Monday, February 28, 2022

Drywall, cattails and grape vines

Not much to report.

Mrs ERJ continues to marvel at my ability to protect the floor from drywall mud by strategically positioning my body so it catches every drip.

One of the things about drywalling is that I am learning fast but the muscle memory will have faded away by the next time I need to use it.

I found this guy's channel to be user-friendly. Key points: He lists the final consistency for the "mud" in terms I understand. I.e., "Add water and mix until the mud has the consistency of sour cream". 

Also, he gives the camera a good "look" at the amount of mud he is putting on his knife with each trip to the mud-pan. That is a very big deal because a knife cannot carry very much sour cream or pancake batter mud. Trying to cheat means you will be wearing extra mud when you are doing overhead work. It is a small but obvious detail.


I cooked 2 pounds of pinto beans yesterday and made a pan of whole-wheat, yeast rising rolls.

The beans had ham, molasses, a bit of vinegar, and tomato paste added. Plain, simple eating.

Cattail seeds

Mrs ERJ enjoys the convenience of firestarters when starting fires in the fireplace.

We evolved to three cotton-balls wrapped in a tube of newspaper and soaked in paraffin. It may be overkill but it certainly gets the job done.

I like fiddling with things, even when they are not broke. I want to see if I can substitute cattail fluff for cotton balls. Cotton balls are not a local product. Cattail seeds are.

I was dismayed to find that many of the cattails have already shed their seeds.

The good news is that I found a source of cattails 1200 feet from my front door.

Search and destroy missions

When I walk in my young woods, I try to carry some kind of cutting tool, hand pruners, lopping shears, a bow saw.

My current mission is to cut back the MALE grape vines that are climbing over my trees. I don't begrudge the females the sun because they produce food. The males, however, need a little bit of discouragement. That is because the male vines are almost always more vigorous. After all, they don't have the metabolic burden of ripening fruit and seeds.

An old story

The newly-wed couple was riding in the back of a cab to the motel after the small ceremony at the Justice of the Peace.

The bride was unusually quiet. Finally she said "You will have to go slow and be gentle. This will be my first time."

"How can that be?" the groom asked. "You were married three times before."

"The first time I was married" the woman explained "it was to my high-school sweetheart. Timmy was SOOO sweet and wanted everything to be perfect. There was no champagne in the hotel room so he ran across the street to buy a bottle of Boone's Farm. He was hit by a truck on the way back."

"I wasn't going to make that mistake again" the woman vowed. "The next man I married was old. I wanted to make sure he was excited enough to consummate our marriage, so I danced and teased him. He had a heart attack and fell over dead."

"OK" said the man. "That explains two of them."

"What about the third?" he asked, recalling that her third husband had been a prominent politician and was still alive.

"Turned out Eddie was a Communist. He sat on the end of the bed all night long telling me how great everything was going to be. When I woke up the next morning, my purse was missing and he had run up $1.2 million dollars of debt in my name."

Sunday, February 27, 2022

My fishing-buddy went shopping

 Four minute run-time

Three minute run-time

"Would you take a bullet for me?" Shotgun's wife asked as she watched news-reels of the Ukrainian war.

"That is the wrong question" Shotgun replied.

"Whatddya mean?" she asked.

"You are supposed to ask, 'Would I kill to keep you and the kids safe?'." Shotgun suggested. "Getting killed is a possibility but not the goal."

Very shortly afterward Shotgun had budget to add to the collection.

Early impressions of the war in the Ukraine


Some of the pundits told us that the Ukrainians would roll over.

They implied that Ukrainians would not fight for their 700 square-foot cabins, 1/2 acre garden plots and $60 a month pensions.

They told us that the Ukrainians had a few, obsolete Soviet fighters and that Russians would quickly dominate the airspace.

They told us that small-arms were an after-thought on the modern battlefield.

Review of what the pundits "knew"

Be it ever so humble, home is what you defend. If the only thing keeping you and your wife fed is a garden and a Ukrainian state pension, then those are worth fighting for.*

Manpads are cost effective. They cannot hit a fighter at Mach 1.5 at 40,000 feet but those planes have to land sometime. Strafing runs bring them into manpad range.

Without plentiful, clean fuel, tanks and planes are not very useful.

Tanks don't have much armor on the top of the turret. A cheap UAV (aka, drone) can drop a shaped charge on the top of a tank turret. An expensive one can hit it with a missile. Sympathetic detonation of the cannon rounds will obliterate the infantry within 30 yards of the tank.

Molotov cocktails can make tank crews very uncomfortable. They still need air to breath.

The Russian army is filled with civilians who are conscripted for a two-year hitch. They are not career military people. Their homes are not being threatened. They want to go through the motions and muster-out with all their body parts working. Getting shot by a little-old-lady in the gonads is not on their agenda.

*If there is one thing I hope our "elites" take away from this conflict it is that I have different values and a different way of seeing things than they do. They might look at my 50 year-old, 1400 square-foot house and scoff because it is assessed at 10% of what their dwelling is assessed for.

They see an investment. I see my home. Our vastly different perspectives makes me unpredictable because our values map in different directions. Clockwise isomers don't behave the same way in the body as isomers with tails that corkscrew in the counterclockwise direction.

I saw this at Daily Timewaster


Saturday, February 26, 2022


...cursed are you, Snake among all the animals, tame or wild;
On your belly you shall crawl, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.
  Genesis 3:14,15

Suppose for a moment that any person who was proven in civil court to have participated in a riot and damaged any business during that riot would be ineligible for any funds that originated from any State program or from Federal money. Also suppose that they were also severed from any public sector job for a minimum period of seven years, at which time their employer could legally rehire them if they desired.

Wherein ERJ reveals his shorts


Not every blogger is comfortable posting picture of his shorts on the internet.

I found that rascal. I walked past it at least a half dozen times. I don't know why I could not see it unless it was because the wire in the last picture is the spitting image of a grape-tendril.

Bonus pictures
The view from Sprite's pasture where my calves are grazing back onto my property.

After the release cutting

We did not get this far. The tree that is circled is a Black Walnut while the other, similar sized trees are ash trees afflicted with EAB.

Corn Pop unmasked

Yup, Slo-Mo Joe got the box open all on his very own. Kicked Sugar Bears heinie.

Release cutting


The ever-lovely and versatile Mrs ERJ and I had a date yesterday. That girl is as pretty as a picture and as handy as a Swiss Army knife.

I had been fretting about getting into "the woods" on our property and doing some "release cutting".

Source of image

There are stories to be told when looking at the growth-rings of a tree. The story this one tells is of a terrible drought about age 6 then slow growth ages 10-through-29. It also shows some trauma at the 2 O'clock position about age 20 and then rapid growth fifteen years or so.

A typical spruce tree in my part of Michigan would show eight years of slow growth as it competes with sod and tall weeds. Then, at about five feet of height growth it over-tops the goldenrod and ironweed and takes off. and it will bound upward in height two-to-three feet of vertical growth a year until the canopy closes. At that point, it is competing with other trees and its growth slows down.

Locally species like elm, aspen and sugar maple canopy over more quickly. Their seeds are small they come up thicker than hair on a dog's back. They very quickly run out of room to grow and each tree is mutually suppressed by competition with its neighbor. The majority of the photosynthesis output maintains life but there is not much left over for growth. On a dry, upland site I have seen elm saplings that were barely over an inch in diameter that were 15 years old.

The point of a "release cutting" is to knock back the trees that that are slowing the growth of the trees you value most.

Hierarchy of value

Everybody is likely to have a different hierarchy of things they value in a tree. It is good to have a list in your head before you go out into your plantation and start cutting trees willy-nilly.

I like a windbreak upwind of the house but far enough away to not be a fire-hazard.

I like a few chevron or eyebrow formations of evergreens scattered around the property to serve as cover for wildlife and places for me to hunt on wintry days.

I like trees that produce edible nuts. Most edible nuts are oily and have a shelf-life that can measure in years. Good trees to have in times of pestilence and famine.

I like trees that produce acorns. Acorns are bitter because they are rich in tannin but the Native Americans leached the tannin out of coarsely ground acorns and used the resulting acorn-meal to make porridge or ash-cakes. Koreans and others have done something similar.

I like trees that produce apples and pears and plums (human consumption)

I like some clones of mulberries because of the incredibly long period in the summer they ripen fruit. These clones are superb for wildlife and I enjoy a good, mulberry pie.

I like trees that produce abundant numbers of fence posts with wood that is durable in contact with the soil. Aspen can make a lot of fence posts but they rot at the base very quickly.

Mrs ERJ likes trees with brilliant fall color. 

I like trees, shrubs and vines that retain "mast" throughout the winter for wildlife.

I like niche-players that can grow in difficult situations.

Fairly far down the list are trees that produce fine timber and even farther down the list are trees whose sole virtue is the production of firewood. 

Yesterday's date

The trees we were releasing were primarily oak that were being shaded by clumps of aspen/poplar and Black Walnuts being suppressed by EAB damaged ash trees.

I trimmed side branches off of some of the oak stems so the timber will have fewer knots. It will not benefit me from the timber standpoint but I enjoy walking through trees more when I do not get my face scrubbed with branches.

We didn't get finished but we made a fine start on the project.

Bonus pictures

This slope is not very fertile. The top soil isn't very deep and it was grazed for decades with the grazing animals moving the nutrients to higher elevation and erosion moving top soil to lower elevations.

Zeus photo-bombing a picture of an apple tree that was partially girdled by rabbits. This is the only tree in the planting that was girdled. Maybe it was delicious?

Friday, February 25, 2022

Gloom and Doom predictions

 "Emboldened by Putin's success and the lack of a credible response by the west, China takes Taiwan, N Korea takes S Korea, Pakistan attacks India, Iran attacks Israel, the Mexicans, (with Communist help) will think its a good time to attack and gain Callfornia and Texas."     -From a bulletin board on the 'net

China takes Taiwan

Likely to the point of approaching certainty.

North Korea takes South Korea

Unlikely. They might attack but Norks have too many weak-spots. Fuel and food shortages for example. Koreans, whether from the north or the south, are some of the toughest people on the planet. I cannot see the South Koreans simply rolling over.

Pakistan attacks India

50:50 chance. "Attack" is not the same as "Win".  Pakistan cannot win unless coordinating with China to force India into a two-front war. India is too big and also has nukes.

China involving India in a two-front war also embroils China in a two-front war. I cannot see China doing that for Pakistan.

Iran attacks Israel

75% chance they will attack Israel if things escalate. Unless West steps in, it is a near certainty that Israel will invest 4 nuclear devices as an object lesson if Iran chooses to attack. Israel does human-intelligence very, very well. They know where to detonate those 4 nukes for maximum emotional impact.

Mexico attacks California and Texas

Residents of those states who were born in Mexico might attack California and Texas infrastructure but the nation of Mexico attempting to chisel California and Texas off the Continental US seems very remote.

Regarding Taiwan

The Progressive hyper-regulation of EVERYTHING is largely enabled by abundant, inexpensive integrated circuits.

Six airbags in every motor-vehicle? Absolutely and totally dependent on an army of integrated circuits to constantly monitor the accelerations and compute magnitudes, frequency content and direction.

Running engines on the raggedy edge of stoichiometrically exact regardless of the energy content of the fuel? Ditto.

Compressing images and voice into digital mode, pushing through limited bandwidth and then reassembling a thousand different conversations on the other side. Ditto.

Not to be a Luddite, but the people whose knickers would be totally twisted into a knot if we regressed to a 1985 integrated circuit environment would not be the driver who went from 6 air bags to 1, 34 mpg to 33 mpg or having to think about what he was going to say before making a phone call. It would be the Deep State orcs who want to keep their thumbs on us dirt-people.


I know I have dozens of readers who are WAY smarter about this stuff than I am. I also know that many of you are constrained from publicly expressing your opinions. If you are one of those smart guys/gals who CAN express your opinion, I want to hear your thoughts.

The Taylor Swift Burger


One of the local restaurants now offers all of their burgers with the "Taylor Swift option". It is listed as Keto-friendly.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Coffee buddies

Bernie was not his usual, cheerful, easy-going self this morning.

"What's going on?" I asked in as sympathetic of a voice as I could manage.

"We go grocery shopping on Wednesdays" he muttered.

Thinking it was related to rising prices I asked "Go on..."

"I just can't stand it any more" he said. "I stay in the minivan and let Darlene go in alone."

"Hmmmm" I intoned. Sometimes words get in the way when somebody needs to get something off his chest.

"Every week keeps getting worse and worse" Bernie continued.

"Darlene comes out and is just fit to be tied. She told me the check-out person was an old sour-pus who was stupid and slow and couldn't figure out how to scan the coupons or do anything right."

"It casts a pall over the entire day" Bernie said.

Slush Casting


You know you are a nerd when you enjoy learning about obscure, obsolete production methods.

Slush Casting

Slush casting is a casting process where molten metal is poured into a cavity, the molten metal is allowed to remain in the cavity or mold long enough for a frozen shell to form and then the core of molten metal is poured out leaving just the shell.

Another version is where a core is inserted into the molten metal and the shell freezes around the core much like wax solidifying around the wick of a hand-dipped candle.

Slush casting offers some advantages over modern methods. For one-thing, the dies or molds are simpler. You only need one side.

There is no need for high-pressure die-casting or plastic injection molding equipment.

Another advantage is that you can use alloys with higher impact strength because you do not need the fluidity to flood long, thin sections. Most of the alloying elements that improve liquidity, silicon in aluminum alloys for instance, make the alloy more brittle.

Of course, if you choose to slush-cast aluminum alloys you need non-reactive crucibles and to float a salt-bath on top to isolate the liquid aluminum from oxygen.

A simple example

Suppose we were in spicy times and the frame for your power drill broke. Suppose all of your other parts were in fine working order but nobody had a spare frame to sell you.

Looking downward into the battery well of a power drill
If you were patient, you could shape a metal form* to dip into molten zinc foundry alloy** or molten aluminum and create a new frame for your power-drill. Obviously, it would not be reinforced polymer like the original and it would lack some of the external detail like stippling.

But if sufficient care was used in making the dipping mold, you could conceivably make fifteen-or-twenty external frames for your model of power-drill. Who knows, they might have "trading value".

*Gray cast iron would be the material of choice. It is easy to shape with simple files and hand-powered, metal cutting tools.

**Zinc foundry alloy is relatively brittle and it would behoove you to radius internal angles to eliminate stress risers.

Box Elder Bugs and Stink Bugs


Box Elder Seeds
Mrs ERJ informs me that there are fewer things less conducive to a restful night of sleep than crawling into bed and encountering a stinky, scratchy beast that claws at her all night long.

Sometimes that beast is even a bug that sought refuge in our house.

Box Elder Bugs

Box Elder Bugs like to overwinter in outbuildings, beneath the bark of dead trees and in attics. As the weather warms up and the days get longer they become active and they seem attracted to the heated spaces where humans are.

Not surprisingly, Box Elder Bugs are found where Box Elder Trees grow. Box Elders are considered a "weed" tree because they grow fast, spread quickly and they smell bad.

The interesting thing, to me, is that Box Elder Bugs depend on the Box Elder seeds to reproduce. That is, only half of the Box Elder Trees contribute to the problem, the ones that bear seeds.

That is a boon because the seeds hang on all winter and make those trees easy to identify. Find and cut down the female Box Elders and your Box Elder Bug problem pretty much disappears...the next winter.

Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs also become active this time of year

Stink Bugs are the ones that seem to like to burrow down between the sheets.

A quick review of the internet reveals that the most effective, and least expensive trap is a disposable aluminum roasting pan (made from heavy aluminum foil) that is partially filled with water and a squirt of soap. Then, since the Stink Bugs are attracted to light, one points a desk lamp or an LED battery into the bottom of the pan.

Additionally, the fruity/flowery scents added to dish detergents (and presumably some shampoos) is attractive to Stink Bugs.

The soap makes the water wet-out to the Stink Bug's legs and exoskeleton. The bug sinks and drowns.

What is the mission?

Samuel Brinton is the Biden Administration's pick for deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy.

Brinton is flamboyant. In LGBTLMNOP lingo, that means his lifestyle choices are in-your-face, almost as a dare.

I delayed writing anything about this issue because it was getting barrels of ink from the mainstream media. I also delayed because, well, I could not get a good fix on how this needy person fits into Biden's team's agenda.


Enrage the conservatives

Much of the ink spilled by the mainstream would have you believe the right is "losing their minds" but I have not seen much of that from the serious right authors. If that was the reason Biden's team chose Brinton then I am not sure it is working.

Brinton is the best man for the job

Allow me to express a little skepticism. The TECHNICAL problem in handling nuclear waste involves finding stable geographical formations where water does NOT infiltrate. There are hundreds of salt and gypsum domes and depleted petroleum formations that meet those needs. 

The fact that pressurized natural gas was retained by these formations is a pretty good indication of their stability. Given these realities, most qualified candidates are geologists who work in the petrochemical or coal industry.

Another technical problem is in transporting hot nuclear waste.

The biggest problem, overall, is POLITICAL. Nobody wants a tanker truck loaded with toxic soup traveling over the same freeways they commute to work on. Nobody wants the oil-field near them pumped full of hot, glass pellets.

Since most of the formations that might be useful for disposal of waste are located in conservative areas (the South and the West), picking a flamboyant is a thumb-in-the-eye of the people most likely to be impacted.

I fail to see how having an official like Brinton solves the technical problem or relaxes the political ones.

Creating new industry

Binton's technical specialty seems to involve extracting some of the radioactive isotopes from the waste, packaging into some dimensionally stable form and then re-inserting it into the core of a nuclear reactor to be used as fuel.

Moving the Overton Window

This seems to be the most likely reason. Biden's Team's mission believes that all technical problems will patiently wait while the United States achieves some ill-defined uber-liberal utopia.

That means that Biden's Team does not consider nuclear waste to be much of a problem, at least not compared to the inequalities experienced by LGBTLMNOP types.

They will find, as millions have in the past, that reality is hard and reality waits for no matter how much they "imagine" or "want" something.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tensions ease

At the time of this writing it is being reported that Justin Trudeau is dissolving the Emergencies Power Act powers he was using to freeze/confiscate financial assets of truckers (and supporters) who were protesting his Covid policies.

I am not going to succumb to the temptation to speculate about motives or identifying key data-points that may have tipped his decision. 

Rather I am going to applaud him for doing what I think is "The Right Thing".

Thank-you for stepping back from the brink, Prime Minister Trudeau.

Now, about those threats to revoke the commercial licences of the truckers and the civil servants who were fired for donating to the truckers...

What we know about Telsa vehicles


Tesla vehicles are a big favorite of politicians
We know that Tesla will never build a coupe because even their two-door models always have a back-door.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a back-door is an undocumented way of entering a computational device and fiddling with the operating system, the software or the signals received from sensors.

We know that Tesla has and uses back-doors because one of their models was being tested by Consumers Reports at the Consumers Reports facility. One day it took a long distance to brake down from 60mph. That result was duly reported to a Tesla representative. He asked for a retest and the braking distance was much shorter the next day. The day after that it was even longer than the first test.

The chatter on the internet is that Tesla probably did a software download specific to the vehicle's GPS location. That is, it only impacted the one Tesla on the Consumers Reports proving grounds. The speculation is that Tesla increased the gain on the force the brake system applied to the pads. Hence the shorter distances the next day.

Those higher braking forces overheated the pads and the vitrified pads had less friction and thus the longer distances afterward.

So think about the possibilities. Romanian hackers steal or are provided with the information they need to access the Teslas driven by specific people. They write a script that is inserted into the code for those Teslas where the driver's Tesla accelerates when the GPS indicates that it is approaching Deadman's Curve regardless any inputs to the accelerator or brake pedal. Not only that, the script would block the brakes and brake lights.

The perfect crime. The booby trap can be inserted months before it actuates. Any witnesses will see the lack of brakelights and assume the politician driver hit the gas pedal rather than the brakes. Appropriate data can be written to the flight-recorder to substantiate that assumption.

I am not a coder but I have to assume the script would not be any longer than 30 lines.

IF time > Universal Time Start Purge then

IF GPS <= x,y and if GPS >= x-deltax,y-deltay then

AFI brake input $(all functions ignored)

Brake input = 0.0 

Accelerator input = max

End all IF




Let's look at four Totalitarians from recent history:

Saddam Hussein: Hussein was a member of a religious minority. Sunni Muslims are about 30% of Iraq's population while Shia Muslims make up the rest of the population. Hussein was a minority within the Sunni population in that he was irreligious.

Lacking a huge, popular support base, Hussein relied heavily on object lessons. Hussein sent soldiers to villages and every resident executed and the buildings torched if the suspected somebody wanted to assassinate him.

It is common in Iraq for every person in a village to be closely related since marrying of first-cousins is not just allowed but is often considered desirable as a  way to keep wealth in-the-family. Destroying a village also meant destroying a family line.

Hussein's father disappeared before Hussein was born.


Joseph Stalin: Stalin was not Russian. He was Georgian. Natives of Georgia represented about 2% of the Soviet population.

Stalin's mother separated from Stalin's father when he was 5. They lived in poverty.


Adolf Hitler: Hitler was Austrian rather than German. Current data shows that Austrians are less than 1% of Germany's population.

Hitler's father started beating him when Hitler was six.


Justin Trudeau: Trudeau is considered French-Canadian. French-Canadians are about 20% of Canada's population.

Trudeau's father separated from his mother when he was five. Trudeau's father was given primary custody even though his nanny is quoted as saying "Justin is a mommy's boy, so it's not easy, but children's hurts mend very quickly."

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Still Drywalling

I remember working with my dad. I would look over and he would be bleeding from wounds on his arms and legs and head.

"Doesn't that hurt?" I would ask.

"Doesn't what hurt?" he would reply.

The sad thing about scar tissue is that it has no live nerve-endings.

The wonderful thing about scar tissue is that it has no live nerve-endings.

Just when you think it cannot get any more weird

"...and the bluegill was THIS BIG between the eyes..."

I wonder if Kamala Harris will offer Juwan Howard a position on her team to defuse the crisis in the Ukraine.

I understand he is very good at badgering people.

Antifa failure in victim selection process

None of the other bloggers on my sidebar mentioned it, but Antifa was protesting police brutality in Portland, Oregon this past weekend.

It is rumored that they attempted to intimidate a member of a motorcycle gang. The confrontation did not work out the way Antifa anticipated. Six people were shot, including one who died.

The Portland Police attempted to have a meeting with the press to share information about the altercation when Antifa interrupted the meeting and demanded that the police protect them...protect Antifa...while Antifa is protesting the police and demanding that the police be defunded.

The Progressive Loonie-Left's grasp on reality is so tenuous and their logical processes so convoluted that it is a chore to come up with commentary.

The best I can offer to Antifa is that it was probably a statistical aberration. They might want to see how the best 16-of-31 confrontations with motorcycle gangs works out.

On a completely unrelated note

Mrs ERJ informed me that it is getting difficult to find products that are not supplemented with Vitamin D.

Even though vehemently denied by the CDC, popular culture now believes that having a high-end-of-range Vitamin D level is inexpensive insurance with regard to nearly all infectious diseases.

The problem is that it is possible to have excessive levels of Vitamin D. 

Data from Ireland. Graph in lower-right quadrant shows Vitamin D levels starting to climb in late-2013. Other three charts show clear "loping" based on season.

Data from Denmark showing seasonality of Vitamin D levels with unsupplemented population levels ranging from about 75mmol/ml (median value) at the end of summer to 40mmol/ml at the end of winter. The unsupplemented population are the light gray whiskers on the left side of every cluster of data.

Belladonna had a "Code Blue" come into work last week. Patient in his late-40s having a coronary event. He was Covid positive. The patient did not survive.

Even before Covid, people in their 40s died of heart attacks. The usual cause was cocaine but others were just cursed with bad genetics and/or suboptimal lifestyles. James Fixx, for instance.

I wonder if annual Vitamin D screens will become a fixture just like cholesterol screening. Probably not. The vaccine costs $29 while the screening is more like $40.

Fine Art Tuesday

Visions of St Eustace

Pisanello, known professionally as Antonio de Puccio Pisano was born approximately 1395 and died approximately 1455 in Italy.

Many of his paintings were murals on plastered walls and they did not survive.

Notable because he had a keen eye for dogs. In the lead image you can clearly discern dogs very similar to today's grayhounds, scent hounds and spaniels in the foreground.

He even painted ankle-biters. It is rumored that ladies liked small dogs because they were flea-magnets. It was easier to get the fleas on the dog and wash the dog than to wash the bales of clothing and petticoats that fine ladies wore during the 1400s.

Perhaps the pooch was trained to hold a stick in his mouth before he was led into the castle's carp-pond. The fleas migrated to the stick which the dog was commanded to release.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Stockman Grass Farmer magazine


Much of what I know about management intensive grazing is what I learned by reading the Stockman Grass Farmer magazine and applying what I read about to my pastures and my animals.

I let my subscription lapse in the mid-1990s. I was very pleased to see that they still exist.


One of the marvelous things about the SGF is that they publish articles from people who graze animals in all parts of the country.

Some of them are in high-desert. Others in the deep-South. Some are in the mid-West. Others are in the Canadian prairies. Others are in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

The first priority is to have a fence that your animals will respect. If you cannot control your animals you cannot "manage" them.

The "University" will teach you breeding, forages and nutrition. It is all lost if you cannot control your animals.

The seed-bank in your soil and any seed that you bring in on hay will be sufficient for your needs. In most cases, spending money on "seed" is wasted especially if you cannot control your animals.

A field treated as a hay-crop will produce about four times as much forage, by mass, as a field treated as "commons", that is, continuously grazed. The miracle of management intensive grazing is that it delivers hay-crop yields without the fixed cost of tractors, cutters, crimpers, balers and twine. Grazing is also less sensitive to weather.

Own your animals out-right. Finance the land. Banks hate collateral that can go Tango-Uniform.

The bigger the antlers, the more expensive the land. Property in counties that are not known for trophy Whitetail deer is significantly less expensive than "Trophy" producing counties. In general, the farther east you go, the less expensive on a per-cow/calf unit the land becomes.

Manage your pastures to produce 30% +/- 15% legumes and your animals will do fabulously.

Configure your electric fences to make shorts easy to diagnose.

Buy the best electric fence energizer you can afford. A new, utility diesel tractor costs about $1000 a hp. You can afford a $200 fence energizer.

Bonus links

The Stockman Grass Farmer has articles on the free side of the pay-wall. Here are a few to whet your interest.

Legumes enrich your sward

Are you an accomplished grazier?

What is the Return-on-Investment of subdividing pasture into paddocks?

Managing insect pests without synthetic pesticides

Dung beetles!!!

Happy, productive cattle are quiet cattle

If you pop open any of these links, please be kind. The writers are FARMERS, not professional writers. If you find value in these essays, please consider asking for a FREE sample ISSUE or subscribing to Stockman Grass Farmer for a year.

Disclosure: I get no benefit from this "plug" other than knowing that I might be helping a fine magazine last a few more years.

Girls and drama

Some girls, maybe not very many, have a high need for drama.

But let me be more precise. They have a very high need for continuous attention. They have a high need for control and to manipulate men.


A girl moves to Florida. She gets a new boyfriend. After a few weeks her new boyfriend wants to spend a little more time with his boyz.

Girl calls/facetimes old boyfriend in Michigan. "Come down here, I am lonely."

Girl tells new boyfriend that old boyfriend cannot live without her, so he better start playing momma-may-I and kissing her hindmost.

Old boyfriend rings door-bell.

New boyfriend stabs him and clueless, old-boyfriend bleeds out on the front porch after traveling 1200 miles to be with his girl. He was 16.

It would be interesting to see if her inter-personal skills were learned from her mother. That would be an interesting chart, the relationships between the women who are the pivots in incidents of young, male-on-male violence.

Forgiveness: Sins against God

If you have been following this series of posts, you might remember that I defined used "Knowingly caused avoidable injury in another human" as one definition of sin.

If you were to look at the Ten Commandments, you would see that the first three Commandments, and presumably the most important, are sometimes defined as sins against God.


One: You shall have no false-gods before me

Two: You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain

Three: You shall observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy

The impossibility of "injuring" God

As believers, we tend to accept the Ten Commandments as our marching orders, as-written. We don't over-think them.

That is not always the case when discussing them with non-believers. Our layman's definition of sin, where somebody is avoidably injured, runs into tough-sledding with the "sins against God". It is beyond human understanding to grasp how we might injure God.

Another factor that comes into play is that humans are inherently self-centered, "What is in it for me?" If we are to engage people in a discussion about "Forgiveness" then we need to be prepared to speak to that question even if we don't think it is the meat-and-potatoes of being a believer.


A few of the False-gods:

Self: Raising our self and our feelings above God.

Feelings are as fleeting as the weather. Our conscious thoughts are as continuous as broken shards of glass and only become smooth and logical in our our after-the-fact rationalizations. And we would dare imply that those are better yardsticks to measure morality than 4000 years of revelation and prayer and contemplation and lived experiences?

Drugs: Some people become addicted. They make pursuit of their next fix the false-god that directs their life. Do I need to go into detail about why this is not a good option?

Power and Wealth: Power derived from coercion and threat evaporates the second the ability to deliver on the threat disappears. Pursuit of power is a zero-sum-game and eventually, we will end up old and weak.

Wealth is tied to the integrity of the government. If you have a million dollars and tomorrow the government prints one-hundred dollars for every one currently in circulation, your buying power is now only ten-thousand dollars worth.

Power and wealth are not solid foundations upon which to build your life.

Popularity and coolness: Both depend on rejecting the old (and proven) and embracing the new. It is a rat racing on a treadmill. There is no peace, no serenity in pursuing Popularity and Cool.

Popularity and coolness are sands that shift even more quickly than power and wealth.

It does not take much imagination to see how we hurt PEOPLE when we create false-gods in our lives. Clearly, hurting people is something we should ask forgiveness for.

Do not take the name of God in vain

The modern person's understanding of "name" is very, very different than the ancient person's understanding of "name".

In ancient times you were part of a family. That family might engage in businesses like raising sheep, forging iron or trading for precious gems. That identity of "family" was the center of how you defined yourself.

"Name" was shorthand for being a full member of that family and having the authority to engage in those businesses as an agent and to demand food, shelter and protection from enemies.

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father tells his servants to give the returning son a cloak, a ring and sandals.

The cloak would tell others the son's station in life. Even today we have "Investiture ceremonies" where incoming officials are given their robes of office.

The ring was a signet ring that would be rolled in hot wax to seal documents, contracts, committing the family to an agreement. It was used instead of a signature because most people could not read but they would instantly recognize a family crest.

The sandals elevated the returning son and protected him from walking on animal manure (unclean) and sharp stones that could wound his feet.

To an ancient times, "name" meant station-in-life, it meant authority, it affirmed your right to be supplied with food and shelter.

A modern man might scoff at this, but is it that different from your good-standing in your profession? Is it different from your FICO score and the opinion your neighbors have of you?

Interpreting "Do not take the name of God in vain" as meaning we should not say "God Damn!!!" is a small portion of the commandment. Frankly, God's name is probably something we cannot pronounce with human vocal cords and would take us 6.5 million years to enunciate.

As originally understood, "Do not take God's name in vain" was more along the lines of "Don't misrepresent your minor position within the Mafia and start shaking down businesses for your personal profit." If you aspire to be one of God's people, if you want to be in His family, then play your position and don't pretend to be more than you are.

From my personal life, I will tell you that playing-out-of-position is exhausting. It is draining. On the other hand, if you can play in-your-position, it is energizing and a font-of-life.

Putting yourself in a position where you are playing-out-of-position is fraud and it is a injury against yourself and against those people who are depending on you.

Keep Holy the Sabbath

Suppose you had a co-worker who met a nice Irish girl from New Hampshire while skiing.

He rhapsodizes about her red hair, green eyes, freckles and melodious voice day-after-day. Clearly, he is besotted with her charms.

After a year, you ask how many times he went and visited his beloved.

"Not once" he tells you.

"Do you talk on the phone or video chat?" you ask, fishing.

"Nope. She doesn't believe in technology" he informs you.

Years, nay decades go by and he continues his Quixotesque pursuit of his Rosinante.

At the very least you would consider your friend delusional for falling in love with a fantasy of his own creation. At worst you would think he was creepy.

The person who says they believe in God but does not Make-the-Date once a week is not much different than our co-worker who is in love with a fantasy of his own creation. To put it baldly, he is in love with himself.

See "Put no false-gods before me".

Man as a social creature

According to once source, the New Testament mentions the word "Shepherd" 16 times. Humans are social creatures. Some are more social. Others are less social. But it is a very rare person who does not need at least a little bit of human company and affirmation.

Living the collective wisdom of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian heritage sometimes demands that you depart from old friends and old habits. You can get support by finding a place to worship and spending some time there on the sabbath every week.

Finding a community of like-minded people will go a long way towards avoiding the near-occasion-of-sin.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Not something you will read every day

“In Washington, D.C., most gun violence is very tightly concentrated on a small number (between 200 and 500) of very high risk young Black male adults that have a shared set of common risk factors,” says David Muhammad, the executive director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. “This very small number of high risk individuals are identifiable. Their violence is predictable and therefore it is preventable.”   Source
According to the study, there is significant overlap between victims of homicides and the suspects who commit them, in terms of life circumstances and risk factors. Many are involved in groups, which the study defined as a neighborhood crew, clique, or gang...

More than 90% of homicide victims and homicide suspects in 2019 and 2020 were male, and about 96% were Black. Nearly half were formerly incarcerated, and about 86% of them were known to the criminal justice system in some way. And, the study found, victims in homicides and suspects in these cases were “remarkably similar” when it came to prior arrests. Most had been arrested for property crimes, drug crimes, and unarmed violent offenses prior to the shooting or homicide, and had on average been arrested approximately 11 times.

It is a short article. It does not blame the availability of firearms. 

When I worked for a Plant that was closing, both Management and the Union honchos were reading the same book on workplace violence. The authors concluded that it was very difficult to precisely predict WHEN violence would occur but they said that the best predictor of WHO would commit it was somebody with a prior history of using violence to get what they wanted or to resolve problems.

The authors of the book that Management was reading also stated that the "classic" workplace violence involved a woman who left one man and had (presumably) taken up with another who worked in the same facility where she worked. The ex-lover would find a way to enter the facility and confront the perceived threat to his relationship.

Things would escalate. Sometimes the second romance interest had no idea of what the woman told the first romance interest. That is, she was using the second guy as a reason to dump the first guy...the second guy was just an excuse...she was tired of tired of the first guy and she didn't want to be the heavy.

A gun would come out. Bullets would fly. There would be collateral casualties.

The best fences have water, grass and salt on the same side as the cattle


The snow is rapidly disappearing. 46F and 15 mph winds will do that. More of the same Monday and Tuesday.

I spent a couple of hours today working the fences around this two acre paddock over at Sprite's. I will move them tomorrow morning.

History rhymes even as we watch it unfold

This guy is a little rough around the edges but


with 2% of the world's economy pie he

has 25% of the world's economy (EU) on its knees trying to tap-out

while another 50% of the world economy is trying to start WWIII. The US to distract voters from domestic problems and Com-China so they can take over Taiwan while the west is otherwise engaged.

If Putin can make five BILLION people dance with just 2% of the world economy then why does this guy

think he can make a different group of

rough-around-the-edges guys

who delivered every valve, nut, bolt, pipe and weld rod

to the system that delivers oil and natural gas to southern Ontario.

do this?

Putin gave the truckers the script to the next act.

Trudeau robbed the provinces and the cities of southern Ontario and Quebec of police to clear a few city blocks of truckers. Does he have enough people to guard over three thousand miles of pipeline? Does he have that many Canadians who are willing to shoot people bumbling too close to a pipeline?

My guess is that he does not and he will be reviled by every good Canadian if he continues to escalate.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Men competing in Women's Swimming

There is a man in the Ivy League competing in Women's swimming this year.

He is crushing the women he is competing against. This is not a big surprise.

As an Engineer who graduated in Mechanical Engineering about a million years ago, I want to point out a few things that popped into my mind.

Sailing ships

A ship hull that is not planing on the surface generates bow and stern waves.

They create a valley that the ship is sailing within and the nature of fluid dynamics is such that the longer the water-line the faster the ship can sail before that valley becomes a limiting factor.

Velocity(max) in knots = 1.34 * SQRT(length in feet). A human who is 6'-4" will have a "max velocity" that is 11% faster than a human who is 5'-2" tall 

Men, in general, grow to be taller post-puberty than women. Taller swimmers will have an inherently faster "max speed" due to fluid dynamics.


VO2 Max is the rate that your body can absorb oxygen from the air normalized by your body-weight.

Normative values for women (Heywood, 1998, ml/kg/minute)

AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior
13-19<2525 - 3031 - 3435 - 3839 - 41>41
20-29<2424 - 2829 - 3233 - 3637 - 41>41
30-39<2323 - 2728 - 3132 - 3637 - 40>40
40-49<2121 - 2425 - 2829 - 3233 - 36>36
50-59<2020 - 2223 - 2627 - 3132 - 35>35
60+<1717 - 1920 - 2425 - 2930 - 31>31

Normative values for men (Heywood, 1998)
AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior
13-19<3535 - 3738 - 4445 - 5051 - 55>55
20-29<3333 - 3536 - 4142 - 4546 - 52>52
30-39<3131 - 3435 - 4041 - 4445 - 49>49
40-49<3030 - 3233 - 3839 - 4243 - 47>48
50-59<2626 - 3031 - 3536 - 4041 - 45>45
60+<2020 - 2526 - 3132 - 3536 - 44>44

VO2Max is the amount of oxygen that can be absorbed through your lungs and distributed via your circulatory system. This quantity is determined by geometry of lungs, ribcage, heart and blood vessels which in turn is determined by hormonal signals in the period +/- 2 years of puberty.

Men athletes, ages 20-29 have about 20% higher VO2Max then women athletes.

Real-world data

VO2 max (ml/kg/min)AthleteGenderSport/Event
96.0Espen Harald BjerkeMaleCross Country Skiing
96.0Bjorn DaehlieMaleCross Country Skiing
92.5Greg LeMondMaleCycling
92.0Matt CarpenterMaleMarathon Runner
92.0Tore Ruud HofstadMaleCross Country Skiing
91.0Harri KirvesniemMaleCross Country Skiing
88.0Miguel IndurainMaleCycling
87.4Marius BakkenMale5K Runner
85.0Dave BedfordMale10K Runner
85.0John NgugiMaleCross Country Runner
73.5Greta WaitzFemaleMarathon runner
71.2Ingrid KristiansenFemaleMarathon Runner
67.2Rosa MotaFemaleMarathon Runner

Measured VO2Max of some world-class athletes.

A man competing as a woman in swimming has an unfair advantage even if his current testosterone levels are the same as the women he competes against because the physical changes at puberty still advantage him vis-a-vis woman in terms of "hull speed" and VO2Max which are driven by the geometry of his anatomy.