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March 29, 2009

Monkeyflower

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Monkeyflower
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Johnny Tuck

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Johnny Tuck
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Agoseris

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Agoseris
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Sycamore

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Western Sycamore
Dry Creek Crossing
March 29, 2009

Willow

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Willow
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Dandelion

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Dandelion
Dry Creek
Mrch 29, 2009

Lace Pod

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Lace Pod
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

Thanks to Krys, the Lace Pod has been identified. It's one of those delicate little plants you can't help but notice when photographing something else. Included in only two of my reference books, 'Calflora.org' made it quick and easy to identify. I know I've become a little obscessed with knowing the names of our local wildflowers, but I think it's just plain ignorance not to know them when you've lived in a place most of your life. As many of these species are common throughout the West, knowing their names and native uses may be of interest to others. And lastly, when I certainly will forget their names, I've got a place to go to relearn them.

Native uses: seeds may be parched and eaten, or ground into a flour.

Red-Stem Filaree

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Red-Stem Filaree
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

White-Stem Filaree

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White-Stem Filaree
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Tree Tobacco

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Tree Tobacco, (Indian Tobacco)
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

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Tree Tobacco, (Indian Tobacco)
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

March 28, 2009

Pretty Face

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Pretty Face (Golden Brodiaea)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009


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Pretty Face (Golden Brodiaea)
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

March 27, 2009

Purple Chinese Houses

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Purple Chinese Houses (with Fiddleneck)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Bur Clover

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Bur Clover
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

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Bur Clover
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

Pineapple Weed

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Pineapple Weed
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

Jimpson Weed

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Jimpson Weed (Thornberry, Mountain Morning Glory)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Native uses: solution from leaves to wash a horse that 'wants to stray'; roots used to make a drink that was consumed as a once-in-a-lifetime ceremonial event, or when a medical situation warrented a strong painkiller. Poisonous to man and livestock.

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Jimpson Weed (Thornberry, Mountain Morning Glory)
Dry Creek
June 13, 2009

Part of the Nightshade family along with Tree Tobacco, Nightshade, tomatoes and potatoes.

Blue Lupine

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Blue Lupine
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Redbud

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Western Redbud
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

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White Redbud
Badger
March 28, 2009

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White Redbud
Badger
March 28, 2009

Spreading Phlox

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Spreading Phlox (Bird's Eye Gilia)
Dry Creek
March 27, 2009

Blue Elderberry

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Blue Elderberry
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

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Blue Elderberry
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Native uses: Branches of the 'Tree of Music' were used to make flutes, cut in spring and dried with the leaves on. Holes were bored with a hot stick. Long shoots were used for arrow shafts. Berries used for drink or dried and stored for winter. Fresh flowers as external decoction for antiseptic wash for skin diseases; internally to check bleeding of the lungs.

Host of the infamous Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (VELB) that bores holes in stem stock 3/4" thick of older more established plants. The Elderberry, requiring substanial mitigation and protection, may be impacted by agricultural, developmental and municpal projects from the San Joaquin Valley floor to the foothill regions. Few people, if any, have ever seen the beetle, its presence confirmed almost exclusively by bore holes. The plants grow readily in fence lines along roadways, or scattered in rougher terrain and areas of less concentrated grazing.

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Blue Elderberry
Dry Creek Road
April 10, 2009

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Blue Elderberry
Greasy Creek
June 13, 2009

Silvercrown Lucina

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Silvercrown Lucina
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Lomatium

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Lomatium (Biscuitroot)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Native uses: young green stems eaten raw; tea made of leaves, stems and flowers; roots eaten raw or dried and ground into a flour - add water, knead and dry in sun or bake into bread resembling the taste of a stale biscuit. According to Donald Kirk (see 'References'), cakes would be about 2 feet long and a foot wide with a hole in the middle for hanging on the saddle horn or hanging in the rafters.

Bush Monkeyflower

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Bush Monkeyflower
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

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Bush Monkeyflower
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

March 25, 2009

Plein Air Painters

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March 23, 2009

A the Vernal Equinox, the Sequoia Riverlands Trust offered 3 days of painting locally, one of which drew 30-40 painters up and down Dry Creek, slowing locals on the road, most in disbelief. Quite nice for a change.

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March 24, 2009

The weekend brought much-needed showers ranging from .36” to .73” to the ranch, a hard rain at times that pummeled poppies Sunday morning. The first row of foothill south slopes have faded to browns and grays and probably won’t come back to green this late in the season, but by Tuesday the poppies on the Homer Ranch (Sequoia Riverlands Trust) had begun to recover.

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March 23, 2009
Greasy Creek

While checking branded calves and putting out salt, I’ve tried to capture some of the different varieties of our local wildflowers, etc. (check-out the sidebar: ‘Natives’), an ambitious sortie into botany we’ll not complete. Meanwhile, inhabitants above keep busy with the ritual of spring.

March 24, 2009

Valley Oak

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Valley Oak
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Goldfields

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Goldfields
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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Goldfields (with Minature Lupine)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

White-Veined Mallow

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White-Veined Mallow
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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White-Veined Mallow
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Native uses: Leaves, soft stems and flowers steeped and made into a poultice for running sores, boils and swellings. An infusion of dried leaves is good for coughs.

Pliny wrote, 'that anyone taking a spoonful of mallows will be free of disease; they soften and heal ulcers and sores.'

Parkinson wrote, 'Leaves and roots boiled in wine or water or in both with parsley doth help to open the body, for hot agues. Leaves bruised and laid on the eyes with a little honey take away the inflamation from them.'

Baby Blue Eyes

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Baby Blue Eyes (with White-Veined Mallow)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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Baby Blue Eyes (with White-Veined Mallow)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

March 23, 2009

Gooseberry

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Gooseberry
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: eaten raw or cooked, pies and jellies.

Poison Oak

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Poison Oak
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Poison Oak
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Poison Oak
Greasy Creek
June 11, 2009

Robbin and I fed our last bunch of calves to wean in Greasy and made a tour of the pastures putting out salt and mineral for the rest of the cows. The poison oak is changing color now and quite striking!

Interior Live Oak

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Interior Live Oak
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Live Oak in bloom
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: acorns ground into a flour, flour leached, then baked in an earth oven into a bread. Adding ashes would make the bread rise.

Phacelia

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Phacelia ramosissima (Scorpionweed)
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Phacelia ramosissima (Scorpionweed)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Native uses: may be used as cooked greens. Plant may irritate suceptible individuals.

Lupine

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Bush Lupine
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Bush Lupine
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Minature Lupine
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

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Minature Lupine
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Mustard

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Hedge Mustard (Pamito)
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

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Hedge Mustard (Pamito)
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: seeds knocked into baskets and stirred in a pan over an open fire and then ground into a mush or stirred into a soup. Crushed seeds used as poultices or made into a tea. Young leaves boiled and eaten.

Common Brodiaea

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Common Brodiaea (Wild Hyacinth, Blue Dicks)
Dry Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: bulbs edible raw, boil or roasted

Fiesta Flower

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Fiesta Flower (Climbing Nemophila)
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Fiesta Flower (Climbing Nemophila)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

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Fiesta Flower (Climbing Nemophila)
Dry Creek
March 24, 2009

Tidy Tips

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Tidy Tips
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

Chamise

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Chamise (Buck-Brush)
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

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Chamise (Buck-Brush)
Greasy Creek
March 23, 2009

Native uses: infusion of bark and leaves to treat syphlis; oil from the plant for skin infection. Sick cows benefit from plant by chewing leaves.

March 21, 2009

Sierra Shooting Star

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Sierra Shooting Star
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009

Paregien Branding

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YOU MAY KNOW THEM

On the ground at home,
a man is dwarfed by horses –
by neighbors and friends

as sure as the hills. Calves
come to the fire - eyeball even
with the horn, I am small.

On top of the world, blue
extends beyond bare oaks
and buckeyes leafed

in clumps of shade, beyond
the Sierras we cannot see -
and we could be gods

and goddesses dancing
around each calf stretched,
rolled and released – ropes

and smoke turned loose
to find a home. We wear
grimaces and grins, canyons

cut to trust with time, with
limps and limbs when work
turned play turns work again.

On the ground at home,
a man is dwarfed by the hearts
of horses and good friends.


                     - Paregien 2009

Blue Oak

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Blue Oak Woodland
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

Native uses: acorns soaked, shelled and dried - meats ground into a meal or flour that was leached in sand several times over. Cedar and Fir twigs often used in the leaching process as a sieve and for flavor. Soup, pudding and bread were made from the flour. Mold from the flour was cultivated and used to heal boils and other inflamations.

Wild Cucumber

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Wild Cucumber (Manroot, Sierra Manroot)
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

Native uses: seeds roasted and eaten for kidney trouble; oil extracted from seeds for falling hair; crushed root mixed with sugar for saddle sores on horses; crushed pieces of green roots put in streams to stupify fish. The fleshy root of this climbing perennial may weigh as much as 100 pounds.

Miner's Lettuce

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Miner's Lettuce (Indian Lettuce)
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

Native uses: tender leaves eaten green, or cooked; made into a tea as a laxative. Helped prevent scurvy for the early gold miners.

Fiddleneck

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Fiddleneck
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

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Fiddleneck
Dry Creek
March 29, 2009

Popcorn Flower

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Popcorn Flower (Snow Drops)
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

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Popcorn Flower (Snow Drops)
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

California Poppy

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California Poppy
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

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Sulphur Ridge
Greasy Creek
March 27, 2009

Bibilography

Reference:

Donald R. Kirk, Wild Edible Plants of Western North America, 1975. Naturegraph Publishers Inc., Happy Camp, CA.

Theodore F. Niehaus, Sierra Wildflowers – Mt. Lassen to Kern Canyon, 1974. University of California Press, Berkley, CA.

Arthur Shahzade, Wildlfowers of California’s Central Valley and Neighboring Sierra, 2004. Jostens, Inc. Visalia, CA.

Richard Spellenberg, The Audubon Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, 1979. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, NY.

Muriel Sweet, Common Edible Plants of the West, 1976. Naturegraph Publishers Inc., Happy Camp, CA 1976.

Karen Wiese, Sierra Nevada Wildflowers, 2000. Falcon Publishing, Inc. Helena, MT.

California Buckeye

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California Buckeye
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009


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Dry Creek
May 9, 2009


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California Buckeye
Greasy Creek
May 11, 2009

Native uses: flowers poisonous to bees; crushed unripe seeds used to stupify fish; ripe seeds bitter and poisonous; leaves steeped into a tea for relief of lung congestion and varicose veins; ripe seeds were buried in swampy, cold ground during winter to release bitter and toxic aspects, then boiled and eaten in spring.

Links

Links:

http://www.calflora.org/

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildflowers

Manzanita

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Manzanita
Paregien Ranch
March 20, 2009

Native uses: berries eaten raw, cooked, or ground into a meal for porridge; crushed fruits and leaves for relief of bronchitis; tea made of the berries as a wash for poison oak; leaves dried, crushed and mixed with tobacco for a smoke.

March 19, 2009

Early Poppies

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Dry Creek from Paregien Ranch
March 19, 2009

March 15, 2009

GRAY SABBATH

Cottony clouds claim all but the near ridge,
Jody’s slope of poppies waiting to ignite
again with sun, popcorn flowers melt upon

the grass beneath a fuzzy blanket as day
sleeps in – quiet in the canyon. Huddled
in bunches to warm ground, fat cows and

calves rise late to graze up hillsides. No
bulls bellowing, no whines of 4-wheel drives
parading to the pines. Half-light holds

its breath as we gain an extra hour of peace –
as this gray Sabbath adds an extra day
to the other end of spring. We feed

the last sticks of live oak and manzanita
to the woodstove, stacks shrinking closer to
no place for rattlers to rest and relax.

March 14, 2009

Top: March 13, 2009

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Good hand, Matt Wells (yawning), apparently up later than the rest of us, was a welcome addition to the crew.

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FRIDAY – MARCH 13

The big calves rumble,
five hundred soggy pounds,
too late to get to early
between two months of showers
one by one
stretch ropes and leather
young men wrestle
to the ground –
blurred hooves
flying until tight.

Vaccination hands and guns,
hot iron, knife, we’re done –

like a team of medics
in a war. Hazardous,
two feet tough to catch
in tall grass,
in temporary pens
engineered on slope
with a dozer
when we were younger,
posts and panels set
behind the oak
for shade.

Our short interruption
to outside green,
white popcorn flowers
and black bawling mamas
at the fence.
Huge fractured rock
below dark blue
looks down patiently
for tranquility again.

March 12, 2009

The Top

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Sulphur Ridge from Railroad Spring



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Alta Peak (elephant) and the Great Western Divide

March 11, 2009

MOVING TO THE NEW TACK ROOM

It’s tough to spot progress close-up –
engraved details glinting, polished
silver conchos, buckles flashing
until they wear years of tarnish.

I oil a roping saddle for my son, dust
Black Widows from under fenders,
discover Shaver’s rough rosettes,
and saddle strings I’d forgotten

with new sheepskin. Repairs and
inventions, Bill like Kiskaddon’s ‘tinker’
in the stacks of stockyard broadsides
from Whitney’s salt house.

The leather, thirsty and stiff, drinks
as I remember more supple times –
white deerskin chinks he gave me,
lightweight, bloody from brandings

decades past. Agile on the ground,
when Robbin and I met at Thorne’s –
when Craig ran the ridgetops,
their cows in the mountains – we

rode with him when we dared. Dark
with olive oil, new billets and cinch,
the saddle breathes with life restored.
Ready to be remembered.

                                    - for Bill Shaver





Tom Brokaw’s documentary “1968”, playing on the History Channel seems to have affected me and my writing in various ways lately, but as a stake in the ground forty years ago, Americans have made progress – important for me to more fully realize in these uncertain economic times, and to lazily consider that not only can people change their thinking and behavior, we have.

March 10, 2009

Top Paregien

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March 18, 2009
One of the first gates replaced a number of years ago by Bob and I, we still refer to it as the 'old draggin' gate'.

March 9, 2009

From the Fry House, Dry Creek

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March 3, 2009

Letter to the Angry

The threat of communism was not only a call to arms during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, but it also kept corporate capitalism in check, geographically and philosophically.

As each piece of rotten economic news is revealed layer by layer, we’re terribly saddened by the lack of ethics that seems to have spoiled our prize onion on Wall Street. Peeling it back to find where the contamination ends has been a slow and agonizing process, so orchestrated, one assumes, to avoid a sudden, global monetary collapse – and perhaps to allow the better-informed to get out with their skins.

Blaming the young buck executives and high-paid CEOs may help illustrate unethical behavior, and blaming politicians and the SEC may help redefine their responsibility to the people, but I suspect, before these revelations are over, there will be more than enough blame for all of us. We let it happen. We were part of it.

We let ourselves believe in the purity of capitalism, its durability over communism, an icon that the world assumed would lead every nation to prosperity. But like any successful economic system, the potential for graft and greed flourishes if left unchecked – and as long as the machinery seems to be running well, no one bothers to look too closely.

We’ve had a pretty good run on credit and consumption for the past two or three decades, sharing corporate profits through 401Ks and IRAs, a perfect daisy chain where Everyman is a consumer, taxpayer and beneficiary of the State, but with the additional incentive to become a shareholder in Capitalism, or so we believed. Like buying a lottery ticket, the fortunes made during the dot.com and housing bubbles perpetuated ideals for success that no longer required long-term commitments to planning or work – that did not value a man’s reputation or word.

In this growing crisis, I would hope that we can get beyond the non-sequitur of the Democratic and Republican parties, that a sense of nationalism and respect for the working man, especially family farmers and ranchers, might unite us toward a more common good, a more responsible and substantive quality to life, perhaps even a legacy to be cherished by our grandchildren.

March 2, 2009

ROCKS TALKING

We have become the home
of quail, some years hundreds
come for water and the cover

of our presence – coveys of babies
herded alertly between adult
top-notches nodding, scolding

from poison oak to prickly pear
beside the trough’s puddled leak
I’ll fix someday – in the summer

usurping the driveway like picketers
milling progress to a standstill. Not
far off Cooper’s Hawk & Red Tail

watch, Bobcat upon a boulder.
So many sentries, so many eyes –
each twittering report repeated

in plump chatting movement: the long
run to fly, or quick explosion of blurred
birds – the thunderous whirring of short

wings, gray shards coasting all directions.
Rock piles calling, Over Here, Over here
until the edge of evening closes in.

The opinions expressed in the Western Folklife Center's Deep West online journals are those of the online journal participants and not the Western Folklife Center. The Western Folklife Center does not moderate these journals and as such does not guarantee the veracity, reliability or completeness of any information provided in the journals or in any hyperlink appearing within them.

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