Lucas Wooge

Talked to Lucas Wooge tonight. He bought 19 of our fine young cows. We sold them to lighten our load as I had hurt my back and my knee was pretty screwed-up. BTW, my back is better and my knee is too, though far from good.

Lucas is a young father of 6 kids, two to eleven. He says the cows are doing their job well, without human interference.

It might seem odd, but we are glad the sun was out and Lucas made it to the sale barn that day with only one competing bidder. We loved those girls, who we raised from newborns and it warms our hearts to see them helping a young farmer.

Lucas mentioned that not many people want to do what he (and we) are doing. I think that has more to do with the dwindling of the nation’s cow herd than it is given credit for. We can’t wait for better conditions to do our work. Rain or shine, cows that need attention, get it. Or the farmer goes broke.

Government schools and the parents taken in by the propaganda convince kids college is the only option and hard work will be for someone else if only they get good grades and go to college. I pity them for never having earned the rewards of caring for animals for profit.


Logging Camp

This column is a continuation of last week’s story of my trip to work in Alaska. I am writing this story to give background to the opinions expressed in The Alternative. There is no such thing as unbiased news. The messenger’s background is as important as the message itself. So as you read The Alternative be mindful of the basis of my opinions.


Last week we left off as I caught a float plane to logging camp at Rowan Bay on Kuiu Island. Kuiu is east of Baranof, on which Sitka is located. Ordinarily a plane would fly around the end of Baranof to get across the channel to Kuiu in order to stay below the clouds.


But, oh boy, we had a clear day. It was like threading a needle as we were off the water but under the McConnell Bridge on take-off. That little four-place Cessna felt like an amusement park ride as it raced to clear a craggy pass. I felt like I could reach out and touch the rocks and snow just beyond the wingtips. Soon we made a gradual decent across the channel and onto a glassy Rowan Bay.


The camp had a mess hall, a generator shed with a huge diesel generator, an office with commissary and bunk houses made out of mobile homes. The generator shed had a changing room attached so a big fan blew warm air through the room to dry our clothes overnight.


Machine operators could bring their families to live at camp. The kids went fishing while we were at work so we had salmon or halibut every other night for supper. It was pretty fun to see the little kids hauling these huge fish home as we rode in from work in the evening. The other nights we enjoyed New York strips. Loggers require huge amounts of calories. Vegetarians would whither and get hauled away. We could take a steak to work in foil and put it on the yarder’s intake manifold and the chaser would send them out on the rigging for lunch.


The type of logging we did was called high-lead. The yarder was a tower that folded down for transport, built on an old army tank. The tower served the same purpose as a topped tree used to; to gain elevation for dragging the logs. Roads were built with large crushed rock over the soft ground.


The rigging was attached to the mainline at one end and haulback at the other. It looked like a giant fishing swivel and had several places to attach chokers. The chokers had a bell that slid on the cable and a nubbin on the end that went around the log and fit in a keyhole shape in the bell to choke the log. The mainline was heavy cable to pull the logs to the landing. The haulback pulled the rigging back out to the words. It was lighter, so it was pretty dangerous when a log got stuck behind a stump and the yarder operator had to maneuver the log backwards around the stump. If the haulback snaps nothing in its path survives. There were various ways to set chokers so the logs would get a good start around obstacles. It was a time to celebrate, like finding a new calf, when a tricky set avoided a jam.


All this happened on steep mountainsides while climbing over brush and log piles up to twenty feet deep. There is no selective cutting in high-lead for a couple of reasons. It would be impossible to pull the logs through standing timber and all the trees depend on each other for support. The roots form a shallow network over rocks and clay and a wind would topple any tree left standing alone.


A forest is like our evolved civilization. There is nothing wrong with being dependent on each other. This dependence is at the root of the joy we feel as human beings.


Next week I will wrap up the Alaskan adventure with the human side of the story.




Letter to the War Street Journal about “monument sprawl.”

Dear Editor,


There are too many great things to learn from General Eisenhower for Mr. Geduling to mention in his letter about the article on monument sprawl ( June 20 WSJ). But his mention of a monument to FDR brought to mind a whole world of opportunity for the monument business.


How about a monument exposing the wrong way to do things. For instance, my folks got divorced when I was a teenager and it changed my life. The example of that failed marriage has helped produce thirty-five years of devotion and compromise for my wife and myself, as I was determined not to make the same mistakes.


A monument across the street from whatever FDR monument there might be should have the inscription, “ FDR: He perpetuated the sixteen year Great Depression, initiated the disastrous social reforms that have nearly destroyed our concept of self sufficiency and neighborliness, and led us into Europe’s war to make it into a world war.”


I was responding to this:

June 19, 2014 5:42 p.m. ET

In response to Catesby Leigh’s “Monuments: Curbing Memorial Sprawl” (Leisure & Arts, June 4):

Regarding Mr. Leigh’s criticisms of “memorial sprawl,” he should know that today’s memorializations are often more complex than those of the past. An obelisk may be enough to celebrate the Father of our Country, and a seated, brooding figure enough to commemorate freeing the slaves.

Their stories are well-told. But for others, we need to educate as well as commemorate, or their remarkable achievements may fade to obscurity. Take FDR: Space is needed to tell young audiences that he brought America through the Great Depression, initiated extraordinary social reforms, and led the nation though World War II. Even more complex is the Eisenhower Memorial, which even Congress mandated should commemorate him both as general and president.

To commemorate Ike-the-General, who saved Western civilization and Ike-the-President who, among other things, kept the peace during the Cold War, built America’s highway system and ushered in the Space Age with NASA, it seemed appropriate to have a New World design that looks forward toward America’s heartland.

Alfred Geduldig


Dwight D. Eisenhower

Memorial Commission



Two letters in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal on race and poverty I’d like to share.


Back Then, We Helped One Another

My black and white friends were nurtured by their families to learn and work hard to develop their full potentials. All the youth were supported by the entire black and white communities.

  • June 19, 2014 5:44 p.m. ET

    In response to Jason L. Riley’s June 17 op-ed “How Not to Help Black Americans“:

    I am a white guy who grew up in an inner-city neighborhood abutting a heavily black neighborhood. As kids in the 1950s youngsters from both communities swam in the same swimming pool, went to the same schools, attended the same local facilities for youth, such as the local Police Athletic League gym, etc.

    My black and white friends were nurtured by their families to learn and work hard to develop their full potentials. All the youth were supported by the entire black and white communities.

    Both communities had a vested interest in helping their youth succeed. Most everyone made efforts to help all their neighbors any way they could.

    During the War on Poverty the government went beyond ensuring racial equality. The government bulldozed that black neighborhood and replaced it with a government-built housing project with federal and state-run social programs that were supposed to help the black community and its youth. Instead it created an insular ghetto with which the neighboring communities have little positive interaction.

    Sam Brown

    Cape May, N.J.


    Mr. Riley is correct in writing that “until those in the black underclass develop the work habits, behaviors and attitudes that proved necessary for other groups to rise, they will continue to struggle.”

    One relatively simple way of achieving this is to end the war on drugs, the costs of which disproportionately fall on poor blacks.

    The vicious cycle of perpetual harassment at the hands of police, high levels of incarceration and an economic environment in which lucrative profits can be had through the drug trade has done more than any other government policy in keeping poor blacks poor and dependent.

    The war on drugs, combined with antipoverty programs has contributed to the tearing apart of community networks that encourage the family life and work ethic necessary for black advancement in the first place.

    Lucian McMahon

    Arlington, Va.

    TDI for sale

    Every now and then I go to Ebay and search for a B4V. This is the ultimate family car. Legislated out of existence by the oil lobby, These get 50 miles to a gallon of diesel all the time and hold 5 grown adults comfortably. They can burn homemade fuel, unlike the complex “compliant” Rube Goldberg monstrosities in cars today. Think of all the legislation (it really isn’t, of course because it is rules made by the Republican created EPA) that is claimed to clean the air, save (supposedly) dwindling oil supplies and rescue orphan newts. All this bureaucracy is a total waste but only in place to redistribute wealth to connected industry that can’t turn a profit without government management of an otherwise perfect system. I want one of these cars so bad. But they are now 17 years old and I’m 63. That means I’ll stick with the modern dependable gas powered Honda and skip the possible walk.

    Anarchy can’t come too soon. The statist roaches would scurry for cover and the market would demand a return of the B4V. 

    Check this out:

    Sonny Boy

    with Matt Murphy on Guitar and, of course, Otis Spann on piano.

    Something to listen to while contemplating which Islamic extremists should we ally with.
    The obvious answer is the one that controls the government because in the US these days government is god. Very sad.

    So just be happy and use your teeth on some healthy food while grooving to Sonny Boy Williamson.