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Your post makes me sad in many ways. The record breaking temperatures scare me.
That was exactly my reaction too. It is hard for me to imagine what that feels like. In all seriousness, can you tell a difference between what it feels like at 91*F and 105*F? It all sounds unbearable to me- but so does anything much over 80*.

@bsms, do you think at some point people are going to start leaving some parts of the southwest because the conditions are just too difficult to live in? How can your farmer friend keep his herds alive in those conditions if they get even worse? In my one and only visit to Phoenix, the nice lady we rented a garage apartment from said that most of her neighbors never thought at all about where the water came from (and watered their lawns every morning) and how much energy it took to run AC all year. I suppose you could probably say the same for us in the rural Northeast about how we don't think much about the gas we need to drive 30 minutes to get anywhere or the oil most people use to heat their houses for 8 months of the year. Looking ahead to the second half of my life, I think the thing that scares me the most is seeing big migrations of people away from densely populated places that become uninhabitable. I don't think that is going to happen quietly and peacefully.

Hope your back feels better and you get that ride soon! With a lot of sunscreen on and water close by 😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,502 · (Edited)
I can tell a difference between 91 and 101, but it isn't a difference that matters if I protect myself from the sun. I went for a walk today. 4 miles while it was 97. They now make polyester long sleeve shirts for jogging in the heat that are FANTASTIC in the desert. Makes a huge difference from cotton long sleeve, and an even bigger one from trying to stay cool using a T-shirt! Add a white Tilley hat and it was an enjoyable 70 minute walk in hilly country.

The water issue is interesting to me. I did some research lately. Arizona used slightly LESS water the last couple of years than it used in 1950! That shocked me, but advances in transport of water and in farmland conservation efforts had really helped. But what hasn't changed significantly is that agriculture in Arizona consistently uses 75% of all the water! For things like cotton - grows better elsewhere. Pecans? A pecan grove can use as much water a a 20,000 person city! Ranching uses very little water. In essence, a ranch can exist forever without depleting ground water. But farming is a different story! Particularly farming with water intensive crops.

My friend and I discussed the future. He recently came across some studies that show the SW periodically has 50 year droughts. One expects that. Statistically, they would be less common than a 5 year drought, but they OUGHT to exist. Native populations were wiped out at times in the past. Maybe due to very long droughts? Modern man can prevent being wiped out by drought by bringing in food and agricultural products like pecans and cotton from outside because the cities themselves use very little water. I dislike a lot of Tucson's politics, but they have partially replenished the groundwater drop that had taken place when I was in high school. The levels are going UP, not down!

But I think we need to seriously restrict the TYPES of agriculture allowed in Arizona to those that don't use insane amounts of water. This would require action by the state government and they do NOT want to touch that political hot potato! Odd as it sounds, many of the big users are also owned by very large corporations based out of state and (often) outside the USA. China and Saudi Arabia own places sucking up water to produce crops that are not sustainable in the long haul. I have NO IDEA why we allow that apart from $$$$$$ going to politicians!

NOTE: Virtually all the pecans grown in Arizona are sent to either China or the EU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,503 ·
"Peacock Nuts, a consortium that includes the largest permanent crop nursery in the United States, has even bigger plans: 4,500 acres and as many as 650,000 pistachio trees. “There’s no way we have enough water to be able to handle that,” Cobb said. In Kingman, as in most of rural Arizona, there are no rules on groundwater pumping. As long as you get a permit, you can drill a well of any size for any purpose as long as it’s for a beneficial use. Agriculture easily qualifies, even if the crops are shipped out of state for profit....

... Cobb, a Republican representative from Kingman, said the Peacock Nuts operation is "mining our water." She said this is why she is “obsessed” with doing something about out-of-state agribusiness using up Arizona’s precious resources to profit. “The term I heard a lot of years ago was virtual water,” said Marvin Glotfelty, a groundwater expert and consultant. “It’s not legal to export groundwater or surface water out of the state. That's by law. But you can export virtual water.”

Farms from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates doing just that have angered residents in the La Paz County communities of Vicksburg, Salome and Wenden.
"

 

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I have read a few different articles about pecan growing and the water issue. Makes sense that the ranchers need less water overall than something like pecans or cotton. Having policy preferences to support lower impact types of agriculture makes sense-but policy making doesn’t often make sense in reality ;)

My dad’s brother in law used to be a major exporter of alfalfa from Utah to the Saudi and Dubai racing industry. Got invited to royal weddings and all that pizzazz. Strange to think about going to all that trouble to grow hay and send half way around the world. Years ago I was on the board of a therapeutic riding program and we were having issues getting hay. I reached out to him to ask if there was anything he could do to help us and he just laughed and said “no way you can afford our hay and I can’t afford to donate it to you.” It’s a weird world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,505 ·
"With China’s dairy industry putting renewed interest on high-quality alfalfa hay and fewer tariff restrictions in 2020, that country set a new annual record for alfalfa hay imports from the United States. There was some fear during the high-tariff months that China wouldn’t return to the U.S. alfalfa trade market even after tariffs were lifted, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In total, China imported 1.18 million MT, eclipsing its previous high set in 2017 by nearly 11,000 MT. Alfalfa hay exports to China in 2020 were 40% greater than during the tariff-riddled year of 2019. Monthly export totals to China during 2020 were anything but consistent; they ranged from 47,836 MT in January to 127,439 MT in April. China will most likely remain our biggest alfalfa trade partner into the future...
" Article dated Feb 2021


Strange world we live in. Who would have thought ranchers in Utah would be outbid for Utah hay by dairy farms in China?
 

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Our hay used to go to Japan when I was a kid. Now an American buyer takes it. It is out of the price range of what you would probably pay for horse hay though (our horse hay), and dairy hay isn’t good for horses. Second crop alfalfa is a good horse hay, but I believe our horse hay makes it to Kentucky. Some people sell their less quality hay to horse owners that are around, and I think they make good money, but they have to be around and sell little load after little load.

Water is crazy here, like I’ve said before. They are trying to rewrite the laws to socialize the water. It was shut down, but is now at the Supreme Court waiting a decision. The oddest point about it was that it made pretend water real (water that hasn’t been pumped), and you could sell your water. I think they included a refill/non refill piece though.

Anyways, the water is being pumped too far. Zeus and I fell into the earth on one of his first rides because it just caves out from under a person. These giant cracks have been created. People tend to not be aware of that. There used to be a pond and a big creek at the ranch, but it has disappeared.

This is what always gets me about the “cows are bad for the environment,” debate. To farm land depletes the land and the resources in a way that well managed livestock does not. So, to grow the food that replaces the meat, one does damage to the environment that would benefit the environment without.
 

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Interesting information.

We don't think about water much here except for when there is too much and things flood. A barn I was at that tried to water 25 horses from rainwater collection and truckloads from the river was crazy though. You don't have to dig a very deep well here!

When I was in Japan I saw they were feeding the same hay I do, orchard grass from eastern OR or WA. They don't have open plains or the climate to grow quality hay.
 

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To farm land depletes the land and the resources in a way that well managed livestock does not. So, to grow the food that replaces the meat, one does damage to the environment that would benefit the environment without.
We think we know what is best for our world, then we discover what we thought we knew is wrong. How about the experiments to make mosquitoes sterile? Are mosquitoes any use to our environment? Do we really know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,509 ·
There are lots of things we don't know and ought to be humble enough to admit it. We do have an obligation to make the best decisions we can based on the knowledge we have - and since all of us have impartial knowledge and imperfect logic, we need to allow politics to be messy, for example, without assuming the worse about those who disagree.

But some of it seems pretty obvious. When the ground is cracking because water is being pumped out, but your politics and laws allow foreign companies to drill 2000' deep wells to grow crops that could easily be grown elsewhere...it's a problem. Wouldn't like it much better if they were local companies. Water is THE most important resource in the desert. That is why it IS a desert - because everything is driven by the LACK of water. Don't think it matters if one is conservative or liberal. The politicians keep acting like they are obedient house pets of $$$$. 40 years ago, I faulted my 60 year old uncle for being a cynic. Looking back, he strikes me as a sunny optimist! If he could come back to life for a day, I think we could talk and laugh ourselves silly.
 

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I think that @knightrider! I don’t know what good a mosquito is, but I know he is something good. God does in fact have a plan for him. That same thought goes for the hordes of Mormon crickets, and the stupid horn flies that bite me while I milk. I don’t know why, but I know they have a position.

We know vultures have a positive impact on our environment, and yet I watched a Ted talk about how many of them have been killed out. I guess that when they dispose of a body they also dispose of the illnesses that body carried. Without the numbers of some certain vulture an illness was spreading in a country that I can’t remember at all anymore. I did however remember the premise of the talk and how important this bird was that those people considered a pest.
 

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I'm sorry about your back - happens to me sometimes but usually not for more than two days. Old injury and if I do Pilates regularly it doesn't happen so I see it as a reminder. Also when it happens I do some Pilates stretches to help unkink the trapped nerve - for my injury the most helpful stretch is to lie flat on my front on a mat and then do a slow push-up with my hips staying on the ground so that my back counterbends - and keep repeating to make the arc more pronouncod each time. And to alternate those with cat stretches. Worst thing I can do when my back is out is to sit - best thing to do stretches and walk around and only lie flat on reasonably firm surfaces. Sofa too soft and sometimes the bed is as well. It always feels worst when I'm not warmed up at the start of the day or if I do something stupid when my back is out - no carrying anything until it's better, no asymmetrical movements. My injury is lumbar, overstretched ligament connecting spine to pelvis can pinch a nerve unless my core muscles compensate properly by being strong and engaged - i.e. Pilates, walking, etc.
 

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@bsms, here’s a solution for your rancher friend! :love:


1114944
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,514 ·
This is maybe 5-6 miles west of the first house that we almost bought (and the one that taught me about high pressure gas lines!):

Shouldn't affect whoever ended up buying the house - looks to be far enough away and not spreading in that direction. 8500 acres and not contained. An evacuation center has been set up in Benson's High School.

There have been fires within a few miles of my house in Vail - last time about a year ago. To date, none have come any closer. Wildfires always scare me. You can think it is just about out and then BOOM. It takes off again and can almost explode across an open area. Nearly got caught by one in Idaho when I was in my early 20s. Realized later that I had crossed a barbed wire fence getting away and did NOT remember crossing it! I was probably near to flying at that point!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,516 ·
"Late Wednesday afternoon, the weather offered some extra hope of suppressing the fire. There was about a half-hour of light to moderate rain but the storm included lightning so it also carried the possibility of sparking new fires. After a day where some firefighters were right on the edge of I-10, more of the fight has moved away from the road....

The town of Dragoon is quiet, under a “go” evacuation order. Nearby, firefighters have been guarding the Amerind Museum. Fire crews set back burns between the fire and the museum for a controlled burn of grass and brush that otherwise could carry the fire to the museum.

Keeping large animals safe is a special concern when fire hits a rural area. The J-6 Equestrian Center volunteered to take in horses and other large livestock removed from the evacuation zones..... She says so far she’s just had her usual horses in for boarding because horse owners have offered friends space for horses outside the danger zones.
"


A bit of good news. People DO get it right sometimes! My house got about an inch of rain over a 4 hour period late afternoon. First real rain we've had in many months! Won't come close to breaking the drought but it sure helps! Hope the fire got some decent rain too. If it matched what we got (50 miles away), the fire should be contained soon.

The area around Dragoon is, IMHO, uncommonly beautiful. The town itself, however, is in a place where well water is scarce due to the surrounding rock formations.


And after decades of flying, I love the pictures of the fire fighting aircraft - although this picture is from fire fighting near Dragoon 3 years ago!
 

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They now make polyester long sleeve shirts for jogging in the heat that are FANTASTIC in the desert. Makes a huge difference from cotton long sleeve, and an even bigger one from trying to stay cool using a T-shirt! Add a white Tilley hat and it was an enjoyable 70 minute walk in hilly country.
I know this is a minor point, but I want to know more. Heat exhaustion and excess UV exposure are my biggest summer problems on this farm. I find it almost impossible to wear long sleeves because I overheat so quickly, and as a result my arms are quite sun damaged. I can't undo the damage already done, but I'd love to prevent more - please tell me more about what these shirts look like and where to get them from, so I don't buy something that doesn't work... I've tried various things and so far the best has been a loose-weave long-sleeve buttoned shirts in hemp or viscose...
 

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Perhaps @bsms means polyester dri fit clothing that Nike, Under Armor and other sports brands make. This fabric is an invention that has changed my athletic life, seriously. I run in dri fit pants in the winter, and long sleeve shirts. When I began running, it was in the days of cotton sweat pants and sweat shirts. Summer shorts were nylon or cotton. Everything made you sweat, and got wet and rubbed your skin off. For waterproofing we wore plastic coats that made you as wet from sweat inside as the rain got you outside. Nowadays we have gore tex breathable, light coats with ventilation and dri fit clothing, and you dry as fast as you sweat and stay cool. They also don't get heavy if you get rained on, so you can still move freely.
 

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Thank you, @gottatrot, that's really good information to have, I shall look out for these things! 😎

@bsms, fires can be spooky. When we burnt our SW boundary three years ago, the fire itself was out after a day and stayed out for another two days, while we patrolled the fireground on a regular basis to see if it had flared up again anywhere. It didn't. The third morning Brett looked out of the window and said, "I think that's smoke, I'm going to have a look." The fire had re-flared from embers and burnt its way up a tree - that's despite the area all around being burnt. The canopy of the tree had caught fire and a branch from it had dropped across the firebreak into our unburnt swampland on the other side, which had not been burnt in 20 years (because regulations prevented the prior owner and us from burning it, by making it illegal to burn before Easter - by which time the swampland was always too wet already to burn).

This was a dry year, and most of the valley floor went up in a hot fire - 10 hectares of it. We called in the local volunteer brigade (of which we're members) with large fire trucks so it wouldn't leap the fence, and though the fire flared higher than the canopy, a good 30m into the air - on a cool, still day - we can only imagine what would have happened on a windy day in summer. There's no question that our place is so much safer now, and the valley floor has regenerated beautifully, no longer choked by half-dead, highly flammable tea-tree. In another three years we'll have to look at burning the dry patches in this valley floor, in the indigenous small-mosaic style, so that it never gets so dangerous across the board again.

By the way, the brigade extinguished that fire, when it was burnt out, with water at the edges etc. We patrolled regularly for three days to make sure there were no further flare-ups, and could never see any. Some logs were still smouldering, these can take weeks to go out. But all looked fine.

...and on the fourth morning I was patrolling. No flare-ups on our side. Everything quiet. Across 8 metres of double firebreak to the south neighbour, I could see that the bush around his farm dam was alight. I rang him in confusion: Was he doing a controlled burn? (Fires are usually not left unattended.) He said no, and we called in the fire truck again. We spent the rest of the morning putting this particular fire out as a brigade. It must have come somehow from our side but I was scratching my head and it gave me the willies. Brett and Noel said to me, "All it takes is a couple of embers in the wrong spot. It can happen long after the flames are out."

I tell you what worries me even more than these "ghostly" fires: When nobody bothers to do (smaller-scale, indigenous-style) fuel reduction burns and large areas (not just our 10 hectares, that's peanuts - thousands of hectares) end up long unburnt like that valley floor of ours. Then something terrible happens on a summer's day and it's an inferno that burns wildlife, houses and people in monster flames. Tim Flannery, an eminent Australian ecologist, thinks one of the main reasons for Australia's current species extinctions is that indigenous people were taken off the land and their fire management practices with them, which had prevented most large-scale bushfires, and helped create fresh food and a healthy ecosystem for many of the native animals the Aboriginal Australians hunted to survive.

It just so happens that here's an article I saw today about a family who had to completely rebuild after the 2013 Dunalley fires in Tasmania. This picture of the grandmother sheltering from the fire with her grandchildren made headlines around the world back then:



The rest of the article is here and well worth reading, it's informative and also a great story of resilience:



ETA: @egrogan, that donkey nanny story made our day! :love:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,520 ·
I've used a couple of brands but Hanes Men's Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt UPF 50+ are a good match, performance and cost wise, for me. Of course, we often have humidity below 15%!

I agree about controlled burns. We were taught to do them when I took classes in Natural Resource Management in the late 70s but too many places have stopped because of legal concerns. We made a small fire a week ago to burn up some prickly pear we had cut down much earlier. That evening, I went to the "out" fire and started pouring water on it...and steam! LOTS OF STEAM! It was a 3 foot diameter burn spot but it took me 30 minutes of running water and shovel work to get it all out. Makes me worry about underground fires, but happily no coal around here to fuel them:

"Mount Wingen in New South Wales, Australia is commonly known as Burning Mountain, partly for the red regolith that colors its summit, but primarily because an actual fire smolders one hundred feet below its surface, and has done so for at least 6,000 years! This is the oldest-known natural coal fire."

Fire burning underground in Utah can’t be extinguished
 
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