Thursday, December 29, 2011

I wait

December 29, 2011.

Another year almost gone. I try to remember the good things, but can’t.

Some speak of destruction by fire; I saw that this year, only the fire was sun, no rain, relentless dry scorching weather, day after day, week upon week, months….

Damn near the whole year.

I am told half a billion trees died in Texas alone.

It started raining about a month ago. Slow, steady, light but soaking rain. With the rain came cold. The moisture will pay dividends down the line, but now, cold and wet suck life from animals forced to endure without hay to fill their guts.

Aquifers, lakes and livestock ponds remain precariously low despite the recent showers. I have no clue what the new year will bring.

I’ve lived with a cloud overhead, a sense of impending doom I can’t seem to shake.

And I have been hard on myself. I didn’t fix the front tooth I broke while biting a cow’s ear and I didn’t fix the broken bone in my right hand when I hit yet another cow in the head; both remind me of my shortfalls, my lack of patience and my horrible temper.

And these are milk cows with which I have an intimate relationship, involving a considerable amount of trust.

I’ve hurt others I love as well. Wasn’t my intention, but it is what it is. I feel terrible for what I have done.

A friend says don’t do that anymore, when I describe my travails.

I tell him I try. But it seems the default state in me; in the blink of an eye or one unguarded moment I do things that permanently alter the landscape, and later leave me in a state of despair.

I’ve killed a notable number of animals this year; some for food, some out of a sense or mercy or duty as they lay suffering. I wonder if I shall see them again, this long, long line whose last minute on this earth was spent staring into my cold blue eyes.

Will they, can they forgive me?

I have helped some in need; I have denied many more.

It’s as though God has turned his back, like my prayers somehow don’t quite reach through the fog and the noise and the confusion of this world.

I tire of seeing evil prosper. I tire of liars and propagandists, who set traps and spew deceitful words against the righteous.

I despise the haughty looks of the rich, their glass towers and fine linens and sparkly jewelry and soft hands with manicured nails, fine tailored clothes and wafts of perfume and cologne, delicate morsels of food served on silver and china-ware, while waiters and waitresses smile for tips to feed the kids at home.

I detest those that sit in towers overlooking cities below, devising their schemes, planning their wars, creating money from thin air in seemingly endless amounts, while the rest suffer and strain to earn a living.

And in the next breath, their counterparts say we need more fucking taxes.

You make money out of thin air to do whatever you want when you want and how you want. Why then do you need to tax the rest of us that have to earn our money the hard way?

You borrowed the money. You pay it back.

Here’s the deal. I say no. I do not sign off on this. Do what you will but do so without my blessing.

I remain a criminal without a crime, a warrior set aside.

And I wait.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joe Rogan interviews Michael Ruppert

I watched and listened to most of this last night. It's long, over two hours, a free-for-all conversation, interspersed with humor and a wide gammit of important subjects.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening in and I think I learned a thing or two.

However, I must issue a warning: you'll have to wade through a bit of shit to get to the gems. But they are there.

PODCAST #170 - Michael Ruppert, Brian Redban from JoeRogan on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No excuses

I remember thinking when America elected George W. Bush the first time, Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

When bush got re-elected after people had four years to see the kind of fellow he was, that prayer no longer applied.

First the Republican party failed and then the nation at large failed.

Now Democrats continue throwing rocks at any and all challengers from across the aisle and they have, well who the fuck do they have running against Barack Obama in the primary…

No excuses. You know who this son-of-a-bitch is, and you’re going to nominate him again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hopi prophesies

I find this quite interesting.

In particular where the Great Spirit refers to himself as the first and the last.

Another thought: Jesus wasn't a Christian.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Leah and I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The story is complex, interesting, the acting superb. Best movie I have seen in a couple of years.

Go see it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

David Icke

I tend to disregard Icke's talk about reptilian overlords, etc. However, I think he gets it right here, aside, perhaps, from his views on climate change:



Part 2

Monday, December 12, 2011

West Texas

Lifted a link from another blog to a beautiful photographic essay of West Texas:

Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A deflationary argument

Nicole Foss presents a compelling argument for a deflationary collapse here:

Look Back, Look Forward, Look Down. Way Down.

Monday, December 5, 2011

EROEI

Those that study the phenomenon of peak oil will be aware that finding energy increasingly is becoming more expensive, not only from a dollar and cents point of view but also when calculating energy returned over energy invested. The common example offered suggests that in the early days of oil production, a well might return 100 barrels of oil for every 1 barrel of oil invested to find and extract it. During the 1970’s that number had fallen to 30 returned over 1 invested. Now the number is said to be about 3 to 1.

Hence the frenetic activity in South Texas as the Eagle Ford Shale project continues full bore. Roads have become crowded with arrays of massive hunks of steel: pumps and rigs and tanks and other devices used to frack wells and semi-trucks carrying joints of pipe in endless queues. Near Gonzales a monstrosity of a gathering station has formed in what just a couple of years ago was a cow pasture; multiple parallel rails usher tanker cars into filling facilities looking like nuclear reactors with doors in the side. A nearby pipe yard covers land measured in square miles instead of acres.

For what it’s worth, I am convinced the money fostering this activity is one step removed from the now smoking printing press of the Federal Reserve, and comes with the seal of approval of the United States Government. No company on the face of this earth has the money to do this without the subsidization and backing of world banks and governments.

Make no mistake: there is oil in this shale. It’s light and sweet and it’s being produced in a big way. But it’s costing more than ever to extract. The nature of shale is that it produces short lived wells so the only way to keep up production is to continue drilling, fracking and building additional production facilities.

There comes a point when the return is not worth the investment. And you can’t accurately determine that point on cost projections, for things often cost more in hindsight than anticipated beforehand. Those issuing positive forecasts tend to have vested interests; they are being paid well in a time when jobs are hard to find, as are those that own the land on which this activity takes place.

I am beginning to see an agricultural equivalent as the cost of energy continues to rise. People think the cost of food is high, but the cost of fuel, parts and supplies necessary to carry an industrial farm double at astounding rates. Commodity prices that would have been considered over the top just a couple of years ago now barely pay the bills. Truth is, modern farming now survives on subsidies not unlike those that power modern oil companies. Left to our own devices, we'd all be broke.

I read the other day that in Afghanistan, it costs the US military between $400 and $1,000 for a gallon of gasoline.

I wonder how long that equation works?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mexican drought

The drought map I usually see stops at the Mexican border.

This one presents a more accurate view of the size and scope of the drought currently afflicting Texas and Northern Mexico.

And it seems to be growing...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your New American Dream

James Howard Kunstler's thinking this fine morning is so in line with mine that I pirated what he said, word for word, for your reading pleasure. Please don't sue me, James:

By James Howard Kunstler
on November 28, 2011 9:52 AM


It's really something to live in a country that doesn't know what it is doing in a world that doesn't know where it is going in a time when anything can happen. I hope you can get comfortable with uncertainty.

If there's one vibe emanating from this shadowy zeitgeist it's a sense of the total exhaustion of culture, in particular the way the world does business. Everything looks tired, played out, and most of all false. Governments can't really pay for what they do. Banks have no real money. Many households surely have no money. The human construct of money itself has become a shape-shifting phantom. Will it vanish into the vortex of unpaid debt until nobody has any? Or will there be plenty of worthless money that people can spend into futility? Either way they will be broke.

The looming fear whose name political leaders dare not speak is global depression, but that is not what we're in for. The term suggests a temporary sidetrack from the smooth operation of integrated advanced economies. We're heading into something quite different, a permanent departure from the standard conception of economic progress, the one in which there is always sure to be more comfort and convenience for everybody, the economy of automatic goodies.

A big part of the automatic economy was the idea of a "job." In its journey to the present moment, the idea became crusted with barnacles of illusion, especially that a "job" was a sort of commodity "produced" by large corporate enterprises or governments and rationally distributed like any other commodity; that it came with a goodie bag filled with guaranteed pensions, medical care to remediate bad living habits, vacations to places of programmed entertainment, a warm, well-lighted dwelling, and a big steel machine to travel around in. Now we witness with helpless despair as these illusions dissolve.

The situation at hand is not a "depression," though it may resemble the experience of the 1930s in the early going. It's the permanent re-set and reorganization of everyday life amidst a desperate scramble for resources. It will go on and on until there are far fewer people competing for things while the ones who endure construct new systems for daily living based on fewer resources used differently.

In North America I believe this re-set will involve the re-establishment of an economy centered on agriculture, with a lot of other activities supporting it, all done on a fine-grained local and regional scale. It must be impossible for many of us to imagine such an outcome - hence the futility of our current politics, with its hollow promises, its laughable battles over sexual behavior, its pitiful religious boasting, its empty statistical blather, all in the service of wishing the disintegrating past back into existence.

This desperation may be why our recently-acquired traditions seem especially automatic this holiday season. Of course the "consumers" line up outside the big box stores the day after the automatic Thanksgiving exercise in gluttony. That is what they're supposed to do this time of year. That is what has been on the cable TV news shows in recent years: see the crowds cheerfully huddled in their sleeping bags outside the Wal Mart... see them trample each other in the moment the doors open!

The biggest news story of a weekend stuporous from leftover turkey and ceremonial football was a $6.6 billion increase in "Black Friday" chain-store sales. All the attention to the numbers was a form of primitive augury to reassure superstitious economists - more than the catatonic public - that the automatic cargo cult would be operating normally at this crucial testing time. The larger objective is to get through the ordeal of Christmas.

I don't see how Europe gets through it financially. The jig is up there. Lovely as Europe has become since the debacles of the last century - all those adorable cities with their treasures of deliberately-created beauty - the system running it all is bankrupt. Europe is on financial death-watch and when the money stops flowing between its major organs, the banks, the whole region must either go dark or combust. Nobody really knows what will happen there, except they know that something will happen - and whatever it is portends disruption and loss for the worlds largest collective economy. The historical record is not reassuring.

If Europe's banks go down, many of America's will, too, maybe all of them, maybe our whole money system. I'm not sure that we will see a normal election cycle here in 2012. A few bank runs, bank failures... gasoline shortages here and there... the failure of some food deliveries to supermarkets in some region... these are the kinds of things that can bring down a political system drained of once-ironclad legitimacy. All that is left now is the husk of ritual - witness the failure of the senate-house "super-committee." The wash-out was so broadly anticipated that it was greeted with mere yawns of recognition. It would be like pointing at the sky and saying, "air there."

This holiday season spend a little time musing on what the re-set economy will be like in your part of the country. Think of what you do in it as a "role," or a "vocation," or a "trade," or a "calling," or a "way of life," rather than a "job." Imagine that life will surely go on, even civilized life, though it will be organized differently. Add to this the notion that you are part of a larger group, a society, and that societies evolve emergently according to the circumstances that their time and place presents. Let that imagining be your new American Dream.

Friday, November 25, 2011

US Federal budget boiled down to household level

From GEAB N°59.


In terms of the amounts at stake, a quick calculation by a USreader of GEAB gives some sense of how much the “efforts” undertaken to reduce the budget deficit are ridiculous in relation to the needs : Treating the US federal budget as that of a household, things become abundantly clear. Simply remove 8 zeros for budget that comes to mean something for the average citizen:

Annual household income (income tax): + 21,700
Family expenses (federal budget): + 38,200
New credit card debt (new debt): + 16,500
Past credit card debt (federal debt): + 142,710
Budget cuts already made: - 385
Budget reduction targets of the Supercommittee (for one year): - 1,500

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fed saves the world...

You'll be happy to know that the Fed secretly loaned $16 trillion to banks around the world between December, 2007 to June of 2010 to save your ass, or so they say.

No telling how much more since then.

See anyone you recognize here?

The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows..

Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
and many many more including banks in Belgium of all places

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sometimes I am wrong

Was a time I said Rick Perry would be our next president. I never liked the guy, thought he was a phony.

But the constant exposure he's had in presidential debates has revealed; the man is all hat and no cows.

As Cain gets battered by ex-lust interests, Romney and Gingrich will probably emerge as the two faves.

I still like Ron Paul better than the rest but he can't and won't win.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

William K Black

You got to start somewhere:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Finally, something positive to report

Someone tasked Charles Hugh Smith to write something positive for a change. Here's what he came up with:

The Collapse of Our Corrupt, Predatory, Pathological Financial System Is Necessary and Positive

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Matt King--Hardluck Road

You sure do like Johnny Cash now...

Maybe someday you'll like Matt King too...

Fred Eaglesmith--You sure do like Johnny Cash now

From Fred's latest CD--Six Volts.

You sure do like Jesus Christ now, (Martin Luther King, Ghandi, John the Baptist, Malcom-X, Mohammed, Henry David Thoreau, Edward Abbey, John Steinbeck, Samuel Clemens, etc.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Federal Reserve backstopping Bank of America

The Federal Reserve put you on the hook for $75 trillion ($75,000,000,000,000) of fraudulent derivatives.

JP Morgan will follow suit on a similar amount. No wonder the stock market bounced.

In other news, Quadafi was sodomized with a knife.

At least someone was kind enough to give him a coup de grace to the head. You will have to live through this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mexican Death Squads--the spin

Perhaps someone in our government and mainstream media does read Bill Conroy's investigative entries after all.

And now, to my great surprise, articles like this: US Trained Assassin Teams Now Deployed In Drug War are rewritten and become this in a rag called the New York Times and on my front page at MSNBC.

I guess Bill should be flattered they notice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ron Paul for President

I've been watching the Republican debates and I know what the Democrats have to offer.

While I don't agree with all his stances, Ron Paul is the only candidate I can even come close to endorsing.

On the big issues, he and I agree: First, we need to withdraw our troops from around the world and bring them home.

We need to prosecute those who have defrauded our government and the populace, drastically reduce government spending and learn to live within our means.

We need to audit the Fed and take action against them for criminal acts.

It's glaringly obvious to me that the rest of the candidates, one and all, are imperialists, potential puppets of the big banks, and therefore will doom this nation.

Ron Paul can't win and he won't.

But he has my one and only vote in the primary.

I won't be voting in the final election.

No more lesser of evil bullshit.

Evil is evil and there ain't no lesser.

PS. A little history, for those interested:

Straining at Gnats, Swallowing Camels

Fred Eaglesmith--words of wisdom

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Millennials Rising

Blast from the past--February of this year, to be exact:

Millennials Rising.

Dust bowl redux

Reminiscent of the 1930's, yesterday a dust bowl hit the Texas plains. The winds are just now picking up here in South Texas to a lesser degree, but it'll be enough to knock down a bunch of pecans that will be lost to hogs and deer.

In days of old, hundreds of people would be out picking up pecans by hand.

Now we have machines. And for reasons too long to describe here, they won't work in imperfect conditions.

So people don't have jobs and a substantial portion of the crop goes to waste.

They call this progress.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Arrested for trying to close a bank account

Here's video of a Citibank that locked up clients trying to close their bank accounts. According to the report, 15 were then arrested and taken to jail.

Fucking swine:



Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Mexican American Border: if I were king

Occasionally I get the if I were king question. I usually reply that my first step would be to resign the position. This is a bit of a cop-out. I have given thought to the condition of the Mexican border and have a proposal.

The border cannot be viewed in a microcosm, so whatever is done must be viewed in the context of the world at large. You cannot seal our Southern border without addressing the pressures that cause the migration in the first place. Migrants and the money they send home are like pressure release valves, keeping Mexico out of a total state of chaos and civil war. The root cause of Mexican migration to the United States is poverty and a radical difference in wealth between our nations.

NAFTA was implemented to address this issue, but trade between our nations is anything but free, reserved only for major corporate entities and denied to the rest.

Here’s a cliff notes version of what I think could and should be done:

First, we should close military bases and bring our troops home from around the world and use them to strengthen border security. We don’t need a fence to do this. This means the entire border, including all sea ports. Everything coming in or out of our nation needs to be checked.

Second, create a ten mile free trade zone on both sides of the Mexican border with manned checkpoints at both sides. Allow Mexican and American citizens (not just big companies—any legal citizen) to sell and exchange wares in this zone duty free, and allow the products exchanged to be imported through the checkpoints into both countries.

Vet the hell out of any and everyone entering this free trade zone with a bi-national police force, using the latest and best equipment and intelligence possessed by both countries. This then becomes a buffer zone, providing security for both nations.

Stop illegal immigration, but provide legal opportunities for temporary workers seeking employment and business opportunities (going both ways).

We need them; they need us.

You didn’t really want to make me king after all, did you?

PS. After feedback from a trusted friend I thought I should add a note or two. I would not place soldiers as soldiers on the border, but instead train police and border agents from among their ranks.

And drug legalization need be part of the plan if it is to work.

A pipe dream, given the current state of affairs...

Dumb and dumber

There a parable that says:

Even a fool may appear wise if he keeps his mouth shut.

Rick Perry kept his mouth shut a long, long time.

On another note: Wonder how long they had to comb looney bins to come up with an Iranian terrorist associated with Mexican drug cartels?

Hillary, surely you can do better than that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rain

The weekend brought rain area-wide, two inches, mas o menos, of the slow soaking variety.

We planted 160 acres of oats and overseeded 160 acres of hay fields with winter rye just before the event. I know a few others that took the same chance and I bet they're glad they did.

I can't tell you how nice it was to see trees on the verge of death get a drink. I'm sure it's too late for some, but others will live to see another day, good Lord willing.

It's too late to make hay but the remaining cattle in our region should have green pickings for a while.

Pecan harvest draws near. The crop is small, but the nuts we do have appear sound. I suspect they will be expensive this year due to short supply.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Waiting for the storm

I came across the site of a young man that has prepared a large cache of videos worth listening to:

Waitingforthestorm.com.

A sample:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living on stolen time

Dmitri Orlov says what I've been thinking. Anyone actually producing useful goods and services is getting robbed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Word to the wise

I'm floored. A stock trader that tells the truth:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting close to the ground

Sunday evening, September 25, 2011

Hopefully today will be the last day this year of 100 degree plus weather (today we had 101). Last week the place I live on received an inch of rain, but the other places I care for didn’t fare so well (a tenth of an inch or less). The sell-off of cattle at local auctions continues.

By my estimation even if it started raining today it’s too late to grow any hay, but we’d still have a chance of getting some winter wheat or oats in for grazing. The ten day forecast gives us 20% chances for scattered thundershowers Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week. Where I irrigated ground for sorghum hay, we had army worms: I am relatively sure we’d have an outbreak if young tender grass began to grow at this late date.

My milk cow, Teah, continues producing abundant amounts of milk with the cooler September nights. Another cow, Latte, surprised me with a calf so now we’re covered up with milk, somewhere on the order of 7 to 8 gallons a day in addition to what the calf sucks. I desperately need a couple of extra nurse calves.

Milking two cows takes two hours in the morning and two more in the evenings when the whole process is taken into consideration. Leah spends an equal amount of time making cheese. The economics of this, when measured in dollars, doesn’t add up.

I have four hours of labor in 8 gallons of milk, Leah has four more hours of labor in 8 pounds of cheese those same gallons will make (at least—probably more). If I were to sell cheese in this part of the world it'd bring $5 a pound: that’s $40 a day for our labor, minus the cost of feed and maintenance of the cows and the cost of rennet, cheese culture and energy to power the stove and pump water. Of course I wouldn't sell any cheese, being as how it's against the law...

Either I don’t get paid enough or the rest of you get paid too damn much. I know I ain’t the only one; any labor intensive endeavor is unlikely to pay well in these United States.

But the real reason we choose this lifestyle isn’t making more money, it’s needing less money. While we still aren't totally weaned from the consumer treadmill, we’ve come a long way over the last decade: we make less and have more left after meeting our obligations. We are debt free. I don’t know if that will matter much when the country and the world at large are insolvent and I believe that to be the case. I'm not the only one.

I keep thinking back to a question Mike Ruppert once asked: Does it hurt more to fall from the penthouse to the sidewalk, or from the sidewalk to the curb?

I am getting as close to the ground that feeds me as I can.

PS. Tuesday morning.

102 again today and our chances for rain over the next ten days have been reduced to a 20% chance Wednesday.

Some patterns are hard to break.

Re-reading this post, I sense a touch of arrogance (in myself). I ain't ready for what we have coming. Not even close.

No man is an island.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

End of the growth paradigm

Last night I decided to torture myself with the Republican presidential debate. I don’t know if it’s because I am a glutton for punishment, a closet masochist of sorts, or if it’s because I want to know what’s coming down the pike.

I noticed, that to a man (and a solitary woman as well), all the candidates proposed ideas on re-ramping economic growth. None acknowledge the restraints that diminishing natural resources and the ecological effects of continuing growth have on the planet or our economic system.

In this interview, Chilean economist Manfred Max Neef ascertains that growth and development are not necessarily one and the same, presenting the analogy of a child that grows to a certain age and then stops growing.

Does the fact that the child is no longer growing mean that person cannot continue to learn and develop? Of course not.

We need candidates that understand that the infinite growth model cannot and will not survive a finite planet. We need not grow to further develop our societies and our economies.

To date we have exactly none among our presidential hopefuls (including Mr. Obama) that acknowledge this relatively simple equation.

PS. I know that Democracynow and Amy Goodman are left-leaning apologists, quick to criticize Republicans and somewhat blind to the ills of their own, so spare the criticism for linking to an episode of their show.

Truth is truth, wherever you may find it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Neil Howe

Hope in one hand, shit in the other...

Sick of politics

I am sick of politics and politicians.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chris Martenson interviews Joel Salatin

If you eat, this is worth your time.

Listen here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurt



Texas drought update...

Like most Americans, I watched news of Hurricane Irene’s soiree along the East Coast. While I am sure there was damage done with her passing, I need not look further than out my front door to watch a much more devastating but less newsworthy catastrophe unfold. The drought I refer to is not as spectacular as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and the like, but I assure you, it has proved a more lethal, silent, and effective killer than any of the above this year.

As I type, an accurate thermometer registers 111 degrees from the shade of my front porch. We have suffered days, weeks, even months in sweltering heat with no rain. The ground is parched and cracked, the grass dead; desert termites encase the last of grass carcasses with mud tubes, adding insult to injury to those that might have saved a pasture for grazing.

While someone from Phoenix or Death Valley California may say this is an every-year occurrence, they do not live near large concentrations of beef and poultry farms like those near my home in South Central Texas. We raise more cattle than anywhere in these United States. Or we once did, anyway...

As I speak, broilers are dying by the droves while farm managers and workers watch helplessly. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats and pigs hide in what little shade they can find, panting. Some will die. Whole herds of cattle appear at overstrained livestock auctions around the state. Most ranchers have no hay to feed their animals; some no longer can provide water for them to drink.

Wildlife also suffers; who knows how many thousands will succumb and die today.

Trees are dying. It may be a while before you notice, but notice you will.

There was a catastrophe today, but it had nothing to do with Hurricane Irene.

Texas is burning.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Max Keiser, Richard Heinberg

Quantitative easing helps the rich and hurts the poor:



Friday, August 12, 2011

The drought turns deadly

Sabbath eve, August 12, 2011.

I walk outside into a night lit by an almost full moon. Dukes and Polly pad along behind. I see forms on the ground, scattered near the boundary of our property. I know what they are; I shouldn’t be out here, but then, I must. There’s a shoulder, a hind leg, skinned but still otherwise intact. I notice the hoof. Then a torso with a familiar head, remains of a cow I called Butterfat.

I sold the cow about six months ago to Martin, a hand that lives and works on another place my dad owns. I sold her bred; she soon calved, a beautiful pure-bred Jersey heifer. I did this as a favor to Martin, not because I wanted to get rid of her. I have several milk cows, he had none. She raised her own calf and two more, and even gave two gallons of additional milk per day. That is until the summer heat began taking its toll.

I’d drive by occasionally and see her lying under a lone shade tree, panting. She’d had difficulty with the heat last year as well, so I didn’t think much of it. Then, about two weeks ago Martin asked if I would like to buy her back, saying he didn’t have time to care for her properly.

She stepped off the trailer. I noticed she had lost a lot of weight. She staggered as she walked. I was disheartened but determined to restore her to health.

I fed her grain twice a day, gave her all the hay and alfalfa she could eat and treated her for mastitis. Two quarters were swollen; who knows how long she had been in trouble.

I noticed she was having a terrible time with the heat and not eating well. I began spraying her with water at least once, if not then twice every afternoon. Day after day after day, temperatures soared above the century mark, relentlessly scorching the ground and all living creatures below. Sometimes I would pull on her tail to help her gain her feet when she tried to stand. She’d spend days in the shade of a walk-in shelter and get up to eat only in the evenings and at night.

A couple of days ago, pulling the tail wasn’t enough. When she got to her feet she staggered and fell, again, and again, and again. Then she quit trying to get up. At one point I lost it and kicked her in anger. I immediately felt like shit and tried to offer an apology.

Yesterday I found Butterfat laid out in the sun in a daze, shivering and pawing in agony as the sun baked her. She couldn't make it back to the shade and I was unable to move her. I took a hose and bathed her body for a while until she seemed a bit more comfortable and gave her a drink from a bucket. Then I got a gun and shot her in the head. (Even ex-felons can have black powder muzzle loaders.)

I cut up her body and left it for the dogs and whatever wildlife that may take their chances with a pack of Pyrennes guard dogs.

Fuck your goddamned stock market, the price of gold or silver, or oil or corn or whatever else you have to sell. I don't give a shit about any of this right now. I don't care who's doing who or why.

The heat of this awful drought just killed Butterfat.

I tried to save her, but I couldn't.

Monday, August 8, 2011

20 billion more, down the tubes

At this rate, we'll bust the new debt ceiling before the end of next month.

Then what?

Concerning hay...

Drought continues to bake Texas. Hay is scarce; hay for sale almost non-existant. I have stopped selling hay from the barn and have been telling people to wait for the next cutting so they could buy from the field.

Due to overwhelming demand (my phone rings so much I can't get any work done), I am suspending all hay sales until the growing season is over.

Truth is, I (my animals) may need the hay more than I need the money. And you will need hay this winter more than you need it now, if forecasts of continuing drought come to pass.

A of today, E-Barr Feed in Gonzales still has a supply of square bales at reasonable prices.

Sorry for any inconvenience my waffling on this issue may have caused.

This a force majeure event we're dealing with.

Kunstler writes; I read

Over the weekend masses of "Christians" gathered in Houston, austensibly to pray for repentance, and while He's at it, to ask God to help continue the scam that American culture has become and also the flow of ammenities we enjoy due to the grand scam. Even Governor Rick (a.k.a. our next president) showed up to help save the day.

Comes a time when perhaps we should shut our mouths and listen for a minute.

You ain't saved. Not even fucking close.

Change you don't have to believe in.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The US used 60% of it's new debt limit in one day

$239 billion spike uses up 60% of funding OK’d on Tuesday.

And we still get a AA+ credit rating?

Good thing I'm not issuing that credit rating.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Welcome to the cliff

While I hesitate to make predictions concerning financial markets, a few respected voices have warned me that we stand at the precipice.

Check out what Ilargi has to say at the Automatic Earth.

Then take a stroll over to Zerohedge and smell the napalm.

Then there's Karl Denninger.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A silver lining to this mess?

It’s evident to me and many others that the lifestyles we are accustomed to living are unsustainable and therefore will cease to exist. That is the definition of unsustainable, by the way, that which cannot be sustained. While a subject that creates much fretting, wailing and gnashing of teeth, there could be a silver lining to our excessive living arrangements.

We (Americans) enjoy excesses, far more than necessary to provide essential needs, unlike some others on this planet. We can afford to do without some of this shit and still live meaningful lives.

This is a subject I often ponder as I watch people drive endlessly, as planes crisscross the sky above, people text and talk on phones or stare blankly into the glare of computer screens. How much of this is actually necessary to sustain life?

The answer is one few want to hear: Very little.

I came across a most excellent interview today that addresses these issues. Chris Martenson interviews Nate Hagens, one of the great minds of our time in my less than humble opinion. A few excerpts from the transcript:

Hagens:

We now use more corn to create ethanol than we do for food. And we produce about a million barrels of ethanol a year. Each of those barrels, of course, has, because of the BTU content, a lot less energy than a barrel of oil, around 70%. So we’re using half of our corn supply to produce one million barrels of ethanol, when we use nineteen million barrels a day of oil.

I know that you are also a student of E.F. Schumacher. In Small is Beautiful, he talks about what real wealth is: Wealth is our primary capital; our trees and our rivers. And secondary capital is what we do with that; turn things into lumber and tractors, etc. And then tertiary capital is stocks and bonds and derivatives of that. So I think we have focused too much on the tertiary measures of our wealth, when they’re really just markers. And these financial markers have far outpaced our real capital. And that is kind of the elephant in the room, in our conversations about the economy in the future, that people are ignoring. They just assume that the dollars are the real markers.


...Well, look, we consume, the average American, around 230,000 kilocalories a day of energy. The body itself consumes about 2,500 to 3,000 of those, endosmotically, within the body. So exosmotically, outside of the body, we consume 99% of our energy footprint. So if Peak Oil is upon us, or any issue with coal or natural gas, or the main fossil pixie dust that has subsidized our lifestyle for the last century, if that stuff declines twenty or thirty or even forty percent, it’s not like we’re literally out of calorie availability. It’s just that our system is built on all this decadence and industry and trade and cross border transfers; it has all been built on a model that can’t continue. What’s going to break first is people’s expectations of what they own, the digits in the bank, and all of the financial claims. But those are just digits, they’re abstract digits. The day that a financial system would be disrupted, nothing happens physically.

So I think if we drop our energy consumption quite a bit, nothing has to change other than our supply chains and the way that goods and medicine and water and sanitation and all that get to the cities and towns and states. That has to be deeply thought about on a national level. But I’m optimistic - if we were sitting here and the average American used 10,000 calories a day of total energy, and we needed 3,000 for our bodily functions to continue, that would be a real problem, because there wasn’t much extra. But we have a huge amount of energy relative to what we need.

There’s much more in the Hagens’ interview. Take the time to listen or read it if you can.

Distilled, it comes down to this: Energy supplies and other natural resources are diminishing. Our economic system is based on perpetual growth, an impossiblity, and will fail. Continuing to live as we now do therefore is impossible. But we misallocate and waste the majority of energy and resources we use, so there’s room to change and survive, if we find the will to do so before change is forced upon us.

Nate Hagens, Chris Martenson

Here's an excellent interview of Nate Hagens by Chris Martenson. I count Hagen's mind among the best and brightest of our times. Chris Martenson is no slouch either.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Read Kunstler

Kunstler says what I would, but in a more interesting fashion. I defer to the man:

Weimar meets Waterloo.

By James Howard Kunstler
on August 1, 2011 9:15 AM


The Sunday night news, scant as it is these days despite the grotesque exertions of over a thousand cable TV stations, showed the old familiar faces lit up with crocodile smiles. The Republic was saved, surprise, surprise, by a last-minute fugue of reasonableness, when all concerned decided that putting the business-end of a double-barreled 20-guage shotgun in America's pie-hole might not summon the spirits of Ronald Reagan, Santa Claus, Adam Smith, Chuck Norris, and the Holy Ghost after all.

Let's give thanks that it's over because now the USA can get on with its systemic collapse honestly and fairly. Even though the debt ceiling extravaganza ended in something like political failure, one point did seem to shine through: there's no more money. Anyway, no money for non-bankers, and pretty soon even the bankers will be out of money too, because their money is fantasy banking money (sssshhhh, don't tell them) consisting of hard-drives packed with digital slime trails of swindles and frauds. The public can live in straight-up unvarnished fear now that they are liable to lose everything they thought they had.

This new depression is way different from the hazily remembered one of grampy's boyhood. There was no money then, too, in 1934, but you didn't have to puzzle out the metaphysical workings of a collateralized debt obligation to know what the score was. Your pockets were just empty and the bank down the street was shuttered. The country had plenty of everything except money: lots of oil, good farmland, manpower, ores, timber, beeves-on-the-hoof, excellent railroads, dynamic cities, and factories just recently built (only the orders for goods stopped coming in). Yet something happened that still mystifies the viziers who call themselves economists.

Was it all that mischief on Wall Street with the "bucket shops" and the margin-gone-wild, and the shoeshine boys proffering stock tips to their customers? Or was it some remorseless cyclical exhalation of history? Or was it that plus the Keynesian monkey-business with interest rates and the issuance of currency? Or was it some fundamental flaw in the workings of industrial capitalism itself? These questions have never been adequately answered, though there is no shortage of "stories" cooked up to explain it - many of them elegantly entertaining.

My own guess is that the industrial experience itself was a peculiar experiment rife with treacherous self-amplifying feedbacks that the participants were not prepared for, such as the rapid saturation of markets via mass production at the colossal scale. Whoops. And meanwhile, everybody in China is living in the equivalent of the 12th century, so forget about selling them radios. (Globalization eventually fixed that...or did it?) To put a finer point on it, industrialism (and all its digital offshoots) may not be a permanent feature of the human condition, but an anomalous congruence of some historical events that had a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I happen to think we're at the end of this anomalous era because we've run through the material resource base. I know a lot of people eagerly await the nano-dawn of self-replicating bot Satori, where everything we need is literally conjured out of thin air. The Viziers would really love that because, at last, their models would work! Personally, I do not hold my breath waiting for Kurzweilian "Singularity." We'll be disappointed enough when Walmart fails to run on wind turbines.

So now we enter an economic terra incognita of the real post-industrial economy - not the Cinderella hoo-hah of digi-magic advertised in places like Wired Magazine, but more like a Foxfire world made by hand. We're out of cheap oil, cheap and good ores, ocean fish, good timber, and lots of other things. All the stuff we erected to live our lives in - the stupendous armature of highways, strip malls, suburban houses, skyscraper condos, sewer systems, electric grids - is beyond our power to repair now. We can only patch it, and that can only work for so long before things go dark. (Can you sharpen a saw blade?)

The money part is not so hard to understand. When the dynamism wanes in a hypertrophic system, money can no longer be created. Real money, that is. Money that means something, a trustworthy medium of exchange, in a system where borrowers reliably pay back loaned money. All the current money fiascos underway around the world, old and new, western and eastern, are just dumb-shows put on to conceal the fact that money is not being paid back. Real wealth is contracting - even as the smaller pool of remaining wealth moves magnetically to the centers of power.

We will never solve this American debt crisis. We're going broke fast and it will be like falling down a long staircase. The federal government will never recover. It will pretend to be in charge of things that continue to fall apart, and eventually its pretenses will be seen for what they are - and then it will be every community for itself. (The same can be said of the states, and even the counties.)

The troubles will mount more rapidly, too, from here, because nobody has been fooled by the machinations in congress the past month, except maybe the elected cravens at the center of it all, and many of them are in their final years of lofty, well-feathered splendor. A debt rating warning - if that's what it turns out to be - will be brushed aside, and for some good reasons, too, but it is really a dark sign that our Republic does not function anymore and is primed to break apart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Atlas shrugged, Jesus wept

Still can't find a place to hear this for free on the Internet. Ranks near the top on the list of prescient songs of our time.

Atlas shrugged

by Matt King

We’re burning bones of the dinosaurs
Pretty soon there’ll be no more
Paying for peace but we’re still at war
Can you hear the engines humming?

The air is thick and the ground is dry
The sun’s burning a hole in the sky
Some say soon we’re all going to die
Don’t you know we had it coming?

It’s the same old story, a different spin
You can call it Karma, you can call it sin
History’s a bitch when we all forget
That Atlas shrugged and Jesus wept

Well Ghandi got it but people cried
They gave him hell to the day he died
Hell Bob Dylan even proselytized
The times they are a changin’

But the baby boomers went and spent the money
On bread and barley and they’re great grand junkies
Now flower children souls are grumpy
And there’s no one left to blame

It’s the same old story with a different spin
Some call it Karma, some call it sin
History’s a bitch when we all forget
That Atlas shrugged and Jesus wept

Caesar’s money, Lincoln’s dream
Mother Mary, Martin Luther King

It’s the same old story, just a different spin
You can call it Karma, you can call it sin
History’s a bitch when we all forget
That Atlas shrugged and Jesus wept

Monday, July 18, 2011

Atlas shrugged, Jesus Wept

Went looking for a Matt King song that seems to fit and couldn't find it.

Found this instead.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Facebook, Myspace

I decided to delete my Facebook account and my Myspace account as well. Take no offense.

It's time for me to take a step back and work on myself and the jobs I have to do.

I do hope to post here occasionally.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hormone disruptors

The more I study genetically modified grains and the chemicals with which we inundate our food and water, the more I suspect we are disrupting natural hormonal and endocrine develpment in our bodies and worse yet, those of our offspring, even while in the womb.

This would make a good subject of study for someone so inclined.

Eating real food and drinking clean water (the kind that doesn't come from a plastic bottle or is treated by your friendly local water supplier) is a good idea for anyone, in my opinion.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It ain't easy being me

Takes a damn tough woman to hang with me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Raising cane

Molasses cane that is. Couple of days of this had me wanting back in the hay field: Pictures here:

The Cane

The Press

The juice

The vat

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blessed be the workers

Monday morning, July 4, 2011

I’m stealing time to write. Outside my door, work continues despite the holiday. Harvest needs press upon us. The milo header to our combine sits some twenty miles away. The milo is ready. I’ve yet to try the combine: who knows what surprises and misadventures await.

Hay dries in a field and should be ready to bale by this evening or tomorrow. Rox orange cane is ready to be stripped and harvested for syrup. We’re set to work our herd of Brahman cows Saturday morning.

The syrup cane was planted in a field of corn; sixteen border rows of corn blocked entrance to the cane. I decided to hand harvest this corn, estilo Mexicano. I envisioned the process of cutting and stacking the whole corn plant as some awful back-breaking job, but it turned out to be much easier and faster than I expected.

Juan, Abraham and Senon taught me the process. First the corn is cut: each man takes four rows, cuts and piles the stalks as they go. Later the small bundles are gathered and removed, or conversely stacked in the field, standing on end in large bundles, to be removed and used as needed. In our case we moved the stalks to the barn on a trailer and removed the ears by hand.

Being an arrogant white boy raised on a healthy dose of diesel fumes, I assumed our way of harvest is better, but now I see advantages to the old way. To begin, you can begin harvest while the corn is still partially green. Combines require the field to be totally dry. The stalks make good feed for ruminants; I discovered my goats prefer them to baled coastal Bermuda hay. Working alongside my friends, sweating in the hot sun proved enjoyable and satisfying in an elemental way. We’ve lost more than we know by insulating ourselves from the ground that feeds us.

In the garden we pulled what was left of tomato and cucumber vines and worked the soil after removing all crop residue. Pepper plants remain from the spring garden. We cleaned around them; now we must water and protect them from summer insects for a fall crop, Lord willing. A few volunteer watermelon vines continue producing outstanding fruits along with a dozen or so large volunteer okra plants. We planted sweet potato slips; they have now rooted and begin to grow. New cream peas are up and growing as are young okra plants. Orka, sweet potatoes and summer peas are about the only crops hearty enough to stand South Texas summer heat. The time for planting fall beans, corn, tomatoes, etc. draws near.

Heat seems to have taken its toll on progress at Leah’s pottery studio. The clock continues ticking and the first week of August doesn’t seem near as far away as it once did. The old red rock general store sits and waits for a roof and a floor. I don’t know how this will be done, but it must be done.

The harvest is plenty; the workers few.

Back to the field. Blessings to all who work with their hands.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oil price manipulation

The geniuses in our government decided to release oil from the strategic reserve to drive oil prices down.

That oil is for emergencies--real emergencies--it shouldn't be used as a tool to alter prices.

Today's high oil prices ensure more exploration and drilling activity which will help keep future prices in check. Speculators guess that shortages loom in the near future. That's why they bet oil will go up.

The day will come when we need that oil. Really need that oil. As in, our lives will depend upon it.

Dumb ass motherfuckers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Not near enough

Sabbath day, June 18, 2011

Outside my door the wind blows hot, like the exhaust off of Satan’s nostrils.

Irrigation pivots, which have run incessantly over the last month, now sit idle due to a busted gear box on a center pivot.

The word is out: I still have hay left over from last year’s rain. The trickle of calls turns into a flood. I need a cash flow, but my ass begins to pucker as the size of the haystack diminishes. I can feed hay to my animals. Dollars may or may not be much good in the future, depending on whose forecast you believe. To be sure, I need dollars to pay my bills today. The guys that work for me have families and they need money to pay their bills. Today.

So I continue to sell hay. I suppose I could raise the price to discourage sales, but the people that buy my hay don’t have much money.

The weatherman says we have a chance for rain next week. We’ve had chances for rain. A forty per-cent chance for rain means a sixty per-cent chance against rain. In a non-drought year, you get rain with forty per-cent chances. In a drought, most times you don’t. We have had only a single inch of precipitation since February.

Cattle prices have held, but I suspect that will soon change as ranchers are forced, once again, for the third time since 2005, to cull or liquidate herds.

I hear stories of world-wide turmoil. The folks that got rid of Mubarak in Egypt now rail against his successor. There’s no more food or oil to be had. No matter how much money you inject into the economy, that equation remains the same. Not enough remains not enough.

Libyans continue to fight. There’s new unrest in Iraq. Riots in Greece. Syria. China.

The Missouri River surrounds a nuclear power plant in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska and the river is forecast to rise another five feet—if a damn doesn’t burst first and wash the whole goddamned thing away. But don’t worry—there’s nothing to fear—government officials assure us.

Meanwhile the news speaks of Caylee Anderson, dead since 2008. Or which politician fucked what whore. The last son-of-a-bitch on the hot seat didn’t even get his dick wet and that proved good for two weeks and counting of news headlines.

I saw a mentalist hypnotize 85% of a movie theater crowd on the Discovery channel a couple of weeks back. Participants came out of the theater applauding a movie they never saw. My mind traveled back to throngs of people at Barack Obama’s speeches, then to masses of people at Adolf Hitler's black masses. I remain astounded how gullible and susceptible to manipulation people can be. Comparing these folks to sheep insults the sheep.

My spring garden offers its last fruits—only peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and a few melons continue to produce. I am setting out additional sweet potato vines as I go and recently planted a couple of short rows of okra. My wife says I’ll get divorced if I plant any more black-eyed peas.

The pantry is packed with jars; peas, corn, carrots, green beans, pickles and more. The freezers are stocked with meat and corn on the cob. Hogs await slaughter in the pens. We winnowed and sacked dried pinto beans last week. Onions are harvested and stored as are Irish potatoes.

We have cheese and tallow stored. Chickens, eggs, goats. Milk cows keep giving milk.

I sold most of last year’s corn to make room for the new crop, which should be ready in a couple of weeks. I also have 120 acres of milo to harvest, or so I hope.

Roy and Urlit Miller are preparing a molasses mill for some sorghum cane we grew. We hope to start cooking sorghum syrup next week.

All of this is way too much for Leah and I to consume. And not near enough if the trucks stop arriving.

Not anywhere near enough.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ray Wylie Hubbard

I wrote a piece on Ray that became a casualty in someone else's war.

I also failed to pick an album of the year (and if I did, I may have erred). With the benefit of hindsight, A. Enlightenment, B. Darkness, (hint, there is no C.) is my pick.

Two selections, the first about tornados, the second...



K. Phillips, Guy Forsyth

Confession: Sometimes I only want what I don't have. K Phillips:



Listening to Guy helps:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mexico, Guns and Drugs

These are not your average run of the mill Wal-Mart hunting rifles.

Scroll down for more here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Abolish income tax

I've been saying for some time that I think income tax should be abolished, replaced with consumption taxes. Apparently Jesse Ventura agrees:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spring harvest grind

Continued hot and dry weather has quickened spring harvest. We’ve been covered up with produce, but I suspect this will be short lived. Both Leah and I are tired and a bit crotchety.

I’m sick of politicians and pundits, their lies, half truths and outright refusal to address real issues. For me, they have become irrelevant.

Back to picking and canning, irrigating, cutting, baling and hauling hay, milking cows and working from can to can’t. Hopefully the day comes when I can slow down enough to reflect a bit on all of this.

Now ain’t that day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Words fail me tonight

Sometimes its better to listen.

Can you hear the cries?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turning wine into water

Jesus, it is said, turned water into wine. I am told everything my great-grandfather Jones touched turned to money; my dad seems to have inherited the knack. I, on the other hand seem good at turning money into work: the sweat-soaked, blister popping, skin-burning, snot slinging, dirt in the eyes, mud in the jeans, blood-dripping, cussing, groaning, aching muscle and creaking bone variety.

I took another hurried trip to Balmorhea this weekend. Thinking I could defray the cost of diesel for the trip, I hooked a 24 foot gooseneck flatbed trailer to the truck with designs on buying a load of alfalfa which could then be resold for profit here in South Central Texas.

As I arrived to the cut off to I-10 on loop 1604 North of San Antonio, I saw a bright yellow motorcycle on its side. The scene was roped off and the ambulance was parked nearby. Cops photographed the evidence. I assumed the driver of the bike was dead, due to the lack of haste on the part of the emergency team.

I drove through heat and dust and smoke the rest of the way. At some point an addled hitchhiker joined me on the journey. We passed a semi that had caught fire and burned. Only about the back third of the trailer had skin remaining. The hitchhiker tells me he’s trying to get back into the corporate world. Why he’d want to descend back into that viper filled world, I don’t know. I’m thinking the back-pack, cut-off shorts and burned skin look might not work so well for a job interview.

At Balmorhea, I discovered we’d had a mild frost a week ago. About 10% of the young pepper plants were killed and the rest had been damaged to some degree. Manuel had waited too long after pre-plant irrigation to plant cantaloupe and watermelon seed. This is not entirely his fault for he had no experience in farming desert land under irrigation. Now we’re going to have to water the plants up or lose some $900 worth of expensive hybrid seed. The danger is this is that the ground can crust over and trap the seed underneath.

A young man in Balmorhea told me he’d sell me hay for $6.50 a bale, $2.50 cheaper than his Mennonite competitors down the road. The barn was secluded. I had to back the trailer around a curvy obstacle-filled path for over a quarter of a mile to get to the hay and then we had to load from the back.

The hay had good color but some (but not all) of the bales were very light, perhaps in the 40 pound range. The boy told me he’d had to hire another man to bale the hay and it had laid out for a week waiting for moisture enough to bale. In the end he had to mist the hay with a spray rig before baling. Daytime moisture levels in West Texas have fallen to 2% humidity, with highs of around 20% early in the morning.

I got a little over ten miles out of a gallon on the way to Balmorhea; coming home the truck got 9 miles to the gallon. The round trip was over 800 miles. The cheapest diesel is now $4.00/gallon. I saw some as high as $4.20 a gallon.

I hauled only 150 bales for fear I’d end up alongside the road if I put too much weight on my rig. So, $2 per bale in diesel and 16 hours behind the wheel gives me an out of pocket cost of $8.50 a bale for hay that’s worth $9.00 due to the weight of the bales if I smile just right. I guess I could have bought the $9 bales and had $11 a bale in $12 hay. This of course denies the fact that my truck will wear out and that my time must be worth something.

Spent tire casings littered the road on the way home; two tires disintegrated directly in front of me, showering the road and my truck with rubber and wire. No less than 10 vehicles were abandoned in various states of disrepair.

Few tourists shared the road but I did see an occasional rental truck dragging a trailer; what appeared to be California refugees rode behind the wheel, traveling back into the dust bowl with fearful, grim looks etched into their faces.

I get home and read of floods in the Mississippi River Valley.

Phuck. See, I can write without four letter cuss words.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Garden pictures

Leah snapped a few photos in the garden today:



Sweet corn:





If you're inclined to own silver

now might be a good time to buy some. The powers that be are doing everything they can to drive the price down, quite successfully.

I think the plan will fail.

This guy thinks the price may fall further.

Yard chickens are probably a better investment.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reminder: it's all about the oil

Christian Science Monitor

Essential reading for those wanting to understand the climate in which Osama bin Laden was created, and in which his successors will rise:

Originally written under the psuedonum Anyonymous Michael Scheuer's Imperial Hubris best describes who and what Osama bin Laden is.

Chalmers Johnson's trilogy of books also dares to look in the mirror while searching for our enemy.

Neither of these men hate America. In fact they love their country and have fought to preserve it. But they also are willing to see and expose our own faults rather than pretend they don't exist or to create false narratives with which to entice ignorant people into the fray.

I dare you to read them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Eating the seed corn

Sabbath eve, April 29, 2011

I woke last night from a troubled dream into a troubled reality. Martin told me one of our pastures is toast and we will need to start feeding hay or move the cows. The pond from which they drink is also precariously low.

Hay is scarce, driving the price up. I have hay. Conventional wisdom says I should make money by selling the cows and selling the hay also. Once it starts raining, I could then take the money I receive and buy replacement animals.

However, this is the third drought since 2006. Cattle numbers are lower nationwide than they have been since the 1950’s. I live in the largest cow/calf producing region in the land. The dollar continues to devalue when measured against integral goods and services. So what happens if the cow I sell today for a thousand bucks costs five thousand dollars to replace a year or so from now? Or ten thousand dollars…

Worse yet: if everyone follows conventional wisdom, we kill all the cows in Texas.

The whole state is in a drought.

You can’t create a cow from a dollar bill. Doing so requires another cow and a bull.

So, maybe there are no cows to be bought at any price, or the numbers get so low it will take decades to replace them.

A man shouldn’t eat his seed corn. I suppose we shouldn't kill off all our breeding stock either.

Speaking of corn: There will be none in South Texas if it’s not planted under irrigation. Almost no corn is irrigated in these parts. We have cows but no grass. Cattle in feed-lots but little corn in storage and none on the way, chickens, both for meat and eggs, also requiring imported grains delivered by fossil powered transport.

Diesel hovers around $4 a gallon.

The weather forecast says we have a chance for rain a week from now. It’s been saying the same thing since February and we have not had a single drop this month. A hundredth of an inch last month and none this month. Fronts blow through dry and retreat dry. North of us I hear of floods and tornadoes. If we have to dodge flood waters and tornadoes to get a rain, I’d just as soon stay dry.

I see the Fed and their fucking minions in the major banks and fellow disinformation disseminators doing all they can to manipulate the price of precious metals and commodities to the low side. They will lose this battle. Stores of dollars rest in the treasuries of foreign countries. The owners of these dollars have begun to sweat. How long will it be until they release the flood in a fateful attempt to garnish at least some value from what will turn out to be worthless IOU’s?

I try not to think about this too much because it makes me want to grab Ben Bernanke by the throat and choke the living shit out of his ass. While that’s probably what he deserves, it harms me to walk around angry. And he is just one of many that believe the lies they conjure. His own will eat his kind once they realize they’ve been had.

A quick fuck you very much to Tim Geithner while I'm on the subject.

Meanwhile, the garden blossoms. I am blessed to have irrigation water. I harvested about a thousand pounds of onions this week. Potatoes and green beans are ready. Pinto beans are well formed, black-eyed peas, cucumbers on the way. Yellow and Zucchini squash have begun to produce more than we can possibly consume. Hogs get the excess and grow fat. We have large green tomatoes on the vines and have begun to harvest the first peppers. Sweet corn tassels. I set out sweet potato slips yesterday.

The cows keep giving milk; Leah continues making cheese and canning produce. I water, cultivate the soil and wait.

I suppose it could be worse.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Watch out below

Zerohedge announces that China is about to dump $2 trillion.

I suspect this marks the beginning of dollar devaluation like we've never before seen or experienced.

Echoes of Argentina's hyperinflationary collapse and the fall of the Mexican Peso during the 80's...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Drought

Sabbath eve, April 8, 2011. I’ve avoided typing the dreaded D-word for fear that somehow what I wrote would come true. It has come anyway. We’re in a drought. I hear people saying this is the worst drought since the 30’s…

Bullshit, I say. Maybe the size and scope is larger, but it was a damn sight dryer in ’06 and ’08 in my locality than it is now. However, this one’s not yet done with us.

Forecasts have been calling for rain a week from now for 3 months. Time after time systems break down. Fronts blow through dry with wind and driving dust. Afterwards heat returns from the south, sucking moisture from cracking ground. Tender grass sprang up but now dessicates as fast as it once appeared. A late frost adds insult to injury scorching young corn and milo plants struggling against a relentless wind. A couple more weeks of this and the crops will be gone, aside from miniscule areas where farmers can irrigate. With high energy costs, irrigation water is far from free.

Corn prices skyrocket in tandem with the price of oil. Parts, supplies and fertilizer also go up by the day. Cattle prices also continue to climb. I am told U.S. cattle numbers are lower than any time since the 1950’s. Feedlot managers fear a sudden collapse, nonetheless. How can people pay $10 or $11 a pound for a steak at the grocery store?

I read that almost 60 billion dollars spent into the economy last year should have gone instead to pay mortgages, but banks don’t repossess properties because the Fed will take them at full face value as collateral for interest free loans through the overnight window. Foreclosing would force banks to mark the notes to market. So maybe that’s how people keep buying $4 gas and $10 steaks. They’re squatting in their houses. And that’s also how the banks keep operating with shit for assets.

The Fed has become the largest holder of American Treasuries, surpassing both Japan and China. All bought with dollars hallucinated out of thin air.

Gold and silver continue to climb in value against the dollar. I bought a small amount of silver back when it was $19 an ounce, about a year ago. Today it sells for over $40 an ounce. We can take comfort from the fact Bernanke says there’s little or no inflation…

The Middle East and much of the rest of the world is in turmoil. While high food prices represent an inconvenience to most Americans who spend less than 10% of earnings to feed themselves, these same price increases are deadly to people already spending half of what they earn to eat. And that remains the case for one out of two people sucking air on this planet at the moment.

Meanwhile we continue turning our dwindling supply of corn into ethanol. We drive like hell and fly when we damn well please.

According to Shadowstats, the real unemployment rate in America continues to be 22%.

At least we aren’t being swamped by tsunamis or fried by a smoldering nuclear power plant.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Little time to write

Busy times right now. A few pictures from the garden courtesy of Leah:







Monday, April 4, 2011

Blowing green smoke

James Howard Kunslter's weekly rant. Now might be a good time to invest in a couple of good draft mares. Not for short term gain, but for long term survival. I'm copying and pasting the whole thing. Hope I don't get sued.

By James Howard Kunstler
on April 4, 2011 9:43 AM


"We also have Secretary Steven Chu, my Energy Secretary. Where is Steven? There he is over there."
- President Obama at Georgetown U last week


Blame Steven Chu, then, because when it comes to America's energy predicament, the president has been woefully misinformed. Mr. Obama pawned off a roster of notions and proposals already product-tested in the public meme-o-sphere. Almost everyone of these ideas is inconsistent with reality, based on faulty premises, or represents some kind of magical thinking. What they have in common is that they're ideas the public wants to hear, whether they are truthful or not, because we don't want to change the way we live.
The central idea in Mr. Obama's speech is that we will reduce our oil imports by one-third in a decade. This is a gross distortion of reality. The truth is that our oil imports will be reduced automatically, whether we like it or not. The process is already underway. The nations that export oil to us are using much more of their own oil even while their supplies have passed peak production and entered depletion. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Mexico have some of the highest population growth-rates in the world. They sell gasoline to their own people for less than a dollar a gallon. At the same time China and India are driving more cars and importing a lot more of the world's declining supply. (China has perhaps the equivalent of a four-year supply of its own oil in the ground, and India has next-to-zero oil of its own).
One meme circulating around the Web these days is that the USA has the equivalent of "three Saudi Arabias" in the shale oil fields of North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. That is not true. A lot of this magical thinking focuses on the Bakken fields of Dakota. We're currently producing less than 400,000 barrels a day out of Bakken and the projected maximum ten years from now is around 800,000. We use 20 million barrels a day in the US running suburbia, Wal Mart, and the US military. By the way, Bakken shale oil requires extensive rock fracturing operations - "fracking" - which means a lot of horizontal drilling, which means a lot of steel pipe. It is not just a matter of sticking a steel straw in the ground like we did in Texas in 1932.
Note: much of the shale "oil" in other western states is not actually oil. It is kerogen, an organic precursor to oil, in effect organic polymers that have not been subjected to enough heat and pressure to turn into oil. If you want to turn it into oil, you have to cook it - which takes energy! That's after the mining operation to scoop it out of the ground. That takes energy too. Or, you can send machinery into the ground and cook it in place. That takes energy, too. We are not going to get oil out of there anytime soon - and perhaps never.
The "drill drill drill" gang is under the impression that North America has vast unexplored regions where oil is just begging to be discovered. This is not true. The New York Times reported after Obama's speech - in a disgracefully dumb story by Clifford Krauss - that the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast contain 3.8 billion barrels of oil. Really? Hello! The US uses over 7 billion barrels of oil every year. Does the Arctic National Wildlife refuge contain between 4 and 11 billion barrels (US gov estimate)? Great, that averages out to about a year or so of US supply. And I'm not even against drilling there, only against the idea that it represents a meaningful "solution" to our problem.
Meanwhile, the old standby Alaskan oil fields at Prudhoe Bay are depleting so remorselessly that there may not be enough flow in a year or so to move the oil through the famous pipeline.
How about Canada's tar sands? Well, first of all, they belong to Canada, not us, unless we want to change that - and that could be politically messy. The tar sands will never produce more than 3 million barrels a day. The operations are already too huge, costly, and damaging to the northern watershed. Canada is our number one source of imported oil, but China would also like to buy Canadian oil. Are we planning to invoke the Monroe Doctrine to prevent Canada from selling its oil to parties outside the Western Hemisphere? That could be messy, too.
Mr. Obama returned to the popular theme of bio-fuels. Our initial venture into this area was the ethanol fiasco which, predictably, took more energy to make than it produced, and had disastrous effects (still does) on corn commodity prices - in effect stealing from the food supply in order to drive to the Wal Mart. The next venture will apparently be in algae. We'll discover (once again) that what works as a science project doesn't scale to run millions of cars.
Mr. Obama told the nation that we have a 100 year supply of natural gas. (The moronic Larry Kudlow of CNBC told his audience it was 300 years). Neither of them knows what he is talking about (and evidently Energy Secretary Chu doesn't either). So far, proven reserves of shale gas amount to about a 4 to 6 year US supply at current rates, and total natural gas reserves - including conventional gas, the kind that doesn't require fracking - amounts to about a 12 year supply. The idea that we are going to ramp up an entire natural gas fueling system for America's tractor-trailer trucks is an absurdity.
Ditto the notion that we are going to electrify the US auto fleet.
Here's something to chew on: we run about 250 million cars in the USA. Let's say we ramped up an electric vehicle fleet of 10 million cars - which, by the way, is a purely hypothetical and wildly optimistic number. Do you think it might be a political problem if 10 million lucky Americans get to drive electric cars while everybody else either pays through the nose for gasoline, or can't even afford to own a car anymore?
There are a few things you can state categorically about the US energy predicament and the national conversation we're having about it - including the leaders of that conversation in government, business, and the media. One is that we are blowing a lot of green smoke up our collective ass. None of these schemes is going to work as advertised. The disappointment over them will be massive and probably lead to awful political consequences.
Another is that we are ignoring the most obvious intelligent responses to this predicament, namely, shifting our focus to walkable communities and public transit, especially rebuilding the American passenger railroad system - without which, I assure you, we will be most regrettably screwed ten years from now. Mr. Obama had one throwaway line in his speech about public transit and nothing whatever about walkable neighborhoods.
The reason for this obvious idiocy is that it's all about the cars. That's all we care about in the USA, the cars. We can't get over the cars. We can't talk about anything except how we'll find magical new ways to run all the cars. This is a very tragic sort of stupidity and if we don't change our thinking about it, from the highest level on down, history is going to treat us very cruelly.
A special shout-out here to The New York Times, whose abysmal reporting on these issues, once again, is due to their reliance on a single source: the IHS-CERA group, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the paid public relations auxiliary of the oil industry, led by that mendacious sack of shit Daniel Yergin, whore-in-chief.
________________________________________________
My books are available at all the usual places.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fed releases overnight window draws

only when it is forced upon them. Now if we could just see the collateral these big banks offered to procure these loans.

What do you want to bet Goldman and Morgan borrowed money from the overnight window to pay back the TARP loans (and thereby freed themselves from government oversight).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Man without a class

Joe Bageant died Saturday.

Joe understood and voiced the plight of southern red necks like no other. Sometimes the truth relegates a man to no-man's land. My hat is off to you Joe. I hope something good awaits you on the other side.

Hat tip Nat Wilson Turner.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Music alert: Matt King plays Belmont

Matt King is playing this Saturday night at the Belmont Social Club. No cover charge. Join us if you wish. Good food and good music. Medicine for the soul:



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chris Martenson

issues an alert.

Ignore at your own peril.

Plant your garden

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yesterday we closed on the land that will someday support Leah’s Red Hen Pottery (good Lord willing), and also bought half interest in Richard and Wilhelmena Walker’s Red Rock Store, both in Belmont, Texas.

The Belmont Social Club across the street from these properties continues to do good business. Their primary fare is barbecue and burgers during the day and steaks at night. Fridays there’s all you can eat catfish. They have a stage with live bands every Friday and Saturday night and occasionally at other hours as well. The building is rustic, maintaining the fa├žade of Goss’ store, but you’d never know it was the same place once you enter the doors.

I am pleased to announce that Matt King is scheduled to play Saturday night, March 26. I hope to attend and I am issuing an invitation to anyone that can make it to the event. Belmont is a special place and Matt an astounding musician. (Don’t tell Ronny Trash Matt’s coming around or we might all get kicked out of the place for being less than respectable.)

Like the rest of you, I’ve been following with concern the events in Japan subsequent to the awful earthquake that recently waylaid the place. Now would be a good time to be in the business of selling potassium iodide. I couldn’t find any.

I’m guessing (my crystal ball is no clearer than yours—hell, I don’t even have a crystal ball) that while the release of radiation from melting nuclear reactors is ongoing and tragic, the release of radiation will probably be contained to a degree and prove to have little effect on the North American continent. The economic effects are sure to be felt the world around. I think this puts an end to the building of new nuclear generators in the short term, and maybe forever.

The Bank of Japan has drawn a page from Bernanke’s Fed and hallucinated $350 billion dollars worth of Japanese Yen into existence over the last three days to effectively stop a Nikkei stock market meltdown. I am revolted by the fact that a few bastards will get extremely rich off of this calamity. Can you believe some Keynesian economists are saying this will prove good for Japan’s GDP?

As someone astutely suggested at Zerohedge, the people don’t need Yen. They need clean water, food, bricks, steel, cement and fuel. If calamities present opportunities for growth, how long til a Milo Mindbender motherfucker comes along and realizes he can get rich and save fuel by bombing his own country and getting the enemy to bomb theirs rather than wasting time and effort transporting this shit across the ocean? (Come to think of it, perhaps this idea already occurred to a few twisted souls…)

Ah well. Corn is planted and up. Water is running where we can. Orange top cane is also planted and growing. Manuel is preparing fields in Balmorhea. Closer to home, weeds rear ugly heads and I need to get my ass out of this chair and chop those heads off.

Plant your garden.

And then care for it so you'll have something to eat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rock me on the water

I've somewhere between little and no time to write. Thankfully James Howard Kunstler came up with a few sharp-witted observations worth your time. In particular, I like the points he makes about the economic consequences of Japan on US treasury notes.

Rock me on the water

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Young'ns are pissed off

Can't say I blame them. Hat tip to Mike Ruppert:

Friday, March 11, 2011

We are not in control

Sabbath eve, March 11, 2011

Events over the past 24 hours prove one thing:

We are not in control.

Saudi day of rage comes and goes

with a whimper instead of a growl.

Amazing what a handful of cash can accomplish.

And when the cash doesn't work, this does.

Apparently Qudaffi is a piker when it comes to terrifying citizens.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Asses are puckered the world around

as Saudi Arabia's announced day of rage arrives.

Actually this is the first of several protests that have been scheduled. My guess is that the monarchy will fall in short order (by that, I mean within the next couple of years).

The first shots have been fired.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reminder

Take a stroll now and again through Zerohedge for news mainstream media outlets "forgot" to tell you.

And plant your friggen garden already. I cannot and will not feed all of you.

Hang on to your hat

Sabbath morn, March 5, 2011. Leah is gone to Oklahoma to help her brother move. So I inherit some but not all of her chores. It takes Leah all day to do what she does, from feeding and watering chickens, gathering eggs, suckling baby goats, processing milk, making cheese, paying bills, washing dishes, doing the books (I’ll go to jail first), making pottery…

She inherits some of my chores on the rare occasions I am gone, so it’s only fair I fill in while she is out and about.

The pace at which we proceed into the future has warped into hyper-drive. By the time I think of something that needs done years into the future, I realize the time is now. But thinking is easier than doing and if things aren’t done in time, they might as well not be done at all.

Spring planting is upon us. Martin planted half a field of non-genetically modified, open pollinated non-hybrid corn in an irrigated field yesterday while Victor, Juan and Pancho hastily patched holes feral hogs have made under and through the fence. In past years hogs have eaten freshly planted corn seed almost as fast as I can get the stuff into the ground. I called Dale Harper to see if he could make a run through the woods with his hog dogs and long knife, but he says he lost a couple of dogs last week to a particularly vicious boar and has a few more cut up and in need of healing.

I still haven’t sold all of last year’s crop of corn, but if futures prices on my computer are to be believed, it’s worth exactly twice as much as it was the day it was harvested.

The ground in which we’re planting corn is fertilized with chicken shit. I won’t use an herbicide. But I am applying a pesticide for corn root worms, better known as cucumber beetles in their adult manifestation. I will not be the guy with a sob story for not having organic corn to sell if I can help it. Nor will I be the guy selling corn as organic when it isn’t. I have already seen the first adult cucumber beetle and a tiny grasshopper in my garden.

If someone has a good and affordable organic solution for these bastards, I want to hear about it.

I bought Orange Rox cane seed this year; three of four 50-pound packages arrived at the post office, one, according to postal records has been in transit from Dallas since February 21. I’m no longer holding my breath. I hope to plant the seed for cane syrup/molasses. The leaves and stalks left over from the cane press make good livestock feed. The seed heads are similar to milo, which makes excellent chicken feed. I’ve never tried making homemade syrup but it was a staple crop on sustainable farms in this area a few generations back and I suspect it needs to be once again.

Potatoes have sprouted in the garden, as have English peas. I replanted gaps in a row of beets that had been damaged by unusually cold weather last month; they have sprouted and are growing. About a third or less of the beets I previously planted re-sprouted from the bulbs with an irrigation; the rest folded and died completely.

I harvested spinach right before the freeze; the re-growth is ready to harvest. Leah cut cabbage while I was gone to Balmorhea; a crock full of sauerkraut brews in our kitchen.

A group of fifteen feral pigs grew to nineteen when one of my hands caught four more young pigs. Their mother, a young sow, has been consumed by the various people and canines that live and work on our farms. Not all eat pork. I do.

Two Percheron broodmares near foaling dates; both are said to be bred to a mammoth jack.

Eleven of twelve Great Pyrenees pups Chiquita whelped grow by the day.

I sent a calf to be processed. I know how to do this, but just couldn’t find the time. I did tell the butcher to save the fat so we can render tallow which we use (alongside lard) in place of cooking oil. I am told the meat is ready to be picked up.

Glen Zumwalt and crew have continued burning branches in the Dos Rios pecan orchard despite the current burn ban. One visit from the local fire department sent Glen to seek a burn permit. Unlike me, Glen was not to be deterred. The pecan bottoms are green and not in danger of burning out of control on most days, but area-wide the land is getting dry and the danger of wild fires remains high.

I expect less than normal rainfall in our piece of the world this year (and yes, this is our piece of the world).

Another man is hedging our pecan orchard and Glen is removing non-productive trees from the orchard to give more room to other trees so they will produce more and better pecans. We fertilized our pecans with chicken litter this year, so I am anxious to see how they perform.

I met with Link Benson yesterday to see about installing an underground pipe so we can irrigate the orchard from the San Marcos River. The place came with water rights but the previous owner has not used them for a couple of years and the system in place is in a state of disrepair and inadequate even when functional.

The best part of raising chickens is the shit they leave behind. Broilers have consistently made money in these parts as well, but I see this as an extremely fragile endeavor, totally and absolutely dependent on an abundant supply of cheap fossil fuels. I am not saying we won’t be able to continue raising chickens, just that we won’t be able to continue raising chickens like we now do if and when the fuel supply is interrupted.

The fuel supply will be interrupted.

Hang on to your hat. The ride’s about to get a bit rough.