Her Face at First Just Ghosty

The pigs were stinky, aggressive, and a lot of work. That’s why they are called the mortgage lifter. Few want to do it. Cattle are mellow. It’s no wonder the Hindus revere them so. Our numbers point to cattle as a hobby. Pets with a purpose, maybe a form of charity.

One in particular is endearing to me, like the heifer in Buster Keaton’s “Go West”, Ghosty has a full white face unlike the rest of our cows. She is so quiet. She seems to know we will provide without her having to fight over the feed. When we feed the cows in the winter and our system requires us to lock them out while we distribute the feed, we open the gate and she’s always the last one in. She is a descendent of Old Number Two.

Old Number Two was purchased from Jeff, who acquired her because there was no other buyer at the sale barn willing to buy an old bag of bones like her. She raised a calf each of four years and was getting pretty thin but we never got around to selling her. Then she had twins and raised them both, sorta unusual.

Ghosty was about 150 yards down on the north side of the drainage ditch when she gave birth to Casper. The next day they were near the road by some tall grass that was outside the electric fence. Dawn was nearby on the road when she heard Casper yowl like they do if they touch the fence. The next day I noticed Casper was curled up in the tall grass and hadn’t gotten up for a while.

It’s good to be careful with these babies because if spooked they will run away in some random direction. That’s why we quit ear tagging and vaccinating newborns. The bonding with the mother is more important at that age.

I decided to pull the calf under the fence to be by his mom. He didn’t struggle. He wouldn’t get up. We put him in the Ranger and took him home to feed him and check why he seemed brain-dead. He didn’t even know how to suck. He swallowed some milk but never sucked. We fed him with a tube a couple times but he never seemed to come around. We stood him up and went to the Municipal Band concert. He was still standing and exhausted when we returned home. He didn’t know how to lay down.

Ghosty barely threatened us as we loaded him in the Ranger. We appreciated her understanding as she seemed to know we meant well. There’s a fine line between a protective cow and a mean one. We have a neighbor who has 11 broken ribs and 2 punctured lungs because of a mean cow. They are big and strong and when the time comes their focus is on the baby.

Casper ended up dying. What started out as a vital, stumbling, bull calf turned into a beautiful body with no brain.

Doris (our Blue Heeler dog) and I go on patrol twice a day in the Ranger. I watch for thistles to spray and anything that needs attention with cattle and fences. Although the high tensile fence is mostly trouble free, the 17 gauge through the timber can be a problem, mostly because of deer. That light wire is what we have crossing the drainage ditch where Casper yowled. Maybe he was in contact with the fence too long.

New Zealanders say Americans underpower and overbuild. Most of the fence is high enough that calves can go under it. They never go far. Casper had pulled apart a splice so he made good (or bad) contact. Any place with that light wire is now higher than a calf’s head.

It’s almost been a week and Ghosty still looks at the Ranger like we are bringing back her baby, she ambles over and looks me in the eye, then turns and walks away.

Wake Up to the Real Issue

Recent events in our neighborhood have divided us and caused us to put off any real progress toward bridging that gap. A woman was refused a school principal job because she was branded as “woke.”

There is no conspiracy. A natural evolution of language, unrestrained by a protection of natural rights, is producing a situation where rights are either bound by the rights of individuals or the rights of groups.

Language couldn’t exist without labels. They simplify communication but in so doing the idea that individuals exist can be lost. Blame or credit is placed on groups even though individuals deserve it. In the checkout line at the store you smile and say, “Wow, eggs sure went up.” You say it to a person, not a race.

But in the public sphere such a thing as one-on-one relationships rarely exists. It’s Democrats, Republicans, the rich, people on the coasts, people in fly-over country, and so-on.

The popularity of communism is based on class struggle. Individuals are the enemy in communism. Communists claim that capitalists exploit or oppress “the worker” or proletariat. Government is looked to as the equalizer because it is not like that fellow human being in the checkout line. Its gifts seemingly come from nowhere. Gratitude is not necessary and the uncomfortable task of asking someone for help is avoided as we do our duty in the voting booth instead. Begging has become patriotic.

A friend posted this on Facebook:

“Woke means awakened to the needs of others. To be well informed, thoughtful, compassionate, humble, and kind. Eager to make the world a better place for all people. Be Woke.”

While resistance to “woke” comes mostly from individuals offended by the insinuation that they are full of hate toward minorities, there is a better reason to resist the woke meme.

Being woke seems to depend on relations between individuals being trivialized. Affirmative action, hiring quotas, and subsidies based on race or income are relied on in place of merit or personal choice. Each of these supposedly helpful solutions have a victim, the ones chosen to take a back seat or fund these programs.

The result is class warfare. While national socialism in Germany used Jews as a villain, communism or socialism in the Soviet Union and China used the productive or generationally wealthy classes as the villain. The proletariat was basically taught to hate rich people. Keep in mind that the communists were “Eager to make the world a better place for all people.” The general welfare demanded sacrifices be made by some, and that “better place” justified the means to that end.

Those “well informed, thoughtful, compassionate, humble, and kind” people who are proud to be woke lobby for the only entity who can legally use force (the government) to be their mercenary as they strive for that “better place”.

Statistics show steady progress after the Civil War for minorities in this country until Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Johnson’s policies incentivized replacement of fathers by government programs and generally reduced personal responsibility. Until Johnson, black people actually had more stable family situations and less violence than white people. Activists turned this situation around by claiming class struggle was more important than individual achievement.

The general welfare of the country cannot be improved by penalizing productive people through wealth transfers to unproductive people. The “better place” that woke people claim to desire was growing organically without, and then in spite of government intervention because truly productive people saw that skin color or other differences had little effect on their choices when profit was of paramount importance.

That’s the beauty of capitalism and the beauty of individualism. Anyone who views history objectively can see it. People like Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement are emblematic of the oligarchs of the Soviet Union where all business was funneled through government and the natural discipline of the market was stifled.

The conflict we have today is not between races, political parties, woke or asleep. It is between the notion that individuals need to sacrifice their dignity to a mob, or respect each person as they should themselves.

My old friend Butler Shaffer sums it up here:

“Civilizations are created by individuals. They are destroyed by collectives.”

Moron the Wild Seed Business

Our state representative arranged a visit to the state prison in Rockwell City to see their (our) wildflower growing operation there. As we went through the heavy gates the buzzers and clanking had a bit of a foreboding feel. I kept in mind that they would let us out, but still…

The men in that prison grew food for the rest of the state’s prisons. They mostly averted their eyes as we toured the facility. The neat rows of staked tomatoes contrasted with the wildflower seed operation. There didn’t seem to be a lot of interest there. Harvest was accomplished by chopping off all the plants of a variety and then removing the seeds. This seemed odd to us as we knew most varieties ripen over a period of time. The early ripened seeds fall to the ground if not caught at the right time. The later ripening seeds would not be viable if picked too early. Their harvesting method wasted about 90% of the seeds. But then, what did they care?

It was hard to properly harvest our own seeds. We made several calls to the high school looking for help offering way more than a burger flipper wage. The only taker was the son of a friend who found his back couldn’t take it.

We called a guy who we had sold hay to looking for help because he would stand and watch as his Hispanic helpers loaded the hay. I swear unless we could call useful work “sports”, this country would come to a standstill without these people who slip past the guards at the southern border. Larry brought three ladies out to help. One was very pregnant. They plugged away, doing a perfect job of picking the right seeds. Dawn tried to get them to take a break to no avail. Their appreciation for the opportunity shone brightly. And we appreciated them.

The professor at UNI apparently had a mental block regarding a logical solution to the crabgrass contamination of the sideoats grama. Keeping it mowed was like a naughty older brother telling a sibling to go play in the street. Lucky for us preemergence herbicides have been a mainstay in production agriculture for years. They prevent germination of annuals. With timely cultivation, the sideoats survived the competition from the weeds and an early spraying stopped the crabgrass the next year.

With society’s focus on recreation as such an important part of our happiness I feel like an outlier enjoying work so much. Looking at a small field of rough blazing star (native form of liatris) in bloom after such intense care is more than just rewarding. After the seeds develop they are attached to feathery little umbrellas like dandelions. Any breeze can cause them to blow away. To harvest them we used a Shop Vac. We gently threaded the long wand down over the stalk and any seeds that were mature would be sucked off.

Once harvest was through, we took the seeds to Walnut on our way to Thanksgiving at my dad’s place. We would be paid according to the amount after cleaning. It was still a question how well we would be compensated for all the hand weeding and careful harvesting.

After repeated attempts at collecting payment, Dawn was on the phone with the buyer and mentioned that she had to hang up to call a lawyer. Even though that call was about some unrelated family matter, we soon received a check. The guy didn’t really mean to stiff us. He simply liked production and not office work, like me. How fortunate I am that Dawn doesn’t mind book work.

– A note on a previous column: Sophie Scholl was an anti-war protester in Nazi Germany. A German movie with English subtitles is available on YouTube for free that tells of her trial and activities (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrbBlXqc1Is&t=460s). It shows how ruthless the Nazis were, and today we can be thankful for what rights are still protected by the Constitution here. Brittney Griner woke up to that fact after her stay in Russia. Julian Assange still waits and I wonder how sophisticated the suppression of natural rights is regarding self-censorship.

Letter to Chronicle about column urging us to write to thieves and con artists

Dear Editor,

Peter Bergel writes in the April 26 Chronicle that we should tell the three presidents of Ukraine, Russia, and the United States to stop the war. This is pure virtue signaling in the same way driving an EV and recycling will stop climate change. It will feel good and do nothing.

Biden, or his handlers, promoted the Ukraine war by moving military operations closer to Russia through NATO. In times of peace major industry in the U.S. suffers, as it is built on perpetual war. The war in Ukraine is an economic development project similar to how covid vaccinations made Pfizer one of the richest corporations in the world. They both use big government to soak the productive class to benefit unnecessary business.

Taxpayers have no say in the billions spent destroying Ukraine or crippling healthy people with experimental drugs. But they are easily rallied around supposed existential threats.

Our representatives are beholden to their donors in the pharmaceutical and defense industries. Real journalists like Glenn Greenwald try to expose war crimes committed by western powers but they don’t make it into widely distributed conversation. The Air Force National Guardsman exposed documents that showed a much higher casualty rate for Ukrainians than Russian troops and that U.S. troops are on the ground in Ukraine. This information is detrimental to the military-industrial complex. It exposes a government that doesn’t care about the destruction of Ukraine and its people as long as it is profitable. And all the profits come from us taxpayers.

Letters I’ve written to our representatives elicit canned responses with little relationship to my inquiry. Presidents won’t care either.

It’s the Truth, It’s Natural, But Is It Satisfactual?

There still appears to be sporadic push-back on the fiction as fact movements. Gender diaspora is the most obvious… Bud Light? I have a friend who is pretty upset about Dylan Mulvaney pretending to be a woman. So what? In a way if a guy wants to act like a girl the only time it should be an issue is if he wants to be where girls expect an exclusively female space, like locker rooms, bathrooms, or in sports where male bodies have an advantage.

Transgender people have a natural right to do whatever they want as long as another’s rights are not violated. I find it odd that church-going Christians can come down on this guy when a major theme of Jesus’ life was peace through loving others as ourselves.

On the other hand, a man calling himself a woman is simply a lie. If we look at the net effect of all these people, including so-called conservatives, calling this guy “she” is an acceptance of lies as truth. Mulvaney now wants people who call him a man arrested.

I happened to see an old friend last night who had shared a ProPublica article stating that The South would soon be so hot as to be uninhabitable. Well. As far back as I can remember none of these dire predictions have come true. Yet Doug Casey has run the numbers. So far, world wide, $5 trillion have been devoted to humans attempting to control of climate. If you go with the common fairy-tale that waste like that has no impact on our daily lives, you must be happy.

On to Target in San Francisco. Much of their merchandise is locked up waiting for an employee to access it for customers. Shoplifting has gone mainstream. People are being convinced more and more that their unfulfilled desires are the fault of someone else. That leads to excused dishonesty. Four out of the eight Walmarts in Chicago are closing. They’ve been losing millions of dollars per year. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the closings will, “create barriers to basic needs for thousands.”

Thousands have been convinced they are oppressed and deserve compensation from “big corporations,” a typical Marxist theme. Will the hoards of thieves fan out from the South and West Sides to decimate retailers in the suburbs? At what point will equity be realized and peace be restored?

On to Portland. REI has closed its outdoorsy store there. I remember going to the original REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) in Seattle as a youngster. It was in a remodeled warehouse; very frugal and selling practical gear to assist people to weather the outdoors. It’s fitting that they close the Portland store as many hipsters have adopted the Marxist meme and abandoned the meaning of the word “private”. As a reminder; “yours” and “mine” are two separate things.

A young man has been arrested for “leaking” government documents. A lack of truth can be a lack of information. Judge Andrew Napolitano revealed that those documents show Ukrainian casualties are running seven times greater than those of Russian invaders. How many people believe Ukraine is fighting a successful campaign against Russia? If this is the kind of secret our government is hiding from us, we have a serious problem with runaway government.

Our government’s abandonment of the “yours” and “mine” definitions have a scorecard. Our tax dollars that were once “mine” have now been used to kill 350,000 people in Ukraine. Respect for the truth would have that score at zero.

Another letter to the WSJ

Dear Editor,

In “Clean-Energy Push Provokes Backlash”, May 9 Journal, permitting processes, meetings and percentages fill the article.

In a paper about markets it seems odd that there is no mention of Warren Buffett’s quote on the subject of windmills, “…on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

We have energy in the ground to continue to finance this miraculous country. But $3 trillion is being spent on unnecessary alternatives because of a theory linking that energy to climate change. What else could be done with that money?

An other letter to the WSJ

Dear Editor,

It is interesting to note what is left out of the debate on Tik Tok (Tik Tok Feeds Teens a Diet of Darkness, May15). In desperately looking for ways to make China appear to be our enemy, data theft and negative thoughts are trotted out as dangers we face here in the USA.

In China children are groomed to be better citizens. In the USA they are groomed as victims of Tik Tok or whatever other villain is handy (drugs, racism, economic exploitation, climate change).

The shocking statistic of 16% of kids constantly on Tik Tok makes me wonder who will do productive work?

Douyin, the Chinese version of Tik Tok, limits visits to 40 minutes and doesn’t allow overnight use. Chinese kids utilize Tik Tok as an educational tool. Tik Tok in the USA encourages addiction, depression and isolation.

What’s most disturbing is that the authoritarian government of China is starting to make more sense as parents here throw up their hands.

Chocolate Milk ban

Federal school lunch programs will cease to have chocolate milk. Sugar is the culprit. I remember it as a highlight of my school day as the classes and regimentation mostly made me want to do something fun and educational instead.

Another way to look at the ban would be the damage the free lunch program has done to our country, encouraging students to believe there is a free lunch (Hello Dr. Friedman). Now, a wide swath of them graduate and wait for free stuff, whether it comes from ethanol mandates or WIC.

Free stuff is never a temporary fix. The lasting effects are crippling our country. It’s not the sugar.