29 June 2012


One of my all time favorite novels is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Random House 1957). Not only is it a great work of fiction, it is quite thought provoking reading. In a nutshell it is the story of the demise of capitalism in America. Government intervention in business becomes so pervasive and destructive to creativity and independent thought that the best and brightest, led by John Galt, go on strike. They just walk away from their businesses and hang together in Colorado. Meanwhile the country crumbles from within because the only people left are the mediocre freeloaders.

John Galt is the hero of the book. Galt informs citizens that the men of intellect are on strike, that they require freedom of thought and action, and that they refuse to work under the dictatorship in power. The thinkers won't return, Galt says, until human society recognizes an individual's right to live his own life. Only when the moral code of self-sacrifice is rejected will the thinkers be free to create, and only then will they return.

Government involvement in our lives took another huge step yesterday with the Supreme Court ruling on Obama's mandatory healthcare edict. I guess if you are a health insurance company it's great news. I mean how can you miss if the government decrees everyone must buy your product?

At the same time our ever more fascist government is forcing people to use establishment medical practices it is waging war on anyone who tries to offer alternative methods or grow clean food. I'm not usually a conspiracy nut but this is all very fishy to me. It is documented fact that hundreds of thousands of people die each year from hospital errors, physician errors, and dangerous pharmaceuticals. So why are we now being forced to use this most flawed system?

Instead of approaching healthcare from a sensible angle, like prevention, the government is now actually dictating people line up and get into the system. IMO, this is completely and utterly insane. If this government wants to be a dictatorship why don't they make it law that people must exercise thirty minutes a day? That would probably result in an enormous reduction in healthcare costs and it wouldn't cost anyone a penny, either the individual or the collective taxpayers. Oh, silly me. That's no good. The new American way requires that special interests must be enriched at the expense of the people .... ALWAYS!

I heard Donald Trump interviewed after the ruling and he said that many of his friends who own businesses would most likely just fold, they could not remain profitable with the added burden. Another nail in the coffin of entrepreneurship. Another win for corporate dominance. It's what got me thinking about Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand knew a thing or two about the brutality of Communist tyranny. She was born in Russia in 1905 and witnessed first hand the Bolshevik Revolution, the Communist conquest of Russia, and the political oppression that followed. As I watch our liberties stripped from us one by one, day by day, I wonder where we are headed in this country. I wonder "Where is John Galt?"

If you haven't read Atlas Shrugged I recommend you read it. Even if the message doesn't resonate with you it is a highly entertaining novel.

©Kinsey Barnard

28 June 2012


There is no one who loves this country more than I. But just because I love it does not mean I cannot see it's foibles. It doesn't mean I have to buy into what the charlatans in Washington and the corporate elites are doing to the country I love so much.

Elections in this country have become nothing more than puppet shows.  If anyone really believes we have a two party system they are lost in a haze. Our two party system is pure illusion. What we have is a one party system with two flavors. Vote Democrat if that rhetoric appeals to you. Vote Republican if that rhetoric floats your boat. It matters not. Once in office these actors do as they are told. In a nutshell that is to sell the people of this country down the river.

In order to promote this illusion people are told that to vote is their patriotic duty. But, this patriotism is nothing more than a tool for manipulation. They choose the candidates. You get to vote for what they allow you to vote for. Elections have become such big business that no ordinary person could ever run. No you have to be "connected" because without vast sums of money you wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. The example that illustrates my point perfectly was George Bush junior. Seriously? The best this country could come up with for a presidential candidate was the son of a former president and an elitist? No, he was chosen for us. Look at Ron Paul. He was an outsider and until it became embarrassing, the media completely blacked him out. Paul never had a chance.

Several elections ago I made the decision that I would not vote in a presidential election until I could vote "for" a candidate as apposed to what I found I was doing, voting for the lesser of evils. The exact election was when they put up junior. I have been called unpatriotic for taking this stance. I think the opposite. I think I am a true patriot for not buying into a corrupted system. Voting is the only thing they can't truly control. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Who knows what they can do with these computerized voting machines.

Can you imagine what would happen if they held an election and no one showed up? It would render the government illegitimate. It would be the shot heard around the world. We could take this country back if the people wake up from their dreamworld and take a stand.

I'm sure most people cannot conceive what I'm trying to say here and our great country will continue to be sold down the river by the drones. But, to my own heart I must be true. I refuse to be a part of this ugly charade. I will vote when there is someone to vote for not against. Unfortunately, that will not happen until the people demand it their rights instead of complacently taking what's offered to them.

©Kinsey Barnard

27 June 2012


Whilst Colorado and other western states are literally burning up, in northwest Montana we are having a particularly wet monsoon. I have already had over thirty inches here at the ranch.

Yesterday, I drove down to the Flathead to run errands. I knew it was going to rain but I had no idea how hard. By the time I arrived home the Forest Service road was washed out in several spots. I could only cross my fingers in the hopes my driveway had not washed out too. My rain gauge showed an inch and a quarter had been deposited in my absence. A huge amount in a such a short time on ground already saturated. I've spent considerable time and effort re-engineering the driveway and that work has paid off. My drive came through in perfect shape.

As I look out the window at all the lush green grass and the lush new growth on the forest trees I can't help but count my blessings that here in northwest Montana we have water in abundance. In fact we have much more than we need. Too bad there isn't some way to share it with those western states that are so very dry. It's not fair but then so little in life is.

Whitetail in Tall Grass 06-27-12

Colorado Fires Burning Out of Control

©Kinsey Barnard

25 June 2012


For my birthday back in January a dear friend, here in the valley, gave me a jar of Calendula Salve for my birthday. My friend makes the salve from calendula flowers she grows in her garden. I stuck the jar in the medicine cabinet and forgot all about it, mostly because I hadn't inflicted upon myself any owies requiring medical attention.

Last month I read in a magazine that calendula was good for cold sores. I have been plagued with the things since I was a child. Any exposure to the sun and my mouth blows up like a balloon. As little as ten minutes exposure and my lips are cooked. People probably wonder why I wear a hat all the time. It isn't a fashion statement. But, it does go with my mountain woman image.

As luck would have it, shortly after reading the above mentioned article I walked down to the front gate without my hat and, of course, I got a blister the next day. It took me a couple of days to remember the calendula. I didn't get the ointment on the sore right away but it sure seemed to me the blister healed much quicker.

A few days ago Koty gifted me with a really nasty wound. My parents passed along some great genes for which I am grateful but along with the good ones I also got some that aren't so special. From my mother I inherited the tendency for the skin on my arms and legs to lose all it's collagen and become thin as paper. My skin literally tears like paper mache. Seriously, my arms look like those of an eighty year old. It's really ugly. Luckily, for the unsuspecting viewing public, my skin allergy to the sun is total so I keep myself completely covered, always.

The other day Koty jumped up on me and, through my shirt, tore a 3/4 inch chunk of skin up on my forearm with his dew claw. It was nasty. I thought "Aha! Another opportunity to see what the calendula can do".

I  got the bleeding stopped, cleaned up the wound and applied the calendula. Within hours the heat was out of the wound. By the next day the swelling was all but gone and I was well on the mend. I usually use Neosporin for cuts and scraps with good results but the calendula seems to act even more quickly. It's been three days now and the wound is practically healed. I continue to put salve on it a couple of times a day because now I'm interested to see how much of a scar will remain. Not that I care but as a point of interest.

To quote the ingredient label (all handmade) Calendula flower infusion in organic olive oil, safflower oil, Vitamin E, lavender oil, beeswax". Calendula flowers are a type of marigold.

As I already mentioned, I have always been a Neosporin user for cuts and scraps but not only do I like the idea of this natural remedy but it seems to work much more efficiently. I've never found anything very effective for the mouth blisters so the calendula will be a great blessing. Mother Nature really does do it better!

If you aren't lucky enough to have a friend to make calendula salve for you there are lots of sources on the internet, just Google calendula ointment or salve.

The Ever Lovely Marigold

©Kinsey Barnard

23 June 2012


Around here we have big problems with invasive weeds.  Weed control is a serious business. The best known and much despised is napweed but I also am having a dickens of a time with Canadian Thistle. Those thistle can grow, and frequently do, taller than me.

One side of my property fronts a forest service road and everyone who comes up here imports something or other. The weeds I can forgive because it's no one's fault. The beer cans and other litter not so much. The majority of my napweed are along this line and relatively easy to get at but I have had the feeling I was losing ground. It seems like it just keeps spreading.

The thistle is even more difficult because it can be found throughout my forty acres. This is rough mountain terrain not pool table flat like down in the valley. Forty acres isn't all that big as Montana land goes but it seems gargantuan when trying to hunt down thistle amongst the trees and undergrowth. The monsoon this season has brought incredible moisture, around thirty inches. Believe me when I say It's a Jungle Out There!

I decided that this year I was going to really wage war on these dastardly weeds. I contacted the forest service to get a recommendation for herbicide and other advice on how to attack these weeds. Milestone was recommended for the herbicide. That was good advice but,  everything else I was told about treating the weeds with it was complete bupkus. In my experience that's par for the forest service. Also, the advice I got at the CHS, the ag. store where I purchased it, $110.00/qt., was totally useless. I know this because I called Milestone in Michigan and got the low down directly from the horses mouth.

I ordered up an ATV sprayer from Northern Tool and assembled it yesterday. I was in a hurry because according to the forest service I needed to spray immediately as this is the optimum time. The guy even suggested I not wait for my sprayer but get after it with the backpack sprayer. Thank goodness I blew that idea off.

I got the sprayer put together, pressure checked and ready to go in about and hour and a half. Thank goodness I am math challenged because when it came to figuring out the mix rate I was lost and had to seek help. I couldn't figure out the rate card to save my soul. I called CHS to get their input on the mix rate but didn't feel comfortable with what I was told. So I Google Milestone and called them directly. CHS had told me to use 5 oz. Milestone told me 1.75 max. Using too much can render the herbicide ineffective.

I also learned, from Milestone, that I didn't want to treat the napweed until they were in full bolt and the thistle not until they were in bloom. My tax dollars at work. Yours too BTW.

So now I wait to do battle. Those buggers are in for it now! Below is a photo of my battle wagon equipped with gun and ammunition.

ATV with North Star Spot Sprayer
©Kinsey Barnard

22 June 2012


The paint on the woodshed was long overdue for maintenance. Looks to me like mine is the first re-paint and that shed must be thirty years old. Amazing the thing hasn't collapsed when you think how harsh the weather is around here, -20 in the winter +100 in the summer.

Actually, the weather pattern has changed somewhat since I came here ten years ago. Summers are cooler and winters are warmer. Suits me just fine. Still, the weather is pretty severe and not for the feint of heart.

The paint on the old dear was so taxed that the color matching gizmo couldn't get a read on it so I had to choose a different color. I chose a brown that blends nicely with the surroundings. Foolishly, I purchased only a gallon and that thirsty old plywood gulped up the whole thing with only half of the shed covered. Well, drat!

Just looked out the window and saw two doe, one whitetail and one mule deer. A very unusual sight to see, the mule deer still here at this time of year. Usually, by this time, they are long gone to the high country. I have this feeling things are changing in more ways than we know.

Whitetail & Mule Deer Doe 6-22-12
©Kinsey Barnard

21 June 2012


Finally looks like we are going to get a break from the monsoon. This year it has been something, never ending rain. I've had close to thirty inches. The rivers are running bank to bank. The highest I think I've ever seen. Lake Koocanusa is right up to the tree line.

The nice thing about it is that everything is emerald green. If you want to see Montana at it's greenest June is the time to come. But bring your raincoat.

©Kinsey Barnard

20 June 2012


At last, I saw my first fawn this morning. I was on my way down to change the position of my solar panels and there they were in the meadow, a little bitty baby nursing it's mother.

A fellow I know said he thought maybe the rut was late last fall which would explain the lateness of seeing babies. Whatever, I'm glad their here. They are a beautiful part of the spring/summer experience here in Montana.

©Kinsey Barnard

19 June 2012


Believe it or not there was a time when beef did not come in shrink wrapped styrene trays. One actually went to a butcher and if you did not see what you wanted in the case your butcher would custom cut your order whilst you waited.

Sadly, the local butcher has pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird and the quality of beef in most super markets is pretty grim. Where the quality is good the price is usually so high it will give you a nose bleed. There is a place where you can get the best of quality and price and that is at Costco. Costco beef is as good or better than any place I know of and we all know the prices are the best generally available. I could have called this article just getting the best out of your beef but I don't buy my beef anywhere else. No matter how you prepare your meat you have to start with the best quality to get the best experience.

I learned about Costco beef from my father. My father knew beef. Born in 1913, raised on a cattle ranch and a self taught gourmet cook he knew more about barbequing than anyone I have ever known. When the independent grocer he had traded with for years went belly up he was at a loss as to where to find good quality meat. He discovered Costco. My father liked a good deal as well as the next fellow but when it came to his beef cost was not the issue. He bot his beef at Costco because he felt it was the best around. He passed that on to me and I have been a Costco beef buyer ever since.

He also taught me how to make it even better. Back in the old days a butcher used to age his beef by hanging it in the cooler for a number of days before selling it. Today things move so fast through the distribution channels, beef never really gets a chance to rest and age. Aging meat makes all the difference in the world. The meat gets more flavorful and tender. So, here's the trick to getting the most from your Costco beef. After you get it home let it sit in the refrigerator for four or five days before using or freezing. If the meat turns a little dark red around the edges that is not bad meat. It's just the effects of oxygen.

If you've not ever done this and are an avid meat eater, such as myself, you should give this a try. I think you will be glad you did.

©Kinsey Barnard

18 June 2012


I have been waiting and waiting to see this year's crop of fawns. Normally they are born in May and out and about by June. I have had at least a dozen does, both whitetail and mule deer,  hanging about but have yet to see a fawn. That there are whitetail and mule deer here together is also unusual. The mule deer usually move to the high country as the whitetail come up from the valley.

Last night I think I heard a fawn squeal. I hope the coyotes or the wolves aren't killing them. That certainly could be the case.

Seems to me things are a changing in nearly all respects. There is an old Chinese saying "May you live in interesting times". I think we are.

The above photograph of a fawn frolicking was taken June 19th last year.

©Kinsey Barnard

17 June 2012


 This is an excellent interview for people who don't have their heads stuck in the sand.