Showing posts with label agriculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agriculture. Show all posts

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bob Fletcher, American Hero

We've probably all seen Spencer Tracy in "Bad Day at Black Rock." If not, we should have.

The internment of Americans of Japanese descent is one of the more disgraceful events of World War II. Many loyal Americans lost their property during their internment.

But Bob Fletcher, an American who knew injustice when he saw it, saved the farms of three hard working Japanese families. His obituary in the Sacramento Bee tells the story. He kept the families from suffering the fate of the Japanese in the Spencer Tracy movie.

Bob Fletcher was just one man. He couldn't right all the injustice of all the interned families. But he did what he could where he was with the tools at hand.

No more can be asked of anyone.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

More On The Dust Bowl

I was born in Oklahoma in 1937, near the end of the Dust Bowl period. I was a couple of hundred miles east of the Dust Bowl, in Tulsa. By the time of my first memories, about 1939, the Dust Bowl catastrophe was abating.

In 1949, I was in the eighth grade in a rural school east of Oklahoma City. As a part of our elementary school curriculum, eighth grade boys had to take a course in agriculture. I think the girls took home economics.

We boys learned about measures to take to control erosion by wind and water. We learned about planting wind rows of trees between the fields to moderate the wind. We learned about contour plowing and crop rotation, and natural methods of controlling agricultural pests. We learned about use of natural fertilizer and the benefits of using legumes, including alfalfa, in crop rotation. Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil and reduce the need for artificial fertilizers.

All of these methods were put into place out in the Oklahoma panhandle, and the dust bowl began to subside.

But it came back. In 1950 and 1951, whenever there was a sustained wind from the west, we would have vast sand storms in Oklahoma City. The storms would dim the sun and occasionally mid day would look like late evening. This was the beginning of another period of drought that lasted seven years.

In June of 1954, I flew from Denver to Tulsa by way of Amarillo and Oklahome City. Our twin-engine Convair flew low enough that I could see drifts of sand across Southeast Colorado, Eastern New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma. The sand piled up at each fence corner.

It looked pretty grim.

By 1957 the drought was over.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vegetable Patch Diversity

I'm planning to put in a garden this spring. All the usual vegetables: corn, beans, cabbage, broccoli, beets, carrots, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, pizza.

Anyone able to recommend a good seed catalog?