Part 2: The Importance of the Redneck

I’ve been watching news in India of the farmer protests with some concern. India is one of the big four producers of food for the planet: China, India, Brazil, and the United States. We should be watching what happens more closely as it may impact the world quite a lot.

Although agriculture represents a very small percentage of our GDP, here in America food producers make a large portion of the total world food supply, enough to feed approximately 10 billion people.

Wait a sec. The current world population is 7.84 so why are there famines all over the place?

I’m not sure. There are probably a myriad of reasons including a need for better food systems that prevent spoilage.

The U.S. is first in the world in corn production, third in wheat, fifth in potatoes, tenth in sugarcane, and twelfth in rice production.

Why is the U. S. such a powerhouse for food supply? The geographical and atmospheric conditions for farming here are some of the best in the world and we have the quickly depleting Ogallala Aquifer.

The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest groundwater resources in the world. It lies under 112 million acres of land and under 8 states: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska and Wyoming. Nebraska has the bulk of the aquifer and the deepest areas. The aquifer can go as low as 1,200 feet. About one third of U.S. agriculture is irrigated by this great aquifer. Once depleted, it will take 6,000 years to restore. We are taking way more water out for irrigation than is sustainable at this rate. Expected complete depletion year for the aquifer is around 2060.

America used to be plagued by dust bowls and drought or even severe flooding in the Midwest. Two adaptations after WW2 fixed some of this: dam systems to control flooding more and also central pivot irrigators for better irrigating of crops. Many of these dams now are very old, at least 50 years and were created under the great infrastructure plans of FDR and Eisenhower.

Maybe the answer to our joint economic and environmental concerns here is to initiate another set of infrastructure improvements that will hire many men and women to build or repair civil engineering and environmental engineering projects.

When you look at Kansas, my state, it is still called the bread basket making 400 million bushels a year with two thirds of this shipped to other countries. Kansas is ranked third in cattle and produces the majority of the grain sorghum. In 2017, Kansas produced 5.69 billion lbs. of red meat.

Texas leads the states in number of farms with around 247,000. Missouri is next with 95,000. Iowa is third with 85,300.

When you think of farming, you imagine the Midwest probably. But the top supplier of a whole lot of farm food is California.

The U.S. makes 139.5 billion in food exporting but, as I said earlier, is just one of the big four: China, India, Brazil, and United States.

We should really watch what is going on in India with the farmer protests because it may impact us all. Also, the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer is a major issue. 2060 is only thirty-nine years away.

How do we sustain a growing world population of 7.84 people with depleting resources, older dams and infrastructure in need of repairs, and political strife involving our food producers as well as our food pickers? This topic involves labor issues in regards to immigration policies too. How do we take care of these immigrants that work in agriculture? How do we create more efficient food systems? These are important issues for the upcoming years.

Listen to the Hillbilly Redneck Moron

I got called a hillbilly redneck moron today for saying people should work together, a centrist narrative. At first I was upset. But then I realized this was an oxymoron.

I am 42 years old. I am the granddaughter of two farmers I greatly respected and admired because they were actually some of the smartest folks I ever met. Why? Because they grew things and conserved things on a large scale for others. Do you know how hard it is to grow and sustain things? Once, in college, I killed a cactus cause I overwatered it but I was taking Calculus. Book smart does not equal real world smart. Farmers are real world smart. They know when to water. They know when to not water. They know all sorts of fascinating and essential details about growing thousands upon thousands of crops or raising cows, or chickens, or whatever for our mass human consumption. Farming is real hard work plagued by all sorts of variables. You cannot be lazy and be a farmer.

So hillbilly redneck is, in fact, in my book synonymous with genius. But genius without reward or adulation.

What is the most fascinating thing I learned lately about farmers?

Farmers are generally usually conservative probably by nature of their work close to nature and their constant need for resourcefulness. They have to fix things themselves, survive things on their own. They just can’t run to town to fix the tractor so the crops can be taken care of. They rely on themselves and their network of neighbors.

Do you know in the history of mankind, what follows revolution?

Famine. Massive famine.

Why?

Because the conservatives who produce the food disappear (through various means). This happened after the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution. The revolutionaries wiped out the one group in society they so critically relied on.

What is my point?

It is important to respect the farmer hillbilly redneck. He is the weathered and worn hand that feeds without much recognition or reward.

That hillbilly redneck is the best damn human I know. And yes, you may not like his beliefs or views. He may be old school. But you get rid of that guy at your own peril.

Great Article

I like this short article by Jackie Gingrich Cushman. I think it expresses the sentiments of many Americans at this time. It is not overly one-sided but reaches across both aisles of the debate to shake hands. I like that part. It also delves into our past and the thoughts of previous presidential leaders such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama.

I tried to embed the link to send you to the article. It is an opinion piece titled, “A More Perfect and Lasting Union.” Well worth the read. And, I agree 100% about the exceptionalism part of it. I agree with Obama too that Americans are capable of “exceptionalist” behavior without being preachy, arrogant, narcissistic, or vain. Exceptionalism as defined this way is working towards a better common good and opening ourselves to a capacity of change/correction if necessary to improve life for future generations. Through introspection and discussion, we celebrate where we went right and recognize where we went wrong and strive/endeavor through positive action within our communities to improve.

It doesn’t mean I’m a self-identified Republican nor a Democrat, rather simply that I view myself as part of a very large group of diverse people that inhabit this land called America.

Here is the article:

https://magicvalley.com/opinion/columnists/cushman-a-more-perfect-and-lasting-union/article_71c2d6c4-8381-514b-b0ca-38a8725507fc.html

Little Pawn

My whole life, I admired the King and Queen.

Serene, graceful, and applauded.

Powerful and strong….aggressive.

Yet hiding behind the defenses of the lesser pieces.

As I became older, I pondered the knight or the bishop,

how they could think outside the box and level the playing field.

But, in my older years, I admire the pawn.

The one to first enter the fray with honest courage.

Who risks much although so little…..

One by one, swiped from the board unceremoniously and yet…

Relentless, undeterred, defiant against odds so stacked heavily against.

Yes, some days even the little pawn sees glory

when faced with such intimidating adversaries.

The Best Valentine I Ever Got: Taking a Road Trip to See Waterfalls

A few years back, my husband picked me up in his truck with our kids sitting in the back seat. It was on a Friday after a long week of work and it happened to be Valentine’s Day Weekend. There were suitcases packed in the back seat with the kids and there was a red card on the passenger seat. He said, “Hop in!” He smiled at me with a hint of mischief in his eyes as we headed mysteriously down the road to an unidentified destination point.

I settled into the passenger seat, curious to see what he was up to. I opened the Valentine card and a paper fell out. It was a small printed off map. It looked like a route with a blue line through various places in Oklahoma. I later learned from him that our family was going on a waterfall adventure trip through Oklahoma and each spot designated on the map signified a special place to visit to see gorgeous and musical sounding, calming rushing waters.

It turned out to be an awesome and fun 2 -day family trip through Oklahoma. My favorite destination on the excursion was Turner Falls. It was really pretty and a great place to wade in the waters with family or take photos together by the waters. There were hikes for exploring and other tourist spots to see.

Most states have these type of tourist routes on certain websites online. Here is one for Kansas with various routes for ghost towns, rock/geology adventures, chicken restaurant routes, and other topics. And yes, this one in Kansas has the waterfall adventure too.

So if you are planning something for Valentine’s Day……consider a weekend road trip route like these. Just Google your state and type in road trip routes. The waterfall trip is very family friendly and sorta romantic too. Or maybe your partner is more interested in things culinary or things paranormal or science related destinations.

I highly recommend these ideas as great “spontaneous” and fun Valentine gifts. Trust me, your partner will like it. I know I certainly did! It didn’t seem to cost too much either since most of the destination spots are free to visit. The only costs are gas for your vehicle and overnight stays somewhere. This would be fun to do with an RV too.

E Pluribus Unum

This was the official motto of the original 13 colonies during the American Revolution. It was proposed in 1776 by three men to become the Great Seal motto. These men were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Later on, this saying would be replaced in the 1950s by the words, “In God we trust.” I’m not sure where the Latin phrase for “E Pluribus Unum” originated. It really reminds me of the phrase of the French Four Musketeers. That phrase was “All for one, one for all.”

E pluribus unum simply means “out of many, there is one.” It means we stand together as a union, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, through tragedy and through celebration. We recognize our unique qualities and diversity yet also lean on our human bond as together we pursue life, liberty, and happiness. This is not a revolutionary idea. It is a motto for all friendships and relationships and it’s loyalty is the fundamental cornerstone of our foundations in life and as a nation.

We need to bring back this motto.

New Music Suggestions from Facebook Friends

This morning, I asked my Facebook friends to tell me their new favorite songs/albums/or singers. I told them I like a diverse mix of music. Kindly, about ten friends replied with these great suggestions. I’ve been spending this evening going through each suggestion as a mini concert at home. I’m delighted by the songs they shared. Quite a few are Christian songs, probably because it is Sunday. Here are some from the list:

  1. “Here with Me” (sung by Jason Upton).
  2. “Stones” (sung by Kim Walker Smith).
  3. The “We Like it Here” album by Snarky Puppy.
  4. “You Can’t Stop Me” (sung by Andy Mineo).
  5. Any songs by MercyMe.
  6. Any songs by Skillet.
  7. Songs by Hillsong United.
  8. “There was Jesus” (sung by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton).

They were all great. I liked the mix. This one was my personal favorite:

Remind Me

My daughter was born in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Her name is Ella. Another woman named Ella came from Hampton Roads. She was born April 25, 1917 in Newport News.

Ella Fitzgerald.

Just listening to her beautiful voice tonight…….reminds me…..brings me back to those days in lovely Virginia.

Here, listen:

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year in 2021! May we all be reminded of the wonderful things in life this year.