Updated: Sep 8, 2021
My dictionary says that logic is a way of reasoning that can be correct or incorrect by the use of faulty information. So, where does a steward of the land look for the truth, when there’s so much misinformation that has to be sifted through, to find a logical beginning place? A steward must start with the “law of gravity” that says if you throw a ball straight up in the air and don’t move, it’s going to hit you on top of your head. If logic is not part of your thinking you can try this experiment as many times as you want and I guarantee you will get the same results. So, for me this is a logical place to start. When a raindrop is created up in some cloud and it gets too ungainly for the cloud to hold on to it any longer, it falls out. Gravity sends the drop at warp speed to the ground below, so when it hits bare ground it’s going to make a crater that will blow out whatever dust and debris is there, leaving a harder surface underneath. This means the next raindrop can travel even faster across bare soil than its predecessor. High velocity and mass are a bad combination for a bare or tilled soil because when a multitude of raindrops get together and decide to jump out of some dark agitated cloud, they become like a snowball heading down a hill pushed on by the heavy hand of gravity to crash into whatever lies below. Logic meets common sense and they chime in together to tell me “you’ve left your soil uncovered don’t do that.” Ahhh it’s too late here comes a passel of rain drops to change my fields into a quagmires, but logic says all’s not lost it’s not too late to change your time worn ways, in fact I demand that for the survival of you and your family, you must find a new and more healing way to steward the V6 ranch.
There’s a rancher who has been waiting patiently and has asked for time to defend his management style. Go ahead, I said, tell us all how you manage your ranch as it might work for me also. Well I like to have my livestock eat all my grass even in a good year, for my logic tells me that if I leave any old grass it just sorta disappears if I don’t have my cows eat it all and I don’t like to waste. So you mean it’s just like not eating everything on your dinner plate is a waste. Yes that’s right. I’ve been doing it this way for a long time and I’m still here. What about a drought year when things aren’t so good ? Oh I just feed more hay! Yikes! common sense tells me “please I wasn’t like that was I ? Okay, but only if you're sure you're a changed man.
Let’s start over with the same rain cloud but this time our raindrops will have a very different fate. There going to land on grass covered ground so when they hit their bodies are shattered by grass leaves and stems destroying most all of their energy leaving them a quite puddle ready now for gravity to become our friend as it takes over and starts pulling these now energy deprived rain drops down vertically into the soil sponge of life. Also at this time gravity will now be joined by another friend Capillary Action. Capillary Action has the power to actually out stout gravity. By definition, water will move from wetter soil to dryer soil. So in the winter time when it’s wetter on top of the ground Gravity and Capillary Action will join forces to pull water down to moisten the dryer soil below. But now it’s summertime and Capillary Action will change direction and move water from the moisturizing soil below and move it upward to the dryer soil on the surface. And all the green growing things with their roots will out stout gravity also and send to all the green growing things on top of the ground water for photosynthesis and nutrition.
Well it seems more than logical to me that if I bare the soil and then on a bright sunny day and with one of those new fangled thermometers I’ll just point it at some bare soil that a squirrel has thrown out while making his home. I found there was consistently a 20 to 30 degrees lower temperature on the grass covered soil then the squirrel mound or any other bare soil. Logic again dictates to me that the bare soil being hotter is going to have more evaporation and its transportation rate will be faster. Not good.
Now that logic and common sense have totally debunked any validity to bare soil, then how can we keep more water in the ground? Before Europeans arrived on Plymouth Rock it is estimated that there were 100,000,000 beavers on the North American Continent all building their own dams with attached ponds for swimming to live in and store their food. These beaver dams did a wonderful job of slowing down our creeks and rivers. That is until John Jacob Astor formed a fur company to buy all the Beaver pelts that Mountain Men could trap for the making of hats. With that and the farmer who didn’t like them damming up his creek and flooding his farm ground it didn’t take too many decades to reduce their numbers by 99%. So another way to get water into the underground aquifers was gone.
For me here on the V6 Ranch I have the ability and the terrain that lends itself to the building of small water retainment structures that make the ranch better for wildlife, cattle, and horses to graze in a way that makes the ranch grass better utilized. Whenever water is stopped some is always sent vertically down to help fill our underground aquifers. But cynicism leads me to believe that the idea of actually building just one of these structures will most likely die under the weight of multiple state bureaucracies that have one speed and that’s glacial speed.
Burning our brush and timber lands 200 years ago was a common Indian practice that gave a very different look to our California landscape. Granted that there are now 40,000,000 residents, a constantly moving mass that makes 40,000,000 feel like 120,000,000 that turned the management of our grass savanna’s and forest over to Smoky Bear with his rallying cry “only you can prevent forest fires” that gave a satisfied feeling to most city dwellers that there wild lands were in competent hands. But logic says this management practice could only last for so long before dead leaves, dead trees, and dead brush would build up so much stored burning
material that when this mass is lite by man or by nature it’s going to be something to see.
Smoky was born in a public relations office in 1944 after a half burned “Cub Bears” photo showed up in a major newspaper and is now the longest running public relations scheme in U.S. history. Cal Fire says that the management of all our grass and forest lands these past 77 years has been run by a sacred feel good political Bear that no politician could vote against. Please somebody “say it isn’t so” I’m sorry you only have to look up how many acres have burned these last 10 years to know that Smoky needs to be relieved from duty. The political answer “we will study it” But who’s really at fault? I believe it is 40,000,000 gullible California citizens who thought it was okay to have a cartoon bear manage our forest and grasslands.