washingtonville, N. Y. He states: "It was at first doubted whether the sparrows were in the oat field on a legitimate errand, but close observation showed that each old bird was carrying from one to four worms to its young."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Predicting Rain - Popular Weather Sayings in the 19th Century

An enormous rainbow was in the sky from the Northeast to the Southeast yesterday evening, and it rained and thundered just to the Northwest - nary a drop fell on this sandy hill...........

"THE chief signal officer at Washington is seeking material for a collection of popular weather sayings, proverbs, and prognostics used throughout the country . . .  The writer does not vouch for the correctness of the prognostics. He gives them as they were given to him, and the reader may judge for himself as to their value. The divisions made by the chief signal officer are twenty-three in number." 
The Chief Signal Officer in D.C. collecting weather sayings?!  Here are a few of the 23 presented in Ballou's Monthly  Magazine, 1890 , and of course the very last one is the truest old saying of all :

**When there is a rainbow in the morning, there will be rain soon. When there is a rainbow at night, it will not rain the next day.
"A rainbow in the morning
Is the sailor's warning;
A rainbow at night
Is the sailor's delight."  

**A halo around the sun indicates that there will be rain or snow soon. If the sun rises clear and soon goes into a cloud, it will rain before night. If the sun shines while it rains, it will rain the next day. A sun dog, or mock sun, indicates that there will be stormy weather very soon.

**When in the morning you see the ground covered with webs covered with dew and dew on the ground around, it is a sign of rain before night, for the spiders are putting out umbrellas. But others say, " When the spiders put out their sunshades, it will be a hot day."

**If bats fly low and come into the house; if cattle lie down in the morning and chew the cud; if horses toss their heads, sniff, and are very uneasy; if rats and mice are restless and squeak; if swine are uneasy, grunt loudly, and squeal; if cats and dogs eat grass and sheep spring about more than usual. So also the proverbs:—
"When the ass begins to bray,
We surely shall have rain that day."
"When the donkey blows his horn,
'Tis time to house your hay and corn." 

**"All signs fail in a dry time."

Summer Born British White calves - Holding up Fairly Well in August 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

"In Texas the Drought now Extends from the Western Grazing Country Eastward to Louisiana"

I could almost imagine in the beginning of the article below that the writer was talking about the current Texas drought, that has indeed extended eastward to Louisiana. For certain, I find some degree of hopefulness in the future after reading about droughts of old that eventually corrected themselves. I know it will happen logically, but it is easy to start thinking it may never end! This old article is also a bit instructive of what conditions could be in Texas next Spring, if indeed we have no more rain.

I also found a very informative article on the Texas drought of 1984. I actually had no idea there had been one, but I wasn't much focused on rainfall in 1984. The drought of 1984 was severe and had devastating and long lasting consequences. Read "Dust to Dust", published in the Texas Monthly, October 1984, for an eye-opening hard truth in both words and photos of just how bad drought can be to a livestock producer.

The following weather observations are excerpts from:
Monthly Weather Review - By United States Army Signal Corps, United States, April 1887
J.West's S.S. Carter, (See Video clip)
Standing over a Water Leak to get Cool, August 2011

DROUGHT: "Although rain accompanied the area of low that crossed Texas, the Indian Territory, and Kansas on the 18th, yet at the end of the month the long drought was practically unbroken, except in Kansas, where the rainfall of the 18th was quite heavy. In Texas the drought now extends from the western grazing country eastward to Louisiana, but decreases in severity as it approaches the eastern boundary. In central and eastern Texas, embracing the principal cotton-growing counties of the state, only a few light showers have fallen during the mouth."

The following notes are from observers:

"At San Antonio, Tex., although light rain fell on the 4th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, and 16th, the total precipitation of the month was only 0.60 of an inch. Reports from adjoining counties indicate that their condition is even worse than the country immediately adjacent to San Antonio. The observer states that the dry grass from last year is exhausted, and as none has grown this spring the only forage for cattle is the prickly pear. Stock are dying rapidly. Numbers of families have deserted their homes and farms in search of a more favored locality. All hope of making the usual grain crop this season has been abandoned."

"New Ulm, Austin Co., Texas.: all interests are suffering from the drought; cattle are in need of grass and water; corn and cotton are in bad condition and will have to be replanted if rain falls. The normal April rainfall for this section, as deduced from the observations of the past fifteen years, is 3.84 inches; the total of the current month is only 0.17 inch, and is the least that has fallen in any April during that time. The normal rainfall of the seven months ending April 30th is 31.70 inches; the total amount of the corresponding months in 1880-'87 is 7.92, a deficiency of 23.78 inches. In 1873 eight inches of rain fell in April."

"Belleville, Republic Co., Kansas.: the first seventeen days of the month were remarkable for dry weather and the frequency and force of dust storms. On the 3rd and 9th, during wind storms, dust filled the air to such an extent that buildings one hundred feet distant were visible only at intervals.  Independence, Montgomery Co., Kansas.: the first heavy rain in this section since September 4, 1886, fell on the 16th and 17th. On the 3rd, during a wind storm, the sky was obscured by dust."
"Salina, Salina Co., Kansas.: the month has been unusually dry, the total precipitation, 2.06 inches, being the least that has fallen in any April during the past five years."

"Grand Coteau, Saint Landry Parish, La.: the total amount of rainfall for the five months from December, 1880, to April, 1887, inclusive, 12.20 inches, is less than one-half of the normal amount; the soil is dry and crops late."
"Tucson, Arizona.: cattle are dying in large numbers from want of water and food; the Rillito River is dry for the first time in many years."
J.West's Bountiful Brigit
 Having a Drink from the Sprinkler,  August 2011

 "It should be noted that the period of observation is not sufficient to enable a perfectly satisfactory deduction, but it is plain that there has been a marked increase in precipitation during the last twenty years. The apparent falling off in the last five years is not unexpected, and does not indicate a permanent diminution, as it is mostly due to the small amount in 1886, and there have been four annual records previously, with a greater falling off than in 1886. We may conclude that the scarcity of rainfall in 1886 is not unprecedented, and that from past observations there is no proof of a permanent diminution in precipitation. Many more years' observations will be needed to establish a marked secular variation."

Well, there certainly have been many more years of observation, about 125 years of observation and recording of weather in the USA.  This 1887 writer was no doubt right -- the scarcity of rainfall was not unprecedented -- and there was no permanent diminution in rainfall.  Of course, a climate change fanatic or global warming guru might point to the increase in numbers of methane belching cattle in the prairies of Texas, Louisiana and the Indian Territory as the primary culprit of the 1886/1887 drought -- and claim it was without precedence, and the humble bovine has been bringing on brutal heat waves in Texas ever since!