Monday, June 9, 2014


Langston Hughes

     Remember the term 'GREAT AMERICAN DESERT'.  This came from the early residents of America as the infinite sweep of the plains rolled before them.  Coming from lands that running water and trees in countless number were common.  The vastness of the plains with few prominate features was intimidating.
     Yet as people were bent on getting past the vast grassland to the promised Eden's of California and Oregon.  Some stopped and looked at the soil.  In many places found it rich and attractive to farm.  Plus the railroads had to sell the vast tracts it had been given as a way to pay for the building of the rail lines and creating the need for the rails.
      There was a vast pool of settlers waiting for the opportunity to own a piece of land all their own.  Immigrants coming to the teeming shores of a country who promised a future for the tired, poor, huddled masses, ghetto's full and those with the urge to move on and build something for themselves.
     The promoters who touted the tropical climate of the plains were not willing to acknowledge that this land is subject to regular and lengthy drought.  When conditions are good it became the bread basket of the world.  With the discovery of billions of gallons of water underground in aquifers it pushed back consciousness of the inevitability of the drought coming in the regular cycles as it always has.
      Many learn how to survive and thrive and live with the cycles of feast and famine that the plains are famous for.  On a tour with the Cattleman's Association one year my friend Ralph Chain of the Chain Ranches was asked what his philosophy was for dealing with conditions from year to year.  He replied that he instructs all his managers to act as if every year was a drought year and they would always come through.  It has been a successful strategy for them.
     I noticed an article in the Kansas City Star about how Russell Kansas is dealing with the drought.  Russell has had to take strong measures to deal with water shortages going so far as to outlaw the wasting of water.  Many of the residents are going to a 'modern' technique to save lawns and trees.  They are installing rain barrels.
     A standard of the old homestead was the collection of water into a cistern and many old places still have the pit and pump in place.  It was sometimes a real pain to use the cistern.  The water was collected from the roof and from time to time the sentiment had to be cleaned out.  Also the water would foul every so often when a mouse or some critter got in and drowned.  It would not be usable until the decaying offender was fished out or nature took its course.  Our forefathers were tuff.
     The modern water barrel collection is an economical way of using the resources as it comes.  Yet it was illegal in Colorado once to collect rain water.  Many publications claim that many states in the west prohibit it also but I have not been able to find that true.  However the 'State' has deemed ownership over most water and the EPA is in the process of implementing new rules on water.
     Many climate change advocates have not looked at the history of the Great Plains.  In the early part of the 19th Century there was a ten year drought  then again in the later part of the century.  Again in the 1930's the drought was nearly 10 years long.  There was a dry spell in the 1980's but the 20th Century was an anomaly in not having a severe late century drought.  During this period the same people who insist that we are in global warming, now climate change (the figures aren't there to support the warming) now the climate disaster that we are experiencing.  HUH?  It was known as global cooling.  We are due for this drought and lets hope that we are on the down hill slide.
     We have to take into account that this area we call home was once the bottom of a large ocean.  And also a part of it lay under glaciers .  So swings in global temperature are a natural reality. 
     Efficient use of resources is a good thing as just good practice.  Advancement in technology is a good thing.  It is when alarmist rhetoric is used to scare people into things that are not well thought out or are thought out as a way to grab power.
     The dire prediction that the world would be starving if population control is not implemented has been proven wrong, as time goes on, and agriculture and technology has kept ahead.  When the dire predictions started corn was making top yield of 60 bushel/acre.  Now the norm is over 200.  The same in many other crops.  In energy, agriculture, medicine and technology the pace that what we produce will continue to soar as long as artificial and arbitrary limits are kept off.  This means Governments and organizations that have nothing more than the desire to control, will need to be put aside.
      The most important thing is that mankind as a whole needs to quit controlling what they do not know anything about and support those who do.  This is difficult

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