Friday, July 22, 2016

More bird pix uploaded

Click on any image for a better look. This is a broad-tailed hummingbird if the bird book is describing the same critter.

There has been a western tanager at the fruit feeder but no photos yet.

Here is a video of a roadrunner taking a dirt bath after visiting my wildlife waterer.

New research on maniraptoran dinosaurs, the group that includes Velociraptor and modern birds, shows that having a beak conferred a survival advantage by providing birds the ability to eat seeds. When animals around you are dying off in droves because meteor strike, this would have come in pretty handy by being able to exploit dwindling food resources. [PLOS Paleo Community]

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Can you help George identify his bio dad?

The following letter is from George Schmitz. He was born to my mother, Harriet Craig, before she met and married my dad and has asked to use this platform to identify, locate, perhaps even contact, his biological father. The man in the right in the above photo is our maternal grandfather. George believes one of the other men in the image is his father. If anyone knows their identities please contact him or me.

Click on the photo for a better look.

July 2016

Larry thanks for posting my story. Every day I get closer and every day my time is running out. It will be interesting to see where they intersect.


READERS – I could use your help.

My name is George B. Schmitz. However, I was baptized Anthony Craig in Omaha Nebraska in 1943. I determined the name of my biological mother many years ago. I have a bit of information about my biological father, but, have not been able to identify him. You can see that I am now 73 years old. I would like to know my father’s name. Please see if you can help me.

Following is information which may help you the reader help me George B. Schmitz of St. Louis Missouri determine my biological father.

1. I determined the identity of my mother many years ago. She was Harriet Mae Craig who was born in 1922. She lived in Norfolk, Columbus and Omaha Nebraska and after marriage in Elkton South Dakota. Her married name was Kurtz. My biological mother Harriet Mae Craig Kurtz died in 2013.

2. I was conceived on a blind date in Cheyenne Wyoming in 1942. I was born May 14, 1943.

3. My biological father age 22 was a U. S. Military serviceman who was likely stationed at Warren Military Base, Cheyenne Wyoming (at least in 1942). Warren Military Base was an Army Air Corp and Quartermaster Corp installation. I believe my mother’s cousin lived in Cheyenne Wyoming and set up this blind date. The cousin’s name was Gerhardt Robert Messersmith. He was known to most as Bob Messersmith. He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. Bob Messersmith was born in 1910 and died in 1989. He is buried in St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Columbus Nebraska. Bob’s wife’s name was Roberta. In all likelihood Bob Messersmith knew the serviceman who was my biological father. Ring a bell in anyone’s head? Anyone know of him? Send me your ideas.

4. Although I was placed in the Saint James Orphanage in Omaha immediately after birth, the actual birth took place at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Omaha. And, a birth certificate was likely prepared. Records indicate that my mother Harriet Craig named me Anthony Craig – after her father? And, although I was living at the Orphanage, my care was being paid for by my mother and I was not immediately put up for adoption. Several months later (just prior to her marriage), Harriet Craig finally consented to my adoption. What does this tell you? Can you help me?

5. Male line DNA testing has indicated a strong likelihood that the surname of my biological father was McKinney, McNeil, McLeod, or Childress. Although these names have a likelihood, I certainly would not rule out other names. The Omaha Orphanage relayed to me that my biological father’s name was quite rare in current national data and may have more than one spelling.

6. My mother’s family relayed to me that my ‘file’ at the Omaha Orphanage could contain the name Herman Osterhoff as my father as that was a fictious name used by my mother when she had no one else to blame things on as a youngster. However, a Herman Osterhoff has been determined to have lived nearly ‘next door’ to the Messersmith family while they lived in/near Humphrey Nebraska 1921- 1930. Herman Osterhoff and Bob Messersmith could have been very good childhood friends. The Osterhoff’s moved to Webster / Waubay South Dakota in 1930. Records seem to indicate that this Herman Osterhoff changed his name to Sylvester Osterhoff. He died in 1998 and is buried in Lakewood Cemetery – Waubay South Dakota. Is he connected?

7. Orphanage records indicate that my mother notified my biological father of the actual or potential pregnancy and his response was, “it is not possible”. So, I believe he at least knew of the possibility that he had a child.

I AM ASKING FOR YOUR HELP. Does any of this ring a bell. Do you know of anyone who might have been in Cheyenne Wyoming in 1942 and seems to match any of the above information?


George B. Schmitz

E-mail address

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wildfires reversing effects of the Anthropocene

Ponderosa pine only arrived in the Black Hills a little over a thousand years ago.
The wildfire that scorched nearly 600 square miles of land in Oklahoma and Kansas in March cleared out more eastern red cedars in a week than local efforts to eradicate the invasive species could have accomplished in decades, conservation experts say. "This was an ecological cleansing for the environment," said Ken Brunson, wildlife diversity coordinator with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. "That's mixed-grass prairie down there. Prairie survives with fire." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Gee, where have i read this before?
Forestry operations in the western U.S., including thinning for hazardous fuel reduction, leave behind a staggering amount of wood waste. Much of this waste is non-merchantable tree stems, branches, and tops. These materials, called forest residues or “slash,” are usually yarded into large piles andburned for disposal. In the bark-beetleaffected areas of northern Colorado alone, it is estimated that there is a backlog of 120,000 piles of woody biomass slated for burning. Not only is this a waste of a potential resource, pile burning can exacerbate air quality problems and increase greenhouse gas emissions. It also leaves long-lived burn scars on the forest floor. If slash could be economically transported, processed, and used by a bioenergy facility, it could be transformed into energy and marketable products rather than burned for disposal. This may be a more environmentally and socially appealing alternative to open burning. [excerpt, press release, Rocky Mountain Research Station]
In the Black Hills, Weyerhaeuser analogue, Neiman Enterprises is taking the last of the old growth ponderosa pine in the name of insect control and taking federal dollars to do it while the small diameter trees are left standing. Massive piles of slash littering the forest preside over skidder trails that slice up hillsides.

Multiple mycology surveys reveal disrupted, cattle-infested tree farms where humanity has destroyed whatever remains of the preceding 11,000 years of indigenous and ungulate management. Multiply that by the countless watersheds that European immigration destroyed in the United States and Canada by the number of those exploited in the name of disaster capitalism.

The latest trip through the Hills shows the Central Hills bug kill has yet to peak, Rapid City and Vanocker Canyon seeing new eruptions. Despite its efforts to stem the bark beetle Lawrence County is probably ground zero for ponderosa pine elimination right now. Weston and Crook County, Wyoming are also seeing large die-offs.

The Black Hills National Forest has announced that the mountain pine beetle is erasing a century of habitat mismanagement.
“We are seeing positive results as we continue our work with partners and conservation leaders throughout the Black Hills. We will continue to perform landscape scale treatments to make the forest more resilient to insects and fire,” said Craig Bobzien, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor. Results showed an overall decrease in tree mortality across the forest as a whole, but there are still several areas of significant beetle activity. Areas that have the highest current activity include the Northwest corner of the Forest around the Tinton area (approximately 8 miles west of Lead and 8 miles South of Spearfish), areas south and east of Custer and the west-central area near the South Dakota/Wyoming state line. [BHNF press release]
Neiman Enterprises is putting pressure on Republicans to increase logging of the old growth pine: critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.

Hey, where have i read this before?
In the first study, a team made up of French researchers obtained historical data describing the numbers and types of trees in Europe going back to 1750—they then used that information to create a model that showed the impact that forests have had on climate change. That allowed them to see dramatic forest loss in the early years, which carried on for nearly a century. But then, as more food was imported into Europe, forests began to rebound—but they were managed, which meant certain types of trees were favored over others for commercial reasons. This led to the displacement of a large percentage of broad-leaf trees with conifers, which the researchers note, hold more carbon, but since they have been harvested the carbon has been released. They also found that because fir trees have needles instead of leaves, and because they are darker, there have been significant changes in evapotranspiration and albedo, causing temperatures in forested areas to rise. [Studies show impact of forest management and deforestation on climate]
Researchers are saying insect activity doesn't make wildfire potential more likely in the Rocky Mountain Complex where fires and bugs have been clearing overgrowth.
The mountain pine beetles pinned inside Diana Six's lab in the Bioresearch Building on campus are little, the size of Tic Tacs. The research the University of Montana professor of forest entomology and pathology is doing on the insects is big. Beetles can tell the difference between a strong tree and a stressed one, and they are removing trees that are less able to adapt to climate change. Now, when beetles hit an area, people have a tendency to clear-cut for salvage, Six said. But downing every tree might be counterproductive if their hypothesis is correct. [The Missoulian]
Millions of acres are being farmed for ethanol by burning diesel fuel. Logging is diesel fuel-intensive. Diesel can be distilled from wood waste ground in the landing processing some with mobile pyrolysis systems.

Yes, wildland fires release mercury and carbon dioxide into the biosphere but it pales compared to what has been discharged by the Anthropocene.

There was a Crow Peak Fire stopped at 135 acres in 2012 that the Forest Service should have let burn.

The Crow Peak Fire of 2016 affected mostly Republican landowners who built in the wildland urban interface now begging the feds to protect their properties. These people, white retirees from somewhere else who hate gubmint, fled Minnesota, Colorado or California then parachuted into South Dakota hoping to isolate themselves from fair taxation, African-Americans and cultural diversity.

After intense lobbying efforts from this interested party and The Dakota Progressive that fire is now being managed as a controlled burn.

If you build in fire-prone areas within the wildland/urban interface homeowners insurance should be either denied to you or be prohibitively expensive.

Get cattle off the Black Hills National Forest and make it part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge.