Saturday, February 20, 2010

Per The Previous Post

I've been trying to find some "Official" information concerning the original creation of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.

I have not yet found the information that I was searching for, I'll have to make a trip to the library and do some digging there.

When I get it, I'll also have some pictures for you, from one of the canyons included in the site, and the murals that one owner painted on the living rock. Murals which were promptly used as target practice once the Army got a hold of the land.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pinon Canyon

Peter and Wing asked me whilst they were here to visit the last couple of days about the signs they saw on the highway on the way into town.

"This Land Not For Sale To The Army"

"No Pinon Canyon Expansion"

This, understandably, confused them. This issue hasn't really made a lot of waves as far as I know outside of the state of Colorado.

But, perhaps it should.

Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site is a training site for the US Army, located outside of Trinidad. Take a moment and look that up on google. Got it? Good.

The initial map of proposed expansion to occur over the course of five years, detailed that they would expand that site from where it currently is, roughly to the southern Colorado state line, east to the Kansas state line, and north to US Highway 50.

And kick everyone out.

Since I live within the area that would be, by the original plan, "acquired" in year five of this plan, and most of our land is in the "future expansion area" I sort of have a problem with this. (A map leaked to the public detailing the original draft of the plan can be found here The LaJunta Tribune-Democrat found it to be a bit obscure so they did their digging and made it a bit easier to read here.)

It's been an uphill battle for farmers and ranchers in this area to oppose this, without being painted as anti-military. We aren't. We're anti land-grabbing.

Some of the "sparse population" has been on their land for generations. Many ranchers can take you to the crumbling adobe or sandstone-block hut where their grandfather or great grandfather or his father homesteaded their land, and they're proud to do so.

This is their heritage, their livelihood, and their love.

The area targeted also feeds half a million to a million people, annually.

The people here, and all across the proposed expansion area, are tough. They work hard every day to make a living and they, being among what some would consider "throwbacks," don't take kindly to the idea that anyone, even the Army, would come and attempt to take their homes and the land that they love from them.

So they've created the Pinon Canyon Opposition Coalition to make their voices heard. Those are the signs along the highways, bringing attention to an issue that shouldn't be hushed up.

Seventeen thousand, two hundred and sixty three.

That's the number in the Army's own proposal (released October of '08 see it here) used as an estimate for total "displaced population" at the end of phase five.

6,914,328 acres in total. Functionally, the entirety of southeastern Colorado.

So far, congress has refused funding. Next year, that may change, and thousands of people, including myself and the Farm Fam, may be "displaced."

Look at the information, look at any information you can find, and make up your own minds, but for me, there's no question.

This Land Is Not For Sale To The Army.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Save The World, Let Home Suffer

As you all know, I'm not usually political, but lately, this kind of stuff has just been galling me.

Breda mentions a group with the admittedly admirable intent to stop violence against women all over the world. Admirable intent, poor execution, in my opinion. The ads are indeed going to send a powerful message to today's youth, unfortunately, the message in the ad Breda posted is not going to be a general "hitting girls is bad, mmkay?" but instead a rather specific idea that (generic) men in battle dress with rifles are raping and killing pregnant women.

The ad speaks of conflict minerals (yes, that's used in the same sense as "conflict diamonds") in the Congo. Most people in my generation, sadly, will not stop to question any bit of the ad, not the drill-team maneuvers with the rifle, nor the idea that a woman in one of the most conflicted areas in the world has an intricate set of braids and an iPod. So obviously they won't hesitate at the thought that fighters in the Congo apparently wear very similar gear to our own military. And the subliminal push will drift into their brains, unnoticed and unheeded.

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that the strong terrorizing the weak whether it be a man hurting a woman, or a woman hurting a man, or a bully pushing around the skinny kid in school, should be stopped. Unfortunately standing around saying "I won't stand for it!" does nothing unless you're ready to actually take a physical stand as well. Nothing backs a bully down like getting punched in the schnoz.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!"

Regrettably true. There are times for negotiations and talking and there are times to break some bones, or punch some holes with conveniently black-powder-accelerated projectiles to get the point across that you will not stand for something.

Non-violence has it's place and I have the utmost respect for those who have practiced it with such admirable success as Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

But there comes a point where being non-violent just means that the other side knows you're not going to fight back, so they can do whatever they want to you.

Aside from all that, we can't even "cure" violence against women here in our own country, where women aren't considered property, or forced into various indignities thanks to religion or law.

Clean your own house before you start trying to clean up the neighbors'.

Another example of this from right here in my own state, regrettably enough: a push to send "excess" prescription drugs to Haiti. What angered me was not the idea of sending needed drugs to people who have literally nothing now, but the way the news anchor I heard speak of it phrased it. To paraphrase as closely as I can recall:

"These drugs would go to Haiti to be used instead of discarded. Some could even go to needy patients here in Colorado."

I understand. Haiti is devastated, and I feel for those people, I really do. But since when is another country more important than our own people?

"Mr. Sanders, I'm sorry you're dying, but you're going to have to decide between eating and getting your meds this month. Good news though, we sent the same medication to a Haitian for free!"

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Solve the problems at home. Then save the world.

You can bet Superman didn't fly off half cocked to help a little old lady cross the street when Lois Lane was dangling from a building.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Farmmom's Spicy Mustard Potato Salad

This post is specifically for Labrat who showed me a new way to eat potato salad.

To start with boil 4 or 5 smaller potatoes. Don't peel them just rinse them off and throw them in a pot. Cook them till you can stick a fork into the middle of them.

Next boil and peel a couple eggs.

Once the potatoes are done peel the skin off and cut into bite sized cubes.

Chop the hard boiled eggs, and add them, a small diced onion and a good sized blob of dill relish.

Mix it all together till it looks somewhat like this.

In a skillet scramble 3 eggs.

Add about 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup spicy brown mustard, 1 tsp sugar and about 3 tbs vinegar. If you want it to have more of a tart taste add more mustard and vinegar.

Stir it all up till it is smooth and start cooking it on a medium heat.

Cook till it is a thick sauce. Stirring constantly to keep it smooth.

Pour it on the potato mixture.

Mix it all up and chill.

Sorry about the measurements but this is one of those recipes that i just throw things in till it looks good.

If you want just a little more bite to it you can add a bit of cayenne pepper at the end.

Now Labrat can have her Chicken Fried Steak and Potato Salad sandwich.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

People I Admire

In an effort to combat the winter blues, I decided to write about something happy today. Or at least not blah.

I don't actually admire many people. Respect, yes, like, sure, but admiration isn't that common for me.

However, I do have a good friend that I admire a great deal.

He's going to the same college I did, for pretty much the same reasons. He wants to do what he loves, although he's not at all opposed to doing other things if he has to to pay the bills, and having that piece of paper saying you know what you're doing, and the extra knowledge from the business classes that are part of the degree, can make all the difference in the world.

He busts his butt, both working and going to school full time. He's had to deal with parental pressure on everything from what horses to train when he's not in classes (he's already breaking colts in his off time to help pay for college) to what truck to buy when his got totaled. He's dealt with an ex-girlfriend cum roommate who somehow managed to blow several thousand dollars in three months with nothing much to show for it, and spent two months "job hunting" before she could manage to pay her half of the rent. He even used his friendship with her now-boss to get her the job in the first place.

He has one more year of classes than he should because he had to drop his riding courses his first year due to a knee injury.

In short, life has handed him the brown smelly end of the stick in a lot of cases. But he doesn't just give up. I have never seen him throw his hands up and say it can't be done.

He has abominable taste in women and has had one manipulative, emotionally bruising relationship after another, because when he gives himself, he doesn't hold back.

He's always there for his friends when they need him, whether it be a night on the town to de stress or a couple of days of backbreaking labor.

And somehow, through all of this, he still manages to keep his sense of humor and fun. He's a young cowboy in the grand tradition which means he's just slightly nuts and likely to do something dumb and possibly dangerous just because it looks like fun.

All of these are reasons I admire him. The reasons that I consider him one of the best people I know include that list, with some added on:

He won't let a female friend go a night at the bar without dancing. I have plenty of guy friends who simply wouldn't think about the fact that their gal pal hadn't danced all night. Doesn't make them bad people, but this guy will gallantly offer his arm to the more ladylike of his friends, and sincerely ask them if he might have this dance. For the more tomboyish and closer of his friends (me) he'll simply walk up, grab them by the hand, and tow them to the dance floor.

He's always willing to listen. Whether it be a close friend or the girl or guy he barely knows who is just homesick and needs to talk, he always finds the time.

There are other reasons, of course, but this is running long. My point is, the world needs more people like him, and I'm proud to call him my friend.

I wonder if my readers have friends like this? If you do, speak up. The attention always goes to the crummy people who do bad things... I'd love to hear about some of the good ones.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Twice a week I write a letter to a complete stranger. I fold it carefully, stuff it in an envelope, and send it off to the other side of the world... and I may never hear from that person again.

They don't know anything about me and all I know about them is their name and address, which makes it very difficult to write a letter.

It's harder than I expected, not that I've ever been the world's best pen pal to start with. The art of the letter has fallen by the wayside in today's age of email and internet access. Snail mail is all but extinct for anything other than physical packages.

I think it's kind of sad, personally. Sure, I struggle with what to say in a letter, and it's really easy to fall into a form letter mode when you're writing to people you don't know, but I think there's a personal touch with physical mail that email just doesn't have.

It takes a few moments to sit down and bang out an email, and send it off, but a letter... someone thought ahead, brought out pen and paper, moderated their usual scribble to something that someone else will be able to read. I think that puts something of the person into their correspondence.

I don't write letters to my friends, even those who are far away. There are people I hold quite dear that I don't even know their mailing address. And I realize, now, that that's quite a shame.

The written word is a wonderful thing, in all it's forms. I think a handwritten letter is something special, though. A good friend's handwriting should be as familiar as their face, and as welcome to see.

So, readers, I'm giving you a mission. Go write a letter. To your mom, your grandmother, your best friend or your brother, or even to that one guy you had a crush on in college if you have his address. It doesn't matter. Just write a letter, let them know you're thinking of them and took the time to sit down with pen and paper and write it out.

They'll smile when they read it, and that's worth it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

An Excellent Blog....

... That I've waffled on whether or not to link. But to hell with it, I love it and she's brilliant and I'll give a warning for those who may not wish to be confronted with these sorts of things.

What sorts of things, you ask? Why, sex, of course.

Quizzical Pussy is a delightfully straightforward blog addressing one of the four hundred pound gorillas in the room of society: sexuality.

The author approaches such things with a wonderfully open mind asking what may be the only important question in such things: Is it fun?

The things that she enjoys are not necessarily the things that I enjoy, but she's an excellent writer and even while I'm wondering why in the world, the writing (ok, and my never-ending curiosity paired with the fact that she usually does explain exactly why in the world...) carries me through the post.

It's very explicit, so if you're easily shocked, you may want to skip it.

If not, go, learn, enjoy. I love this blog and I adore the blogger... And on some points, frankly, I envy her.

She's got a place now on the never-updated blogroll, (with, of course, an explicit warning, so that I don't get nasty emails about surprising people with pictures of sex toys...) which should tell you how much I like the blog.