• T.J. Burnham

    Rain, Sunshine, Elvis and Another Day Toward Retirement

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 22, 2015

    Into every life … I feel exceptionally blessed since little rain has fallen in my life, although there have been some storms. Sitting here with Elvis's 1987 Memphis album blaring (the year Suspicious Minds hit the top of the chart), I am pondering life as it is at nearly 74 years of age, on the cutting cusp of retirement. Mostly my life has been in the sun. I think the only real hits have been with our children in terms of divorces. They have been wrenching, watching our…

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    Is there a place for us? Retired elder still have role to play

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 16, 2015

    When I retire June 1, I will be 74 years old, and  when I was younger that seemed to be like the end of a lifetime. But now that I am here, it occurs to me that many people in my age bracket who have gone on after employment may not realize they still have value. In a world where older ages represent a larger portion of society, we need to take stock of just what role the old timers like me may play. Sure, I have all kinds of retirement plans, but looking at my age in the social scene…

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    Of free-ranging chicken and liberated livestock

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 9, 2015

    Change for the better is always welcome in my house, even for those wrenching times new ways outgun nostalgia like a villain in a showdown. When I look at where agriculture stands today as opposed to where we were 50 years ago, it strikes me everything is different. And it will be again in another 50. Time has a way of making things we consider set in cement look more like their foundations were in quicksand. Given my pragmatic view of life -- perspective is everything -- change to me is part…

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    April Fools' Day and not a minute too soon

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 1, 2015

    Of all the oddball "holidays," April Fools' Day I perhaps the oddballest. Should it be capitalized?  Should Halloween? Labor Day? English rules are bent when it comes to the oddball holidays which fall outside the conventions of Christmas and Easter. I also wonder about New Year's Day. Related: Perhaps the best agriculture April Fools' Day videos ever It seems whenever they create a new holiday like Earth Day it suddenly deserves caps (as we learned journalists…

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    GMO Critics Face Future of Ridicule, Embarrassment

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 25, 2015

    When I was a younger ag journalist and Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" (1962) became the Bible of the environmental movement, I was jarred to think how short-sighted public perception could be about agriculture. Time passed and after covering the ag world in the wake of the book's far-reaching popularity, I  came to discover that some of the misuse of pesticides by the industry  was real, and that important changes were needed. Dawn the age of regulation, the…

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    Rainless, sunny days marching on through spring's fanfare

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 18, 2015

    We have enjoyed a mostly dry winter this year, with lots of open days to plow fields and tackle the farm outside chores that sometimes wait on the end of rain. While those sunny winter days with little moisture might have been enjoyable, our snowpack in the Pacific Northwest has been sickly, and precipitation levels are down even in Twilight-famed Forks, Wash., the so-called wettest place in the lower 48. But as I get outside to work in the yard, I am beginning to realize that come August…

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    Anniversary Comes With Thoughts of the Way we Were

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 11, 2015

    "I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who? Who wrote the book of love!!!!" The Monotones: 1958. Great soundtrack for American Graffiti! As I gaze at my magic digital frame showing all those wonderful moments since Sally and I tied the knot in 1977 on March 12, and listen to "Book of Love" it all comes gushing back in so many fuzzy moments. Chapter one says you love her with all your heart. Stuck on that part of the book even after 38 years. No, we're not the people we…

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    Who Changed the World When I was Away?

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 4, 2015

    It all began … Well, maybe not ALL of it, and perhaps none of it all. Yet, it began sometime, somewhere. Social change, I mean. I have grown old in a world where those growing up are so markedly different from me at their age that I have trouble identifying with sometimes. Blame it on Elvis. Blame the Hippies. Blame Socrates. Before the '50s, everything was normal. Well, maybe those who grew up before "the" war will say it all went to heck right after. Or, maybe the…

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    Cooking Up a Storm My Idea for the Latter Years Delight

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 25, 2015

    I have always been tantalizingly interested in the culinary arts, even to the point I am thinking about taking cooking classes when Western Farmer-Stockman is in my past starting with my June 1  retirement. I've dabbled in gourmet meals, cooked a mess o' conventional dinners, and have even tried my hot pad-clad paws in pastries. The little mysterious ins and outs of cooking have always intrigued me, like zesting, deglazing and spraetzling. I like the kitchen gizmos that make…

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    A Summer Day in the Winter on the Oregon Shoreline

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 19, 2015

    The better half of my family suggested we take a ride to the Lincoln City, Ore., beach on Sunday, so I reluctantly agreed, envisioning clumps of dark clouds, a wind laced with ice, and temperatures that would freeze thermometers. What a day! The beach weather was as fine as I have ever seen, with blue sky far into the western horizon, kids running around in skimpy bathing suits, and only a nice and balmy breeze. It was as if old man winter had suddenly packed up and gone back to…

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    Weather in Boston a Lot Like my Michigan Experience

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 12, 2015

    While my heart goes out to the Bostonians who are snowed in, I think their plight is so much like almost every year back in Muskegon, Michigan, where I made winter dollars shoveling driveways. I had to time my work for each client at a time when I knew the road snow plow wouldn't come back before I was finished and pile more clumps of wet, cold, hard snow  at the driveway entrance. I didn't want to have to deal with that for $5 a driveway. As I remember, snow came in about…

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    Digital Frame Shows Life Passing Before My Very Eyes

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 28, 2015

    I have a big new digital frame on my desk in which my wife has put a zillion photos of everything I have ever done since I was born. Mostly. Every minute it changes to a new picture and I harken back to earlier days when my children were little, my waist was littler, and I was a lot younger. I peer back into those moments as they flood onto my desk and into my brain and relive so many forgotten moments. It is my whole life flashing before my eyes, and I know when that happens it is time to…

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    It's the Look that Can Trigger Earthquakes and Launch Wars

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 26, 2015

    I know that look. In fact, I can feel it even when my back is turned. It is the way a woman's face tells you she is not happy with something you are doing. I have researched "The Look" and find that there is a secret school in western Texas where all girls between the ages of 12 and 14 to learn it. A lady teacher as old as Mother Nature has been showing them how to give "The Look" forever. Eve was her first student, Google shows, and when she got back to the Garden of…

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    It's a Whole New Dog

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 16, 2015

    Dogs. Why do we love 'em? Heaven knows. Sure, they're warm and furry and loving and loyal and full of fun to entertain, always telling you you're the greatest, picking up the cheese you drop making a sandwich, and keeping evil doorbell ringers  in fear. But they also forget sometimes about where their bathroom is, chew  up new slippers just out of the Christmas box, jump in the middle of the newspaper when you're reading it, bark right in your ear from the back seat…

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    2015, 2015, 2015!!! But I'm Still in 2014!!!

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 8, 2015

    Whoever came up with the idea of a new year every 12 months? Bad concept. It screws up my life in so many ways, but mainly because now I have to remember one more thing: writing 2015 instead of 2014 on documents. What was wrong with 2014. It was a nice year for me in most cases, and I am not sure I want a new slate so I can mess things up. Really, who came up with the concept? Blame dead Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, or was it those tricky Babylonians. They messed up language by building…

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    Recycled Crumpled Christmas Wrapping Paper and Returns to the Mall

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 23, 2014

    Who doesn't love it when Christmas is over and everyone goes about their business in a kind of "Bah, Humbug!" resentment that there is not even one more present left to unwrap. The mistletoe has dried up, stockings hung by the chimney are stained with chocolate and strange sticky stuff, you forget to turn on the tree lights, those outside decorations loom as a take-down job nobody likes to think about, and the carols in the stores have become elevator music once more. Welcome…

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    Ringing the Bell for the Salvation Army Sparks Christmas Spirits

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 18, 2014

    I am a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, and proud to say so. If you really want to experience the true spirit of this season -- gifting others -- then call your local Salvation Army and volunteer to stand by a red kettle and ring a little bell for the  hungry and the needy of your community. Of all the charity organizations I have checked out, none give more of what they collect than the Army. The theme of this organization it to help the less fortunate in our community with food…

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    Christmas Decorations Galore -- Up in My Attic

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 10, 2014

    We got only a few boxes down from the attic for Christmas this year, and decided that we would not decorate with all the glory we do when grandchildren visit during the holidays. Since we'll be celebrating alone this year -- something I find very romantic -- most of the bulky bins remain up there. What we have come to realize is that we have way, way too many decorations, and after the holidays this year we're going to get everything down and sort through it to send most of it to our…

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    When the Silver Lining Grows Tarnished and the Shine is Gone

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 3, 2014

    Who knows what luck lurks in the shadows of tomorrow. We may win the lottery or IRS may tell us we owe another $3,429.29 by the end of the month. The car might break down, the doctor may say an operation is needed, or the dog can bite the mailman and he sues for loss of work time, mental anguish and marital discord. These are the realities life may hand out, and they can be pretty daunting, maybe chronically depressing. But there is some remedy for every bad, whether it means working three…

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    Mama Mia Saturday Night to End Shopping Day

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 25, 2014

    Saturday is shaping up to be a day of Christmas shopping getting final items so they can be wrapped and shipped to family for arrival in time. But the chores of walking  through 10,000 stores will be tempered by the thought of attending a New York company Mama Mia musical in the evening, and that's a nice ornament. We discovered ABBA late when the movie, Mama Mia, was released, and have been listening to the music of this old group ever since. Attending a live performance will be a…

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    GMO Labeling Victories in West Underscore Public's Understanding

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 19, 2014

    Looking back on the November initiative defeats of the GMO labeling initiatives in Oregon and Colorado, I am impressed with what seems to be a public understanding that individual state label laws put farmers in those states in a competitive disadvantage with those in other parts of the U.S. Or was it that?  Could it be only the glitz of the most impressive ads on TV led them to vote away the GMO label nuisances?  Or, perhaps, maybe the general public is sympathetic with the GMO…

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    Winter Arrives in Different Attire throughout the West

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 12, 2014

    As I helped the neighbor across the street chain saw a tree that fell on his car, and the guy next door who had a major timber fall across his driveway in the same storm, I thought about my friends in Montana and Wyoming and remembered cold isn't the same everywhere. What we consider cold in Washington might be considered a spring day in parts of the prairie West, and we all have to think about the particular circumstances to understand how to compare notes. Being from Michigan, cold…

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    Election Fever Quickly Changes to Chills for Some

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 5, 2014

    "You can please some of the people some of the time …" the timeworn quote goes, adding                                                         it is never possible to please everyone always. America…

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    Year's End Time to Recall Highlights of 2014

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 29, 2014

    Whatever lingering taste of summer remains is hard to sense as the seasons for cider, turkey dressing and nog push in. While it is nice to celebrate these new holidays each year, I lament the end of the long, warm days. It is like seeing someone you care about walk away into the mist, the scent of her perfume still in the chilling air, and fading memories of places you shared dimmed in the autumn twilight. Ah, the great summer is gone, and again the fall is here in what seems to be so…

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    A Lot of Data Sitting About Not Helping Farmers Do a Better Job

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 23, 2014

    With so many millions of gigabytes of agricultural digital data in the pipeline, the system is clogging up. That's pretty much the assessment of speakers at the University of Nebraska/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-sponsored Water for Food Conference in Seattle last week. The scientists say so much digital data has been collected that it isn't being crunched and getting down to the farm use level. What a shame! Yet, it is understandable, as our aerial and ground robots gather…

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    Dark, Cold, Short and Cold Days Make Me Dream of Hawaii

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 15, 2014

    OK, wintry weather, you're here. Oh, I have had my really serious winters in Michigan, so don't think this is crybabying of a guy living where the snow isn't.  I've shoveled 4,593 tons of snow from Dad's driveway when I was back on Lake Michigan, so I know what you guys up in Montana are talking about. Sorta. But I've also been on the Pacific islands at this time of year, and let me tell you that it's a lot nicer there in the dark days of the year on the…

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    Bookmobiles, Cereal Comics, Bakery Delivery and the Milkman

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 8, 2014

    Remembering … When a growing lad in Michigan, I lived way out beyond the end of the bus line, out where the cows were pastured across the street and the farmers proudly showed off their new electric cream separators to the neighborhood kids. I loved it when the bookmobile would come. Mom took my hand and we wandered down the aisle of the converted school bus to decide what I wanted her to read to me. "Little Toot" and "The Little Engine that Could," were among my…

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    Another Day, Another Dog, Another Member of the Family

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 2, 2014

    After the 55-pound monster we adopted for our grandson left with him and his mom to live in another city, the mutt vacuum began to settle in here. I caught Sally looking at pet websites and hinting that maybe  should visit some dog kennels. I held off until she showed me this photo of a little doxie -- my favorite breed -- in Portland. We were out shopping near there the other day,  so I surrendered and said we could just look. Well, the featured mutt was already taken, so we left…

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    Beware Quickly Changing Issues when Writing for a Monthly Magazine

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on September 25, 2014

    In a recent article in Western Farmer-Stockman, I told a story of a rampant livestock disorder which was important for the industry to know how to manage. My mistake, and I knew it up front, is that the numbers of infected animals would change from week to week, meaning by the time our monthly publication was in your mailbox, the numbers had dramatically differed from the story listing. What I have learned before, and obviously forgot or decided to disregard, is that in a monthly…

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    Beware Quickly Changing Issues when Writing for a Monthly Magazine

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on September 25, 2014

    By T.J. Burnham In a recent article in Western Farmer-Stockman, I told a story of a rampant livestock disorder which was important for the industry to know how to manage. My mistake, and I knew it up front, is that the numbers of infected animals would change from week to week, meaning by the time our monthly publication was in your mailbox, the numbers had dramatically differed from the story listing. What I have learned before, and obviously forgot or decided to disregard, is that in a…

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    Riding the Snake into Hell

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on September 18, 2014

    When we decided to take the jet boat up the Snake River into Hells Canyon, who knew it would become the highlight of a week vacation in Idaho and eastern Washington. Due to the lateness of the season, our boat had only three couples on board, plus Captain Bill. That made it an intimate adventure we all shared like a planned expedition together. We were able to move about the boat freely to take our photos, something that would not have been so possible in a mid-season filled boat trip. What…

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    Laughed So Hard I Cried with Robin & Joan

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on September 4, 2014

    I love comedy. In fact, my wife tells me the fact I made her laugh is why she married me. I still like to crack her up. Part of my joy in life comes from the great comedians who were a part of my generation. Now, with the loss of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers, there'll be less laughs down on Earth, but more in heaven. When we were traveling about the West with our four children, we listened to a lot of radio tapes by the likes of Williams, Carlin and Cosby. Some of their punch lines…

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    Dogs Gone, but Pressure Mounting for Yet Another Mutt

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on September 3, 2014

    We've rescued our share of doggies, but now that Shadow, Mitzi, Crumpets, Clancy and Arya have gone to either dog heaven or St. Louis, I can feel the little nudges for yet another replacement animal. When our latest, Arya, had to leave with my grandchildren to move to St. Louis, it was a mixed blessing. On one hand we were free from the dominating 55-pound whatever-she-is burden/blessing. Yet, we are living in a house dog-free. That seems just wrong on a lot of levels, since we usually…

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    Three Sisters and a World-Class Flyfishing River

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on August 27, 2014

    I warned readers when I got the new tent trailer rig last year I would have some travel experiences to share. Fortunately, you do not need to worry about a slide show. Traveled to Central Oregon where the Three Sisters Mountains dominate the Cascades, but knew little about what else awaited me there. Well, it was very eye-opening. I had no idea that the lava fields  near the mountains were so extensive as if they went on eternally. When we visited the lava house built on top of the…

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    E-mail, Digital Extraordinary Tools

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on August 20, 2014

    In this age of electronic communication, I wonder back at the old days and wonder how we journalists ever got by. Consider: Computers are now the commonplace, and we can transmit our articles instantly to our editors, and they can just as quickly turn it back over to us for copy editing changes. Consider: The telephone message machine, or assistants who answered calls of our sources, often went unreturned, leading to dismal delays in our deadline process; now we can email sources for…

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    Grain Harvest Threat Eased for Western Growers

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on August 14, 2014

    It seems that the siege at United Grain Corp., the largest grain company in the West, is ended. Union and company authorities came to an agreement last week that should have allowed inspectors to re-enter this vital facility as the western grain harvest gears up to high. Had the two not come to a settlement, the question of where all that grain would have gone remains frighteningly unknown. Kudos to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for pulling the folks at United and the…

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    Complications of Farming Multiply

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on August 7, 2014

    I was chatting with a farmer friend recently, who told me about all the new paperwork he has to deal with in the regulatory quagmire, and how hard it is to keep up with the latest technology in an industry that seems to be doubling up on new information and record demands. The stress is enough to make him want to go into another business, he adds, but this fifth-generation producer isn't about to be the one to end the heritage of his family. Nevertheless, when all of the new  data he…

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    Sacramento Precision Ag Show No Place for the Novice

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 30, 2014

    It cost my company plenty to send me to the 12th International Conference on Precision Agriculture in Sacramento in July, and I was plenty excited about getting a million good story leads and articles. What happened to me might be a warning to farmers attending PA events: make sure they're tuned to your level of understanding  and not strictly offering a high-mind scientific menu of talks that probably only the audience made up of mostly researchers could grasp. I blame myself for…

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    Sally's New Pantry or How I Had So Much Fun at Home Depot

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 16, 2014

    So she needed me to build a pantry. Stuffing cans and bags of food in the cupboards beside her electric kitchen gizmos and cake tins had become unbearable, I was told. Of course, said I,  I can build a pantry. I normally commit before the brain is engaged. My strength in fixing things isn't in building furniture and fixtures that have to look really professional. I am more the molding and duct tape kind of person. Yet, I had promised, and I never, ever break a promise. So, I had at…

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    A Nice Trip to Visit an Empress Enthroned on a Crystal Canal

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 15, 2014

    Who would have thought that just 300 miles from my doorstep  I could step back into the domain of the British Empire in another generation. In a birthday gift trip from Sally, she swept me off to Victoria, British Columbia, an island city  of charming people and delightful places. After a 90-minute trip across the Juan de Fuca Straits, our ferry chugged up the canal to the very front of the Empress Hotel, a century-old destination that stands proudly in memory of a bygone kind of…

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    Great Wildernesses Where the Fishing is Good and Granite Shines

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 9, 2014

    Take a walk on the wild side. Head to Olympic National Park's  deep, lost river falls in the  torrentially soaked rain forest, tramp on the Humbug Trail in California, or walk along a trout river and watch an elk swim ashore on one of Michigan's storied trout streams. Done all that. Have awakened with my sleeping bag covered with snow, felt critters running into the sack high in the Colorado Rockies where we Jeeped across bridgeless streams to find a snowpack refrigerator…

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    California Precision Ag International Conference Nears

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 3, 2014

    This is a good time to remind readers about the 12th International Conference on Precision Agriculture running in Sacramento, Calif., July 20-23. Western Farmer-Stockman will be there to bring back articles on what's new in advanced agricultural technology on many fronts, such as food security, precision ag, remote sensing and emerging issues on the topic. I also covered the new ag tech show in McMinnville, Ore., earlier this year, and was impressed with all the new tools we're…

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    Getting It Right and Getting It Wrong

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 26, 2014

    We editors are a sensitive lot. We love getting letters that tell us we are angelic in our perfect accuracy.  But when someone tells us we blew it, it simply rips out our hearts. Case in point: In the July Western Farmer-Stockman I wrote a wonderful (my kudos) story on GMOs. Then, we ran a great big beautiful photo of a wheat field to go with it. No wheat GMOs exist,  the letter to the editor told me. I knew that. I could reach into my excuse trough and come up with 17 different…

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    It's the Bubble Gum I Hear

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 20, 2014

    No, I'm not leaving my Pacific Northwest nest. But my daughter is, after living with us for a couple of years between locations. Since she has two little ones, their stuff has accumulated to our rooftops, and into the attic. I think they had some of it on the roof. So, as a prelude to her move to St. Louie, she  contracted for one of those pods to be dumped in my driveway. A 16-foot-long white box has elbowed into the place I once parked my Suzuki. Packing it was no piece of cake…

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    For the Love of …So Many Things

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 12, 2014

    The Bible says the greatest gift is love. The Beetles say All We Need is Love. Little valentines say "I love you." The Mills Brothers sang that "We Always Hurt the One We Love." And Tina Turner asks "What's Love Got to Do with It?" Kind of a mixed review on the emotion in our society, but my personal take is the biblical one as it being the greatest and best thing going. Love is a word loosely tossed about. Do we really "love" to sail? Is a dog…

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    A View Beyond the Window

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 10, 2014

    We live in a little place. All we experience when running to the grocery store or lounging on the beachfront is such a small perspective. The eye can only see so far, so deep, and there beyond our limits of sight are billions of other eyes looking a quite different worlds. Earth is big. So big we don’t even share the same sunrise. We have time zones to tell us when the Japanese are waking up or when the people in Greenland are having lunch. Lots of us speak languages most of us…

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    A Bird for Joseph

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 4, 2014

    There is a luxury three-story birdhouse atop a pole out my window where the garden sits. Sometimes, when the sparrows are in the right mood, a couple moves in and settles on some eggs for  summer hatching. It is an exciting natural epic to enjoy. This year, however, visiting birds just flew away, perhaps the neighborhood was not up to par (I must weed the garden soon). As a result, my six-year-old grandson, Joseph, isn't  happy. "Why won't we have any little bird…

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    Here Come The Ice Coolers

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 2, 2014

    The snowbells, daffodils, tulips, camellias, azaleas and the rhododendrons mostly, have faded, and I hear the jingle of ice in my new Coleman metal cooler hailing that summer is in the wet wings of dying spring. I like the long days that mean I can do lots of outside things and not worry about it getting dark before I finish. Since the Pacific Northwest summer sunset comes late, it stays light until after 9:30 some evenings, and that's good enough to get in one more cast into the lake or…

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    Another Birthday, Ho Hum and Hurrah!

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on May 20, 2014

    When I was in sixth grade, the prettiest girl in the world taught me to spell "tomorrow." Then, she died. I never forget Kathy with the scent of jasmine flowers who helped us out before school spelling tests to get words right. She stopped at my desk and taught me: "Just think of it as three words – tom, or, and row," And I got it right on the test! Before the end of the year, we all stood at her graveside on top of a hill and watched them lower the white casket…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Posting Trivia Questions Shows Age of Readers

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on May 15, 2014

    I love the old radio shows like the Shadow (who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man), and collect them as an ongoing hobby which has to date added up to hundreds of disks and tapes. I remember when these programs ran on the radio, and I would  sprawl out on the floor in front of our big radio and tune into "The Cisco Kid" or "Suspense." Recently, the advent of social media has allowed me to field some trivia questions to my friends to see if they remember any…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Diets, Exercise and Other Bad Ideas

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 29, 2014

    I am one of those who wonders why a just God would make all the most wonderful foods bad for you. It kind of goes along with my religion theory that God has a sense of humor. I mean, look at what happens to us as we grow old. Instead of looking more like Greek gods and goddesses in our '70s, we crumble like the Pantheon. And unless we work out like Atlas, our bodies become ugly fat pods. Who invented this system? I believe some angel in charge of humans had a computer c rash near…

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