Author: steeleweed

Halloween 1889

Granny’s Halloween Story – published 1994 in Lake City Silver World

Young children growing up in the log cabin of Charles & Cynthia Steele located on a mesa above the Lake Fork north of Lake City were always particularly fascinated when their mother washed the worn wooden floorboards in a certain room of the house.

On those occasions when the boards were moistened, a deep maroon stain would gradually appear on one section of the floor. Over the years Mrs Steele scrubbed and scrubbed in an effort to remove the stain – but to no avail. When those particular boards were wet, the puddle shape of the suspicious maroon stain always returned. Continue reading

Building Fence

The Mountain Man was engaged in building fence across the Rio Grande at the Lower Ranch. At this specific time he was being assisted by ‘Vic’ Miller, a lad of around eighteen years and one of the group known to us as ‘the boys’, who periodically helped us with the hay harvest, usually starting as sulky-rake operators in the days when teams were in order.

It was just past the middle of June, and a belated spring with cold nights and cool days had slowed the melting of the snow in the high country. Now the weather had turned warmer and summer had arrived suddenly and unheralded. Down came in wild recklessness the deep snows of December and January, swelling the old Rio Grande to astounding proportions, to big for its bridges, and causing doubt whether it would be contained within its legal banks. Continue reading

Coping With Winter

 

My uncle Ray and his two brothers, Wallace and Warren owned a ranch in the upper Rio Grande Valley in Colorado. Pump in the front yard, outhouse in back. Ice cut from winter lakes & stored in ice-house to cool ice-boxes in the summer. This was pre-REA, so they had their own generator and shut it off at 11pm – after that it was kerosene lanterns or darkness. The phone was party-line and hand-cranked. Folks used to have concerts, each playing piano, fiddle, harmonica, accordion – whatever. Music online before the Internet! Snow 8-10′ deep in the meadow, took a sleigh out to feed the cattle every day and a rifle at night to scare off the elk. Roads were plowed, maybe, sometimes, barely – you didn’t depend on the County. By today’s standards, they would be considered low-tech or even primitive. Continue reading

Cynthia Weed Steele

Betty (Steele) Wallace, wore many hats over the years – reporter, Clerk of the County Court, columnist & de facto editor, high school English teacher and author. Born on a small ranch in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, of pioneer stock and into a world of ranching, mining and timbering, she had a deep understanding and keen appreciation of those who migrated to the area and built the communities. Some of those communities faded into ghost towns, some continue to prosper. The people who built that part of Colorado are long gone, but Betty had known a good many of them, went to school with their children and knew every family in the Gunnison Valley – their history, virtues, faults and quirks. For several years, she wrote a weekly column in the Gunnison News-Champion, telling the stories of the area’s early citizens. She called it her ‘pioneer series’ – interviews of the original settlers or their children; ranchers, saloonkeepers, miners, storekeepers, prostitutes, preachers and politicians. One of the people she interviewed and wrote about was her mother, Cynthia (Weed) Steele. This is her column on my grandmother, published in the Gunnison News-Champion, April 6th, 1950. Continue reading

Whiskey Song

Ain’t no way to tell you what I’m thinkin’.
Ain’t no way to tell you how I feel.
Pour me one more shot for all the ones I bought.
Whiskey is the only thing that’s real.

I been ridin’ freight trains all my life.
Never stayed too long in any place.
Only friend I had, turned me to the bad.
Whiskey is my only savin’ grace.

Herded cattle all the way from Texas.
Mowed the wavin’ wheat across the plain.
Every holiday, spendin’ all my pay.
Whiskey takes the chill from out the rain.

Never been an eagle in the sky.
Never been a sailor on the sea.
Up and down this land, bottle in my hand.
Whiskey’s gonna be the death of me.

Guess I didn’t have no education.
Never even had a book to read.
Never wrote my name, get by just the same.
Whiskey is the only thing I need.

Never had a woman for to love me.
Never had a child for to cry.
Say that water’s good, drink if I could.
Whiskey’s good enough until I die.

Ain’t no way to tell you what I’m thinkin’.
Ain’t to way to tell you how I feel.
Pour me one more shot for all the ones I bought.
Whiskey is the only thing that’s real.

Tales of IBM

   I joined IBM in 1963 and began working on Unit Record installations (punch card equipment). I found the work sometimes challenging but always enjoyable, as I’ve noted elsewhere in this thread. I moved from a sales office to a datacenter in the TimeLife building in NYC. In addition to the datacenter, IBM had an education center and part of Systems Development Division. In the datacenter, I learned the 1401, 1460, 7090, 7044 and 7044/94 Directly Coupled System which used the 7044 as a front-end for I/O and job scheduling and let the 7094 devote itself to number crunching.
   When the System /360 was announced in April 1964, we were all given a day’s “training” but only the senior Systems Engineers really got their hands on the new system initially. I recall all of us being puzzled about how the /360 could have 16 Condition Codes expressed with only two bits. It took awhile to get our heads around that and it still confuses people new to the hardware. Continue reading

Legalize Marijuana – and hemp

Uses for hemp

Paper
Printing – Specialty paper – Filter – Newsprint – Cardboard

Textiles
Twine – Rope – Nets – Canvas – Tarps – Carpets – Agrifiber – Clutch/brake lining – Caulking – Apparel – Diapers – Fabrics – Handbags – Denim – Shoes

Building
Fiberboard – Insulation – Cement – Fiberglass substitute – Stucco/Mortar

Foods
Salad oil – Margarine – Supplements – Cooking oil

Industrial
Oil paints – Varnishes – Printing inks – Solvents – Lubricants – Putty – Coatings

Hygiene
Soap – Shampoo – Bath gel – Lotions/balms – Cosmetics

Animal food

Fuel

Medicine

Agriculture
Weed suppression – Reduce pesticides – Soil erosion – Soil improvement (via rotation)


    Hemp is a farmer’s dream crop – robust, hardy, fast-growing, reduced or no pesticides or herbicides. Unlike marijuana, it is not psychoactive. You cannot get high on hemp.

    It was falsely equated to marijuana and marijuana was then demonized by Harry Anslinger and J. Edgar Hoover. This conflation of hemp with marijuana was deliberate. Why?
Take a guess.

Hemp’s competition
Georgia Pacific – Humboldts Redwood – Weyerhaeuser – International Paper – International Forest Products – Koch Industries – Mendocino Redwood – Domtar – Universal Forest Products – Dupont – Eastman – Rhodia – Ashland – Dow – BASF – Bayer – Nufarm – Monsanto – Makhteshim – Bristol-Myers Squib – Lilly – Forest Laboratories – Pfizer – Johnson & Johnson – Novartis – Allegan – Watson – Celgene – Abbott – Merck – Sanofi – Mylan – Cargill – Pernod Ricard – Altria – Philip Morris – Anheuser Busch – Brown Forman – Fortune Brands – Diageo – Reynolds American – Constellation – MillerCoors – Archer Daniels Midland – Bunge – Syngenta – Unilever – Colgate Palmolive – Proctor & Gamble – Nestle – L’Oreal – Occidental Petroleum – ConocoPhillips – Exxon Mobile – Marathon Oil – Sunoco – Hess – Tesoro – Valero – British Petroleum – Chevron – HollyFrontier – Lubrizol – Sherwin Williams – Celanese – PPG Coatings – Valspar – Allegheny Technologies – Dynamics – US Steel

Songs

Songs


Somebody calls and you never really know who,
hidden in the night wind blowing over you.
Teach yourself to kiss a dream going by
and grab the earth and a little bit of sky.
    Stand or fall, it doesn't matter much.
    The blossom is too fragile for your touch.
Now and then when you find you're growing old,
wear the Past to keep away the Cold.
Learn the name of every passing minute
and try to live the happiness that's in it.
    Hang on or let go, it's all the same.
    Love be soon or late, it's just a name.
Scream for Sun! Cry rhapsodies of phantom pain,
to recompense the Rainbow for the glory-rain.
Turn your deaf ears in for second-hand
and settle it all for the price of a wedding band.
    Love what you hope is him, what you think is her,
    for what-you-feel is more than you know-for-sure.
Somewhere in the darkness that will never dawn
you'll look back down the road you traveled lonely on.
At every fork in the road, sing out your choice,
but, Babe, don't hold your breath til you hear your voice.
    You'll walk the road by the charm of blood and bone.
    It's up to you if you walk the road alone. Continue reading