Daily Archives: May 14, 2012

Salt Cedar Latillas for Erosion Control

During the toughest times of the post-Y2K years the blessing I appreciated most, but enjoyed least was cutting salt cedar in the bosques, trimming it,and selling it as latillas off some busy intersection in Albuquerque.  The best bosques weren’t accessible by vehicle, were loaded with ticks, and all the bosques on the Rio Grande are home to more rattlesnakes than live in the rest of New Mexico combined.

But when nothing else was working, when they’d cut off the utilities because I couldn’t pay the bills, I’d hitch up Old Faithful, the pickup bed trailer, load the chainsaw and loppers, and head for the bottomlands for a couple of days.

The work was grueling.  Bundling them and pissanting them back to the trailer took forever and assured a person would have a dozen ticks fighting over every inch of skin, and avoiding Brother Rattler required lightning reflexes along with a wary eye.

Once I had a full trailer-load I’d bundle them, pack them down and find a busy street corner where I’d sell them for $10 per bundle.  Usually took all day, but I’d try to get back to Grants in time to reach the city offices, pay the utilities and have the power turned back on first thing the next day.

It’s a lot easier in Texas, though I doubt there’s any market for them.  Never heard of anyone in Texas using latillas.  But salt cedar’s as water-hogging, damaging, invasive and pervasive here as in New Mexico.  Grows in the grader ditch between here and the State Ranch Road 385.

I can get a truckload of it in half-hour or so, and in a lot of ways I think it might be better than juniper for erosion control.  In that particular length of driveway between Gale’s front gate and his house the last runoff bypassed some of the earlier work and cut some new channels.  The salt cedar’s easier to obtain in this instance than juniper, so I’m shoring it up with salt cedar.

I’ve built four more rock and brush dams downstream from the first one in the creek to the east, hopefully to catch whatever washes out of the main one, come next runoff event.

Hmmm an aside.  A digression.  A parenthetical remark:

The new neighbor up the hill’s got him a spanking new machine to back up his track loader dozer and his rubber-tired backhoe/frontend loader. 

It’s a lopper of the magnum variety mounted on a Bobcat with tracks over the tires.  Air conditioned, everything computerized, even got a rock rake with it.  Only $57K.

I reckons I’ll just stick with my $8 thrift store Chinese repair job loppers.

Meanwhile, on a more exciting note.

I was telling my friend Rich on the phone about weirdness and anomalies I was getting on barycentric calculations for Old Sol positions.  While we were talking he went to the US Naval Observatory site and pulled up the ‘Read Me’ file for the MICA software. 

Rich, generous, amazing friend that he is, spang right-then-and-there ordered a copy for me.

Turns out they discovered an error for multiple calculations that didn’t exist for single calculations.  They’ve released a new version, 2.2.2, with the errors corrected, along with some other improvements I’d grumbled to myself it needed but suffered silently.

Only trouble I’ve found with it is that it won’t allow me to import my hundred-or-so custom locations.  I’m having to feed them in individually, longitude, latitude, elevations, each freaking one!  The Location Manager’s designed so I can’t even copy and paste them.

And when I luckily installed it on the old machine first, just in case, it over-wrote my old location manager.  Freaking erased it spang off the damned computer.

Damned pointee-headed astronomer bastards.  Rot in hell.

Old Jules