Declaring an Emergency

How different is the United States from Canada? With the recent declaration of National Emergency by Prime Minister Trudeau, I’ve been curious about how National Emergencies work within the United States. Comparing the requirements of Canada’s Emergency Act with that of the United States shows that Canada has much more precise definitions, requirements for oversight and time constraints.

United StatesCanada
The United States has no definition for an emergency in the Emergency Act (We do not have a definition written into our laws)A national emergency is temporary, urgent and critical. It either seriously endangers Canadians and is more than what a province can handle or it “seriously threatens the ability of the government to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada”
Declared by the President, or by CongressDeclared by the Governor in Council (which, translates to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet)
Not divided by type, since it isn’t defined. But there are some sort-of type specific laws, such as the Public health Service Act and the Disaster Relief Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers ActDivided into Four Types of Emergencies
-A Public Welfare Emergency
-A Public Order Emergency
-An International Emergency
-A War Emergency
The President isn’t required by law to consult anyone. The state Governors can request a declaration of National Emergency.Provincial Governments must be consulted before the emergency is declared
The President must publish the proclamation of National Emergency immediately in the Federal RegisterA motion for the confirmation of emergency (with an explanation and a report on the consultation with the provincial governments) must be provided to Parliament within seven sitting days
No more than six months after declaration, congress must vote to determine whether or not to terminate the emergencyParliament must vote to confirm (or not confirm) the Declaration of National Emergency
The President can declare the National Emergency overThe Governor in Council may declare the National Emergency over
Congress must consider terminating the emergency every six months the emergency continues.

It may also vote to end the National Emergency at any time (Provided it makes it through committee)
Parliament must vote on continuing the declaration of emergency each time it is requested (every 30-120 days, depending on the type of emergency.

It may also vote to end the National Emergency at any time (provided sufficient people sign the motion)
The President can declare the National Emergency will continue in the ninety days before it automatically expiresAt any time before the automatic expiration, the government may continue the declaration (and parliament must vote on it)
The National Emergency expires automatically after a yearAutomatic Expiration date dependent on type: Public Welfare Emergency expires in 90 days (unless renewed), a Public Order Emergency expires in 30 days, an International Emergency expires in 60 days, and a War Emergency expires in 120 days
President must maintain a file of all significant orders issued during the emergency and provide copies to congress promptlyAny government actions to respond to the emergency must be tabled in Parliament two days after they are issued. Parliament must establish a committee to review them.
*Not a legal scholar of any kind- so there’s always the possibility of mistakes. There is the additional difficulty that being unfamiliar with Canadian Government presents.

In Canada, a national emergency is clearly defined, while in the United States the definition a national emergency is far more nebulous. The President of the United States is subject to fewer time constraints and overall less explicit oversight.

That doesn’t mean the President has more powers. Upon examination of those, it’s evident that the Canadian Prime Minister has far broader powers in the event of an emergency.

Community, Recipes

Improving a Can of Soup

There are few meals more easily assembled than a can of soup.  Anymore you don’t even need a can opener – a lot of them come with a pull ring.  Unfortunately, if that’s as far as you go, it isn’t that great a meal.

I shared Mom’s quick technique for improving chicken and noodles with Sam – and she asked if I could go through all I could remember.  Mom’s mastery of basing the soup off a can meant that getting a couple unanticipated dinner guests was never a problem.  A hearty soup would go along with slightly smaller portions and everyone would be happy and well fed.

That can of chicken noodle soup is a pretty thin meal – but half a handful of dried onions, a carved up carrot and a small can of chicken turns it into something resembling a meal.  A can of tomato soup, accompanied by a can of milk and a can of diced tomatoes (preferably with a bit of peppers) turns it into a near-great tomato soup.  We’re 500 miles from the sea, so there’s nothing wrong with beginning your clam chowder with a can, adding another can of clams, and making a decent clam chowder – decent only, because fresh clams are definitely better, but not available in the rural Rock Mountains.

She knew how to use cans to improve the quality of soup – that and a few other tricks.  I’ve picked up a few of them.


What Makes an Emergency National?

The recent headlines in Canada have had me wondering about National Emergencies on this side of the line. I was very shocked to discover, in my initial search a Wikipedia page seventy plus entries long of national emergencies. When did these happen? Why didn’t I know about them?

Did you know it was a National Emergency that recently resulted in the transfer of all US-held assets of Da Afghanistan Bank to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York? Apparently it’s authorized by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the National Emergencies Act, as well as some of the United States Code. This is only the most recent “National Emergency” that Wikipedia lists, there are plenty of others, going back as far as 1917. It’s not entirely clear how many are active- Wikipedia says 40, ABC News listed 31 back in 2017, either way, the answer is a lot. Canada only has one at the moment.

I’ve griped before, about the difficulty in keeping track of the sheer volume of laws and regulations in the United States- so in some sense, it isn’t a surprise that we have a number of laws concerning emergencies of which I was unaware.

After President trump declared a National Emergency in 2019 in order to build a wall along the southern border, the Brennan Center published some tables outlining the powers that a President has in the event of a national emergency and the laws that grant them.

Their list of Emergency Framework Statues includes:

  • National Emergencies Act (1976)
  • Public Health Service Act (1944)
  • Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (1988)

The Brennan Center identified 123 statutory powers that become available to the president when he declares a national emergency; Wikipedia suggests that 500 federal laws take effect when a National Emergency is declared.

Interesting, but where is a national emergency defined? What is it? In the United States, there is no legal definition for National Emergency. It isn’t defined explicitly by law, which means it falls into the confusing category of something defined by argument, precedent, court rulings, and such. The President can declare one, as can congress, and governors can petition the president to declare one.

So, with no clear definition to determine when a National Emergency Starts- perhaps we can at least find out when one ends?

In the National Emergencies Act the emergency ends when a law is passed by congress saying it ends, or when the president declares that it is ended. Also, Congress must, within six months, vote to determine whether the emergency will end. If no one ends it- it will end a year from when it began, unless the president says that it will continue.

How do we have so many? Because sitting presidents keep renewing them. We don’t place a lot of constraints on the declaration of National Emergency, but arguably we also don’t grant the sort of sweeping powers that the Canadian Emergency Act does.


Comparing Emergency Powers

How different is the United States from Canada? With the recent declaration of National Emergency by Prime Minister Trudeau, there’s a fair bit of discussion concerning the exact powers he is granted in the event of a National Emergency.

Since the Canadian Government’s Powers depend on the type of emergency, I’ll compare with a Public Order Emergency, as that is the type in the news currently. Because the National Emergencies Act provides the US President with 126 powers that don’t require a vote from congress (and an additional thirteen that do), I’ll only list the ones comparable to those of Canada.

United States: National EmergencyCanada: Public Order Emergency
– Didn’t find anything close to thatThe Government may regulate or prohibit “any public assembly that may reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace”
-There are some provisions about not going in certain areas, but otherwise not much along these linesThe Government may regulate or prohibit “travel to, from or within any specified area”
Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the president can block and freeze assets

During war, transfer of boats to non-citizens can require consent from the secretary of transportation. They also can’t be built for non-citizens.

Atomic Energy Commission may suspect atomic energy licenses if necessary to the common defense and security

Secretary of Transportation may requisition a vessel owned by US citizens
The Government may regulate or prohibit “the use of specified property”
Criminal provisions of the Espionage Act extend to prohibited places (with some caveats) The Government may make orders or regulations with respect to “the designation and securing of protected places”
President may allocate coal and require the transportation thereof for the use of any electric powerplant or fuel burning installation…The Government may make orders or regulations with respect to “the assumption of the control, and the restoration and maintenance, of public utilities and services”
In national defense, members of the military can be kept working after their service expires. Reserves can be called to active duty.

President may suspend provisions related to labor management relations with respect to any post. bureau. office or activity of the Department of State

President may implement alternate pay adjustments for members of the uniformed services

The Government may make orders or regulations with respect to “the authorization of or direction to any person, or any person of a class of persons, to render essential services of a type that that person, or a person of that class, is competent to provide and the provision of reasonable compensation in respect of services so rendered”
President may impose fees and limitations on the importation of certain agricultural productsThe Government may make orders or regulations with respect to the imposition “on summary conviction, of a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both that fine and imprisonment” for not following any order/regulation from the declaration of National Emergency
Maybe the provision about applying the espionage act? There really wasn’t anything else that was similar.The Government may make orders or regulations with respect to the imposition ” on indictment, of a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both that fine and imprisonment” for not following any order/regulation from the declaration of National Emergency

In short, while the US President is granted many more specific powers, they are just that, specific. The majority apply only to emergencies that are war or national security- though those do suggest that anyone who has ever served in the military, retired or otherwise, could be called to serve. Other than that, most of them are simply “you have permission to skip this batch of bureaucratic paperwork and just do things” in nature.

The only really broad powers the President has come from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which does allow for asset seizure, bank account freezing and the like. It can only be enacted in the event of an international emergency, but is still well worth watching.

Very few of the powers allotted the US President, in event of a national emergency, are anywhere near as sweeping as those the Canadian Government possesses. While the Canadian government is more limited in the length of an emergency, and by the definition of an emergency, its powers are far greater and broader than those of the United States.

The United States allows the President broad freedom to declare an emergency, but precisely limits his power. Canada limits the declaration of an emergency, but provides sweeping powers. It’s worth remembering that Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy


Not All Canadians

I noticed a headline that referenced “North of the 49th Parallel” as a descriptor for Canadians.  Here, where I’m 20 miles south of the 49th Parallel, that’s correct – basically the Canadians I know are north of 49.  Still, they’re unusual Canadians.  Toronto is further south than Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  72% of Canadians live below the 49th Parallel. 

This website shows that half of Canada’s population lives below “the redline”, a line drawn at 45 degrees 42 minutes.  From a westerner’s perspective, this map makes Canadian politics a lot easier to understand.  Half of them live further south than Billings.  And, as you can see from the map, they’re crowded together – unlike our own northern neighbors.

The Red line is drawn at 45 42 minutes- For Context, the Canadian Line we border is at the 49th Parallel

There’s a Durham report going around now, as Durham reports on the shenanigans around the Trump-Russia investigations.  It’s about 180 years ago that Canada had its own Durham report, after a bit of civil unrest.  Back then, Canada was divided into upper Canada and lower Canada.

Upper Canada was the area just north of the great lakes – largely settled by Loyalists (Tories) after the American revolution.  The head of each family received 100 acres for settling there, with 50 acres more for each additional family member.  Soldiers who had fought for the crown received significantly more.  Family histories go way back – and at the turn of the 19th century, this area was home to some downright anti-US Canadians.  The Canadian Encyclopedia  provides us this description:

“The term Family Compact is an epithet, or insulting nickname; it is used to describe the network of men who dominated the legislative, bureaucratic, business, religious and judicial centres of power in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario) from the early- to mid-1800s. Members of the Family Compact held largely conservative and loyalist views. They were against democratic reform and responsible government. By the mid-19th century, immigration, the union of Upper and Lower Canada, and the work of various democratic reformers had diminished the group’s power. The equivalent to the Family Compact in Lower Canada was the Château Clique.”

If we think about those early settlers of “Upper Canada” – the area that today is shown below the “red line”,  they weren’t folks who wanted the representative democracy that was established in the new American republic.  They were monarchists, and Canada bloody well had a king.  Sure, it’s a couple centuries back, but the Tories (Loyalists) had soldiered for the crown, and the government they wanted was not a representative democracy. 

In 1837 and 1838 there were rebellions in both Upper and Lower Canada.  Basically, the French Canadians didn’t particularly like the English speaking Canadians, and that was reason enough for small uprisings in Lower Canada, and the newer settlers of Upper Canada didn’t particularly like being governed by the old guard Loyalists.  Lord Durham looked the situation over, and recommended uniting the provinces into a single Canada – remember, the Brits had a lot of experience ruling conflicted peoples in Ireland . . . there it was Protestant and Catholic, but it could work.  So he moved things to a spot where the English speakers wound up with a readily identifiable political opposition – while Durham’s report is regarded as paving the way for Canadian independence and responsible government, the roots of that government were planted by moneyed Loyalists who lost the American Revolution, and largely made their identities in opposition to the US form of government.

As we watch the truckers protest, it may be a good idea to remember that there is a lot of historical difference between the Canadians of Eastern British Columbia and Alberta whom we know and the heirs of the Family Compact and the Chateau Clique.  Somehow, it seems appropriate that Durham reports are a historical commonality.


Stahl’s Dog

Stahl’s dog story starts at his cabin and work at Pipe Creek – it seems the man was assigned a lot of work developing ways to get into the Yaak.  It’s probably worth mentioning that the Yaak’s inhabitants had been on mining claims and most left those claims for the gold rush to Alaska before Stahl moved up here.  Some lonesome country remains in that area. 

One night Charlie Andrews, on border patrol for the Immigration Service, camped with me. He noted some verse I was writing and remarked, “The man is crazy from being alone. He is writing poetry.” It was pretty crude, entitled “A Ranger’s Lament,” but it served to get me a promotion and transfer to a better district. I mailed this verse to Acting Supervisor Glen Smith:

I’m on my way, Glen, on my way,
To pitch my tent by close of day,
Where Dodge Creek springs ‘mid shadows strange
From a narrow pass in the Purcell Range.
The simple life may look good to folks
Who live in the city and know it from books,
Just now with me it’s beginning to pall
For it’s lonely here when the shadows fall.
So I’ll sit by the campfire’s gleam alone,
And hark to the swaying trees’ low moan,
Then count the days, about ten more
When I’ll hike for the Kootenay’s eastern shore.
But before I can go, – Alas! — Alack!
I must plod up the hump with a heavy pack,
Pitch my tent in the canyon deep,
And flop in a bed where the spiders creep.
I long for a day with Billie and Van,
Susan and Babe and the rest of the clan;
For the cheerful notes of a ragtime song,
Or to waltz with a maid ‘mid the whirling throng.
Then back to the woods again wouldn’t tire;
Camp grub cooked by the open fire,
With big dutch oven and frying pan,
Blackened kettles and sourdough can.

It got so lonely my dog couldn’t stand it. He went down to the Kootenai River and howled ’til the ferryman from Gateway came over and took him across to town. When a man’s dog shows up at the settlement without his master, the settlers in the valley assume, and often correctly, that it is an indication of tragedy. Jack Barnaby lost his life in a snowslide, and when his dog came out, a posse went to look for him. A man named Matty lost his life on Kishanehin Creek and a bear devoured him. His dog came out to Big Prairie, the first indication of tragedy. The mystery of Matty’s death was never fully solved. Late in the spring, when his dog showed up at Big Prairie, several of Matty’s friends went up to his trapper cabin to investigate. They found the door latched, a large hole in the roof and, upon opening the door, found bones scattered over the floor – all that remained of Matty. They found considerable blood stains on the bunk, also an automatic .45 pistol set near the cabin for a bear. By the signs they found, they decided he had shot himself accidentally and died on the bunk. When the weather got warm, the bear, attracted by the smell, had torn a hole in the roof to get in and devour him.

When my dog showed up at the river, Mother Milks pestered her man until he got Harvey Young to join him and come up to my camp. Perhaps they were disappointed to find me swinging a mattock on the trail but I was thankful to know that someone took an interest in my welfare.

I almost forgot to tell you about my dog. He was a mongrel, part terrier with long hair, and I called him “Tommy Whiskers.” I taught him several tricks. He would sit up, balance a pine cone on his nose and at the count of three, flip his nose sideways and catch it. He didn’t like to swim the rivers and soon learned to get up behind me on the horse. He was more than just a pet. He could tree a mountain lion or nip a bear on the stern end until it would sit up and roar. He stayed away from skunk and porky. I taught him to smoke a pipe by first putting sugar on the stem. A dog as well as a man can learn one trick too many, and when I moved into town, he got some costly ideas. I didn’t mind taking him to the barber shop once a month to get his moustache waxed and his beard trimmed Van Dyke, but when he wanted high priced cigars, I had to draw the line and broke him of the smoking habit by giving him Peerless tobacco.

Soon after I mailed my verse to Glen Smith, I received instructions to proceed to a new district north of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The Supervisor, Dave Kinney, advised me that there would be considerable business there, with grazing permits and timber sales to look after. I lost no time packing and headed for the river.

Molly Sullivan, daughter of a homesteader on the west bank of the Kootenai helped me swim the horses across at Rexford. There was only a sketchy trail downriver near the foot of the mountains and I traveled on the railroad right-of-way at times. At Stone Hill where I camped the first night, a down freight killed my pack horse. I felt pretty bad about it, as the horse was a pet and only three years old. It meant that I had to walk 35 miles to Jennings and lead the saddle horse. I shipped my equipment from Jennings to Libby, and bought a horse at Libby.

From there on it was tough going along the north side of the Koontenai. Part of the trail above the falls was over solid rock and narrow ledges. More than one prospector had lost a horse there that slipped off the trail and rolled down into the river below the falls. The second night I stopped with Jake Lang on the Montana-Idaho line. Half his land was in Idaho, yet until the State line was marked, he paid his taxes at Kalispell, Montana.

Arriving in the Moyie District, I boarded with an Indian who had a white wife. His hair hung in braids over his shoulders and he had me cut it for him. If I’d had a little more barber business like that I would soon have had enough hair to make a saddle blanket!

Later I built a Ranger cabin in the Moyie Valley near Snyder Post Office. Artman Snyder was Ranger of the Moyie District when I arrived there. Snyder Post Office was named after him. He was a big, raw-boned fellow, and had prospected from Mexico to Alaska. He had a voice like a foghorn and told some pretty far-fetched yarns of his experiences, in very serious manner, and seemed peeved if we doubted them. He said when he went to the Klondike via Edmonton he lived twelve days on tallow candle and porcupine, then cut his dog’s tail off, made soup of it and fed the bone to the dog. Very generous. (It helped the dog make both ends meet.)

He gave me the recipe for cooking porcupine: “You should not skin it but should pluck it like a goose – wrap it in an old blanket and throw it on a pack horse for about three days’ travel. When you remove the blanket the quills will come with it. Burn the blanket and at the same time you can singe the pinfeathers off the porky. Draw it and cover with a two-inch layer of damp clay. Bake three hours in a pit in the ashes.”

Two brothers lived at Round Prairie who had a lot of trouble with the neighbors. I was warned not to go near them as they had declared an open season on Forest Rangers. However, I got along very well with them. One brother we called Whispering Jake. There was something wrong with his epiglottis and he would whisper for a while then without warning his voice would break into a roar. He didn’t have very good control and did not seem to know when he would whisper or when he would roar, so it was disconcerting, to state it mildly, to converse with him at short range. He seemed to take a fancy to me and after I was transferred to the office at Sandpoinnt, he would call in to see me. With a hand on my knee and his face close to mine, he would tell me of his battle with Pig-Eye Johnson. When Jake would break into a roar, the Supervisor, with a broad grin, would cast a sky glance my way. A good executive would know how to get rid of Jake, but I was too good-natured to offend him. I would excuse myself, go into the drafting room and stay until he had left.

In the spring of 1908, Robert McLaughlin was sent to the Moyie District on special duty to survey Ranger Stations and classify homestead lands. I traveled with him as sort of Boy Scout and Man Friday. We were kindred spirits in that we both had a perverted sense of humor. (I mean what we considered funny might not seem funny to you.) Bill Nye best illustrates the idea when he tells of Peck’s bad boy, laughing at a funeral – until his dad knocked hell out of him and convinced him it wasn’t funny. We didn’t make it pay as Bill Nye did, but carried on for our own amusement. I never saw another man enjoy a joke or gag so much as did Robert McLaughlin. He was short and heavy-set, with clear blue eyes and a square, jutting jaw. When telling a yarn, he was very serious and seldom smiled, but the next day on the trail would laugh heartily. We led a hobo life traveling afoot, by speeder or in a boxcar. Sometimes at night we camped out but more often stopped at settlers’ cabins.

We stopped one night at the hotel at Eastport. At breakfast, Robert gave the girl his order for “two eggs, one cooked on one side and one on the other.” She came back several times to get the order straight and he pretended to get sore. When we were out on the trail, he laughed heartily and said, “The poor girl did not know on which side to cook which egg.”

We were surveying a Ranger Station near Meadow Creek when he awoke me early one morning, saying, “We have a cougar treed.” There was a big forked tree near camp with a small dead cedar lodged in the forks. We all wore calked boots and he had walked up the leaning dead cedar to the forks and poked my clothes far out on the upper end with a pole. They figured I would have to chop the big tree down to get my clothes but I got them without chopping. I climbed to the forks, retrieved the clothes with a long pole with a nail in the end as a hook.

Robert studied law at night (when he wasn’t thinking of nonsense) and was later appointed Montana State Forester. We moved westward to classify lands along the foothills south of Port Hill.

The Great Northern Railroad had a branch line from Bonners Ferry to Creston, British Columbia. I read someplace of a slow train that was easy to overtake but hard to meet. It was likely a reference to the Kootenai Valley Branch line. The train ran tri-weekly, went north on Monday and tried all the rest of the week to get back. But on the day that Robert and I rode the train, the schedule was reversed. About ten miles north of Bonners Ferry we were stopped by a mud slide that covered the rails. The train crew and some passengers proceeded to clear the rails. Robert and I decided that walking was easier than shoveling. We walked ahead to Copeland, then on to Port Hill, and still no train in sight.

This story illustrates the train crew’s idea of a time schedule. A traveling man said the train was stopped on the main line and while he walked the aisle and gnawed his fingernails, the train crew sauntered up the open hillside, each man carrying heavy twine to snare gophers. They got one cent bounty for each tail.”


Saturday’s Freedom Rally was Crowded

The amount of vehicles reminded me of Rendezvous, or similarly crowded events. Cars went up the hill, out of sight from its base, filled the historical village, and spilled over across the railroad.

There were flags, signs (many homemade), noise, and people waving and cheering on the street. It started without much fanfare, and took about half an hour for everyone to get going. It was rather brisk, and for the most part, people stayed in their vehicles while they waited for it to begin.

Mostly, people seemed to have a lot of fun- if not quite as much fun as the folks setting up the hot-tub in Ottawa seemed to be having. It was clean (the parking lot of the historical village was no messier than usual after the vehicles had departed), and as happy a gathering as could be expected after these cold months.

As for the Freedom Convoy, which the rally was in support of, and which we wrote about last week– the latest headlines seem to be the Canadian Government’s decision to invoke the Emergency Act. This apparently will allow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to prohibit travel, “requisition, use or dispose of property”, and regulate the “distribution and availability of essential goods, services and resources” for thirty days.

Personally, I’d really like to know if our government has something similar it can pull out of its pocket. The idea of the government having the authority to requisition property is just a little unsettling, no matter who is running it.


As I Think of Garden Seeds

We have mental pictures of Plains Indians on horses – and rarely do we think of them with hoes.  Still, as we approach gardening season, it may be appropriate to think of how many of the world’s crops were developed by the American Indian, and were spread across the world after Columbus.

It may be called the “Irish Potato” – but the potato was grown in the Andes mountains for at least 4000 years before it arrived in Ireland.  There are at least another half-dozen root crops developed by these ancient Peruvian residents that don’t even have names in English.  They raised corn – though that is believed to have been developed in Mexico, and amaranth (in Mexico used for beer by the Aztec) and quinoa – developed alongside the potato.

In those days before Columbus, the Old World had wheat, rye, barley and oats in Europe, rice was developed in the far east, and sorghum and millet in Africa. 

From the Caribbean came a root crop called the batata.  The Andean potato was called papa by the Quecha . . . but the first root crop exported from the Americas was the batata.  The name was changed to potato, then the papa showed up, took the name potato, and the batata became sweet potato.  China is the world’s largest producer of sweet potatoes.

The Old World had beans when Columbus sailed the ocean blue – but after Cortez, more varieties were shipped from Mexico – the French bean, the Rangoon bean, Burma bean, Madagascar bean, kidney bean, string bean, snap bean, common bean, pole bean, navy bean . . . most of the domestic beans have American Indian origins.

The peanut moved from America to become an African staple.  The domestic sunflower became a Russian staple food.  Just as the potato led to a population explosion in Ireland, the cassava led to a population explosion in Africa.  (We tend to call cassava tapioca)

Peppers, cacao for chocolate, squash, tomatoes – when Columbus landed, the only pepper known in Europe and Asia was Piper nigrum (black pepper).  The New World peppers were an entirely different species – the Capsicums.  These American Indian spices have helped develop Indian cooking, which must have been bland before adding the Capsicum frutuscens. 

One of the American Indian squash varieties landed in Italy, and there received the name we use – zucchini.  Italian cooking must have been bland before tomatoes and peppers arrived.  I don’t know what the word is for pizza without tomatoes.

We could get into nuts and berries – but this story comes from a memory of a lecture I gave when I taught Indians of North America.  Someday I’ll find my notes and add my sources.


God Save the Queen

When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”  Thomas Paine

As I watch Canada, thoughts go back to my undergrad days, when Trudeau was a Prime Minister – that’s Pierre, not Justin, and the protest movement as the sixties became the seventies was anti-war, not independent truckers with a Freedom Convoy.  Folks were headed to Canada to dodge the draft, not to protest mask and vaccination mandates.  It’s important to remember I live about 20 miles south of Canada – Canadian politics affects me.  There’s a reason Eureka is occasionally called Tijuana del Norte.  As a community, we depend on Canadian trade.

Pierre had some good remarks – my memory includes “I’ll bloody well not tell you whom I seduce.” – but I can’t find that one online.  I can find “Who is it that said that ‘you have not converted a man because you have silenced him?’ This is true of the use of the military on people.”  Another Pierre quote, possibly relevant today is “There are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is go and bleed. It is more important to keep law and order in society than to be worried about weak-kneed people Society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power.”  I’m pretty sure the son won’t have as many good quotes as the father.

I’ve spent most of my lifetime respecting the Queen.  For quibblers, that’s Queen Elizabeth II.  For me, there is but one Queen and she doesn’t need introductions.  I like, I respect the lady.  But I remember that virtue is not hereditary.  In her case, Charles and Andrew have spent most of my lifetime demonstrating Thomas Paine’s 1776 observation.

Admitted, there have been times when I kind of envied Prince Charles his ease of decisions on career choices.  He was going to grow up and be king of England.  He didn’t need to write and revise resumes, or plan for interviews. His Master’s from Cambridge just required him to stay out of jail for six or seven years after he got his BA.  Still, at 72, retired for the past five years, and with a resume packed with interesting job, I think my career path was better.  Prince Charles is a year older, and still hasn’t got the job he was born to fill.  His record doesn’t seem to be above reproach, so it may be that, as Thomas Paine pointed out, “Virtue is not hereditary.”  On the other hand, I’ve seen colleagues and neighbors with equally nasty, but much less publicized divorces.

Then we get to Prince Andrew.  Last month I read that, while he is still titled, His Royal Highness the Duke of York, he’s been stripped of his other royal titles and tasks because he’s under charges resulting from Epstein scandals.  Thomas Paine was right – “Virtue is not hereditary.”

God Save the Queen.  I’m not sure even God can save Justin Trudeau.


Stahl’s Early Days

Edward Stahl shared a bit about his early days – the early days of Trego and Stryker – in his writings about his time at Ant Flat . . . a time when the Ranger was expected to build his own cabin, among other things.  The whole story is at and the following excerpts cover his time spent at Ant Flat.

I was among the group at Kalispell, Montana, that took the first Civil Service examination there for Forest Ranger, in 1905. My rating placed me at the top of the eligible list, and early the following spring I received appointment as Forest Ranger, assigned to work under the direction of Fred Harrig at Ant Flat. . .

With Byron Henning, we cut trail the spring of 1906 up the Stillwater Valley. It rained continuously. Fred told me that the year before, he sent in his monthly diary with a lot of daily records reading, “Rain, stayed in camp.” His next check was quite a bit short and it never rained so hard again!

We camped at Fish Lake. I packed my horse in and walked while Fred and Byron Henning rode. We planned to go to Ant Flat for the weekend, but I was handicapped with a mean horse and no riding saddle. I rigged up a bridle with small rope, but got bucked off at the first attempt. Fred said, “Eddie, you might as well stay in camp. You’re crazy as hell to try to ride that horse bareback.” A school ma’am boarded at Fred’s place and I had a date to take her to a dance at Gateway, so I felt honorbound to get to Ant Flat in time. I cinched a lash rope around the horse for a handhold and blindfolded him. When Fred pulled the blind, I whacked the horse over the ears with my hat and arrived at the station far ahead of the other two.

The old stage road led through a narrow pass at the summit near Stryker. The canyon was so narrow that at turnout places there were signs reading, “Stop and holler,” as warning for freighters to wait to pass. Fred used to go to sleep while riding his horse and would wake up saying, “Dot vas a great improvement.” One dark night he woke up sitting on the solid rock road in the canyon, which was not much of an improvement, and he had to walk home. He rode a big snorty black and the horse may have been spooked by a bear.

The big dance of the year was the Mulligan Ball held at Gateway by the Order of the Sons of Rest. Mulligan was made in a washboiler, and it was rumored that Old Crow whiskey was one of the ingredients. The ball was held in an abandoned honky-tonk building, a relic of the boom days of 1900 when, at the end of each dance, the call was “Promenade to the bar,” where the bartender served drinks and passed a 15-cent check to the lady to put in her stocking as commission. Today there is not enough left of Gateway to call it a ghost town. Although it is on the U.S.-Canadian boundary, there is no custom office there. The railroad that was built in 1900 is torn up and the line is blocked off with page-wire fence.”

Well, I’m not sure what a page-wire fence is, and Gateway is a pretty wet place anymore – but I’m glad to find Stahl’s notes on the net.  Taking a school marm from Trego to Gateway for a dance in 1906?  Maybe he rode down Friday for a Saturday night dance?  Edward Stahl was definitely a man of character.