Urban Myth

   If you wanted to find me on the 23rd day of September 2017 I was at The Parkfield Rodeo arena where the first of the season California High School Rodeo was taking place. I had just been introduced to Linda who is the mother of a new couple that decided that they would like to work their way around the United States and get a closer look at our wonderful U.S.A.Their first stop is Parkfield after driving all the way across the country from their home in Virginia.

This beautiful valley surrounded by The Diablo mountains and the wonderful people that lived here then as now is what also attracted Zee and I to this promised land 56 years ago. Ian and Paige have decided to stay on and hopefully they to, might also choose to make a life in Parkfield.

            Linda with her friend David had come to visit for a few days as they have been 5 weeks on the road discovering America. Linda, wanting to understand how all the different Rodeo events worked, was curious in the bucking events. It’s only natural that a lot of attention would center around The bucking horses and bucking bulls. Linda said “I understand that to make the bulls buck, you have to tie a rope around their BALLS then they’ll buck”. I said “this could not be farther from the truth”, but I bet I know where it got started. Organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals P.E.T.A. This organization thrives on fake news and taking things said and pictures taken out of context to advance their agenda.

I would like to paint a word picture that is fiction but demonstrates how a truth might be known.

             

“Yes operator, I would like the telephone number for the P.E.T.A. organization and would you put me through to their main office, thank you.”

“How may I help you.”

“I would like to speak with someone that has authority to send a P.E.T.A. representative to the next Professional Bull Riding event in Oklahoma to witness a bull being readied to try to buck his rider off.”

“Hello, yes we will get back to you shortly so give me your telephone number and we’ll return your call.”

“Thank you, goodbye.”

Well I thought that will be the last I hear from them. They just blew me off. Several days go by when my phone rings.

“Hello, who am I speaking to?”

“Hi, I’m the gentleman in charge of verifying things like this.We will be sending a young man by the name of Casper Milk-Toast to your event.”

“Would you say his last name again?”

“It’s spelt just like it sounds, Milk, like you drink and bread that comes out of a toaster is toast, Casper Milk-Toast.”

“I understand that your P.B.R. Bull riding is next weekend and so we will have Casper arrive about 2 hours before the performance, goodbye.”

             

The day of the event arrived.

“Welcome Mr. Milk-Toast you’re right on time. I see you have brought a nice camera with you, but I don’t know if you’re going to need it. So let’s go Casper I’ve only got 2 hours for you to master your new occupation. I’ll lead the way over to the bucking chute and we’ll load a bull for you to practice on.”

Casper looks at me with a somewhat bewildered look on his face and says “I came to watch one of your crew do it, not me!”

“Well Casper we don’t have anybody here that ties ropes around the balls of one of these bulls, so I’m depending on you to teach us how it’s done.”

Casper Milk-Toast’s face now has fear written all over it as he asks if we have a rest room available. “Yes Casper, down the hall and to your left.”

Wouldn’t you know it! That’s the last time we ever saw Casper Milk-Toast. If he had stayed for the regular performance he would’ve realized that the rope is tied around the flank area which is just in front of the back legs. This is a bulls tickle spot and helps them to do what comes naturally “bucking cowboys off”

                              See Ya

                               Jack

An image I took from the P.B.R Bull Riding which is televised live every year. Here you can clearly see the rope tied around the flank or ‘tickle spot’ of the bull

Is their utility in a Pot belly?

About 6 months ago a Pot Belly showed it’s self just above my hips. How did I notice it? It was brought to my attention when I bent over to tie my shoes, I noticed my toes were missing. Bending further they finally showed themselves. I’m really kidding, you and I both know it’s been about a year or more that my favorite belt buckle that “once upon a time” spent the day with its head held high, now spends the day holding up my pants while all the time it’s looking at my shoes.

         It’s 1/6/17 and we that have a flaw or two are going through our annual drill of making New Years resolutions to erase said flaws. I’m sad to say that many have already “fallen off the wagon” and the experts tell me that by the end of 2017 the other 98% will have followed leaving an empty wagon except for all the “good intentions” that are still firmly seated waiting for the class of 2018 to see if they can beat the odds. Proof will come by showing that their old cloths that have spent the last eon on cloths hangers or in bottom drawers now once again fit.

            I have a curiosity though. What if I find myself in the 98% that fail? Well here it is, it’s mid-October and I would have to say that I’m still among the ranks of that 98% that are failing the course on ‘Self Improvement’ as my toes are still hidden most of the time. But I think the time has come to turn failure into a good thing. I’ve got it! Yes, by gollies I’m sure I’ve got it! I’m going to look under my belt for those hidden advantages that can make a Pot belly something to be proud of and I found one today. On my most everyday hike which I’m sad to say doesn’t make “Pot bellies” disappear I had an aha moment

In our fall months here in Parkfield the temperature can rise and fall pretty fast. The other day I started my hike with coat on and finished with coat tied around my waist. What I did learn after tying my coat around my waist several times where my waist used to be but gravity kept pulling it down around my knees it struck me that if I tied my coat above my belly gravity didn’t have a chance. That’s it folks it’s the only useful reason to have a Pot Belly. Oh, and yes, you’ll need one if you ever want to play Santa Claus.

                             See Ya

                              Jack

Smoky the Bear has got it all wrong.      

At the end of June of this year a wildfire started on my neighbors ranch. After a day or so, this fire had grown to several thousand acres in size, to warrant its own name. It was called The Garza Fire. When all was said and done and the last embers were out 60,000 acres had burned. 6,000 of these acres were on our V6 ranch and what a blessing it was. For many of you that live in our cities and towns are thinking how awful. But was it? I think not. For this part of The Diablo range had no people living in harms way and there were just a handful of structures that Cal Fire carefully protected from burning. As for the wild life and livestock I believe all escaped unscathed as just an occasional Turkey Vulture was seen flying over the burned area indicating that there wasn’t much to eat.

Now let’s examine what damage the land, the grass, and trees sustained. Thanks to my iPhone this blog is coming to you with pictures “worth a thousand words” to validate my assertion that Fire is a natural and normal part of how Mother Nature manages our forests and grasslands.

This photo was taken shortly after the fire. It gives a perspective as to the type of terrain that the Garza Fire consumed.
This scene was taken on 9/28/17 notice that all the trunks of these Scrub Oak are mostly all dead but their roots are not as you can see all the new regrowth that has appeared in just a little over 2 months. This will now be excellent browsing food for our Black Tail Deer along with the many Chamise Brush bulbs that are sending out new shoots.
This picture was also taken on 9/28/17. This picture was taken in a more open grassland. Notice that the leaves got toasted but already new leaves are appearing even though these leaves will be shed come Winter
I very much like this picture as this hardy Blue Oak is saying “don’t count me out I’ve got a few hundred years of life still left in me.”

Smoky the Bear with his cry “only you can prevent forest fires” is a most destructive fraud because Lightning starts a good share of the wild fires that get started on our western ranges that “We The People” have no control over. So, let’s relegate Smoky the Bear to his proper place which is on the junk heap of fake news.

First, I recognize that my state of California is no longer a sparsely settled land but a land where 40,000,000 people dwell along with all their paraphernalia like cars, houses, and all those who can’t do without T.V.’s, which all needs protecting. However that still leaves many millions of acres of wild lands that are in real need of some thoughtful science based management to leave behind the emotionally charged decision making practices that Smokey the Bear has championed and put us into the mess we’re in today. Catastrophic fires are our reward for not dealing with the build up of an understory of very flammable dry matter which should be burned under controlled conditions or physically removed, which is very expensive. Logging with today’s new methods makes a much smaller footprint on the landscape which is both beneficial and profitable to our government and to the logging industry. So let’s all move forward together, starting with a historical notation that Smokey the Bear was laid to rest this day in his proper place alongside junk science, fake news and a few dogmatic wacko environmentalists who to this day are still leading the gullible astray.

To close, my hope is that over time Common Sense and knowledge will save our forests and wild lands.

                             See Ya

                             Jack