Bits and Pieces: England’s Fox Hunters, Stock-Up on Canning Supplies, and Water Demands in the West

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PHOTO: FOTOLIA/LARISAP
Short reports on homestead news.

MERRIE OLDE ENGLAND AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO
BE
and the gluttonous spread of “civilization” is
putting a definite damper on the traditional “country
squire” way of life. Fox hunters, for example, have had a
dastardly time keeping their traditional prey out of
freeways, residential areas, shopping centers, and
crop-planted agribiz land. As a result, a pack of fifty
baying foxhounds and a whole slew of galloping,
tally-ho-ing riders recently chased Andrew Baird — a
company executive executive turned modern-day substitute
“fox” — through the dwindling fields and forests near
London for a full three and a half hours. Has it really
come to this?

OUR ECONOMIC CAN OF WORMS IS A BOON TO SOME
BUSINESSES
… one of which is Ivan Rayworth Jr.’s
Worm .. Ranch in Torrance, California. Rayworth maintains a
breeding stock of no less than 24,300,000 of the squiggly
creatures, and says his sales are getting better as the
economy gets worse. Why? Because there are plenty of
unemployed folks with enough time to go fishing these days
… and lots more people are gardening — and using
worms to improve their soil — than ever before. Hmmm … could there be a market for the little rascals in your
area?

NEARLY NINE MILLION ACRES OF UNFARMED LAND
was indiscriminately plowed up last year by American
agribusiness … all, apparently, in the name of
“relieving” the world food shortage. The Soil Conservation
Service of the United States Department of Agriculture
estimates that less than half of the newly tilled acreage
is being farmed with adequate erosion controls, and
that — as a result — 60 million tons of topsoil
were irreversibly lost from virgin land in 1974.

“THOSE BLASTED WATER HYACINTHS” that
plague Southern States by clogging boatways and snagging
fishermen’s favorite lures may prove to be one of the most
efficient water pollutant filters known. Studies show that
two and one-half acres of the rapid-growth plants can
remove considerable amounts of cadmium, nickel, carbolic
acid, nitrogen, and phosphate at relatively fast rate …
and when harvested, can be processed to produce 2.5 million
cubic feet of usable bio-gas.

THE DIXIE SEAFOOD INDUSTRY IS SINKING FAST
according to a recent article in The National
Fisherman.
Skyrocketing fuel costs — and inflation
in general — have put such a pinch on profits that
employers are unable to raise wages in line with the cost
of living. As a result, hundreds of workers are quitting
their jobs and signing up for a higher-paying occupation:
welfare

DEMANDS FOR WATER IN THE WEST are getting
out of hand as all kinds of energy-development schemes for
the area — coal liquefaction, nuclear power plants,
shale oil extraction, hydroelectric production, and a bevy
of other “solutions” to the energy crisis — are
“running dry” for lack of the quantities of H20 required
to pull them off. As a result, private corporations,
agribusiness concerns, and the Western States themselves
are madly scrambling for water rights, devising intricate
plots for diverting rivers from one area to another, and
talking of “modifying” the weather to bring more
precipitation.

CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION? It’s a landmark
year, folks: 1975 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of
this country’s credit card industry. Yep. Way back in 1950,
Diner’s Club — the original plastic pass to instant
consumption — signed up its first 200 members. Today, more
than 65 million credit cards are in use. Should we sing
happy birthday, or have a moment of silence?

BUY THOSE CANNING SUPPLIES NOW, FOLKS
from all indications, manufacturers of jars, caps, and
lids won’t be ate . to keep up with demand again this
summer. Sales in the industry have doubled, tripled, and
even quadrupled over the past four years … but
raw materials shortages — coupled with rising costs and
an uncertain economy — have apparently hampered efforts
efforts to keep productivity in line with the skyrocketing
demand.

UNDERSEA STORAGE OF SURPLUS GRAIN AND FISH
could make a significant dent in the world food shortage,
according study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. The report suggests that fish — which
keep well in the presence of high pressure and low
temperature — could be stored underwater in areas close
to where they’re caught, and that wheat and barley and the
like could be submerged in shallow lakes for protection. At
present, rodent and bird damage causes a 30 to 50% loss of
the total United States grain harvest … and over half of
all caught fish are of marginal quality by the time they
reach shore.

A GIANT LEAP FOR … LITTER? Evel
Knievel’ Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump and the mobs of
people that attended the one-day event left nearly 100,000
aluminum pop-top cans behind.

EVEN IF YOU CAN’T BREATHE THE AIR in a few
more years, you’ll be able to remove your gas masks, peer
through the smog, and see Alden M. Townsend’s
pollution-resistant red maples swaying merrily in the
thermally disturbed breeze. Townsend — a botanical
geneticist for the ARS Shade Tree and Ornamental Plant
Laboratory — has apparently accepted grimy air as a
foregone conclusion, and is now busily working to develop a
breed of trees that can survive in such an atmosphere.
Let’s see: You put the cart in front, and then the horse … and …

THE 1975 MOUNT WASHINGTON ALTERNATIVE VEHICLE
REGATTA
begins at noon on Sunday, June 15 and
concludes Friday evening, June 20th. The event — as
much a get-together as a contest — is centered around
performance evaluations (not speed) of alternative vehicles
climbing and descending the famed Mt. Washington Auto Road
in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. If you’d
like to enter your non-polluting, motor-driven vehicle,
write Mt. Washington Trophy, Connecticut.

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