Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

Spring chores on the family homestead have been overwhelming my blogging efforts this week... before I get off into my rant I want to give a plug to the folks at

I have been experimenting with ways to bring fresh grass, clovers, and weeds to my pigs (and goats when I confine them early in breeding season). I have tried raking up after my lawn mower, a rotary line cutter, an old-fashioned weed whacker, and now a scythe.  The scythe wins hands down. In about 10 minutes of quiet and peaceful scything I have a wheelbarrow full of freshly cut green matter that I deliver to my hogs and chickens. I do this because I want all of my livestock to be as "grass fed" as possible. This is easy with the goats and cattle - just leave them out on the pasture - but not so much with confined poultry and hogs. However, with a scythe this process has now become infinitely more pleasant.

I am reading an excellent book, "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frasier (it was made into a good movie, too... but the book is simply excellent). I highly recommend it. In it there is a great deal about the need for knowledge when providing for oneself, and in particular a passage about how without ground working equipments - plows & harrows - nothing much beyond a kitchen garden is possible.  I can tell you that that is quite accurate. Besides a huge vegetable garden we have several acres of corn, beans, and sunflowers planted for feed for next winter, as well as for corn flower  - wheat will be next years project - that would not have been possible without equipment. If you are serious about homesteading, its either tractor or animal pulled ground breaking and clearing equipment... or failure.


Now to my rant... I will get back to my "wider view" oil post soon, but some things have been bugging me lately... specifically the idea that our Federal Law Enforcement and Military personnel are currently being deployed to protect American Freedoms.

What a bunch of Bull Sh#!!

I love being an American. I love the idea of being able to vote for our president AND my local sheriff.  I love our Constitution (with all of its wrinkles and warts from the stain of slavery). I F**king HATE when I am told that the above mentioned forces are being used to protect me and my rights. I have nothing but respect for our military personnel - but they are being placed in harm's way to PROTECT THE ECONOMIC INTERESTS of America's elite. They are not being used to protect The People and serve the Constitution.  Iraq??!! Are you f***ing kidding me??!! And Af-stan? Perhaps somewhat more supportable than Iraq (and then again, perhaps not)... but now that we have figured out how to maul al-Queda at will, isn't it time to bring our military personnel home? And now that every federal official with a pulse knows that America's oil importing days are extremely numbered... under what pretext are we still fighting over Oil? So that America's elite can maintain their illusory wealth for a couple extra years.

Bin Laden deserved what he got. What about the group of men killed in Af-stan 8 years ago by drone strike because the U.S. thought one of the men was Bin Laden? Nobody even remembers this missile strike (except the dead men's family and friends). Turns out they were a completely innocent group of human beings going about their lives... Where is the outrage about their murder? Is collateral killing in "The War or Terrorism" somehow higher minded than those that killed on 9/11? NAFC.  Worse, it gives incentive to a whole new generation of angry men bent on revenge to harm Americans (which is what a certain part of the establishment wants, no doubt, so that they can keep their outrageous budget's funded).

America's commander-in-chief(s) have not used American military forces to "support and defend the Constitution" in generations. That's the oath sworn by U.S. military personnel, and "preserve, protect and defend" for the president. Law enforcement officials take a similar oath.  Where, exactly, in the Constitution is it written that these people have been empowered to protect the economic interests of The Corporations? Of The Pensions? I want to know, because that's what our military personnel have been killing and dying for.

Why are my fellow Americans only too willing to send young people off to war and prison? We have forgotten how to exercise our right to nullify stupid f***ing laws while serving on juries, as well as to nullify the budgets of the very agencies that cause what the CIA colloquially refers to as "Blow Back" (pissing off people to the point where they are willing to swap themselves for an opportunity to mass murder innocent Americans).


Because our economic system is all about enslaving people.  We have given up our Constitutional rights in this plague we call the War on Drugs. Said war hasn't been won, nor even a single battle, and now our prisons overflowith. The establishment fears that addictions would keep the masses from the appointed rounds at the f***ing salt mines (well, that and we love our prison industrial complex... how else can a lawyer make several million dollars per trial unless the sentences are brutal?); its not your health and well being that concerns them.

Look at this asinine waste of resources that is known in the media as this generation's great "insider trading" scandal.  What a f***ing joke. Do you know when these laws regarding insider trading were enacted? Back when we were still using rotary phones (if you are not over 50 you might not even know what that is). In the age of instant communication why not deregulate the flow of "insider information" both civilly and criminally?  There would be NO WAY to gain the upper hand in that environment - the data would be out on the Web on thousands of blogs, wire services, news aggregators, etc... instantly. That would make things INFINITELY fairer than they are now.... but fair IS NOT what the establishment wants... what they want is to put people in prison and maintain their budgets at the SEC, FBI, and the rest of the alphabet jagoffs running around D.C.  You think the U.S. Attorney's office in New York is filled with high-minded Dudley DoRights? Bull Sh#! That office is full of future defense attorney's interested in polishing up the resume and gaining a little experience before working for the other side - and the 7 figure per trial compensation.  You think these guys want SANITY in the rule of law? NAFC. What they want are looooooong prison sentences and arcane rules so that the guys in the poke will be willing to write some serious checks to get off the hook.

Anyway, so these Dudley DoRight's have harpooned their whale. And nobody gives a second thought that this is silly and scientifically unsupportable law, and that the system just spent ten's of millions of $$ enforcing something that would not exist if it were handled otherwise, but handled as is will go on forever more.  We have hungry children and illiterate adults as far as the eye can see, and an energy crunch looming that will make most of it moot... but the Mob wants blood.

When in Rome...


Stephen B. said...

I love my scythe (from too.

...and the looks I get when certain, misbehaving, urban, PITA students see me walking around with it for the first time every haying/mowing season... Not even a chain saw impresses folks the way a genuine Mr. Grim Reaper scythe does.

Then I let them try it out on some tall grass and they learn one more thing about the realities of using a good tool versus the Hollywood movie horse &*$#.

The only problem I've had is that they always want to use my nice grass blade on brush.

I want to get or make a grain cradle for the scythe too. I've been experimenting with threshing grain (wheat) in my chipper/shredder throttled back to idle, but I've got to get all that wheat in proper bundles first and the scythe all by itself scatters the cut wheat too randomly for easy pickup when harvesting.

Anonymous said...

It need not be hard at all to raise chickens or pigs on pasture. You need to have a very good fence charger and several lengths of electric net or "poultry net." Use one or two lengths forming a cirlcel around your animal's shelter. This makes your "central hub." You then use three lengths of netting to form a "piece-of-pie" shaped, temporary paddock, radiating out from your hub. The animals gain access to the paddock through a "gate" you form by raising the bottom of the hub netting in a spot that leads to the paddock. You hold it up high enough for the animals to walk under it, using a step-in, plastic "power post." After a week, you move the paddock one spot over. After the eighth week, you are back to the spot where you started, and the paddock will have regrown and be ready for another round of grazing. Using this technique, your chickens and/or pigs will have a continuous, fresh supply of green forage. In Iowa, we can do this from April through early December. Premier 1 ( the best netting and the best chargers to power them.

Old Quaker Farmer

Anonymous said...

My wife's Grandfather just came in from Cali the other day. He was the army in the 50's and one day they sent him out into a wooded area to sit for a while. They gave him and 3 other guys a radio, no gun and a jeep with the coordinates of the location. The instruction were to stay there until something happens, then call and get orders.

Well after a couple hours some kind of ordnance hit the ground releasing a chemical in the air. The next day he lost his breath so bad they took him to the hospital and after the military docs examined him they concluded he had asthma. He said that was weird considering that he was in the 82nd Airborne and never seemed to have a problem before this. A couple weeks later they discharged him for medical reasons. Can't remember the exact discharge name(I think something 5) and gave him 200$ to get home.

After 43 yrs of fighting to get his military pension, they relented and admitted that something happened and gave him his full pension. A vet’s group helped him prove his case, he now spends time and money promoting this group and helping veterans get insurance and money to pay for treatment. This is the real truth; we are just flesh bags to the government. They just use us to protect their interests. Sometimes they happen to the peoples also, but the debate should be transparent and vigorous to insure the justness of action.

Jeffers, Read this link about AGW.


dennis said...

A++ rant. It is just scary what our government gets away with. The news media today is sicked. Our education system has failed. I missed your blogs, but you made up for it! Thanks dennis

PioneerPreppy said...

Hmmm a scythe is a good idea. I used to have one but whatever happened to it is anyone's guess.

You're right it would be an essential tool to have post cheap energy!!!

kathy said...

A sythe is on my list too. I have a small area (about an acre) that needs mowing a few times a season and this should do it nicely while keeping the pigs in fresh grass. I missed you too. It was such a crazy week. I kept looking for enlightenment. I had to settle for finding a nice patch of morels right under my very own crab apple tree. Fresh pasta with a wine, cream, butter and morel sauce is enlightenment enough some days.

Anonymous said...

I've been getting into the hand sickle this's an old one, the blade sharpens nicely and it slices thru grass amazingly. Beats a string trimmer and the silence is great.
Of course, since I'm a commie, liberal, socialist, I'd have to love the sickle, wouldn't I?:-))
The hammer is cool too.
Rational Liberal

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the reports that the US is now slowly and quietly becoming an energy exporter, with net exports of domestic energy exceeding imports? Recent geological studies show that the amount of natural gas in the Marcellus shale region under Pennsylvania, NY and West Virginia exceed the amount of oil in Saudi Arabia and we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the potential from hydraulic fracking. We are currently getting 2 million barrels of oil a day from North Dakota, which is why the unemployment rate in ND is under 3 percent. That is part of the reason oil imports took a big drop last week. Ten years from now the US could be well on the road to energy independence. And the US economy is now creating 250,000 jobs per month. Someone must be doing something right.

Greg T. Jeffers said...



Show me the data that the U.S. is a net energy exporter!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!

Sorry, that got away from me.

As far as the amount of gross energy contained in the Nat Gas in the ground in North America.... no doubt it is several Saudi Arabia's.

Now google ERoEI. We have a great deal of Nat Gas. Much more than we thought when I started this blog. Enough to put off a Nat Gas crunch for at least a decade, and maybe much longer... provided we can get enough Oil.

"And therein lies the rub...."

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Thanks for that. That was great. I am putting it up on my FB page as we speak.

I am contacting the writer right now. I will get back with you regarding our communication.

Stephen B. said...

Wow, Anon, whatever you're smoking, you should share!!

You're optimism on nat. gas is, so unfounded, I don't know where to begin.


First off, how are you comparing the oil in Saudi Arabia to US nat. gas? Are you doing it on a BTU for BTU basis? I am suspicious as one of the tag lines of the ultra right, when it starts talking about energy issues, is that the Us (or Canada) in __________ (fill in the state) has more energy locked up in _________ (fill in the blank with shale, tar sands, Bakken oil, or natural gas/shale gas.)

But let's just look at shale gas for a moment, if we will. There indeed is a fair amount of shale gas in the ground, but are you aware of of difficult it would be, to scale up the drilling to get it out at a daily rate large enough to offset the BTUs we currently get from oil? Here, look at this recent report:

There's a lot there but what really stands out is just how fast a shale gas well depletes compared to a conventional gas well. Basically, a shale gas well is finished in three or so years. Overall productivity per gas well in the US is off by over a third since 1990 and combined with the fact that we want to use MORE gas, overall means shale gas drilling activity, if we wanted to replace all the oil that we use, we'd have to triple natural gas production, which would mean increasing our shale gas drilling by 300 to over 600 percent.

Given the huge amount of water that it takes to drill each shale gas well, along with the destruction of people's well water that is occurring currently, this is just not realistic:

Also, what propaganda did you read that said North Dakota is getting 2 million bbls a day from the Bakken formation? The best data I can find pegs total Bakken daily output at around 400,000 bbls a day, a fairly puny output in the total scheme of things:

Even this cornucopian article has *current* output at 400K bbl/day:

Googling around, I find several other sources that put current Bakken production at 348 to 400K bbls a day. See for yourself.

Now *some* of the articles say future production might rise to 1 to 2 million bbls a day by the 2015 to 2019 time frame, but by that time, where will production have fallen elsewhere in the US?

Oil imports into the US are falling because oil is becoming more expensive in dollars. When combined with a stagnant economy compared to the likes of China and India, the US is less and less able to afford oil on world markets than the developing countries can, hence our share of world consumption is shrinking and our imports are dropping. If US oil production were a large part of why our imports are dropping, then we'd be seeing US oil consumption holding steady at the very least, but instead, we see US consumption continuing to drop. Indeed, part of the reason oil exports are ticking up some is that others out in the world are better able to afford the oil we produce that we in the US are.

Oil is a world market and it flows to those best able to pay for it and increasingly, that wouldn't be the US. Oil is flowing OUT of the US, both an increasing percentage of our flat to ever so slightly rising oil production as well as the imports we USED to bring in.

Others will no doubt chime in too, but your "facts" and figures leave something to be desired.

Stephen B. said...


That's the mistake that Anon is making. Currently, there has been an uptick in US oil exports, but the cornocopians totally misread it as NET exports when in reality it is but a small amount of mainly finished oil products going the other way, underneath the huge daily flood of oil products coming into the country.

I say whatever small amount of oil products are leaving the country due to spot market irregularities are basically explained by the fact that the US is slowly being outbid for oil and oil products on a worldwide basis. That means our imports are dropping and even some small amount of product already in the US is reversing direction and leaving the country as well.

See this EIA graph:

Anonymous said...

The North Dakota Dept of Mineral Resources has its own home page with statistics on the Baaken field. The US Dept of Energy reported that exports of refined petroleum products eclipsed imports for the first time in decades during 2011. And sales of US mined coal to overseas customers are approaching historic highs. The current geological estimates are that the Marsellus shale deposits have over 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Chesapeake energy and the other energy companies working and drilling there can't get it out fast enough. The truth is that there is no energy crisis in the US.

Stephen B. said...

Anon, as Greg says, pick a nickname first.

Second, show us some data and links please. I showed relevant links to back up my assertions. Let's see some URLs to this supposed net exporting of oil from the US.

Otherwise, you're next post will be dismissed as one from Trollland.


It won't come as news to you that somebody is intentionally getting these stories out there, about Bakken oil, for example, where the hoped for, future oil prognostications of 1 to 2 Mbbl/day are put in glowing terms while the *current* output of 350 Kbbl/day is put in the fine print. The story planters are HOPING that people misread and see that Bakken is "saving" us. Ditto for stories talking about the increasing, but still very small counter current of oil exports going out underneath the flow of much larger imports coming into this country and some people are buying the propaganda, hook, line, and sinker.

Anonymous said...


Since oil consumption in the US has dropped, there is excess refining capacity. Refined products are going to oil producing countries that lack refineries. Mainly, this is Mexico. Oil tends to flow across the path of cheapest transportation. If Alaskan oil can go to Japan, and Venezuelan oil can go to the East Coast cheaper than transporting Ven oil to Japan and Alaskan oil to New Jersey, Why not? Oil is oil. People that release this drek are just propagandists stirring up the ignorant for political purposes.

The fact that US refineries are being kept busy is a good thing for US employment. Also, it is good for the environment, since the refining is happening in a US refinery that is covered by clean air laws as opposed to some smoky filthy plant in East Botsuvia.

It is only the NET numbers that count, and they aren't looking great. That's crude plus refined in minus crude plus refined out. Though, I still think we may be pleasantly surprised by the amount of oil that is recoverable in the US at $100/bbl. We shall see.

Marcellus contains about 500T cubic feet of gas, of which only a fraction is recoverable. Optimistic estimates predict that 160T cubic feet may be recovered. 1 BOE of natural gas is 6000 cu ft, so recoverable Marcellus gas is equivalent to about 27 Billion barrels of oil. That ain't no KSA.


Coal Guy

Anonymous said...


Also, just checked out ND's website. Latest data are for January, Production is 340,000 Bbl/day. A great deal of MSM "news" is made up crap. You have to go to the actual data published by the government agencies to verify EVERYTHING. And, even these guys fudge the data. Figures don't lie, but liars make up the news.


Coal GUy

Anonymous said...

On the rant, Amen! I do appreciate a good rant, only I think a good WTF?!!?!! might have pulled it altogether a bit nicer than the when in rome.

Best of luck with homesteading this year, sounds like you are systematically improving and making more efficient use of time/space.