Sunday Sermonette and WWM Update

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I went to the grocery store with two granddaughters and as we were being checked out, the cashier asked if we had our own bags or if we wanted to buy them. Yes, it’s California. The shopping bags that were free before November 9, are now $.15 each as a matter of law. So I spent forty-five cents to purchase clear plastic flimsy shopping bags, and blaggarded the State on the drive home – silently – so the girls wouldn’t learn any new words. There is a reason that I want to leave the liberal paradise and spending $.15 for each shopping bag is only the beginning. I mentioned it to the clerk at the store and she said, “I wish that I could go. I was born and raised here but we’re stuck with my husband’s job.” I don’t blame her.

I get it.

  • If you live your whole life driving on hardball roads, going down to the local store to buy the goods which you will use that day; 
  • If you’re accustomed to smelling the offal from your friends and neighbors along with the stench of burned diesel and gasoline when you roll down your car window; 
  • If you don’t chop the wood that you burn to cook your food and heat your home; 
  • You may not know that there are other choices. Or if you’ve heard of them, you never thought to experience them. Or if you experienced them, you never thought to live in them – because it’s so different from your comfort zone.

We don’t usually sell our souls in some exotic Faustian bargain. We bleed them out slow, one sterile, plastic, right-angled day at a time. I know how it works. I could be the poster child. One day you wake up and realize that living with wood, stone, iron and fire eludes you in the modern world. Society emasculates you in politically correct ways and it causes you to become domestic and pliable, destroying all meaning until you are lost…a rudderless ship, and often you don’t know it – because you’re going with the flow. The tide is sweeping you in and out like a piece of flotsam and you think that you’re living your own life.

Shooting an elk on your own property might be one of those things that you can’t imagine. Leaving the guts behind for various scavengers might seem as alien to you as not having a local store with goods made in China on the shelves. Perhaps you are more comfortable with a morsel of plastic-wrapped processed food that’s been preserved with chemicals and has been sitting on that shelf for three years, waiting for you to pick it up and eat it. If you’re more comfortable with the latter scenario than the former, look in the mirror. WTF are you? You’re becoming “progressive”. You’re becoming prey rather than being a predator – because you need to decide which you really are.

Some people arrive at places to experience a piece of history. The Durango and Silverton Railroad is such an experience, and I am not putting it down. It’s cool. Once visited, tourists return to their homes, next to homes or piled on top of other homes, clutching a souvenir (made in China).

However there are places in America – lots of places – where a horse is not part of a petting zoo, and having big game in the back yard is not part of a wildlife park experience. You bank the coals in the stove at night to insure heat all night instead of relying on a thermostat. Good old fashioned quilts bridge the gap.
I’ve been writing checks this week and there is something going on at the White Wolf Mine in the high country of the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. Within 40 miles of the White Wolf Mine (WWM) there are a number of species of animals. Leaving off most of the rodents and game birds such as ducks, pheasants, dove, quail, grouse and partridge: 


The only known wild jaguar in Arizona is El Jefe (more here), but I have heard from locals that some Go Pro infrared videos have picked up at least one jaguar on game trails at night in the Mogollon Rim area. Those reports are not confirmed to me, so I don’t know if it’s chatter or something more substantial. The area was populated by jaguar in substantial numbers up to the 1920’s and 1930’s.

There is more here from Arizona Game and Fish Dept. (link)

A buddhist friend of mine said that the jaguars running around the Arizona highlands are reincarnated shamans. True or false – you be the judge. I think that they’re just jaguars.

Mexican wolves have been reintroduced into Arizona habitats and by all reports, their numbers are growing. (link) The wolves’ range is farther than 40 miles from the WWM, so it might be hubris on my part to report that here, but the day may not be far off when there will be howls of wolves at night.
The “Raymond Ranch” herd and the “House Rock Wildlife Area” herd live in Arizona. The Raymond Ranch herd is about 30 miles (more or less) east of the WWM. There are hunting permits drawn by lottery for buffalo. I’m only guessing that the wolves may be drawn by the presence of Buffalo.
Mountain Lion/Cougar/Puma
There are lots of lions in the WWM area and Arizona has a hunting season for mountain lions. Managed hunting culls the numbers and keeps them in balance. 
Not only are there bobcats in the general area, they are in the specific area of the WWM. I was fly fishing on Clear Creek, which is about 1/4 mile from WWM and saw a bobcat in daylight, moving stealthily in the meadow near the creek bottom. (Clear Creek runs through a deep gorge but there is meadowland near/adjacent to the creek in many places)
There are about 70 condors living in Arizona. Most live north of the WWM, but they are sometimes seen as far south as the Mogollon Rim. They exist today because of a captive breeding and reintroduction plan
Eagles and Hawks
There are bald and brown eagles that live in the Mogollon Rim area and a wide variety of hawks.
Locals, commonly seen:
The coatimundi is not a raccoon 
Mule Deer
White Tail Deer
Pronghorn Antelope – yes, you even see them in the ponderosas.
Black Bear
Big Horn Sheep range in Arizona but not in the WWM area.

There is something to be said for the only sound you hear when you go out the front door in the morning is the whisper of the morning breeze through pine needles…or the trumpeting of elk during  the mating season.

In Arizona there is a pheasant season for falconry – and you can use a hawk or falcon to hunt them. It’s not only well beyond cool, I’m looking into it. I have to square the care and feeding of a raptor with my continued consulting biz and the need to travel.

25 thoughts on “Sunday Sermonette and WWM Update

  1. When you consider the cost of a T-shirt bag, the store could conceivably rake in $500.00 (or more) per day in bag sales. Now, I have no idea of how much of that goes to the state.

    I can't imagine living in a neighborhood crammed up next to another house. While we are not exactly in the piney woods, 5 acres offers some relief. It's just a matter of time before they build on the land across from us, but at our ages, we can deal with it.

    Have a good Sunday, LL

  2. I wouldn't consider Post Falls as the fetid inner city either. I'm not down on living in a town or even in a city. A lot depends on how you live. Of course, when you're living in Los Angeles, or New York City, or Dallas, etc. it's difficult to live other than as a denizen of those places.

  3. Banking coals? Leaving gut piles in your back yard? Makes one want to put down the TV dinner, walk over to the TV set and change the channel. Now THAT's what I call roughing it; not using the remote.

    This, from the guy that takes a Lay-Z-Boy camping with him. I actually don't even do that anymore; travel trailers are equipped with them.

  4. You would be shocked to see Post Falls now. Really. The building going here is epic. We even have traffic – I kid you not.

  5. You are nicer than me. I would have told the cashier, "No Thanks!" and walked out. It's not the .45 cents, but the stupidity of the whole thing. He at the Coffeypot, we do have the cloth bags with the hard bottoms, but it is because you can put more 'stuff' in them than the flimsy bags, thus less trips to the truck. The wolfs are getting more populated because all they do is hunt, eat, sleep and mate. I plan on being a wolf in my next life.

  6. Traffic in Post Falls – that takes a bit of believing, but I haven't been in North Idaho for a few years, so I'm not denying.

  7. Yeah, what's all that plastic bag malarkey about? Same in England. 5pence per crappy bag that's so thin it's about as useful as a chocolate fireman. Thanks, thanks truly for allowing me to pay to advertise your rip off shop. Nice. Oh but you can have a bag for life for an indestructible fiver. I have several thousand of them in my pantry because I forget to bring them with me. I own more bags than bloody Sainsbury's. Anyway, that aside, Arizona sounds like a winner, winner chicken dinner to me. And as for Durango / Silverton – gorgeous!

  8. We have our own bags, too, but I still want my stuff in plastic before I put it in my bags. It keeps my bags cleaner.

  9. I remember when my brother moved from NYC to Santa Fe some 17 years ago. He called me from his spot in a traffic jam. He was the 3rd car in line at a stop light. Santa Fe's got real traffic problems now that all those ex east-coasters have relocated there and brought with them their big east-coast city "values." Idaho sounds calm.

  10. The residents of Santa Fe would be better off opening fire on any vehicle with California plates than they would by welcoming them. I write that as a Californian (but not for long). Californication is a real threat. Just look what happened to Colorado – and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

  11. I take no umbrage at you hauling a Lay-Z-Boy camping with you. It sounds reasonable to me. As your years advance, you might be mistaken for a Beverly Hillbilly, but who cares? Live large, my friend, throw the remote out the window.

  12. Fun Factoid: The primary distributor of coatimundi pets lives in San Antonio, TX. I am informed that they make good pets, but they have a glandular odor that is somewhat skunk-like. Appropriate for Miley. I will be posting Hillary a Christmas present of Soap-on-a-Rope for her prison stay after the Clinton Foundation investigation rolls into indictment phase and then to trial. Shipping a coatimundi to Miley only makes sense during the Season of Giving.

  13. John, truth be told, I'm a saint.

    And a wolf's life of fighting, f#%&ing, feasting and sleeping appeals to me as well. The White Wolf Mine is aptly named.

    Adrienne – I'm a climate abuser. I take the bags as packed from the grocery store and haul them home. The food goes into the fridge/freezer or the pantry and the plastic bags go into the trash. I re-purposed the paper bags (remember them?), but not the plastic ones.

  14. I'm jonesing around for a Hoyt compound bow from my daughters at Christmas. It's important to embrace the whole culture when I move.

  15. No kidding about the Californication of Colorado. And it's been happening for years in New Mexico, too, especially in Santa Fe. The number of Hollywood people who live there is pretty large. It's in the 2nd and 3rd generation now. Anna Gunn was born and raised there, and her politics are hardly 'local'. One of the guys I work closely with at Langley(AFB) is a Californian whose family bought a hotel near Jackson Hole and he grew up there. He's a Wyomingian, but not really. Still too liberal.

  16. Demonizing those thin-film plastic bags is the *pinnacle* of ignorance. They are one of the truly great inventions of mankind. They do a necessary job perfectly, but no more. They're crazy cheap, made from petroleum waste products, not toxic, and they decompose safely in ANY environment. In the sun, it only takes a few days. Underground, it takes a bit longer, but I know from personal experience of excavating them that the enviro's claims about them lasting 'forever' is a pack of lies.

  17. Maybe you'll take up trapping and selling furs.

    People who think you buy meat in a store so you don't have to kill an animal can not imagine your wanting of that lifestyle.
    I watch a handful of shows that show people living just the lifestyle you want. And I envy them. I just don't see us doing that any more. But I can still like it.

    God bless you and your family. They will be stronger for this.

  18. There are beaver and muskrat but it isn't cold enough to get the sort of fur that's really valuable in AZ. If I lived in Alaska, I'd run a trap line. But the cold there is more than I want to deal with, and it lasts too long. The beauty of AZ is that you can live in the mountains and just drive an hour or so down from the mountains into the valley where it's warm. You can't do that in many other places…which led me to this spot.

  19. Ah. Okay. I wasn't aware that temperature played that big a part, though I should have realized.
    I understand what you mean about the cold, for sure.
    Still, lucky.

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