Tink Fitzhew vs the USGS

Guest post by WUWT moderator Mike Lorrey


Up here in northern New England, we like our tall tales. Stories of the humor, wisdom, and idiosyncratic thought of the yankee farmer stretch across the ages. This one you may have heard before, but it fits in with the current predeliction of our government climatologists habits of relabeling and redefining things in order to fabricate a public perception that things are getting warmer than they actually are….

Tink Fitzhew was a tough old codger. As knotty and wiry as those gnarled stumpy trees you see dotting the peaks of the White Mountains, much like his father, grandfather, and other ancestors going back to colonial days, when the family farm had been granted by the Governor of Massachusetts (yes, Maine was originally part of Massachusetts until the Great Compromise of 1820 in which Missouri was admitted to the Union as a slave state, with Maine being created as a free state to balance things out again in the US Senate) to his highlander forebears. Tink knew how to wring a living out of the thin stony soils of his farm. The rock walls around the edges of each of his fields was testament to the back breaking crowbar work that generations of Fitzhews had wrought to remove most of the rocks from their land. Every spring, however, a new crop heaved up through the frost laden soils. It was said that granite was really the only crop that grew well on that farm, other than maple trees and grazing grass.

In the winter, one fought to survive. The jet stream blew frigid arctic winds and snow down onto his farm with abandon. The barn needed to be boarded inside and out, and the farmhouse had a “bundle room” without windows, next to the central chimney, in which the family and farm hands eeked through the coldest part of winter. People got cozy like that. It was said that more marriages began or ended in the bundle room than anyplace else.

By the time Tink was near on retirement age, his kids were grown and moved away, the wife was dead, but he still managed to eek out a living with a small herd of Holsteins, though he’d always considered them to be closer members of his family anyways. Each had a name, and once you got to know them, their own personalities, though they, like Tink, weren’t very long on conversation unless you whet their whistle first with a good amount of mapleshine or applewine.

It was about that time that the US Geophysical Survey was surveying that area of the country, and while that area of New England had been surveyed as far back as the early 18th century, it wasn’t always by the most sober of individuals, nor did they have the benefit of satellites or aircraft back in the day.

Tink knew his farm was near the state border. How close it was, though, he didn’t know exactly. The whole town had long been in dispute as to which state it was supposed to be in in the first place, and his farm was on the edge of town. Many towns along the New Hampshire border had been chartered by the colonial Governors of both NH and Massachusetts, just as many in Vermont were chartered by NH and New York in conflict. Just which state one lived in was an issue of debate for many. There are even records in Britain of Revolutionary War POW lists that listed American prisoners as originating from Kittery, New Hampshire, Berwick, NH, etc. (some are online today) However Tink had always followed convention and voted in Maine since that was what the grant deed said.

So it was with some sense of excitement that Tink held when he saw the USGS surveyors coming up his drive one day, stopping at his porch.

“Mister Fitzhew?” one surveyor queried.

“Ayup, thets me,” Tink replied.

“Well sir, we’ve completed the survey in this area, and we have some rather startling news for you.”

“Oh, really?” Tink asked.

“Yes, it appears that your farm isn’t actually *in Maine*. You sir, are a resident of New Hampshire. Isn’t that great?”

“Well I’ll be, isn’t that sumthin?” Tink said in hopeful resignation, “I nevah could stand them Maine wintahs.”

90 thoughts on “Tink Fitzhew vs the USGS

  1. Hmmmm… I read the article twice but I think I must have missed the punchline somewhere.
    To recap: Tink’s farm straddles the NH/Maine border and for many years there was a long-standing dispute as to which state it officially belonged to. Then, at some point, the USGS visited Tink and informed him that his farm was located in NH, not Maine. End of story.
    …and this is interesting because?

  2. I love it! It reminds me of a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
    “If you call the tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Four, calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

  3. Hmmmm… I read the article twice but I think I must have missed the punchline somewhere.
    The first time I heard that one it was Polish vs. Russian winters.

  4. Daniel H says:
    July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    I will take your comments seriously, although when dealing with this subjcet, it is often difficult to discern if something is sarcasm/irony or a belief.
    The punch line is in the “I neveah could stand them Main wintahs”. The thought is that, on the average, Main winters are much worse than New Hampshire winters are ……on the average.
    So…..since he is no longer in Main but now lives in New Hampshire, his winters won’t be so cold. But, the joke is that he does not live in the “average” part of either state. He lives in one location and the “typical” weather in that location is not going to change just because of an arbitrary mark on a piece of paper.
    The relevance here is that a similar kind of thinking is typical of what the AGW crowd uses to prove their point.
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  5. Live free or die. [Great post]
    Maine or New Hampshah wintahs…either way…only the strong suhvive.
    God I love NewEnglanders.
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  6. Daniel H says:
    July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    …and this is interesting because?

    It’s a joke, son.
    Kinda like the old Arkansas Traveler line,
    “You ain’t very far from a fool, are you?”
    “Nope. Just this computer here between us.”
    /Mr Lynn

  7. NH and VT don’t have serious border battles because we’re separated from them by the Connecticut River (which also, quite decently, flows through CT). However, somehow the border is defined to be the west edge of the river, not the center line which is the border in most border-licious rivers. There are a few complications thanks to people building dams and Vermonters not paying for bridges (we get their money anyway thanks to no sales tax for most stuff and lower taxes on most of the rest).

  8. Man, what a humorless bunch of @#$%&*@#$%’s congregate here. I might be confusing lack of understanding of ironic expression with the deliberate expression of Socratic irony, but I think not. If a man is not capable of detecting and appreciating ironic expressions how can he possibly theorize anything? Daniel H., it’s a joke, or you are kidding us.

  9. thanx for the laugh. meanwhile there are thousands of “carbon” stories on google in the past 24 hours, all pro emission cuts/cap’n’tax. and, despite all the inquiry whitewashes…
    19 July: Nature: Hannah Hoag: Report maps perils of warming
    The report, from the US National Research Council (NRC), sets out the consequences — from streamflow and wildfires to crop productivity and sea level rise — of different greenhouse-gas emissions scenarios. It also concludes that once the global average temperature warms beyond a certain point, Earth and future generations will be stuck with significant impacts for centuries or millennia.
    Previous assessments tended to tie predictions to specific years or concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But because no one knows the course of future carbon dioxide emissions, this approach amplifies the uncertainties. The NRC report instead sets out the effect of each additional degree of warming, whenever that might happen. “There are some very important future impacts of climate change that could be quantified somewhat better than we previously thought,” says Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, who chaired the report committee.
    For example, the report shows that each 1 °C of warming will reduce rain in the southwest of North America, the Mediterranean and southern Africa by 5–10%; cut yields of some crops, including maize (corn) and wheat, by 5–15%; and increase the area burned by wildfires in the western United States by 200–400%…
    If concentrations rose to 550 parts per million, for example, the world would see an initial warming of 1.6 °C — but even if concentrations stabilized at this level, further warming would leave the total temperature rise closer to 3 °C, and would persist for millennia…
    “The report says an 80% cut is meaningful,” says Jay Gulledge, director of the science and impacts programme at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Virginia. “I’ve never seen that stated before, but it is based on the best calculations for the carbon cycle.” …
    “There is more certainty [in this report] than we’ve seen before,” says Steve Cohen, executive director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City. “It is blunt, direct and clear. Unlike the IPCC reports you don’t see any hedge words.”…

  10. Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)
    Thank you, I was endeavoring to explain, but have had a couple too many to go through the pain. Luckily, I refreshed to see your comment! Whew!

  11. Weather has no borders. “Climate” is an averaging of the weather that goes on with in man made borders. Hawaii is not a warm climate if averaged with Siberia.

  12. “Well I’ll be, isn’t that sumthin?” Tink said in hopeful resignation, “I nevah could stand them Maine wintahs.”
    Sweet, Mike Lorrey!
         It’s all about perception; and the hungry carbon crowd are hell-bent on us swallowing the perception that will make them rich and powerful.
         Reckon Tink Fitzhew died a more contented man knowing the government men had surveyed his climate to more benign…

  13. I went there to comment, but since there were no previous comments, I didn’t want to disturb their rest and so did not comment. This must be a really powerful, opinion making, industry leading, cutting edge, organ of global warming. They publish a blockbusting article and no one comments.

  14. Gail Combs: “Bert and I was fishin’ in the Bluebird … an’ ’twere re-al foggy.”
    I’m a fan too and wish I knew where my old LPs got off too. There are other Maine border stories such as the one about the murder on a fishing boat. The federal government had to get involved because although the boat was on the Maine side, the anchor was in New Hampshire and both states claimed jurisdiction.

  15. Live free or die. [Great post]
    As I recall, when it was Russian vs. Polish winters it was “live unfree or die”.

  16. Well, apropos of nothing in particular, the only other Maine farmer story I know goes something like this:
    A Maine small plot potato farmer regularly used a pig randomly rooting around the field to turn the soil so that the next crop could be planted.
    One day, an eager young man from the School of Agriculture dropped by to discuss with the farmer how he could enhance his farming techniques. He explained to the farmer how much time he could save tilling the field using a tractor and a plow instead of letting the pig do its thing.
    The farmer was unimpressed, replying, “Waal, time don’t mean nuthin’ to a pig.”
    Well, maybe you had to be there . . . .

  17. I think it is rather ironic that the 20th Main Regiment commanded by Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, which fought so bravely at the Battle of Gettysburg and on many other notable occasions, actually owed its existence to the Missouri Compromise.

  18. “Daniel H says:
    July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    Hmmmm… I read the article twice but I think I must have missed the punchline somewhere.
    … ”

    Well, it’s sort of like the farmer who wondered if his crops could survive the extra hour of sunlight when daylight saving time was instituted; but different.

  19. Just happened to come across this page from the USGS about the hydrologic cycle, and cloud formation. Simple explaination, and remarkably little mention of climate. It also notes that jet contrails might contribute to cooling thru cloud formation.
    Reply: Don’t forget about the 2% increase in solar forcing globally from DST as well. ~ ctm

  20. I knew this thread was going to be some kind of amusing story before I opened it. Why did I do that?

  21. evanmjones said:
    As I recall, when it was Russian vs. Polish winters it was “live unfree or die”.
    Ah, but your are underestimating the quality of life in Dear Mother Russia.
    I think the motto was more like, “Live Free and Die.”
    What a Country!

  22. Er, shoulda been, “Live Unfree and Die”
    Not used to the inferior Roman alphabet, comrades.
    20 below, the beloved Cyrillic, unfreedom and death! All that, plus Vodka! What a Country!

  23. pat says:
    July 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm (Edit)
    For example, the report shows that each 1 °C of warming will reduce rain in the southwest of North America, the Mediterranean and southern Africa by 5–10%; cut yields of some crops, including maize (corn) and wheat, by 5–15%; and increase the area burned by wildfires in the western United States by 200–400%…

    Pure junk. We’ve already had a 1C warming and it affected rainfall not at all.

  24. Saveashark,
    “God I love NewEnglanders”.
    Which ones?
    There’s a huge difference between those who are many generations in the White or Green mountains, and those that moved up from NY/NJ a few years ago.
    The real New Englanders (Yankees) are a disappearing breed.
    Ethan Allen is rolling in his grave for sure.
    One could say I love Arizonans – but how many are really Arizonans? 90% are transplants seeking a little warming.

  25. Re cold winter weather.
    A chap related how cold it was at his town by commenting – It must have been really cold this morning, I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets.

  26. Just one small correction: Maine would be pronounced ‘May’un’ by the Down Easters.
    Cahn’t get they’uh from he’yuh!
    Otherwise, very humorous story!
    Being originally from that part of the country, and having known may from those parts, the accent and history bring back old memories.

  27. I’m sorry – I just can’t help myself: The word is eke; and its past tense is eked… Eek is what elephants say when they see a mouse.

  28. For the longest time, I’ve been curious about the correct spelling for “ayup”. Thanks, Mike.

  29. Ha, that joke reminded me of the American that sent his eldest son to the UK to w ork out the difference between American and English humour (humor) In the course of his education an Englishman recounted the story involving social graces where all the lads gathered for a fox hunt and there was a pretty young lass present, and in a society where you needed to be formally introduced before you spoke to a female, who should be the one to introduce the female?, sorry, replied the American, I don’t know. Simple, said the Englishman, the Horseman knew her. (Horse manure)
    The American lad went back home and when asked to explain English humor, he related the story, but the punchline escaped him except, that it had something to do with horse sh*t.
    But my purpose in posting this, is that I went looking on the net for subtle nuance of this very old joke. Among the thousands of manure jokes, I didn’t find that one but I learned that you need to be careful in using words such as warmist as MIST in German, is slang for Horse Sh*t.
    I’ll bear that in mind!!

  30. Thanks for the shaggy dog story Mike, excellent!
    Here’s a story about the time Tink Fitzhew tangled with the Maine State Wage & Hour Department, who claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.
    “I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,” demanded the agent.
    “Well,” replied Tink, “there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board. The hog wrangler has been here for 18 months, and I pay him $150 per week plus free room and board.
    Then there’s the half-wit who works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.”
    “That’s the guy I want to talk to — the half-wit,” says the agent.
    “That would be me,” replied Tink.
    Interestingly some think that the ancestors of these hardy farmers could be remnants of a party of the Knights Templar led by Prince Henry Sinclair, who landed c100 before Columbus. However, despite some evidence, this is not the consensus position!

  31. Nice one! I had a good smile.
    BTW. ‘The Age’ (Melbourne) has headlines today about the coldest morning this year. Of course, it’s only ‘weather’. The first time they record a 40C day next summer it will, inevitably, be ‘climate change’.

  32. Not long before WWII an elderly farmer in New Zealand was visited by the Ford salesman from the nearest town, intent on getting the old chap out of his New Beauty Model T and into the latest V8 coupe. The salesman took the old chap for a long drive on the district’s narrow gravel roads, extolling the new car’s superior features, including the three-speed gearbox.
    At the conclusion to the visit, the old chap told the salesman to take the faithful Model T back to town and leave the wonderful new car on the farm. He settled with a cheque and the salesman rattled his way back to town, congratulating himself on his excellent salesmanship.
    A few months later, the old farmer arrived at the dealership, the engine in his new car rattling badly and pouring smoke from the exhaust. After some discussion as to how the new engine could become so badly worn so quickly, the old fellow said
    “Darn thing wouldn’t ever do more than about 60 in top gear.”
    The problem became apparent – the old chap had not taken in the fact that the new car had a third gear available during the demonstartion – and had never used it!
    For posters who have little or no sense of humour, this story is true. I sometimes use it to illustrate the fact that people often only hear what fits in with what they think they know!

  33. I learned that you need to be careful in using words such as warmist as MIST in German, is slang for Horse Sh*t.
    Why Rolls Royce had a problem when they tried to launch a Silver Mist!

  34. “As I recall, when it was Russian vs. Polish winters it was “live unfree or die”.”
    In communist russia the harsh winters can’t stand YOU.

  35. A billionaire Texan yarning with locals in an Australian outback pub describes his extensive acreage back in Texas:
    “Ef I get on my horse et mah northern boundery et sunrise an’ keep ridin’, why, by sunset ah still won’t have reached mah southern boundery. An’ the next day, ef I get on my horse et mah western boundery an’ ride east till the sun sets, ah still haven’t reached mah eastern boundery!”
    To which one of the locals responds: “Yeah, I had a horse like that too.”

  36. Daniel H says:
    July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    Chill Pill required!
    Mike, thanks, I needed a smile today and you got a laugh out of me that made the barmaid ask what made me so happy. Hell, she is Chinese so how do you explain “Eyup”! Nearly Yorkshire U.K. there!

  37. Minor quibble. US Geophysical Survey should be US Geological Survey. Geologists (like me) think there is a difference.

  38. Actually, I believe the correct spelling is “Ayuh”…and yes, I’m from there 😉 Never heard a “p” on the end of that exclamation…

  39. Daniel H
    you’ve missed the boat completely! In my neck of the woods which is south of the equator down in the south west quadrant of the ‘big pond,’ aka The Pacific Ocean, you are what we Antipodeans call a, “Dead Ball B*****d.” I can only guess that you come from somewhere that has a high propensity of tornados. I’m guessing one of those twisters got close to yah and sucked out all of your humor! Including the dry stuff!!
    As a surveyor and amatuer astronomer of little note I can easily appreciate the irony of mis-placed lines on the land and in the sky, put there by totally fallible humans, intentions good and bad. Unfortunately the consequences to humanity of people drawing arbitrary lines on maps have probably greater signifigance than any change in climate could ever match. Consider the current situation in the middle-east alone, brought about by the same class of people in Britain who today foister upon us the sham of the CRU investigations that allow the accused to detail what should be investigated. By class I don’t mean upper or lower, but ability. I come from a somewhat classless society here in New Zealand so I don’t use the term of ‘class’ in the way of my forebears.
    Some of the many beautiful things about this story are, firstly this is a direct connection to some of the people who experienced the Dalton Minimum first hand! Their description of the situation along the border of Maine & N.H. in the 1820’s maybe mirrored by the young people growing up in that area right now. There is unfortunately for the modern youth a vast difference between what they are being told about the future and how to handle it, and what those young people of two hundred years ago expected and went on to handle with strength and fortitude not apparent today.
    The other startling part of this story is the comparison of how we humans communicate in given situations. Old Tink got close to his animals. Naming them all and conversing with them as if they were almost human. This is not some sign of madness brought on by isolation as anyone who has pets that are more than perfunctory comapnions will tell you.
    The most intersting part about the cold living conditions and the habits created from them was the advent of the ‘bundle room.’ I am far from being expert on this subject but I would guess that ALL societies that lived, and stll live, under cold conditions have a ‘bundle room,’ of sorts. From this they often have societies that communictae and co-exist to a higher degree than people in modern western society.
    In our time of electronic disconnect type communication we can’t handle the minor discomfort of body odour from a colleague. We try and handle it, not by speaking openly to the person concerned, but by sending an e-mail to the HR person across the aisle! The people of New England and elsewhere 200 years ago would have considered such a situation as science-fiction, if they had the notion that science could be so fictionalized in the way 20th/21st century climatologists have so blatantly done with their very small, new, tiny-but-loud and trying to be scary, piece of science.
    The final, succinct point by Tink about the “scientific” movement of his property from one state to another due to human error was probably lost on those old surveyors and Daniel H!
    The story also, unintentionally perhaps, highlights micro-climates and the very real problem of climatic homogenisation. People today are very aware, perhaps even more so than in the past (but this is debatable) of micro-climates on a daily basis due to the advantages of modern communication. The counter to this awareness is of course the modern person’s lack of awareness about how climatologists ‘smooth’ the microclimates into an easy to handle “World Mean!”
    BTW we are having a Joe Average winter in our part of the North Island of New Zealand, but our “rellies” (Kiwi for “Relations”) in the South Island have been struggling with a prolonged period of low temps, mainly in the hinterland where this can happen often. The Bon Spiel (forgive my spelling) in Central Otago province happened for the first time in 3 years recently for example.

  40. Mike Fox says:
    July 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm
    . . . “Waal, time don’t mean nuthin’ to a pig.”

    Good one!
    Anthony, thanks for posting Mike Lorrey’s tale, and sparking others in the Comments. After the depressing stories about the warm-mongers propagandizing children in Chicago and scheming to hoodwink the hoi-poloi in Virginia, we needed a laugh or two.
    Maybe in addition to the Quote of the Week you could invite a Tall Tale of the Week.
    /Mr Lynn

  41. Ok … so one more
    Tourist is watching a New England farmer clear rocks from his field.
    “Where did all the rocks come from?” the tourist asks.
    Farmer tells him “Glacier brought em”.
    Tourist looks around, then asks “Where is the glacier now?”
    Farmer replies “Went back for more rocks”.

  42. A Soviet era Russian joke:
    A census taker in the old USSR is interviewing an elderly gentleman.
    “Where were you born?”
    “St. Petersburg.”
    “And where did you grow up?”
    “In Petrograd.”
    “Where do you live now?”
    “In Leningrad?”
    “And where do you hope to be buried?”
    “In St. Petersburg.”

  43. These are not tall tales. They reflect the way folks in Maine think. For example, my wife received the following directions when travelling to Oxford Hills – “You take the left before the end of the road.” Moreover, anyone who has travelled around Maine knows that the famous “Bert and I” line, “Come to tink about it, you can’t git thar from heer” is an accurate description for many locations for many tourists. Once you are off the Pike, you are on your own.

  44. Must be a new sign. No holes. Wait a minute, thats OK. Its an ‘outer’ in the ‘S’.

  45. Come on, Daniel made a joke, right? Daniel reads the WHOLE story twice and misses the punch line. The very last sentance. Get it?

  46. Spector says:
    July 19, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I think it is rather ironic that the 20th Main Regiment commanded by Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, which fought so bravely at the Battle of Gettysburg and on many other notable occasions, actually owed its existence to the Missouri Compromise.

    The family is not much into history, so my son-in-law was a bit surprised I spotted the statue of Col Chamberlain while driving into Brunswick. I knew who it was without realizing where I was. My daughter’s family goes there all the time for hot dogs and groceries and had never noticed. I rattled off a brief overview of Little Round Top and its importance to the unfolding of events at Gettysburg.
    The whole story of the 20th Maine is fascinating. It was made up of men from all over the state and basically was what was left over after the other regiments were formed. Family and college did everything they could to keep the Colonel from going to war. He most definitely was not warrior material, or so it seemed.
    There seemed to be some controversy at the time regarding who exactly gave the order for bayonets at the critical moment. Seems there is controversy regarding every important turning point. The men challenging Chamberlain had marched longer than any other unit at Gettysburg. They were also out of water, the men sent out to fill their canteens being captured by another Union unit. It seemed inevitable they would give out assaulting Little Round Top.
    There was another critical fight on the other end of the fish hook of Gettysburg, fought on Culp’s Hill by a Colonel Ireland leading the 137th of New York.
    You would probably enjoy reading some books by McPherson, the apparent leading author on Gettysburg.

  47. kind of a “sideways” “The men who went up a hill and came down from a mountain” eh?

  48. DCC says:
    July 20, 2010 at 3:54 am
    Minor quibble. US Geophysical Survey should be US Geological Survey. Geologists (like me) think there is a difference.
    Whatever rocks yah DCC!!

  49. –Off topic: Actually, Fitzhew isn’t a Scottish name but a Norman one meaning the illegitimate son of Hew or more possible Hugh….sorry!!!

  50. >> Layne Blanchard says:
    July 19, 2010 at 10:13 pm
    … USGS … also notes that jet contrails might contribute to cooling thru cloud formation. <<
    In all my long life I've never experienced being cooled by the shadow of a contrail.

  51. Mike, thanks for the humor. Grew up just south of Maine and NH in Mass. We had a long line of conversational interactions between tourists and natives. Offhand, the two I remember went:
    T: “Nice day isn’t it.”
    N: “So fah”
    T: “Lived here all your life?”
    N: “Not yet.”

  52. What, no Maine limericks? I can imagine some colorful stuff starting with “There once was a man from Bangor” : )

  53. OMG, I will reveal my roots on this one. This story is a classic of its kind. My father (born 1908) loved these stories, told them, and made them up on the fly. The joke is two-fold. First, Tink’s response is a way of saying “You think you just told me something, don’t you?” Second, it is a way of saying “The importance of state lines to me is entirely fictional.” If you want to attach some obvious historical significance to this story, just transport Tink to Appalachia in 1861, somewhere along the present border between Virginia and West Virginia, and imagine the different factions coming to Tink and asking for his support in the coming war.

  54. Great! I was really anxious for the Ol’Guy. Thought they were going to tell him that the farm was in Canada and that he wouldn’t be able to get there from here any more.

  55. Mike Fox writes:
    “A Maine small plot potato farmer regularly used a pig randomly rooting around the field to turn the soil so that the next crop could be planted. One day, an eager young man from the School of Agriculture dropped by to discuss with the farmer how he could enhance his farming techniques. He explained to the farmer how much time he could save tilling the field using a tractor and a plow instead of letting the pig do its thing. The farmer was unimpressed, replying, “Waal, time don’t mean nuthin’ to a pig.””
    Yep, all these old “frontier farmer” stories express an underlying Daoism (Taoism). No time to explain here. This particular one is actually found in Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu.

  56. If cap’n tax passes we all will have to have a bundle room.
    Got a lot of Scots Irish in my family-my Granpa was much like that…
    He was a West Virginian-Via Iowa. There are folks like this all over the world…

  57. Tourist comes to a folk in the road with a signpost that says “Portland” right or left.
    He asked the Maine farmer standing nearby “Does it matter which fork I take to Portland.”
    Farmer, “Don’t matta’ to me.”

  58. So…what’s the moral of this beautiful tale: Some day will the USGS guys will be back and say:
    “Well sir, we’ve completed the survey in this area, and we have some rather startling news for you.”
    “Yes, it appears that your farm isn’t actually *in USA. You sir, are now a servant of New World Order, so from now on you will be a happy inhabitant of this Brave New World, under the UN government. Isn’t that great?”

    And this is not a tale: Just google about all the binding agreements signed, from the WHO, ILO, to ISO instead of ASTM, etc.

  59. I would like to add the following: I do not live in the USA, but this morning I wanted to access my office computer (it usually does not have any password), and I couldn’t do it. When I asked why, I received the following answer: ” We are obliged to have every computer with a password to conform with ISO 9000″ .
    What the heck have to do the Brussels EU government with my computer?!…an almost economically broken association of countries telling what to do or not to do with a computer at the other side of the earth?, come on!

  60. I truckie pulled his sixteen wheeler livestock truck into the park behind a back-country pub. He was enjoying a cold soft drink when a motorcycle gang rode up, parked behind his truck then noisily invaded the bar. They spotted the lone truckie enjoying his soft drink. The gang leader offered him a whisky, attempting to intimidate him. When the truckie pleasantly refused, the gang gathered around him and began teasing him for his unmanly choice of drink. The truckie finished his drink, told the barman he would be by next week, then departed.
    After a half hour of noisy chat and rapid drinking, the gang leader said to the barman
    “That truckie ain’t much of a drinker.”
    “Ain’t much of a driver, either. He backed over all of your motorcycles on his way out!”

  61. Daniel H says:
    July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    …and this is interesting because?
    If I have to tell you, it spoils the fun. What’s almost as interesting is your feigned obtuseness.

  62. New England Yankees are actually a Native American Tribe, (No Yankeeland in Europe, after all,) but the Yankee are dying out because they are unprotected by a reservation. The winter weather, however, is sheltering as few enclaves in remote spots.
    Many Hippies moved north from Boston Colleges around 1969 to start communes and “get back to nature.” I’d say around 90% were heading south to Mom’s, in Boston’s suburbs, by the next February. The 10% who stayed tended to be Yankees to begin with.
    Winter can start with snow in October (like last year,) and it is not unusual to have snow in May. Count it up on your fingers. That’s eight months of winter (and “four months of rough sledding.”) (Actually I think that joke’s from Minnesota.)
    That also gives you a growing season of four months, 120 days, if you are lucky.
    If the past thirty years was a “Warm cycle,” then the next thirty are going to be even rougher in New England.
    The best way to be accepted in a New England town is to be yourself. Never attempt to “be local.” The only way to become local is to “live in town five generations.” (My father was not “local,” though he grew up across a river, in the next town.)
    Never, never attempt to figure Yankee out, like an anthropologist would. (I also noticed this among the Navajo. Navajo had great fun telling anthropologists about “traditions,” which they were in fact making up on the spot, keeping a very straight, serious and stoic face as they did so. Some of these “traditions” are now in print in the University of Albuquerque archives, as genuine Navajo traditions.)
    Yankee also tell tall tales, keeping a straight face, along the lines of, “Last wintah the snow was so deep we had to dig down twelve feet jus’ t’ hahvast the wintah apples.”
    Navajo called outsiders (who approached their culture with a strange mix of awed idealism and condescending superiority) the name “Wannabeah’s.” In New England hills they are called “Flatlanders.”
    A man from California once told me he found Yankees very cold, at first, but later realized once you made a friend the friendship was strong. In California, he said, it was easy to make a friend, but a year later the friend might not remember your name.
    People are attracted to rich old cultures like the Yankee’s, but such cultures are dying out because few want to go through all the work involved. A rich culture is like a rich marriage; you have to stay in it even on the days the other folk drive you half mad. It’s not all that attractive, compared to what the young imagine lies off in the big cities.

  63. Tom_R says:
    “In all my long life I’ve never experienced being cooled by the shadow of a contrail.”
    I have many times. I’ve also seen contrails become clouds and persist for hours. Just because it doesn’t happen where you live, doesn’t disprove it. Actually, there are stories going around about how those contrails are an evil Air Force experiment…….

  64. The version I first heard involved a farmer living on the border of Montana and North Dakota. You can choose which ever state you want the farmer to become. Or… we can resurrect another old chestnut.
    An old South Dakota farmer dies and is sent to Hades. When he gets there the Devil asks him if it’s warm enough for him. He replies: “Nah, it’s about like the temp in August just before the wheat harvest.” The Devil walks over to the wall and turns the thermostat up a couple of notches. The Devil comes back a couple of weeks later and asks the old boy if it’s hot enough yet. The farmer is now in a short sleeve shirt and is sweating slightly and replies: Aw this nutthin’. It’s about like South Dakota at the start of harvest. The Devil cranks the thermostat up a couple of more notches. Two weeks later the Devil comes back and asks the farmer if it’s hot enough for him. The farmer has taken of his shirt and has his bandanna in his back pocket and replies: “Naw. It’s about like it is atthe middle of harvest season.” The Devil goes into a rage and cranks the temperature all the way up and stomps out. Two weeks later he asks the farmer if it’s hot enough. The farmer, now in shorts and no shirt and sweating buckets, allows as how it is getting a might warm , nut it’s not any worse than the temperature at the end of harvest time. This infuriates the Prince of Darkness so much that he cranks the thermostat ALL THE WAY DOWN! He comes back a week later. The farmer now has frost on his eyebrows and eyelashes. Icicles are dripping off the end of his nose and he’s a lovely shade of blue. The whole place is coated with ice and snow. The Devil says: “What do you think of the temperature now Mr South Dakota farmer?”
    The farmer looks at the Devil and says: “Well…… I think Dr. Michael Mann just admitted that his “hockey-stick” graph was total horse manure.”

  65. An old Maine radio ad:
    A gentleman had moved to Maine 40 years ago and raised a family. When he told an old Mainuh that his kids were Mainers, the old codger replied, “Well, . . . if my cat had kittens in the oven, I wouldn’t call them biscuits.”
    Amy Salsbury of the TriCounty Gahden Club “openin’ tha gahden gate” and 15 With Fred (diaries of an old forestry warden) were always my favorite radio shows back in the late 60s.

  66. Gilbert K. Arnold says:
    July 20, 2010 at 10:53 am
    May I suggest the XXX novels’ writer a.k.a. IPCC Patchi as the Devil character in your tale?:-)
    As global warming didn’t work, he will try to “crank the thermostat ALL THE WAY DOWN”, though such a phenomenon we call it a Maunder like minimum.
    it’s the devils’ make 🙂

  67. Dry witicisms are a practiced art. Maine has sponsored more than most other states.
    When I lived out in Massachusetts for 10 months, about 15 years ago, the Massachusetts folks referred to the Maine residents as ‘Main-i-acs’. With typical Maine wit, they referred in kind to Massachusetts folks as ‘Mass-holes’.
    A practiced art, indeed!

  68. Thanks for this. I dug out my old Bert and I album. I hadn’t listened to it in several years at least.
    “Bert and I Solve The Energy Crisis” tells a hilarious tale of their conversion of the “Bluebird Three” to steam power, cutting two feet off the bottom of the boat and adding them to the sides so it slid along the top of the water, getting lost in fog due to the lighthouse only giving a signal every two hours to conserve energy, and also the fact that they had installed a 50-watt bulb would have made it difficult to see anyway. In the end, unknown to them, they wind up traveling over land, on top of nothing but a heavy dew. They then attach a sprinkler to the bow to provide enough moisture to travel on, wind up on Route 1 doing greater than the 50mph speed limit, and get pulled over by a policeman, who, when they explain what happened, and show their lobsterman’s license instead of a driver’s license climbs into a tree. The closing line is; “They say he’s up there still – tryin’ to conserve energy, I guess”.
    They would have had a ball with the whole Global Wahmin’ thing.

  69. mkelly says:
    July 20, 2010 at 7:45 am
    Tourist comes to a folk in the road with a signpost that says “Portland” right or left.
    He asked the Maine farmer standing nearby “Does it matter which fork I take to Portland.”
    Farmer, “Don’t matta’ to me.”
    I can assure you from first hand experience in giving directions to people from away that it wouldn’t likely make any difference to them either.
    As for that Global Wahmin’ thing Bruce Cobb,
    I’ve survived 60 winters here in Maine and all of the Global Wahmin never really seems to make a bit of permanent difference.
    I’m somewhat set for this winter as the oil tank is topped off, there are several tons of pellets in the bunker, and the filling of canning jars has started.
    I do have to get some gasoline for the snow blower, I didn’t have to use much last winter but the two before that and from the looks of things this winter were a royal PITA.

  70. @Ian Cooper:
    Careful before telling a Maine Man that he doesn’t have a sense of humor (pronounced HU-mah). The old story is true about Maine Hu-mah: it’s not that it ain’t funny; it’s just that you don’t get it.

  71. savethesharks says:
    July 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm
    Live free or die. [Great post]
    OT, but live in ORF. (not OT, love Maine Lobster).

  72. John Whitman says:
    July 20, 2010 at 6:41 am
    > What, no Maine limericks? I can imagine some colorful stuff starting with “There once was a man from Bangor” : )
    Guess not.
    After moving to Eastern Massachusetts in 1974 I thought of writing a limerick that rhymed Boston with Lost in, but it took years before I could rhyme those. It would help if I could write limericks well. Cambridge MA (next door) was the first place I drove in a circle without realizing it.
    There once was a lady from Austin
    who moved to the fair town of Boston.
    Her maps she did spurn,
    she took a wrong turn
    and joined all the folks who were lost in.

  73. Another Mainer chimes in:
    The Texas farmer (where everything is BIG) bragged a bit to the Maine farmer “I get up at dawn and get in my truck and it takes me all day just drive from one end of my farm to the other.” The Maine farmer (where everything is small) said “I know what you mean. I had a truck like that once myself!”
    While we make jokes, our two fine senators are voting us down the river. For those who don’t know, Maine is a welfare state, without help from Washington.

  74. I doubt Tink would be happy with getting back his state income tax from Maine since 1969, as soon as he does, the state of NH, and his new town and county governments will come at him for back property taxes… If he was “shmaht”, he’d sue for estoppel since the state failed for near 200 years to enforce its property tax regs on him. If his lawyer was sharp enough, he may get out of it with a permanent property tax exemption, since he’s now over 50.
    Though, New Hampshire potatoes don’t taste as good as Maine spuds, the girls are prettier. They wear slightly less flannel.
    Back to New Hampshire climate, we just broke one of the longest streaks of daily temps over 90 in this area with a couple days of severe thunderstorms, microbursts, and a few funnel clouds. Just glad black fly season is over.
    We don’t have seasons called “spring” here. After wintah there is “mud season” (this is just after you finish off boiling your last maple sap). Then its black fly season. Black flies are small. Aka no-see-ums and other, less polite terms. They swarm, especially over water. They make early trout fishing rather nasty. Mosquitos, aka the New Hampshire state bird, are rather tame by comparison. After the black flies die out in July some time, things can get rather nice once you learn to repel or ignore the mosquitos, horse flies, deer flies, etc. This is called “summah”. This is when the flatlanders show up. Now, if the flatlanders are paying you for a cabin, or to show them around, or whatever, you don’t use that term, you say they “are from away” since they “ain’t from around heah”. It’s the polite term. They are only flatlanders if you have no economic relationship, and they have in some way expressed their flatlander ignorance, from a dumb comment, or leaving the outhouse door open, leaving bird feeders out at night (they become bear food at that point), or stopping their car on the side of the road to get close up pictures of a grazing moose, as if that creature isn’t as dangerous as a rhino at Park Safari.
    The “Mass-hole” term is only used for individuals who have gone beyond ignorant into rudeness or stubborn refusal to abide by the greater wisdom of their yankee hosts, sometimes drifting into complete idiocy. I am reminded of one fellow from a minority neighborhood of Boston who was intercepted at the Maine border, returning from a hunting trip to that great state, with a dead cow strapped in the back of his El Camino, with a bullet hole in its head. The fellow, upon questioning, informed the police that it was a moose that he had shot while participating in that state’s moose hunt. He proudly displayed his Maine Moose Permit and attempted to push his way back into his car.
    It turns out that this cow was the some time paramour of an actual bull moose who was a mite confused in his romantic attentions. This happens occasionally when a bull has chewed so much swamp cud that he becomes addled by brain worm (also known in the political arena as “cultural diversity”). So the fellow was naturally assuming that the cow was in fact the female of the moose species, but had not attended the mandatory moose hunting classes where he would have been clearly instructed by wildlife officials what a female moose looks like. Needless to say, he became a guest in our local institutions of correction, where he most certainly is NOT referred to as “from away”.

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