26 Jun 2008, 9:20am
Politics and politicians
by admin

Mothball the Rolling Stock

guest post by bear bait.

Wander around the Great Basin enough, and you know if you see a bunch of magpies something is dead below them. Tattle tales. See a bunch of birds in the air and on the water off Newport, and you know that salmon or some other predator have driven some bait to the surface.

Tattle tales.

So for the second time this week that I have seen, a whole train of empty longitudinal bulkhead railcars, “A” frames, has gone north by my house. I see very few of them going south with lumber. Just Weyerhaeuser Dallas and Hampton Willamina wood. And the two of them don’t use that many cars a month, let alone a week or day. Those cars are going to some track, somewhere, to be stored. My guess would be the eastern end of the flood destroyed RR to Tillamook. Maybe Hampton has a reload they are hauling to from Tillamook. But the wood is not going south on this road. Maybe to Portland and east, since the UP and the SP are now one and the same, the larger UP…

Jack and I have seen for better than a year, those A frames get stored by Drummond in Montana. If I remember right, using the Excessive’s speedometer and some dead reckoning, I figured that there was close to 6 miles of A frames stored on the empty track around Drummond on the old line that once went to Helena and the one that went south towards P-Burg.

The mothballed cars are a symptom of just how bad the lumber deal has gotten in the West. Every railcar needs its 60 to 80 feet of track, somewhere. Behind a locomotive team headed toward the market or mill those feet of track can be shared over time with other cars. In storage, though, nobody wins. Except that they will make clean scrap, and that’s close to $300 at ton…

On the scrap note, the Stettler linear mechanic said he has replaced, so far this spring, over $150,000 worth of copper wire stolen and stripped from linear and pivot irrigation systems. He dreads getting up in the morning because he knows he is going to get another call. He has figured out an alarm system, and is now installing them. I asked if there was a way to… and he said no… he can’t… there is a way but a coroner’s investigation would surely find the trap.

I cost accounted all my fertilizer into the predicted yield, and it comes out to about 3 cents a pound. That is not a place to pinch pennies at this time. We have a $1.25 floor price. It is 2 1/2 percent of the gross yield in cost. And I am including the new tank and pumps in all that. If I get 3% more fruit injecting instead of slopping it on dry, I will get out of a trip across the fields, and put the $2500 worth of fertilizer against the liquid used for injection… close to a push, in many ways. And a whole lot easier on the watershed and the plants, the wildlife, you name it.

I watched the whole CWS game last night. A good game for west coasters. A great game by the pitcher for Fresno State. Big ole chubby kid with a real easy delivery. And he threw strikes. Gave up one run, a homer, to the kid who set the season record for homers with the one last night. In a losing cause, though. Fresno State beat Georgia 6-1, and the 89th ranked team wins it all. Once again a West Coast team. Gotta take my hat off to those kids. Their hitter has a hanging thumb… no ligament… has to have a surgeon take a ligament out of his arm to rebuild it this summer. He went 4 for 4 at the plate. Drove in all 6 runs. Two home runs, a double and a single. Just a great effort. College baseball is more fun than the pros…

A cloudy, cool morning. And a heat wave coming, allegedly. Hope no fires. All the firefighters are in California. A thousand fires at one time does that to resources. Of course, all the answers are in the Natl Geographic July issue. It is all about too much fuel because fires have been fought. One little word about logging. It is all about WFU. Let It Burn. We are spending more to fight the fire than the land is worth. Of course, while I write this, a WFU in the Sierras called the Clover fire is now threatening homes… hmm. I thought the fire was supposed to stay in the wilderness and do Mother Nature’s good work. Silly me. The national intent, as it now stands, is to burn it all
instead of log any. Vunderbar!!!!

So we don’t drill for oil while Brazil goes out in the Atlantic and finds an estimated 90 billion barrels. Illegal to drill here in the US on either coast, especially where the Cubans and Russians are directional drilling into our seabed. Nothing new in Alaska, although that is where the oil is known to be in known amounts and most likely more to be discovered. No use of oil shale. That’s illegal, too. And Newt says speculation can be dealth with quite easily: dump the US reserves into the market all at once, and the longs positions get hammered, their money lost on the margin calls, and then take out the shorts as the market dumps. That would end the speculation. This oil deal is nothing more or nothing less than the same deal that Enron was doing with California electricity, except this is an offshore deal that only a government can take down by overloading the supply.

Time to go see what has broken since last night. ta ta, bear bait.



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