As spring bursts forth, I’m reminded of a pretty fun part of our history on the farm.
Iowa has the largest percentage of disturbed land in the U.S. So much of this state has been converted to a food (and unfortunately fuel) factory, that it is good to have a reminder of our roots. Roadsides and plots of prairie provide scattered museums of historical landscapes. Rome was not built in a day and the best farmland in the world took even longer. But Iowa has the most useful land. Projects to restore some land to demonstrate the origin of this gift require seeds.
Wildflower seeds don’t make you smell like hogs. We raised pigs for 25 years and they can be like war. The buildings, concrete, and knees were worn out and our help (kids) was deserting us. The hog business was all moving indoors. On a trip in the car Dawn said, “I can’t see you working in a confinement building.” She is so wise. Wildflower seeds could keep us busy. We had been growing soybeans for seed and knew something about seed production.
We partnered with a nice fellow from Walnut, Iowa. He got us some Iowa Ecotype seeds from UNI (University of Northern Iowa). Why a teachers’ college instead of the Iowa State agriculture program as that source is a mystery. The government certified the seeds to be from native Iowa plants. That stamp of approval cost plenty. We planted Rough Blazing Star, Purple Prairie Clover, and Pale Purple Coneflower in 30 inch rows.
All these plants emerge once the weather is good and warm. I could let the first flush of weeds come up and spray Roundup. Then without further disturbance of the soil weeding was minimized.
Our ridge-till planter was ideal for forming a narrow seedbed but the seeds were placed by hand on about an acre of land by the house. We also planted three and a half acres of a native grass called Side Oats Grama on the edge of a crop field. I drove the empty planter over the ridges and then seeded the grass pushing an Earthway garden seeder. Then I pressed the seeds into the soil with my motorcycle. A few days later the fine first leaves of the Side Oats emerged.
Three days after that I noticed a different, wider leaf. These were Crabgrass leaves. That expensive certified seed was contaminated. I called the professor at UNI and he said, “Just keep it mowed for a few years.” Haha. He probably didn’t even know that Side Oats grows in an upright habit, while everyone else knows how Crabgrass grows, ducking under the mower blades. We pay these people.
Our last load of hogs went 12 miles to town on my birthday many years ago. As the last hog stepped off the trailer the hitch popped up off the ball. I had forgotten to secure it. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.
He Still Made a Boogeyman of China Though
This is about Tucker Carlson. An acquaintance told me, when I suggested she watch an interview he did with Kyle Rittenhouse, that he was simply an entertainer like those on CNN and MSNBC.
He is now gone from Fox News but still under contract, which helps muzzle him regarding his relationship with the network. Tucker was certainly the goose who laid the golden egg for Fox. No other personality came close to his viewership, with 3.5 million viewers per night; one million more in each time slot before and after his show. One has to wonder why the Murdochs would gore the goose.
Let’s go back to February when Blackrock, the embodiment of woke megabusiness, bought 15% of Fox. Blackrock and Vanguard have long been trying to shape the economy to support anti-market unsustainable industries. For some reason those who the market blesses find flaws and try to subvert it. Could these funds have put their ideals ahead of the survival of Fox?
Five days before Carlson and Fox “parted ways” Tucker said, “Ask yourself, is any news organization you know so corrupt that it’s willing to hurt you on behalf of its biggest advertisers?”
The numbers speak to this question.
Vanguard and Blackrock own less than $750 million of Fox. That seems like a lot. But they have about $225 billion invested in pharmaceutical companies. The investments in Big Pharma amounted to 300 times the funds’ investments in Fox. Fox is expendable when compared to the losses the pharmaceutical industry would suffer if the facts ceased to be ignored about efficacy and safety of the taxpayer-purchased vaccines.
In 2020, Pfizer spent $12 billion on sales and marketing and $9 billion on research and development. Johnson & Johnson spent $22 billion on sales and $12 billion on R&D. Their focus was obviously on sticking it to the people over finding solutions to sickness.
Before I grew tired of editors telling me what I could write, one of them called Ukraine an ally of the United States. He said I was “unpatriotic” for questioning the wisdom of staying involved in their war. He probably thought Tucker Carlson was an entertainer and preferred his news from “real journalists,” that is, the ones who only read government press releases.
It’s amazing to think that the billions thrown away at Ukrainian corruption are dwarfed by the drug company profits. But it’s still real money. Anecdotally there are just as many “COVID cases” today as there was last year but apparently people are simply sick of anti-social diktat and don’t see any benefit from them.
At any rate, the defense (hahaha) industry and drug companies withholding advertising money was not enough to make a few enthusiastic real patriots skeptical of government policies. Fortunately for these companies most people have thrown up their hands and prefer to simply enjoy life as the republic dissolves and the middle class sinks. Our grandchildren will see these Central American immigrants as brothers in a common mess but we will have enjoyed life.
Tucker will not go away, neither will the apathy. Sophie Scholl didn’t stop the Nazis either.
Letter on tucker Carlson to Wall Street Journal
In “Carlson Is Out at Fox News After Dominion Disclosures” (April 25 Journal) the punchline comes near the end of the story where it states that Democrats and Republicans criticized Carlson for airing previously unaired footage of the January 6 “attack on the U.S. Capital.”
With other journalists turning up dead or in exile as well, it’s looking like the sort of government my father warned me about in the Cold War days is here. In a free country, citizens are allowed to sift through as much information as possible. We shouldn’t have that job done for us.
It’s unfortunate that Mr. Carlson made disparaging remarks about fellow Fox employees that led to his departure because he was a rare voice for skepticism of the status quo that is sorely needed today.
Found outside the former Women’s Museum in Denmark
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The grass is starting to get tall and hide the junk in the road ditches. We’ve already scoured ours for trash and returnable cans and bottles. I think Earth Day is in April. I remember a big hubbub being made about it in 1970 when we were all freaked out about global cooling.
Mostly, people organized around cleaning up litter. Some people liked to protest the modern world… without a rational alternative such as selling (or burying) their car and buying a horse to get around. Earth Day gave us a chance to grieve the destruction of the oceans as well. My kids will remind me of how many times they’ve heard this story.
I was a child in Southern California and surfing was the thing. Big rainstorms occasionally broke the desert monotony. Sewage treatment plants overflowed and the ocean became like our road ditch, a place for waste.
There were some mighty fine brown waves out there. Dirk and I knew about as much about biology as Ketanji Brown Jackson. We paddled out. Finally, exhausted, we sat in the parking lot soaking wet as a cop pulled up. I forgot to mention the quarantine signs. Well, he wrote us both a ticket for disobeying the quarantine.
That night I woke up with a problem of my own. Waste was being eliminated from both ends and I alarmed my poor mom as I screamed with each cramp. We had moved to Newport recently as an attempt for Mom to get a change after the divorce. We hadn’t acquired a family doctor yet so she found one in the Yellow Pages. He came to our house! He gave me a shot that calmed me down.
At my court date I told the judge that my illness had been enough punishment. He sorta bought it, reducing my fine from $45 to $15.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a swirling layer of mostly plastic between California and Hawaii, get this, 620,000 square miles in area. Plastic bottles, fishing nets, and probably a few rubber duckies form a base for neopelagic life. It’s a purely chaotic version of the Kevin Costner movie, “Waterworld.”
My final year of high school finally brought love of school with Mr. Hurst and Biology class. We made collections; plants, insects, and sea life. The sea life, we found at low tide along rocky shorelines. The Garbage Patch supports a replica of our shorelines with sea anemones, crabs, hydroids, oysters, and mussels; 46 different species colonized on 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. Before plastic, the open ocean was a lifeless wasteland, sorta.
In the 1970s we were convinced that we would be starving in the ’80s. In the early 2000s 97% of scientists warned we would be cooked by now. India is about to pass China as the most populous nation. I look at my lettuce and can’t imagine enough California farmland exists to continue to feed us. Maybe Biden, Putin, and Zelenski have a plan to reduce demand for food. We should capitalize on the Garbage Patch. There’s 620,000 square miles of untapped life out there.
Eighty percent of the Garbage Patch is discarded on land. So we can do our part by littering! Our litter is like soil is to land-based crops. Do your part to feed the world. Throw that bottle in the street on its way to the storm drain. We are saved.