Archive » September 17, 2009
ON THE RANCH
By Nancy Crawford-Hall, Publisher
This past week I remembered 9/11/01. I am sure that most of you did as well. I remember my son calling us up and telling us to turn on the television because something awful had happened. I remember thinking how horrible for those people in the building and hoping that they all got out. I remember when I realized that this was not an accident and wondered what kind of depraved people could conceive of such a scheme.
Eight years later as I think again on that awful day and the days and weeks and months following, I remember the speculations and opinions that flowed from the spokespeople who were trying to make me understand why this happened to innocent people. We’ve all been subjected to all sorts of new regulations that are supposed to keep us safe from such an event ever happening again. We all flew American flags from our cars and homes. We were all Americans first rather than some hyphenated version or not a part of the nation at all. It really felt good to forget the red/blue state garbage and all be together again. However some deepened their hatred of all of the values this country stands for because, for some reason, they didn’t feel part of it.
Today we have an opportunity to refocus our efforts to become Americans again and those who don’t like the American values might seriously consider finding a country that better suits their way of thinking. In recent weeks Americans from all walks of life, all political persuasions have been gathering together in groups across the nation to speak out on a variety of issues. The one thing all these people have in common is the fact that they treasure their freedoms. They realize that their freedoms that are guaranteed by the Constitution are what makes this country so different from others. They realize that people in many other countries of the world long for the level of freedom that we all enjoy. They realize just how precious that is.
It is really reassuring to me to witness this resurgence of passion for keeping those freedoms safe. Given what we see and hear these days, I sometimes wonder if we are going to be able to retain those freedoms or are we going to let them erode away. I am also reassured that so many understand that our legislators no longer, with some notable exceptions, representing us, their constituents but rather are representing those who “contribute” to have their way supported.
It is amazing how this has all crept up on us with every day, some legislator somewhere proposing some new law to take away another right. When the State of California is bankrupt, local officials are trying to spend millions of non-existent taxpayer dollars to build another tunnel from the valley to the South Coast to take more of our water when they sit on an ocean they could use for a lot of their water needs. All it takes is the political will to make it happen. Why isn’t the environmental community pushing that? On the state and federal levels, plans are being made to spend more public funds to “save” a fish that throughout history has only shown up here when conditions made it possible, once every ten or fifteen years. I’ll talk in more detail about that later.
Some groups of people have been given favored status over other groups of people and that is directly in conflict with all of the anti-discriminatory policies that have been codified over the years. Now many of those groups are trying, sometimes successfully, to take control of the general public’s water supply. There are even efforts in our local community plan to give some people access to private property they don’t own. Furthermore, while several different types of groups are taking millions of acres of land off the tax rolls, somehow, no one seems to have noticed that now the cities, counties and states have a greatly reduced income flow. Do you think it could be related to the loss of property taxes produced by all of this “saved” land? Do you think there is a relationship between that and the reduction in programs and services that the cities, counties and states can provide? Why do people still vote for these boondoggles?
Thought you might like to know that the Board of Supervisors has accelerated its schedule to hear and vote on the Santa Ynez Valley Plan. It is currently on the calendar for October 6. After many years of community wrangling with county staff and the appearance of an inflated document that was manufactured inside the county premises rather than being a reflection of valley sentiment, it seems that speed is of the essence. Why is that? I think I know, do you?
If you have comments to address to the board, I suggest you send them in the usual forms or appear at the hearing. It’s looking like we’re going to have this thing rammed down our throats by the southern lefties who intend to determine our rights for us. Stand up and be counted lest they think you approve. If you don’t, you’ll have ten years at least to regret your inaction.
As of July 2009, there is a new Steelhead Recovery Plan for our area. If you thought the last one was bad, go online to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website (http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/recovery/So_Cal.htm) and take a look at the newest plan. We have spent millions of taxpayer’s dollars and a lot of water to try to restore a fish whose existence in the Santa Ynez River has been greatly exaggerated. The amount and seasons of water flow even pre-dam have also been greatly exaggerated, but, hey, we also paid for a bunch of good jobs too!
In this new plan our area is referred to as the Monte Arido Highlands. Although I have lived here for well over fifty years, I have never heard of that name. Have you? I am curious as to where that name came from.
As I began to read the plan, I was taken aback with the direct impacts to agriculture that will occur if it is implemented. Rather than paraphrase the document, let me just quote a few lines and see what you think.
“Implement operating criteria to ensure the pattern and magnitude of water releases from Bradbury, Gibralter and Juncal dams comport with the natural or pre-dam pattern and magnitude of streamflow. Physically modify Bradbury, Gibralter and Juncal dams to allow unimpeded volitional migration of steelhead to upstream spawning and rearing habitats.”
“-relocate livestock grazing outside 100’ wide riparian buffer from either side of the channel”
“-restrict further agricultural development within the floodplain/riparian corridor”
“-relocate agricultural development to create a minimum 100’ buffer from the edge of the riparian corridor or top of bank (whichever is greater); restore and revegetate.”
Wow! What an upheaval this will create! Where is the South Coast going to go for water since all of the dam water will be going down the river for those eight fish they found (?) eleven years ago. Of course, it is a myth that the river ran all year long before the dam but that is the information that local fish enthusiasts persuaded the officials in Washington, D.C. in order to secure the funds for this project. It will be interesting to see how they get out of this one!
In the meantime, with the continued warm weather, we are cutting our alfalfa hay for the seventh time this year. We have quite a few mouths to feed, horses mostly. As the calves are beginning to appear, we will begin to string some hay out for the cows to get them to line out so we can check them on a daily basis to make sure every one is healthy. Another reason we do this is two-fold; first, we like to supplement their diets as they will give a lot of themselves through their milk to their calves and their weight will fall off. Second, for breeding cows, a cow that is gaining weight towards a more normal post-calving weight will breed better than one that is either under- or overweight.
We raise two types of hay normally, alfalfa and oat. When we change crops in a field, we have a mix of oat and alfalfa in one field that makes a nice change for the animals. Very often horse owners will feed their animals alfalfa in the morning and oats at night to vary their diet and keep the protein within safe limits. Too much protein can cause serious problems.
Mother Nature determines how many cuttings we get each year. Sometimes we get only three and sometimes we have gotten as many as eight in a given calendar year. It all depends on the weather and how it comes. If it starts to cool off in the nights, the alfalfa will stop growing as fast. Depending on the type of alfalfa you are growing (dormant, semi-dormant), it may continue to grow but at a rate that is too slow to produce a useable crop. Then we usually stop harvesting it and wait until spring to cut it with the new growth. Life on the ranch is a continuous cycle of growth and rebirth with each year being different from the one before. Wonder how this year will finish?