Friday, February 02, 2007

Ground Hog Day City

As many of you know, last fall Dan and I did a road trip through the New England States. On the way home, we just happened through Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. We were on a rather strict timetable by then, so we didn't seek out Phil. The town, however, did not let us forget where we were, starting with this strip mall as we drove into town.

By a jewelry store

By a drive-through McDonalds

Now here is a city with foresight.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hot air rises

This was the scene as I came down the driveway tonight. I quickly snapped the sunset and came in where it was warm. The picture is too dark, but notice the white snow on the roof. It is evenly covered like that all over. Someone once told me to watch the roof when there is a light snow. Any unusual melting spots could mean there is a heat leak where insulation is inadequate in the attic. Looks like we're OK.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Small Town Grocery vs Wal Mart

I finally have all the groceries put away. We spent nearly three hours and close to $200 restocking the pantry tonight.

Our first stop was Sam's. We like that store mainly because we feel many of the food items we buy are cheaper there. Tonight was a good time to go because no one was giving out samples--a real downfall for us.

After visiting the $150 store (formerly the $100 dollar store, inflation, I guess), we crossed the parking lot and finished up at Wal Mart. I am less likely to buy unnecessary items there than Sam's, maybe because I more often have a list or send one with Dan.

On the way home from this shopping spree, I was wondering how much more it would have cost to purchase everything at the small local grocery store at Overbrook. It would be an interesting project. I suspect it might not be much more expensive, given the extra gas and factoring in unnecessary items. It's not that I have anything against the Walton family nor their fabulously successful stores, but maybe we should pass it around.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Feral Hogs in the news again

The legislature is in session and that means feral hogs are in the news again. The Lawrence Journal World began the January 25, 2007, article by saying, "Nearly a year after gunmen in helicopters shot and killed dozens of feral swine in Douglas County and other areas of the state feral hogs are still causing headaches for rural landowners." This is no surprise as numerous groups of hogs were seen, many within months of the helicopter hunt here in the Wakarusa Valley last March where a mere 23 were killed.

The article goes on to quote George Teagarden, Kansas Livestock Commissioner, "we had a bigger problem than we thought."

Three interesting points were made. One, a USDA helicopter and gunmen will be used again this spring. Two, The Kansas Legislature approved $125,000 appropriation for the program last year. Finally, that they have limited money. My question is, if there is limited money, why are the people in charge of this operation using the most expensive method there is to deal with it. People in the know tell us that using the helicopter was very successful at Fort Riley. I am sure it was as there is wide open Flint Hill spaces. However, that is not the terrain in the Wakarusa Valley, where large walk-in traps would seem more feasible.

Chad Richardson, USDA wildlife biologist, stated there are probably about 100 hogs in the Wakarusa Valley. As residents of the area, I believe there are are far more than 100 hogs. As recent as this month, two different people have witnessed a group totaling over 50 crossing the road on the wildlife and parks land.

Once again, all the government agencies are putting their expertise together to fix this problem. The people who live in the middle are never asked for input. If a landowners coalition were put together in this valley, three times the number of feral hogs would be killed than with the helicopter in the air trying to look under foliage and undergrowth. There needs to be an ongoing program, not a once a year helicopter ride that gets the big ones but misses the hidden babies.

Click here to read all my posts on this issue.

Two pictures taken of the valley from our ultralight

Google Earth--Wakarusa river runs into Clinton Lake