Monday, November 30, 2009

Eating beaver

No.. get your mind out of the gutter.. 

I am talking about the real deal.. good old fashioned hat wannabes.. big flat tail, destroyers of forest, underminers of dams.. wet slick, furry beavers.. (hm.. might not have helped much, eh?) Well four legged swimming beasts that tear stuff up like no bodies business... 

What brings about this post, other than the long delay in posting* is that I have been talking to Captain Rob who traps beaver, amongst other critters. Now I will admit a full on bias against trapping that I have harbored for decades. That said, and that being the case, I am no less curious about the actual practice. So knowing that Ol' Rob was going to be trapping beaver next door, I could not help but ask to tag along. Thankfully Rob, being a loner like myself, was willing to have me tag along and I did what I could to help (hauled all of the traps and what I could..) What I discovered surprised me. Rob does not have the same sensibilities about critters that I have, and I will admit to not knowing in this instance which is morally correct (I suspect that neither opinion ever enters the moral fray..) but I expected the worse. What I discovered was that the traps he set for these particular destructive beaver are VERY humane and kill instantly. 

For those city folk who thankfully read my blog, know that beaver are not the cute and cuddly creatures those terrible social studies class films led us to believe. Sure they have a life, as all living things do, but their life is not only destructive to forests, fish, ponds, rivers, streams,, etc, but also self destructive! They will undermine the very pond that they rely upon for life, and thus cause their own untimely deaths, while costing the rancher or farmer, or gentleman estate holder, a great deal of money. Now if you are an Obama fan (or love Johnson, or FDR) this is a good thing because they rely upon destruction as a social good, but if contrarily you are a thinking person, then you realize that this is a harm.**

So where do I get around to referring to the off color blog title? Well now... So Rob being a devout christian, though not a church going one, ( an important distinction I believe that Luther would appreciate) does not eat the meat of those animals he traps. Well, as most of y'all know I am not at all a devout christian, but rather embrace reason and reality, so I am more than willing to try out this meat to see if I can appreciate it.  After long talks and several instances we have worked out a plan which not only gets him the hides he relies upon for some of his income (yes we still use beaver hide, including in the hats I value so dearly)  gives him some help in the capture and gives me possibly more meat than I can possibly use..  From what I hear Beaver is one of the best meats around... 

I am not a hillbilly who grew up on squirrel and rabbit, I have never had 'Coon, or many other "alternative" meats, but I am a person who appreciates frugality, and using what is there in front of you. If it were not for many other factors, including my own willingness to take the excess meat, I'd chastise Rob for wasting flesh he could eat, but because I am willing to respect his beliefs, and use the meat myself, he has actually suggested that maybe he will try it as well. This is the peaceful, voluntary method of changing the minds of others.. 

Nothing else to report. For many reasons no progress has been made on the house until the backhoe gets out. So for the time being I am worried about the financial situation, hoping for some jobs to come up (send emails if you are interested!!!) and working so as to reduce my labor in the future. 

* the long delay has many reasons, not he least of which is that I have just been trying to get along for now. I've paid for the excavation, and it is done, now I need to either dig a trench myself or hire that done, then set posts. Neither option is positive, and neither works with the weather so I"ve held off.. 

**Here I rely upon not only a basic understanding of introduction level of logic, but also upon some knowledge of history. NONE of FDR's programs in any way at all ultimately helped the US, In fact his programs can easily be shown to have contributed to extending by at least 4 years, the great depression. What Bush did, and what Obama has done mimicks closely what FDR did, and that which we know caused tremendous harm. We need to avoid this. Neither "party" is free from responsibility, and neither can pretend to hold no blame. "Both" faces of the one part are to blame because they assume that they have the right to control the peaceful lives of innocent people, and thus drive those lives into the ground. We need to stand up to these thugs and refuse at all points to obey their commands. Unfortunately most folks won't so we will have these thugs around for some time. Watch the news, even these mouthpieces for the powers that be never can point out a case where these thugs did something good... Even where the SS (Secret Service) failed in this case of the White House Dinner Party Crashing, they are looking for charges to place against the folks for the crime of proving flaws in the system!! (not that I like the folks, but they did nothing legally or morally wrong!!) 

So such is life.. For those who love nature, and see benefit in living with nature here is a blog I follow, which usually does not deal with such issues but this post is greatly appreciated:

To all of my internet readers and friends.. stay strong. and remember to send encouragement to friends and relatives where they are open to it...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


You just have to love the folks as the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.. when an error occurred and I received a blank disc rather than the Rothbard lectures I expected, not only did the contact person immediately respond (literally within minutes!!) but who I can only assume to be her supervisor also responded ensuring that he would send out the disc immediately.. This is what one expects from folks who understand interpersonal relations, including but not limited to business interactions!.

And there is doubt as to why Keynesian "economics" fails to describe reality??

A few days spent simply doing chores.. nothing of note. Too little tractor time because diesel is running low.. need to fill the reserves again in the few days that Rancher Bob will be in town/country..

The local loonies are out in force.. both the drunk "hunters" and the crazies who fantasize about catching these drunken "hunters" where they ought not be... So early mornings are the norm for the time being...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Re: Steven Brust..

Never argue about reality with a writer of fiction, he might not be able to tell the difference..

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Possum Living

In the late 1970's an 18 year old home schooled (before there was really a term such as "home-schooled") girl/woman wrote a book on her life, on a pitiful typewriter which had to be rigged with a rubber band attached to the wall to get the carriage return to work. This book was Possum Living: How To Live Well Without A Job And With (Almost) No Money. This became somewhat of a "cult" book when released, despite being on the tail end of the back to the land movement, arguably actually past that time. What I believe made this book so popular with free thinkers, back to the landers, and a great many mainstream folks is Dolly's wonderful honesty, straight-forwardness, and the fact that she and her father were not nut jobs or extremists, they were not even making their choices for ideological reasons, but as she put it out of laziness (I don't for a second believe this latter claim, as they worked, but enjoyed that work!) 

They did not flee to the country, or disdain the suburban life, rather they lived what appeared to be a normal suburban life in Philadelphia but without "real" jobs, instead living off of the produce from the garden, the meat from their rabbits and from what they could catch in the rivers, and off of the hooch that they distilled themselves... They had all that they could want, even more because unlike their neighbors they had freedom to live, time to live, and of course wholesome food to eat. 

Dolly was taken out of government schools in the seventh grade, and clearly did not suffer for this "loss" (what would otherwise be objectively be called a great advantage!) as she went on to get a college degree on her own and to become an aerospace engineer for NASA. She retained the understanding of what it means to live life intentionally, not because you are trapped as a "wage slave" or even as a tax slave (in the US you spend at least half of your time working to pay for some form of tax!) . 

So why do I bring up Dolly's story now.. well her book Possum Living struck the same cord with me that it struck with so many in the late 70's, so much so that she was brought onto the Merv Griffin Show (think Oprah but in spades!). After many computer troubles, I had lost my digital copy of Possum Living, and sadly could not even recall enough of the book or author to google it but thankfully stumbled across it again thanks to a fellow blogger who linked to a list of "free" ebooks, from which Possum Living had been removed. Now normally I will admit that this new would have been disappointing, after all I was not to get the book again free, but it was removed because a publisher had opted to reprint the book! What better time? When the economy is in far worse shape than it ever was in the 60's or 70's and appears to be headed for complete collapse thanks exclusively to the Keynesian economic practices of the last several administrations.. So while I may miss out on having the free copy, I look forward to buying the updated version, with a new introduction. 

Interestingly there is a series of youtube videos which were clearly made a year or two after the book came out which documents Dolly's life at the time. These are wonderfully positive, encouraging, and enlightening videos and I encourage all of my readers to take the few moments it takes and watch them:

This is pure realistic intentional living, without ideology, without harm to any others, and without any pretense. I hope only to come close to her example. 

Quick photo update

reading: On the Shortness of Life by Seneca, Chanur's Endgame by Cherryh, Where Keynes Went Wrong by Lewis

listening to: Jen2 compilation

For those who could not resist the swimming pool comments before, despite forewarning, here is another opportunity. You can see that with the deepening of the excavation, it holds water even easier. This is the result of less than two inches of rain.. I am sure it has occurred to some that this could be a problem once the house is built, but first off, there won't be a hole to catch the rain as the house will be in the place of the hole, but also there will be a french drain system in place to carry away what water might threaten my U-house. 

Here you can see to some degree the amount of material we have removed from the excavation. Look to the slope of the hill itself. It does not change as you get higher, the change is strictly the many tons of excavated soil pushed downhill. 

We are almost at the point of setting posts. I would like to get the backhoe out to try to dig a trench for the posts, especially since some of the main supports are going to be 2 feet in diameter at their base, so digging a hole into this rock is less than appealing. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Unexpected progress

Well captain Rob was back in the excavation today, though I thought that we were done until the backhoe could get out.. he managed to get the floor lower, expand the space, and tighten up the corners so that the excavation is almost ready for posts! I will try to get a photo posted soon, weather permitting. We are expecting rain tonight and tomorrow.. maybe on Tuesday as well. 

The site is really coming together. The slope off of the house will be steeper than I expected, but that works out nicely aesthetically as far as I am concerned, and I can shore it up with stone from the excavation as necessary. The rye is growing like gangbusters, and now I am in spitting distance of setting posts... 

On other fronts,  I enjoyed a nice catfish dinner tonight from a fish I caught a couple of days ago. If I can find the time away from cattle work, I will freeze one of the fillets for later. 

I have begun learning Portuguese, in large part due to a friend who is from Brazil. With some luck, sometime in the next year or more, I will hopefully accompany her and her husband to Brazil for a visit.. ah what unexpected turns life brings! 

So much for the brief update.. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two related developments

Well there is little I can do still on the site until we get the backhoe out, though I was able to get in the hole, around some of the mud which has remained, and mark off the dimensions of the house proper so that we know where the excavation needs to be tweaked. Very little to tweak actually. I'd still like to be able to get rid of some ledge rock on the high side, but the time and thus money required is simply too much to bear. So I'll have to work around this obstacle. 

However I did broadcast annual rye on the slope so as to hopefully stop it from eroding over the winter, and the good news is that because of the unusually warm weather (somewhere Algore is dancing a jig..) it has come up and is growing wonderfully. 

I realize that this is not the most attractive shot, especially with the lovely downed tree so prominent, but that will be moved when I get to covering and backfilling around the U-house. still, this is the only time, I believe, that this area will ever resemble a lawn. I am fully intending to allow it to return to natural native plants (as opposed to those plastic native plants..(yeah I can laugh at myself) )  as well as to try to seed it with various wild edibles, such as passion flower which I will have to post on another time.. 

That same new visually attractive "lawn" is quite attractive of and to deer. These prints were taken from the future floor of my home where clearly I had a couple of four legged visitors coming in for a drink from the bit of water remaining. Perhaps also hiding from the local yahoos who like to get all liquored up and go shooting.. * 

* I am NOT anti-hunting at all jftr. I have been deer hunting myself, and at other times I have been a vegetarian also. I have shot rabbits, as well as varmints including armadillos. I take no special pleasure in killing, and do try to avoid it in most cases. I mention all of this only to make clear that my comments about the yahoos around here are specific to those yahoos and not a general comment upon hunting. I hope to keep encouraging deer to visit, as I would really like to be able to take one right near, perhaps on top of, the house so I would need only move it a very short distance.. :) I will be encouraging lots of wildlife for a variety of reasons. There is a bobcat which lives in the area I am building. If he/she is not frightened off, I will hopefully have him/her as a neighbor. Though locals shoot them just to kill them, or trap them for their hides, I cannot abide either as they seem to me to be fine independent animals in many ways living a life of which I am quite jealous on nearly a daily basis. There are also bear in this area, which I would not mind seeing, ... from a distance. I've no desire to hunt them, but do realize that my home may be quite attractive to them. 

Leave it to a philosopher to have an aside be as long as the post itself.. More to come later.. I cooked the mystery fruit and am working on various plans for human powered devices.. 

Friday, November 06, 2009

A little light reading and listening

Taking a side step from the house project, which is on hold until the backhoe can get out to finish the corners and dig the trenches for the posts to sit in. 

I am back on cowboy duty for the next couple of weeks while Rancher Bob is out of town again. I discovered while helping run the cows and calves through the shoot to immunize them, that I was not made out to be a cowboy.. Oh I did the job fine, but there is a real drain on a fellow from working with the beasts, and a particular terror that comes from knowing that you have to stand fast as an 800 pound animal is charging at you, determined to get by.. 

Maybe this is why cowboys in the old west were also often outlaws.. the noose or a bullet does not look so bad after a day of wrangling cattle.. 

But on with the show.. now I just have to feed the critters and move them from pasture to pasture for a couple of weeks, which is fairly easy and usually uneventful. Since it is not cold, the beard I've let develop is a bit premature, but I recall how grateful I was for it last year, so though we have temps in the mid 70's now, I am keeping it. 

Since I cannot work on the homestead yet, though I do have grass growing now, I am focusing on a couple of projects for Rancher Bob, as well as enjoying the last few movies in my cheap mystery DVD collection, and then too I have just received three items on economics which ought to keep my attention for a while. The first is a book I've needed for some time so as to be able to explain in detailed ways why and where Keynesian "economic" theory went so horribly wrong, and why it is still wrong today. If you are not familiar with Keynesian "economic" theory, just look to the nonsense of the US government, which under the last two administrations (and many others) they claimed that if the government only went far enough into debt then everything would be wonderful and the rivers would flow with gold.. 

I don't know about you, but I've not seen any of those gold rivers or magic pills yet.. and I know from logic and the lessons of history that I never will. Still, it is good to get a firmer grasp on the inherent problems of the "charge your way out of debt" mentality (AKA "deny liberty and you will be free") so I am delving into first of the three: Where Keynes Went Wrong and why government keep creating inflation, bubbles, and busts by Hunter Lewis. 

I am reminded of some advice I was given almost 20 years ago by two professors of philosophy who knew at the time that I did not share their anti-individual, anti-liberty, pro-state ideology: take more economics classes.  I was tired of the academic economics classes, because they did not make any sense in following Keynesian "economic" theory though I did not know that then, so though I've always had an ear open and thought about it, I have not explored economics beyond the three classes I had already taken. The reason that this advice comes back to me now is not in spite of those two wonderful people, but because of them. They may have believed that I would come to adopt Keynesian faith, rather than follow reason, but I do not know. What I do know is that they honestly wanted the best for me (and for all of their students) and so gave excellent advice which would help me in the goals that I set, as opposed to any agenda on their part. I can never repay or appreciate enough the philosophy department of WSU for their dedication to philosophy, to the love of wisdom, the love of teaching, that leads them to this day to teach HOW to think, and not WHAT to think. 

The next couple of books are not both books at all. The first in no particular order is Murray Rothbard's America's Great Depression in which he examines the most famous "Great Depression" (there have been more than one, though few know it) in the light of reason, rather than seeking to find non-keynsian scapegoats.  The other is a collection of lectures by Rothbard, who btw is without a doubt the greatest economic thinker and social thinker of the latter half of the 20th century, which has been turned into a book on "tape" (cd/dvd) so that those of us who were not fortunate enough to be able to attend the classes of the great man can at least hear his famous voice, and listen to the arguments and evidence he presents. 

Though I've not read any Rothbard as of yet, though I do possess his most famous work Man, Economy, and State going on twelve years, I will admit to a bit of a positive bias going into this exploration, not because of my appreciation of the value of the individual, or because I know that no person has any right to control the peaceful actions of any other person, but rather because a dear friend of mine was one of Rothbard's closest friends and students, and I have been regaled with stories of the man for a good portion of the last decade. The stories are not always flattering, and seldom are they on the issues of economics, but rather they are on the person and his life, his way of speaking, and his appreciation for his fellow man, particularly if that fellow man was a young woman! (No implication here.. I have no idea about his actual behavior other than being told that he like most men, appreciated cute young women.. ). 

So there I am. Between the little and the profound, between the physical and the philosophical, between ignorance and bliss.. such as it seems that I always am. For now, I am going to be enjoying what Mill and other utilitarians believed to be the "higher" pleasures: reading and learning.. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Any ideas what this is?

Trying to figure out what this is and what use it can be.. seems a bit like apples or pears, but stays astringent well after the first frost. Might be able to make some sort of cider out of it if I had a cider press... 

Monday, November 02, 2009


You may notice that I added a banner for Rest assured that this is my addition and not google's or just another banner ad. This is a program I have used for some time now, which has paid dividends in the form of Amazon gift cards worth to date approximately $50, and that just this year when I lost connectivity or computers were down for a good portion of the time. 

The deal is this, Swagbucks is a search engine, sort of. It is more like an information broker. It pulls searches from google and to display, and gives you points for searches. Those points can be turned into gift cards, cash (via paypal), or other "prizes." 

You can also get points via referrals, say through a banner on a blog perhaps.. Anyone who joins from that link will be helping me to feed my book habit and will receive much gratitude, as well as the benefit of getting paid for searches you would do anyway. 

Give it a try..