Category: Technology

The Pelton Wheel…Tanya Hanson

MarryingMinda Crop to Use

With Pelton being a family name, I’m always intrigued to see the giant “Pelton Wheel” on display at California Adventure/Disneyland whenever I go.USE

I thought it might be an intriguing subject for a post here, but the whole engineering mechanism has defeated my feeble brain. So here’s a link if you absolutely need more explanation on how the wheel works. http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Pelton_wheel.html

But the history behind it…that I can do. Inventor Lester Allan (Allen?) Pelton, (1829-1908) significantly changed hydro-power in the Old West by inventing the Pelton Water Wheel in the late 1870’s. His mechanism proved to be the most efficient design of the “impulse water turbine” so critical to mining.

Lester was born on September 5, 1829, in rural Ohio to a local pioneer family. His grandfather, a sea captain, had lost most of the family’s fortune in the War of 1812. After family-farming it for a while, Lester and a bunch of pals hurried to California in 1850 for the Gold Rush. LesterAllanPelton

He never struck gold, but made it as a fisherman on the Sacramento River, then worked as a millwright and carpenter in the Mother Lode country, observing everything he could about mining technology.

He saw that steam-powered heat was required for most mining activities, but the process required tons of wood for fuel, thereby decimating nearby forests. “Turbine wheels” were starting to come into the picture, particularly from the Knight Foundry of Sutter Creek, California, but Lester noticed that most wheels did not efficiently convert to horse-power the kinetic energy of  water rushing in mountain streams.

Lester experimented upon the designs of existing wheels and came up with  the “Pelton Runner” (the term later came to be used just for the “double-cup” blades of the wheel) and installed his first operational wheel in 1878 at the Mayflower Mine in Nevada City.

In an intense competition in 1883 with wheels from the the industry favorite Knight Foundry,  the Pelton Wheel was declared to perform with 90% efficiency in converting stream-flow kinetic energy to horsepower; the nearest competitor at 77%. (Most existing water wheels at that time rated less than 40%) In 1888, Lester Pelton founded a company in San Francisco to satisfy the growing need for hydro-electric power in the West.

He died on March 14, 1908, and his designs are still used today around the world.  In 2006, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

For more info:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pelton_wheel_(patent).png

How about you? Any inventors in your circle of friends and kinfolk?

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A beautiful city slicker and a rugged cowboy…The perfect Wild West adventure.

Cowboy Kenn Martin bears the guilt for allowing a coach to ruin his younger brother’s bright athletic future. Feeling unworthy of any happiness, he’s lost his faith in relationships and in God. When he meets Christy Forrest, he begins to hope for redemption but soon learns his past mistakes aren’t something she’ll easily forgive.

On the Colorado wagon train adventure planned by her late father, landscape designer Christy Forrest seeks to find peace in the nature she loves. However, she can’t let go of her anger at the drunk driver who killed her dad—or the woman who did nothing to stop the man from driving.  Falling for Kenn Martin begins to lighten her heart…until she realizes the handsome cowboy carries heavy a burden all his own—a burden she’s not sure she can share.

 

Updated: July 5, 2016 — 2:22 pm

Go Fly A Kite!

Photo WG2 smallHi, Winnie Griggs here. According to my ‘National Day Of…” calendar, yesterday was National Kite Flying Day (wonder why this falls in February rather than March?). And, since I was already looking into kites for a book I’m working on, I thought the timing was great for me to share a little of what I found out.

KITE HISTORY
Exact dates are not available but the first written account found of kite flying occurred around 200 B.C. And it’s safe to say they were actually around much earlier. But would it surprise you to know that the first kites were not originally created for recreational purposes? Though most scholars believe kites originated in China there is some evidence that suggest that it might have actually originated in the South Pacific Island region—these were used as a fishing implements. The Chinese, on the other hand, developed theirs for military purposes.

In the 7th century Buddhist monks introduced kites to Japan. They were originally used there to ward off evil spirits and insure abundant harvests. But kite flying soon became popular there for recreational pleasure.

At the end of the 13th century, Marco Polo brought stories of kites to Europe. And in the 16th and 17th centuries, sailors brought kites back to Europe from a number of Asian countries. At first Europeans considered kites little more than curiosities. Then in the 18th and 19th century scientists began using them as vehicles for research – probably the most well known of these experimenters was Benjamin Franklin. But there were many others – Alexander Wilson, Sir George Caley, Lawrence Hargrave Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers among them.

As flight became more commonplace, using kites for military or scientific purposes faded from popularity and recreational and competitive enthusiasts took over. Over the years, larger and more powerful kites were designed and several out-of-the-box uses were developed, such as pulling sleds and buggies over not only land but water and ice as well.

boy and kite

 

Now for some FUN FACTS

  • The smallest kite in the world that will actually fly is 5mm high (for those of us not up on the metric system, that’s approx .2 inches)
  • The longest kite in the world to fly is 1,034 meters (or 3,394 feet)
  • The greatest quantity of kites to fly on one line is 11,284
  • The record for how long a kite stayed up in one flight is 180 hours
  • The fastest recorded speed of a kite is over 120 mph
  • When building the suspension bridge over the turbulent Niagra River in 1848, the problem of establishing the first line across it was solved by a young boy who flew a kite across the chasm.
  • Kite flying is one of the fastest growing sports in the world
  • There is at least one Kite Festival every weekend year round in some part of the world.
  • Over 50 million kites are sold in the US annually
  • Kites are flown by more adults than children

So now it’s your turn.  Did any of these tidbits surprise you?  Have you ever flown a kite?  Do you have any special memories or fun stories involving kites?

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Updated: February 6, 2015 — 2:52 am

Notes on another ‘famous’ Winnie Mae

Photo WG2 smallHi, Winnie Griggs here.  Today I’m going to forgo my usual western historical themed post to share a historical tidbit of a different kind.

The other day I was researching something for an upcoming book when I came across a very brief reference to a plane named the Winnie Mae.  Now Winnie is not a very common name so when I see it it of course catches my eye.  But the fact that my middle name is also Mae made this doubly relatable to me.  So of course I immediately (if temporarily) abandoned my other research endeavor to go down this intriguing rabbit trail.  And here is some of what I found out about my namesake.

The Winnie Mae is a Vega six passenger monoplane built by the Lockheed company.  Vega aircraft were used by several record-breaking pilots, including Amelia Earhart and Wiley Post.  These planes were high-wing aircraft that were beautifully streamlined, unlike the more ‘draggy’ biplanes or planes with exposed wing struts.

In 1928 Florence Hall, a Chickasha, Oklahoma oilman, purchased one of these Vega aircraft so he could fly to important meetings that were some distance away.  Hall named the plane after his daughter, Winnie Mae.  When the market crashed a year later, Hall was forced to sell the plane back to Lockheed, and he requested they remove the name from it.  But one year later, 1930, Hall was ready to purchase another Vega, and he decided to name this new plane Winnie Mae once more.

Hall’s pilot was the one-eyed aviator Wiley Post.  Hall had a keen interest in finding ways to further aviation developments and so it was easy for him to agree to let Wiley prepare the Winnie Mae for the LA to Chicago race that was part of the 1930 National Air Races.  Several modifications were made to the plane and despite a delayed start, Wiley and the Winnie Mae won the race.  In an interesting side note, Art Goebel, who was flying what had been the first Winnie Mae, came in second.

Winnie Mae

In 1931, Post wanted to make a go at flying around the world.  Hall again allowed him to use the Winnie Mae.  Additional modifications and improvements were made to the plane and Post recruited navigation expert Harold Gatty to accompany him.  Post and Gatty’s route took them from New York, to Newfoundland, England, Germany, Russia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Cleveland and finally back to New York.  Their official flight time was 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes, a new world record.  Through it all, the Winnie Mae performed flawlessly, a testament to both Post’s preparedness and the Vega’s aerodynamic efficiency.

But Wiley Post had even greater ambitions.  He decided that, by taking advantage of new and emerging advances in flight and radio technology, he could make a solo around the world flight and maybe even beat the record time he and Gatty had set.  He purchased the Winnie Mae from Hall and took off  for this second round the world trip on July 15, 1933.  He followed basically the same route as he had the first time, but made fewer stops along the way.   Post and the Winnie Mae managed to break the previous record by an impressive 21 hours and in doing so, Wiley Post became the first man to fly around the world twice, and the first man to do it solo.

But Wiley Post and the Winnie Mae, were not through with setting records.  Looking to push further advances in round-the-world flight capabilities, Post looked for ways to achieve stratospheric flight.  Post created a number of aircraft innovations to achieve his dream, including a completely enclosed pressure suit to wear that would still allow him to manuever well enough to pilot the plane.  As of late 1954 Post unofficially reached an altitude of an estimated 50,000 feet, which allowed him to confirm the existence of the jet stream.

Post subsequently attempted four transcontinental flights through the stratosphere all of which were unsuccessful.  In 1935 the Winnie Mae was retired and sold to the Smithsonian Intuition for $25000.

So what about you?  Had you hear of the Winnie Mae before?   And are there other famous ‘namesakes’ of yourself you’ve run across?

Updated: July 14, 2014 — 12:41 am

The Franklin Institute

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In my latest novel, Full Steam Ahead, my hero, Darius Thornton is determined to discover the possible causes of steamboat boiler explosions by conducting various experiments. In his quest for greater scientific understanding and to keep abreast of the latest scientific discoveries in the area, he subscribes to the Journal of the Franklin Institute, an actual publication that is still in print today.

The Franklin Institute Today

The Franklin Institute Today

The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824 for the promotion of the mechanic arts and the exploration of science. It is housed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and yes, it was named for the great Benjamin Franklin. It maintained a museum, and in 1826, started publishing a scientific journal which focused on the field of engineering and mechanics.

Darius turned to this journal to read up on the latest scientific theories regarding boiler construction and safety protocols. However, this journal also contained accounts of many of the explosions themselves, steamboats destroyed by an exploding boiler.

In my research, I found some wonderful old scans of the Journal from back in the same period in which my story takes place. In fact, articles in these old journals inspired many of the ideas I had for ways in which Darius could run his own experiments.

In the January 1850 edition of the Journal, I ran across an article describing the explosion of the Louisiana, the very tragedy that Darius experienced firsthand. Here’s the opening paragraphs:

FullSteamAhead Cover FinalI love that the Franklin Institute is still alive and well today and that it is still centered on scientific education and investigation. Maybe someday I’ll get to see it in person. If they had old journals on display, I’d probably find myself looking for the article that Darius and Nicole submitted somewhere among their 1852 collection.

  • Do you have a museum close to your home that you enjoy visiting?
  • What scientific invention are you most grateful for?

The Umbrella – History and Fun Facts

Photo WG2 smallHi!  Winnie Griggs  here.

Today is National Umbrella Day (who knew, right?).  It even has its own FACEBOOK PAGE.  And in honor of this little-known holiday, I thought I do a little research on the device and share it with you.

 

The umbrella itself has been around for about four thousand years.  Evidence of its existance has been found in drawings found in Egypt, Greece, China and Assyria.  But these early umbrellas were created not to protect bearers from the rain but from the sun.  In fact, the word umbrella comes from the Latin ‘umbra’ meaning shade or shadow.  The word parasol – which is the type of umbrella that appears in my stories – comes from the Latin word ‘papare’ (to prepare) and ‘sol’ (sun).

It was the Chinese who eventually waterproofed the umbrellas to protect the holder from rain.  They did this by waxing and lacquering the paper used to craft them.

It was early in the sixteenth century before umbrellas became widely accepted in Europe.  And even then it was considered a ‘woman’s accessory’.  Then along came Jonas Hanway, writer, philanthropist and founder of the Magdalen Hospital.  Born in 1712, he spent his young adult years travelling widely in Russia and Persia.  When he returned to London for good, around 1750, he carried an umbrella with him regularly.  Though he was often mocked for its use, before long it became a trend to have an umbrella handy.  In fact, for a while, umbrellas were known as Hanways.

1786 – The first patent for the umbrella with the circular coned canopy shape was registered by John Beale

Between 1808 and 1851 over 103 patents were issued for improvements and inventions related to umbrellas

parasol

Parasols became a popular feminine accessory in the early nineteenth century among aristocratic English women.  Some of the more enterprising of these women had the handles fitted to carry perfume, writing materials or even a dagger.

1830 – The first dedicated umbrella shop, James Smith & Sons, opens its doors in London.  It is still open today, in the exact same location.

1852 – Samuel Fox invents the steel ribbed design.  Before this time whalebone was used predominantly.  He claimed to have implemented the use of steel as a way to use up excess stocks of steel stays intended for women’s corsets.

1928 – Hans Hupt’s pocket umbrella arrives

1930s – the ladies parasol finally fell from popular fashion

In the U.S., the annual market for umbrellas hovers at around $350 million

red umbrella

The word Bumbershoot, a synonym for umbrella, is an Americanism that came into use in the 1890s (I always thought this originated in England)

During the Napoleonic Wars, some British soldiers took umbrellas with them into battle.  Some Americans also took umbrellas with them into battle during the Indian Wars.
The study of umbrellas actually has its own name – brolliology

More replacement umbrella purchases are made due to lost than broken umbrellas.  In London alone nearly 75,000 umbrellas are forgotten on buses and subways each year.

The superstition about it being bad luck to open an umbrella indoors came from an ancient African belief.  The umbrellas at that time and placed were used a sunscreens.  They believed it was an insult to the sun god to open an umbrella in the shade and that doing so would bring his wrath down upon them.

So what do you think?  Did any of these facts surprise you?

Updated: February 10, 2014 — 1:04 am

Horse Power to Horsepower

 

“When a man opens a car door for his wife,

 it’s either a new car or a new wife.” 

                                                                                      Prince Phillip

Ah, the automobile. What would we do without it?  The car I most remember is a battered old ’61 white Valiant with a stick shift.  The clunker almost caused me to gave birth and file for a divorce on the same night.  That’s because my husband steadfastly refuses to drive over the speed limit.  No thanks to him, I missed giving birth in that auto by mere seconds.

 

 The reason I have cars on my mind this month is because  of my new book, Waiting for Morning, a historical romance set in Arizona Territory in 1896. The hero, Dr. Caleb Fairbanks introduces the Last Chance Ranch cowhands to his beloved gas-powered “horseless carriage,” Bertha. When Caleb and backfiring Bertha incite gunfire from former dance hall girl, Molly Hatfield, the handsome doctor barely escapes with his life.  Little does he know that his troubles have only just begun.

 

Today, cars are blamed for everything from global warming to funding terrorism through oil dependency.  It might surprise you to learn that it wasn’t that long ago that the old gray mare was held responsible for the social and economic ills of the world.

 

In 1908, it was estimated that New York City alone would save more than a million dollars a year by banning horses from its streets. That’s how much it cost back then to clean up the tons of manure clogging the roadways each year. 

 

 A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense. 

American Proverb

Horses were also blamed for traffic congestion, accidents, diseases and, of all things, noise pollution.  Hooves clattering on cobblestones were said to aggravate nervous systems.  Even Benjamin Franklin complained about the “thundering of coaches, chariots, chaises, waggons, drays and the whole fraternity of noise” that assailed the ears of Philadelphia residents.

  

The first automobiles to drive west were driven by insurance salesmen and land agents.  When an attorney in a small Texas town rose to leave during an important trial, he practically emptied the courtroom. Jurors,  witnesses and spectators all wanted to see his two-cylinder Maxwell.  An irate judge pounded his gavel and ordered the autorist to “Drive the contraption a mile out of town where there are no horses and permit everyone to look it over so the court can resume its regular business.”

 

As with all technology, outlaws were quick to see the advantage of automobiles. The auto allowed for a quick get-away and would keep going long after a horse gave out. This left local sheriffs at a disadvantage. 

 

Youths hopped on the auto band-wagon long before their elders and many ceased driving the family springboards entirely. Frontier lawmen suddenly found themselves issuing stern warnings, not to outlaws, but to racing youths.

 

Remember: When everything’s coming your way,

you’re in the wrong lane.

 

The automobile was supposed to make the world a safer, saner, quieter and healthier place.  That’s something to think about the next time you’re stuck in traffic.  But take heart: the safer, quieter, more economical Robot Car is here.

 

www.margaretbrownley.com 

To celebrate the publication of my book, my publisher is running a fun contest. To enter all you have to do is write a paragraph or two about the car that played a part in your life’s story and send to:

contests@nancyberland.com

That’s it!  The winner will receive a $100 gas card. 

 So what car played a part in your life story?

 

To order print or eBook click on cover

Better yet, order from your local bookstore.

An Ode to Indoor Plumbing~Tanya Hanson

   Howdy to all and happy new year, too. We celebrated the holidays with a     pretty major present: three newly remodeled bathrooms. Starting the Monday after Thanksgiving indeed added to holiday stress and frantic-ness, but at least’s it’s all over now. Sheesh.

 With only one working commode downstairs for almost a month, we sure felt like pioneers, especially if nature called in the middle of a cold winter’s night.

 

Well, not exactly LOL. We didn’t have to brave the elements. But I sure got curious and decided to flush out some facts about the modern “necessary.” The idea of a room inside the home dedicated solely to personal needs only started in the late 1800’s. In fact my next hero Jed Jones seriously hopes to afford the luxury of a “bathing room” for his reluctant new wife (circa 1880) in my upcoming release, Midnight Bride.

 

An Englishman bearing the name (LOL) of Thomas Crapper is often given credit for the flushing toilet via his valve-and siphon design patented in 1891. But the idea didn’t just pop into his head while using an outdoor privy one day or anything like that. His device was a refinement of a design that puzzled yet tantalized Victorian England–how to build a flushing  “water closet”  without sewer gases entering the home.

Such a mechanism had actually existed during Elizabethan times. The queen’s godson, Sir John Harrington, designed one for her use about 1596. But the idea never caught on, mostly because municipal sewer lines hadn’t yet been developed. The Victorians, who made the connection between unsanitary conditions and disease, understood the need for cleaner cities–a concept that had escaped the first Queen Elizabeth and her ilk–and began to construct sewer systems.

However, without water to remove wastes, portable commodes and chamber pots, and the classic outhouse, remained the standards in many areas for many more years.

As for bathing itself, the ancient Romans mastered that art with their aqueducts and bathhouses. But the culture’s excesses had early Christians deem the practice hedonistic, an attitude that prevailed through the Middle Ages. The body, a vessel of sin, deserved to be conquered by the spirit, not a bath. Personal hygiene became considered a sinful indulgence. In the New World, the attitude persisted in seriously religious colonies, and along the frontier, there was simply too much else to do. Building sewers and designing indoor plumbing were the last thing on anybody’s mind when there were fields to plant and game to hunt and cabins to build.

 

Between 1875 and 1925, indoor plumbing began to be widely available and universally desired. Privacy attitudes changed, too. From a time when many families shared one bathroom in an apartment house, many of today’s homes have bathroom facilities in each bedroom.

The modern bathroom developed in response to essential human needs as well as improved norms of culture and technology.

 

Thankfully.  I definitely an indoor plumbing girl.  How about you?  Anybody else lived through a remodel or have one planned for the near future? 

Thanks to Bryan Nowak Photography for the generous use of his gorgeous photos. www.gadoodles.com

www.facebook.com/bryan.nowak

www.facebook.com/Bryan.Nowak.Photography

 

Updated: January 4, 2013 — 11:41 am

Cheryl St.John: What Would Laura Ingalls Think of Your Kitchen?

 

There are an awful lot of modern conveniences I wouldn”t want to do without. Showers come to mind. Coffee pots. Washing machines. I can”t even fathom a day in the kitchen without electricity.

 

kitchen range

 

Most of us have heard of the Ben Franklin stove, but it wasn”t really what we think of as a stove at all. In 1744 Ben Franklin invented an open cast iron heater, like an insert, that projected out from the fireplace and radiated to all parts of the room. It was used for heating purposes.

 

pot bellied stove 1875

So the stoves we read about clear through the 1850s and 1860s were heaters. The pot bellied stove was a common heater for over fifty years. It was much bigger than we”d imagine, and most often used in depots, general stores, livery stables and shops.

 

A stove to cook on wasn”t invented until 1870, when the fireplace heater was improved upon for cooking and baking. It was still a fireplace insert, often ornate.

 

By 1885 the common kitchen range had a flat top and round burners, but still no reservoir.

 

heater

 

In the late 1890s and early 1900s hard-coal heaters were common, and the flames inside could be seen through an isinglass window. Once gas was piped into city homes in the 1890s, people had gas cook stoves and space heaters.

 

 

The steel-plated kitchen ranges with reservoirs, warming closets and nickel plated trim were the norm around the turn of the century. A fancy one cost about twenty dollars or less.

kitchen range 1885

 

I can tell you I”m very thankful for my kitchen range and microwave. What would Laura Ingalls make of it?

The 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Telegraph

 

 

Hi there – Winnie Griggs here. I was looking through my handy-dandy ‘This Day In History’ calendar a few days ago and discovered that 150 years ago today the Western Union Telegraph Co. linked the eastern and western networks of telegraph systems at Salt Lake City, Utah. For the first time in our nation’s history nearly instantaneous communication between Washington D.C and San Francisco, CA was possible.  I’d heard quite a bit about the Transcontinental Railroad but nothing about the Transcontinental Telegraph so I decided to do a little digging and then share with you something of what I learned.

The first transcontinental telegraph was actually sent by the chief justice of California, Stephen Field, and was sent to President Abraham Lincoln. In the historic missive, Field predicted that the newly established communication venue would help ensure that the western states would remain loyal to the Union during the Civil War.

A little of the history behind this historic event: An efficient telegraph system was first developed in the 1830s and in the ensuing years spread with phenomenal speed. By 1850 lines covered most of the eastern part of the country as well as the fast growing territory of California. When California achieved statehood in 1850 it became the first state not contiguous with the rest of the country. Almost immediately there was a major push to connect this new state with the rest of the country via communication and travel services. In 1860, Congress passed the Pacific Telegraph Act and awarded a contract to Hiram Sibley, president of the Western Union Company. Mr. Sibley took the contract and formed a consortium between his company and telegraph companies in California to undertake the commission.

The task involved building lines to connect the system at the western-most edge of Missouri and the one at Carson City, Nevada. Sibley formed the Pacific Telegraph Co. to construct the eastern leg and the California telegraph companies consolidated into the Overland Telegraph Company to build the western leg. The two lines would eventually meet at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Most of 1860 was spent collecting materials for the project, and construction began in earnest in 1861. Right from the start there were significant problems along the way with provisioning the construction teams. Glass insulators and wire had to be shipped to San Francisco by sea and then transported to the construction sites in the west by wagon – this included a trek over the Sierra Nevada. Finding sources for telegraph poles was also a challenge in the mostly treeless plains areas as well as the deserts of the Great Basin.

The line from Omaha in the east made it to Salt Lake city first, arriving on October 18, 1861. The Transcontinental connection was completed six days later when the line from

Carson city joined it on October 24, 1861.

A side result of this momentous accomplishment that happened almost immediately was that it made the Pony Express obsolete.  On October 26th, a scant two days after the lines were joined, this adventurous, dedicated relay mail service which had previously provided the fastest means of communication between the western and eastern United States, officially closed.  Just as often happens today, the new technology made their jobs obsolete.

Updated: February 11, 2014 — 5:38 pm

Green Ranching

I’m always intrigued by new ways of using technology to improve farming, and with the latest buzz being about sustainability and environmental responsibility, I did a little research into some new trends. What I found was pretty interesting, and I’m still learning and trying to understand some of it (a scientist I am not).  I’m pretty intrigued by two ideas and interestingly enough they are on different ends of the spectrum – one is taking ranching into the future, and the other is returning to grassroots ideas.

So cool idea #1 – Have you ever heard the saying “Making honey out of dog #$*&”? Now you can make electricity from refuse – specifically manure. Manure makes gas, which is then converted into electricity. Methane never smelled so good. If you take a look at this ranch’s site, you’ll see how they use the manure from their cows to create enough electricity to completely power their own operation – and then some.  There’s been a lot of development in this area over the last few years; I hope other Canadian operations will soon follow suit! 

As Spring Creek puts it: When you work with a live inventory that keeps eating and growing everyday, challenges are a fact of life; they also present a heap of opportunity.  Case in point, cattle produce manure; crop production results in organic waste…It simply makes sense to renew the resources that sustain our family and community – today and well into the future.

I’m guessing this is a pretty expensive venture to set up, and yes there are manufacturing considerations for fuel cells etc. but one would hope there would also be grants available to assist. What a renewable resource! Everybody poops! Holy Cow!

The other cool idea is one I came across researching some areas in Southern Alberta. I found one particular operation that’s kickin’ it old skool when it  comes to methods. The OH Ranch takes conservation very seriously – through a Heritage Rangeland Designation and Conservation Easements. What does that mean? I’m going to snag the explanation from the OH Ranch Site:

For the OH Ranch, the public grazing land portions of the Longview and Pekisko sections of the ranch are now designated as heritage rangeland. The heritage rangeland designation helps protect about 10,200 acres (41.28 square kilometers) of public land that has consistently been ranched under grazing leases by the OH Ranch. The designation helps preserve a way of life through the continuation of traditional ranching practices that have stewarded and managed sensitive native prairies in southern Alberta for generations.

Conservation easements are voluntary agreements between a private landowner and a qualified land trust which limits the amount and type of development that can occur on a property. Easements are negotiated to preserve the natural character of the land, and its ecological integrity, scenic values and/or scientific and educational potential. The OH Ranch is working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Southern Alberta Land Trust Society on conservation easements for their Longview and Pekisko ranch lands, and with Ducks Unlimited on easements for he Dorothy and Bassano ranch lands. The easements will be registered against the land title, ensuring that current and future owners manage he land according to terms of the easements.

The other term you’ll see here is “traditional ranching practices”. Since its inception in 1883, the OH Ranch has always operated using traditional methods. Today, cowboys continue to ride the range, moving cattle and doctoring sick animals in the open field by roping from horseback. While the ranch owns trucks and other equipment, horses are still the primary mode of transportation on the ranch and continue to be used for such tasks as packing fencing supplies, minerals and salt and protein blocks. The OH Ranch is one of the few large cattle outfits in North America which continues to be operated utilizing historic methods.

It’s really interesting to see ranchers come up with new ways of preserving the environment and staying sustainable in an economic climate that is anything but farmer-friendly.

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