Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Forests Are Dying

(click on any picture to enlarge them)

"Mountain pine beetles are chewing through Colorado's high-altitude forests....according to a survey released ... by the U.S. and Colorado forest services.
The beetles spread to 400,000 more acres in 2008, bringing the total area infected to about 2 million acres since 1996, when foresters first began tracking the outbreak."

We dropped off the South Park and picked up I-70 at Frisco, Colorado. Until that point the beetle killed trees had be sporadic. All of a sudden whole forest were predominately brown from dead trees. It had been three years since we had driven this way. The difference in the landscape was stunning.

But as we followed U.S. 40 to Granby it was even worse.

"The mountain pine beetle has left its mark on about 2 million acres of forests in Colorado, primarily targeting lodge pole pines, which grow at between 8,500 and 10,000 feet above sea level. Colorado represents the southern distribution of the (this) beetle infestation which extends north into Canada. "
---Cyberwest (Remember the purple words will lead you to a full article
at another site. Please click on them to see it)

The back side of the tree loss is that the meadow plants have colonized more areas.

"It’s stunning how quickly it all happened. According to the Denver Post, 7.4 million trees on 1.5 million acres were killed between 1996 and 2006.
The big question, and it’s a charged one in a solidly Republican county (58% supported Bush in ‘04), is whether the extent of the damage is due to global warming, or just a part of the natural forest cycle. It’s clear that beetle infestations have happened for ages in Colorado; what’s unclear is whether climate change has pushed this sensitive ecosystem into a tailspin that will only end when all the trees are dead."
----Wired Science

It is not just the Lodge Pole Pine. Spruce and Aspen are now finding their own extinction. "Beetles killed 70,000 acres of spruce trees last year, mostly in southern Colorado's high-altitude forests.
Meanwhile, the mysterious die-off of aspen trees appears to have stabilized, according to a yearly survey of forest health that the Forest Service released Friday.
Forest scientists now believe the aspen die-off was caused by last decade's drought. Aspen decline peaked in 2008 and increased very little last year, according to the annual aerial survey of Colorado forests.
The spruce beetle epidemic, however, is growing with no signs of abatement.
“There's really nothing to stop it," said Susan Gray of the U.S. Forest Service. “The winter temperatures continue to be very mild compared to a decade ago."
The spruce beetle outbreak began in 2002 and has killed 508,000 acres of trees, mostly Englemann spruce, in Colorado and southern Wyoming. Hotspots of the outbreak include Wolf Creek Pass and Colorado Highway 149 between South Fork and Creede. "

After I dropped my wife off in Grandby I continued on to Waldon, Colorado.
The destruction in the Arapaho National Forest was 90% and more.

"Testifying here before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, Cables said he expects 100,000 trees a day to fall in the national forests in the two states over the next 10 years.
"The trees are falling," Cables said. "We've had several near misses already where falling trees have come close to hurting people."
The forest land closures, he said, may be necessary for the safety of the public and Forest Service employees."

I pulled off onto a FS rode and drove several miles just wondering at the devastation around me.

The new problem with millions of dead trees.

Trees cut and piled up. When the snow comes, the pile will be burned.

But the willows are still growing along the streams, and the moose are still there. Indeed this makes them easier to find.

"The researchers also noted that the high mortality rate could turn Western forests from carbon sinks, where they absorb the greenhouse gas, into carbon sources, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they die — further speeding up the pace of global warming.
"An alarming implication of increased mortality rates is that the fundamental structure of these forests could be undergoing change," Franklin said. "The forests may stabilize at lower overall levels of biomass resulting in less carbon stored in the forests."
The areas studied were 76 forest stands 200 or more years old in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Canada's southwestern British Columbia. Researchers counted trees and looked back at records kept for more than 50 years at multiple sites. "

Will it be over. I heard over and over again in cities like Granby, and Laramie, and Waldon, and Georgetown, that , "they have it under control now". Do they?
"The recent large-scale dieback of piñon (Pinus edulis Engelm.) and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) and associated bark beetle outbreaks in the Southwestern United States has been linked to the ”climate change type drought” (e.g., dry and warm) that occurred in this region in the early 2000s. Several bark beetle species, including piñon ips (Ips confusus Leconte), Arizona fivespined ips (Ips lecontei Swaine) and the western pine beetle (Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte), responded to the vast landscapes of drought-stressed trees, contributing significantly to the widespread tree mortality. Because elevated temperatures potentially influence the number of generations of these species reproducing in a single year, similar outbreaks could occur again as precipitation and temperature patterns continue to shift."

Some roads with standing dead timber are close to any type of traffic.

Those brown mountains in the distance are covered in dead trees.

Willow tree wilderness. That's the immediate future in some areas.

The USDA FS signs blithely extol the natural changes the forest is under going.

"Perhaps the most frightening conclusion of the new study is that if current warming trends continue, western forests will move from absorbing carbon and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to emitting more carbon dioxide than they can absorb."
Well, I guess we don't know yet how we shall end. Will it be fire or ice?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Caboodle Ranch, A Cat's Paradise

Caboodle Ranch is a 30 acre non-profit cat rescue society; founded by a single individual who cared enough to make a difference in the lives of our fuzzy little friends

Check out the little houses he built for them. Craig Grant bought a tree farm far away from the city and turned it into a sanctuary for all the cats he has rescued. He lives there with the cats and provides lots of love, care and companionship. It's hard to imagine that once he was not a cat lover and did not want cats until he met his son¹s cat Pepper. He also got to experience what it is like raising a litter of kittens.

Over that time I learned that every cat had its own unique personality and it wasn't long before the kittens were swinging from my curtains. I didn't care. Something had changed, I didn't want to give them up. The condo life was not easy for the kitties, so Craig found a tree farm and settled down there for his fur babies

Over the next several months, he rescued more and more homeless and abandoned cats. The number of new residents kept going up, so Craig expanded the sanctuary to make more room for the animals.

The farm was named Caboodle Ranch and is now a permanent home for all the homeless, rescued cats. Each of them has a sad story of their past, but now they are living in heaven. Cats should be able to roam free, and at Caboodle Ranch, that¹s what they do.

Craig has built many beautiful cat houses and decorated the place with vibrant colors and tons of liveliness. All the cats are spayed and neutered. Don¹t forget to visit Caboodle Ranch (non profit rescue center) at their website and check them out on Facebook.

Thanks to my daughter and her mother-in-law for the content and idea for this blog.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How To Steal .005% Of An Oil Well 200 Times

Chickasaw Nation Governor Anoatubby gave a speech at the Governor's Conference on August 17th. A long time friend of my engaged him in a question. Here is her report.
"During his speech, he stated how important it is to have property rights, water
etc. so I mentioned that. Then I stated, "There
are no federal laws, no state laws, no agency, office or department to protect
the mineral
owners in the USA. No one is responsible
for enforcing the mineral leases to oil and gas companies to pay
the rightful amount owed to the mineral rights owners. The folks in
the Oil Division of the Corporation Commission tell me their hands are
tied. We need a law. As our leader, will you work with the CN
legislators and the Oklahoma legislators to write a law?"
said everybody hushed up and started listening when I was
talking. Even Lisa Billy asked Judy Parker who was
talking. Judy told her she thought it sounded like me; however, she
couldn't see (Judy told me later). The Governor said, "We will certainly look
into this and there is a state representative here who is just the person we
need to work with, Lisa Billy. Why don't you two get together after
this session is over. This sounds like something we need to work
The Indian Nation have recently won a lawsuit worth billions of dollars, which incidentally Congress won't pay, because of corruption in the administration of their mineral rights.
But there are millions, yes millions of private citizens with mineral rights that are conned, screwed, or fornicated out of the appropriate value for their mineral rights. We are not talking about billionaires or millionaires. These people are most often the children or grandchildren of farmers or ranchers who long ago lost their lands but kept the mineral rights on those lands.
We need a mineral rights property advocate at the Federal level. Why Federal, because the boys and girls stealing from these people are BP types. Their Landman may speak with a local accent but his paycheck probably comes from Dubai. Saudi Arabia. or Venezuela.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Is a Saudi Prince the Second Biggest Fox News Shareholder

Prince Alalweed bin Talal is the second largest owner of News Corp including Fox News.The Prince of course is Part of the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. Thus the Saudis have direct influence to all of the Fox News audience. Do they use it? If you were them would you? Not all conspiracies are theories (love that line). What would ...you do to double the price of gasoline? Have the U.S. start a war with your oil competitor Iran? Want to keep yourself between the U.S. and other Muslim countries, have the U.S. alienate itself from them by showing their anti- Islamic bent?

Check out this interview from Business Week

A Q&A with Prince Alalweed bin Talal
(The Saudi prince on Citigroup, News Corp., Obama, taxes, and terrorism )

"You're a huge investor in News Corp. (NWS) Are you confident about its future?I'm the second-biggest shareholder there. I was with Mr. Murdoch yesterday and have a very close relationship with Mr. James Murdoch. James is now managing Europe and Asia. I would be the first one to nominate him to be the successor of Mr. Rupert Murdoch, God forbid something happens. I have full trust in him. He is really a Rupert Murdoch in the making, and he's almost there. And I told that to Mr. Murdoch"

So how's that chain yanking by a Saudi Prince feeling?

You know the Saudis could double the price of oil if the U.S. went to war with it competitor Iran?

You know if the Saudis could discredit the U.S. in the eyes of the other Muslim countries they could still be our best friends in the Muslim world. How about showing off America's anti Islam nature?

Now what can you imagine they might use the platform to accomplish?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Woodstock Remembered

Next week, August 15, will be the anniversary of Woodstock.

I dont think that there has been a party like this since.

Such fun.

Unfortunately I wasn't there. I was just back from Nam and was in the back roads of Virginia at a place called Vint Hill Farms.

So I didn't make it. I've been waiting for 51 years for the next one.

But, I guess we have been working to hard to take off that long for a party.
It has been kinda downhill since then.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Many More Times Will You Watch The Full Moon Rise?

"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life.
It's that terrible precision that we hate so much.
But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well.
Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.
How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it?
Perhaps four or five times more.
Perhaps not even.
How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?
Perhaps twenty.
And yet it all seems limitless."
— Paul Bowles
My wife asked me why I posted this. "Is it a message to me?", she asked. "No," I said,"but you should take it to heart."
I saw this movie and listened to Bowles say this at the end. It was a few months after the Murrah Building Bombing in Oklahoma City and it spoke to me. After Vietnam I considered every hour of every day a bonus no matter how bad or painful they were. This spoke to me.