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Perspectives

December 2010

Unique perspectives by the following Glenwood Gazette contributors:

Larry Lightner | Dexter Oliver | Jesse Hardin | Judy O’Loughlin | Luis Perez

Out There
Larry Lightner


 

A Civil War
by Larry Lightner

For all practical purposes, there seems to be a civil war brewing here in New Mexico; no, it's not between the citizen and the state government, I'm speaking of one between the landowner and the hunter.

Once allies, there has become a growing schism over just who owns the rights to New Mexico's wildlife and who should be able to utilize that wildlife.

And I for one, don't see an easy solution. Note, I said "easy", but more on that later. To be truthful I see that both sides have legitimate claims.

At the apex of this battle is the issue over who has the most rights to antelope permits. According to current law, 78 % of the permits must go to residents, but landowners are residents too, and they can get more than one permit to sell if they choose.

A petition signed by over 6,000 resident hunters and some outfitters, and led by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, wants the 78% of the permits to once again go to individual hunters; right now the percentage breaks down to less than 28%; a truly low number indeed.

On the other side are the landowners who rightfully state that they provide the resources for healthy herds of game and also provide upkeep of such at their own expense. They argue that this additional income from the sale of permits to willing buyers is badly needed to supplement family incomes, especially in these hard times.

Some landowners receive upwards of $35,000 for their sale of such permits who can go to both residents and non-residents; a very tidy sum indeed.
This latter group has threatened to shut down their lands entirely to hunting if they don't get their traditional share of the pie.

The NM Game & Fish Commission is caught in the middle; they are supposed to represent all parties equitably, who are involved with wildlife, but the rope they try to walk is very narrow indeed!

Concerning the care of our wildlife and the rules that govern such, we are a very economically-poor state; the game department needs the revenue that comes from the non-resident applications and license sales. Without that income they would have to delve into the general fund to operate, and if they do that, then the general public becomes involved in the hunting and fishing decisions.

On the other hand, the individual hunter is losing out big time; some I've known have put in for their entire lives and never drawn a permit to hunt antelope. Personally, I have been applying for 15 years and I've only drawn once.

Back when I worked for a living I could occasionally afford to buy a landowner permit, but the cost of such was quite affordable back then. Now that I'm retired I cannot afford that luxury, as most average hunters cannot either, especially since the average price for a permit goes for anywhere from $1500 to $3500 and some even higher!

Some would argue that I/we should just go to Wyoming where the herds are vast, the license cost is low, and the seasons are long ( compared to our abysmal 2 day season).
That is all true, but till I add in the trip expenses, I/we can't afford to go there either!

So there is the dilemma that's fueling our civil war; the game department and most landowners need the revenue, while the hunter needs the opportunity to hunt game once in a while without paying an arm and a leg.

I do see a solution but it won't be easy; both sides need to COMPROMISE. Since we basically have two sides, then the pie should be split equally- fifty-fifty. Along with that, I put the outfitter/guide into the 50% on the landowner's side, since most of their clientele are non-residents; they too must compromise.

This would leave individual resident hunters to receive the other 50% and thus almost double what they get now. If that still doesn't work then I suggest that they go to an every-other-year draw for all big game permits. Told you it wouldn't be easy.

The outdoorsmen and the landowner already have common enemies in the radical environmentalist, the urbanite and the politician; it's high time to become allies once again.

There is always something to see and do out there; just get out and do it. Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may the Forever God bless you too.


DEXTER OLIVER


Here We Go Again
by Dexter Oliver

Wildlife Consultant & Writer
Duncan,Arizona

The British statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, is credited with saying, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” He was correct and it seems to be our country’s innate fate if one judges by politicians elected, wars fought, and economic roller coasters encountered. Or if one judges by the continuing lack of science, common sense, and rational behavior by those entrusted with keeping any integrity at all in the Endangered Species Act.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in conjunction with their usual cohorts such as the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGF), is once again stepping up to the plate to waste a sizeable chunk of your taxpayer dollars on an endangered species of wildlife at the farthest northern reaches of its range. They propose to spend ten million dollars a year for the next six years (although they claim their work won’t really be done until 2030 or 2040 but make no mention of the millions “needed” for that). The object of this latest program is the ocelot, a small mostly tropical spotted cat that easily passes the test of being a sexy, emotion-drawing poster child for the public.

Ocelots have been documented from the AZ/Mexico border area down to Argentina so the center of their range is somewhere around Bogotá, Columbia. There has been a breeding population historically in southeast Texas, and federal FWS refuges to protect them have been in existence for decades. Arizona has had a small scattering of verifiable evidence of what are probably wandering loners. These include a fossil skull, a couple of specimens trapped in the 1920-1930’s, one shot in 1964, and then this year a road-killed ocelot near Superior and a trail camera photo of one supposedly taken in Cochise County.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s ocelot pelts were a valued commodity on the world market but endangered species status and the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species put an end to that trade by 1980. The small cats are considered exotic pets although they get rambunctious as they age. My family was offered one in the mid-1960s but it had already proved its propensity for doing damage around a house so we declined. People do still attempt to domesticate them and certain ocelot “sightings” have probably been of released individuals that had become unmanageable. They probably don’t survive long in the wild.

Sightings, of course, have no business being used to try and replace documentable evidence of wildlife occurrence. A quick glance of a moving animal in the field is not the same as a bird in the hand or a photograph of one. Even these can be suspect though and a healthy skepticism goes a long way in keeping things truthful. Unfortunately that appears to be completely lacking in the wildlife field today. Not too long ago I was sent a photo of a gray fox taken in the U.S. and was told by someone who is considered a wildlife “expert” (no such thing) that it was a jaguarundi. That’s the same as not being able to tell a cat from a dog. Makes me shake my head.

The FWS has its Draft Ocelot Recovery Plan out for public comment and this can easily be found on the internet. Despite the refuges in Texas and protected status in both that state and Arizona, the feds and their cohorts want to set up “management units” of land on both sides of the Mexican border to somehow make better habitat and increase ocelot populations. The latter will be done from a breeding program initially comprised of ten pairs of Brazilian ocelots so there will be plenty of individuals from zoo environments to dump on the ground.

If any of this sounds like the failed projects the FWS has been involved with in the past forty years in the Southwest, it should. Masked bobwhite quail on the Buenos Aires Refuge cost taxpayers many millions over three decades with absolutely no positive results other than the public learning how the agency was willing and able to feed it mistruths with a straight face. Thick-billed parrots luckily didn’t cost anything horrendous as they were mostly individuals confiscated from wildlife smugglers and that project was halted after seven years. Then there’s the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction, this year called “a muddled mess” by Terry Johnson, the AZGF lead in the project. Add in dead reintroduced California condors and black-footed ferrets, maybe include the last known jaguar in Arizona which was killed at agency instruction and one has to wonder if we really want these people to continue unabated. They don’t have a good track record with
 these programs. Luckily, most of the information about all this is available to the public although the agencies would prefer that it were not.

Now some folks might claim the sixty million dollars would be good for the economy although it has absolutely no chance of helping the ocelot population as a whole. The problem is that the funds will NOT go to creating a lot of new jobs but rather to pay deadwood personnel in already existing positions as a way of justifying their presence. Non-paid volunteers will be enlisted to do most of the grunt work, just as has been done with every other reintroduction project, current or already abandoned.

The AZGF already has land mapped out for what they would consider good ocelot and jaguar “reintroduction” areas and these ideas have been in the works for a while now. A swath of land from the border with Mexico north along the San Pedro River past Globe/Miami will be for ocelots. All land south of Interstate 10 from the New Mexico border to the eastern boundary of the Tohono O’odham will be for jaguars and incidental ocelots. And they are already implementing new restrictions on previously accepted human activity in these areas. Those restrictions will soar if these wildlife agencies, driven by entities such as the Center for Biological Diversity have their way. Why give these people more power, especially under the mysterious cloak of helping an animal that prefers living in Central and South America?

Ironically, since a U.S. citizen was killed by an escaped jaguar in Belize this October and that is still fresh in people’s minds, we haven’t heard any renewed demands for dumping a bunch of the big cats out along our borderlands. But that’s on the hidden agenda. These programs benefit a small group of litigious people who laugh all the way to the bank; they chip away at the average private citizens’ rights; and they kill a lot of the animals they propose to save. Hard to find any redeeming factors in any of that.

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Dexter Oliver has done wildlife work for the American Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Zoo, the Catskill Game Farm, the Caribbean Conservation Corps, the University of AZ, the San Carlos Apache Recreation and Wildlife Department, Homeland Security, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the federal Wildlife Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the AZ Game and Fish Department, and private biological consultants. He lives in Duncan.


Jesse Hardin

A Catron County Christmas Wish-List

by Jesse Hardin

It touches our hearts to hear about the millions of letters mailed to Santa, addressed in total faith to a supposedly enchanted North Pole... especially when they’re from kids asking for presents more precious than money can buy. Things like: being fully understood, and accepted for who they really are. An end to Grandma’s constant worrying. Or “Peace on Earth,” if you can imagine that! And then there are the tear-jerkers, like “Dear Santa, please bring me a baby brother!” “Mr. Claus, please make people love me.” Or “Please, if you can, send Mommy back from Heaven again.”

And what if our entreaties to the Pole were still just as welcome there, even after we’ve grown up? Big folk have needs too. As we grow into our teen years and beyond, our toys become more expensive and harder to attain, and our wishes seem increasingly less likely to come true. So what might be the requests, from the adult residents of the still rural West?

A gift certificate at the local gas station, to help us keep the tank full in the family 4x4. A fighting-cock to keep the coyotes from the hens, and new galvanized posts for the cattle-sorting pens. Ammo (any caliber at all.... we can always buy a gun that will shoot it later), and Co2 packed foods for the coming collapse. More real country music on the so-called “real country music” station. A short-wave radio for the news you can’t get anywhere else. A little girl might pray for a well behaved mare, as she packs up some smoked salmon to show some relative back east how much she cares. Mama wants a rare night out, Dad would like a little relief from the gout. Waterproof boots, newly made... and a well-used, vintage skinning blade.

And what if we could ask Ol’ Saint Nick the seemingly impossible, not just a year’s supply of sticker-free hay, but dreams that last and love that stays! In that case we might request he send us a whole lot more options and a lot less government intervention. The return of deer clad mountains and burgeoning fish populations. A water table that not even the fastest growing cities could drain. Uncorrupted leaders and an informed electorate. The return of our original constitutional liberties and rights, and neighbors willing to stand up and fight. A way to create income opportunities that won’t mangle the beauty and integrity of one’s home place, screwing with the quality of our lives, countrified ways and relaxed pace. Fewer health problems and a health care system that works. A purpose in life, a chance to make a difference or at least to be heard. And perhaps forgiveness or understanding for a wildly errant past, or else more time to spend with the kids because they’re growing up so gosh-darn fast.

And what we want most Santa, old pard – at any price – is simply another year right here, in our idea of paradise. Tie a bow on the living, giving land stretching as far as the eye can see. Dress with red ribbons this opportunity... to be all that we can be.

Jesse Hardin has been a resident of Catron County for 32 years now. His full color book Old Guns and Whispering Ghosts tells the story of not just historic western firearms but also some of the history of this special region. A copy signed to a loved one by him can make a fine holiday gift, please go to: www.OldGunsBook.com

 

 


Judy O'Loughlin

Family Matters

by Judy O'Loughlin

 

Is it a Yam or a Sweet Potato??

I Yam, What I yam! Both the tan “sweet potato” with creamy yellow interior and the copper-skinned, deep-orange fleshed vegetable sold as a “yams” are botanically speaking, sweet potatoes. The true yam, commonly grown and eaten in Africa, can grow up to 100 pounds as is rarely available in American supermarkets. In some organic markets one may find more exotic deep reds and purples each belonging in the Convolvulaceae (morning glory) family.

Nutritionally, sweet potatoes greatly outweigh yams. Because of the common use of the term “yam”, it is acceptable to use this term when referring to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain an enzyme that converts most of its starches into sugars as the potato matures. This sweetness continues to increase during storage and cooking.

The edible part of the sweet potato is a swollen storage root. It contrasts with the Irish potato, which produces a fleshy underground stem known as a tuber. The color of both the skin and flesh of sweet potato roots range from white to orange, to red, or purple depending on the cultivar.

To add to the confusion over Yam or Sweet potatoes, Sweet potatoes are divided into two types: “dry-fleshed” or “moist-fleshed”. This refers to the mouth feel, not the actual moisture present in the root. The description would be more accurate if described as soft versus firm. “Moist-fleshed” types tend to convert more of their starch to sugars and starch during cooking, becoming softer and sweeter than the “dry-fleshed” yellow types. The “moist-fleshed” orange types are often called “yams”. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the label “yam” always be accompanied by “sweet potato”. Yellow and dark orange sweet potatoes can be used interchangeably in recipes, but try not to mix the two types in a single dish, because their different textures and cooking times may affect the outcome of the recipe. The yellow variety takes longer to cook than the orange and will be done at the upper range of cooking times.

The average American eats about four pounds of sweet potatoes a year, down from an average of 30 pounds in 1920. Given the nutritional density of the affordable, easy-to-prepare sweet potato, our ancestors had the right idea. Sweet potatoes are more than just a Thanksgiving candied dish!

At only 180 calories per one cup of cooked sweet potato, and on average around $1 per raw pound, sweet potatoes are gentle on the scales and the pocketbook. If you’re looking to add satiety & fiber to your meals, sweet potatoes serve up 7 grams in that same one cup, compared to white potatoes averaging just 2 grams per cup and oatmeal only provides 3 grams of fiber per cup!

One serving of sweet potatoes is a better choice than white starches such as rice, pasta or bread which can cause more swings in blood sugar. They also pack a load of potassium (950 mg/cup). Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. Sweet potatoes contain 65% of the daily value of Vitamin C in a one cup serving. This is crucial as an antioxidant, as well as boosting collagen, a protein that keeps skin and nails strong and resilient.

The same cup of sweet potatoes contains one third of the daily value of vitamin B6 which aids amino acid and lipid metabolism as well as formation of many neurotransmitters, including serotonin for mood regulation. Other important nutrients in that cup of cooked sweet potatoes are beta-carotene, (769% of the daily value) which is key for vision and immune system boosts. Vitamin A consumed in food sources as beta-carotene avoids the risk of toxicity (although it can start to give your skin an orange tint if consumed in very high amounts).

The sweet potato storage root is not the only source of amazing benefit. The leaves of the plant itself, which can be used like spinach in cooking, are one of the richest sources of dietary lutein. Tufts University researchers have established a link between dietary lutein and deposition in the macula of the eye, with lutein helping to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Researchers are also looking to sweet potatoes as a source of anthocyanin, a type of phytochemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red or blue color. The act in nature as “sun-screen” for plants, protecting against the damaging effects of UV light, and also attract pollinators like birds or insects. When consumed, they have potent antioxidant properties. Still in the early stages, anthocyanins are being studied for their protective effects against diseases ranging from diabetes to neurological degeneration to various cancers. Sweet potatoes, especially those with purplish color, contain high levels of anthocyanins. They may be a more practical source of phytochemicals than perhaps blueberries, or cherries. Sweet potatoes are cheaper and can be consumed in higher amounts and on a more regular basis.

One of the best attributes of the sweet potato is that it is basically “fat-free”….until we add all that butter, or sugar syrup…try instead a little olive oil, complimentary spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

When buying sweet potatoes, select sound, firm roots. Handle them carefully to prevent bruising. Store them in a dry, unrefrigerated bin best kept at 55-60 degrees F. DO NOT REFRIGERATE, because temperatures below 55 degrees F. will chill this tropical vegetable giving it a hard core and an undesirable taste when cooked. Once cooked, they may be frozen! Before cooking, scrub skin and trim off any bruised or woody portions. It is not necessary to peel before cooking as most of the best nutrients are just underneath the peel and they actually peel better when cooked; bake or boil until slightly soft. The microwave is a great way to prepare a sweet potato for one or two people; just don’t forget to pierce each in two or three places before microwaving. If you boil, drain immediately. Thoroughly cool the baked or boiled sweet potatoes. Wrap individually (skins left on for protection) in freezer film or foil in plastic freezer bags; seal, label and freeze.

 

 Baked Sweet Potatoes with Apple Cider & Pecan Topping

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Scrub 2 small 8 – 10 oz sweet potatoes. Pat dry. Pierce in several places with a fork. Place a piece of aluminum foil on oven rack. Set sweet potatoes on the foil, to collect any sticky drippings. Bake until tender, 50 – 60 minutes. While sweet potatoes are baking, spread 2 Tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts in single layer in an 8 x 8 inch baking pan; toast in oven (add to the same 400 degree oven the sweet potatoes are baking in) until golden brown, shaking pan half-way through cooking until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Place 1 ½ cups apple cider in a small (8-inch) skillet. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to ¼ cup, about 15 – 20 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons butter, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt into reduced apple cider mixture. When sweet potatoes are ready, cut in half lengthwise. Score the cut side with a paring knife. Spoon about 1 Tablespoon apple cider mixture over each sweet potato half and sprinkle with ½ Tablespoon toasted nuts.

Yield: 4 servings.
Per Serving:
Calories: 208.
Total fat: 4 g.
Saturated fat: 1 g. br> Cholesterol: 5 mg. Sodium: 174 mg.
Carbohydrates: 40g.
Fiber: 5 g.
Protein: 3g.

Note: If using 1 large, 16-oz sweet potato, increase baking time slightly and cut into quarters before serving.) Potatoes may also be baked in the microwave oven, piece 3-4 times on each potato, place in a ring on the floor of the oven and bake according to size. (about ¼ of the time of the regular oven!)

Sources: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, Vol 28, Number 7; Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service; www.cdc.gov fruits and veggies matter; tamu.edu.

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity employer. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

 

Luis Perez

Indian Storytellers Recall Snow Maiden

by Luis Perez

The snow lies deep on the banks of Snow Maiden Creek. The hillsides near flowing waters are rounded forms, broken here and there by the clumps of pinon trees. The wind sweeps little clouds of snow along the banks of the creek and sometimes there are snow whirlwinds that rise briefly and then fall back to earth.

Here and there on the flatter field that are near the banks of the stream, there are still signs of ancient fire pits marking the old Indian camps that existed before the Spanish expeditions of the 1700's.

Later, when the Spanish soldiers endured a cold wind and snowy winter in the Burras mountains, they spent a late December day at the base of one of the peaks which they named Noche Buena Peak. The name commemorates the Christmas Eve that those Spanish soldiers spent near here. They built luminarias of logs to provide warmth during the bitter cold and in their conversations they remembered their far-off homeland and the celebrations of the Christmas season in Spain.

Two or three of their Indian guides listened to their stories and told them they were very near a place called Snow Maiden, zas n'illin, Springs. They told about this holy ground that had long been a camping place because of the mid-winter appearance of a beautiful snow maiden seen only on a certain winter night and how she had inspired rever- ence in the Indians by pointing to a bright star that mysteriously appeared for a few nights over the camp.

"Yes," said Nolitzeen, the old Indian guide, "our people spent happy days there because the springs provided for the people. There was plentiful grass there in the seasons and much game in the place." "Maize was planted near the banks of the stream and down by the river," he added.

A day later, the Spanish soldier arrived at the springs and found that\ it was, indeed, a beautiful place to rest. There was plenty of wood for fires and as evening came, the soldiers made beds of boughs around some ancient fire pits.

The night came and all was very still. Overhead, the stars shone brightly. Then, in the darkness, a soft illumination appeared at the bank of the nearby stream. Some of the soldiers and the Indian guides watch- ed the vaporous form as it came near. It became a beautiful Indian maiden clad in white deerskin clothes that were wonderously decorated with little prisms, and had beautifully fringed sleeves and skirt hem. Around her beautiful face, framed by long lustrous tresses, little lights sparkled and faded.

The maiden paused and pointed overhead, A bright star had ap- peared and a heavenly chorus sang celestial praises. The star's beams seemed to shine on a distant place in the far west. Then the maiden vanished and left only a soft swirl of snowflakes in the air.

The soldiers had been paralyzed with fear. Then they fell on their knees in worship. They knew they had seen an angel, a messenger of God. It was Christmas Eve. The prophecies had come to pass. The Messiah had been born!

Today, the Santa Lucia Springs are called Mangas Springs. But among the old storytellers of certain Indian tribes, the name Snow Maiden Springs is till remembered

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This story first appeared in the Silver City Daily Press of 12/24/01
Note: Luis Perez has written many articles on southwestern and northern Mexico subjects. All rights reserved by author. For comments: ljperez@q.com

         
 

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