Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday indecison (more or less)

A beautiful day in the upper midwest. How to spend it?


In the basement clay studio, mixing some colored slips to use on a new batch of slab trays and vases.
The weather is just too nice to be in the basement. I'll hang the laundry out to dry in the sun and breeze.

In the yard, planting some more grass in that big bare spot where the stately spruces once stood.
Did that yesterday. Gotta take it easy today.

Watching the Olympics on TV.
The opening ceremony was certainly impressive, but....nah.

Watching an amateur baseball game in which eldest son is a pitcher.
That would work except I don't have a car or a bike today (long story).

Watching the Twins play the Royals on TV.
Yeah, maybe. But Bert Blyleven shouldn't be an announcer "at the major league level."

Finalizing a blog entry about a couple of odd grants from the Department of the Interior.
Yes! With footnotes!

These two grant announcements appeared recently on I’m sure the good folks at the Department of the Interior think I’m picking on them. (Yeah, like they read this blog.) I may well be, but that’s only because these projects raise so many questions. Plus I’m bored.* And cranky.**

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Wyoming Honor Farm Wild Horse Care & Training Agreement
Modification 1

The only other honor farm I’d heard of was on the flanks of the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island. The Kulani Honor Camp was for inmates who’d earned their way into this minimum security facility by behaving themselves in one of the other Hawai’i prisons. Inmates at Kulani spent their days raising crops and making things out of the rare native koa wood. I still prize my beautiful large koa bowl made by some anonymous but talented soul at Kulani. ***

The honor farm referenced in the DOI grant announcement is probably not a prison. “Wild Horse care” is an oxymoron. If they have to be cared for by humans, they aren’t wild any more. The announcement also refers to training, but it’s not clear whether the training is for people to learn how to take care of wild horses, or for the horses themselves. Training regular horses how to be wild? Training wild horses how to be even wilder? Training wild horses how to be less wild?

I guess I’m just having trouble understanding what’s so unique about wild horses that they are entitled to some special care. Aren’t they an invasive species, having been introduced to this continent by Europeans?**** Aren’t we trying to rid ourselves of invasive species?

Why, yes, we are.

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Noxious & Invasive Plant Control in Sheridan County, WY
Modification 2

Interesting tidbit: A road in Sheridan County is named Wild Horse Road. I wonder what entitles one county to get federal help to control weeds when most counties (even those where weeds might actually be a problem for local famers or ranchers or parks or natural areas or wildlife habitat or my front yard) are on their own. Earmarks?

* Boredom may be the worst motive for writing, but I’ll bet that many a famous poem or novel sprang from such humble roots.

** It says so right in my Blogger ™ profile.

*** The camp is now known as the Kulani Correctional Facility and houses sex offenders.

**** One source says that an equine ancestor did roam North America but went extinct eons ago. Horses didn’t come back to the continent until Spanish explorers brought them along in the 16th century. These were, of course, entirely domesticated animals.

I love footnotes. And the Twins' game is only an inning old!


Bleeet said...

Boy, Jim, you're harsh on Wyoming earmarks.

Yeah, I've always thought the "wild horse" name is somewhat odd, because even Nevada's famed wild mustangs were sired from domesticated horses at some point.

In one sense, they're feral animals - to the extent that this is a possibility.

Jim H. said...

Feral cats are a big problem in Hawaii, especially on Oahu. Feral pigs roam the macadamia nut farms on the Big Island.

I think it's accurate to call these horses feral. There is some romance associated with feral horses which does not attach to pigs or cats. I guess I understand the sentiment, but still can't see spending money on it.