MONDAY 10-08-2012 Wind Power is a dud, just say no to Measure 81, might Gary Harrington get the last laugh, and property bubbles in the early 1900's. We just never seem to learn!

Oct 08, 2012 -- 9:03am

Were Charles Dickens with us today...

I've had SO many requests for Mark Johnson's e-mail text from this morning. Mark is from Grants Pass, and writes of getting his bees, (his "girls") ready for winter:

I opened up the girls this morning.

First cold morning, cold enough I tested the central furnace to see if it was ready for winter.  Friday at work...I'm cutting timber off the Prospect flat.  I look up...there are 40 turkey buzzards circling.  Up...and up.... I cut another tree... I looked up...and they were all tailing off south..

........the fall migration is here.

The girls have the bottom brood chamber full.  The second brood chamber is totally full of honey, less on frame.  Why they didn't work that one, I don't know.  I put it in the center.... the most full to the outside for insulation.  Get them organized for winter.

The top honey super, the small one, is all waxed, but empty.  I had a queen excluder there to encourage them to work in the lower chambers.  The colony hates queen excluders...makes them bitchy.  I took it out for winter.

I didn't tear into the lower brood chamber where the queen was working.

Left them alone.

You have to patient and tolerant.  Smoke just pisses them off.  Come into the house, take off your sweat shirt.... there are half a dozen hitch hikers inside.

Put your sweat shirt outside so they can find home.

You hear a buzz while your at the computer.  It's one lost soul. Pick her up gently by the window...and set her outside.  Watch her fly back to her house.

Gentle.  Don't lean over the top of them, your shadow sets off the fight response.  Don't stand in front of the door.  Don't smash any of the troops.

You can stick a bare hand right down in there.... tear them all down, put them all back together.... and not a bite nor a sting.

My girls are more than ready for the winter.



6:35 John Charles, Cascade Policy Institute - New study out that Wind Power leads to an unreliable power grid. More on the Cascade Policy Website.

7:35 Peter Roscoe, says you should vote no on Measure 81, the anti-gillnetting measure. More on

8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers,, and today's "Visiting Past and Present" is about the Boom and Bust in southern Oregon orchards:

The Orchard Boom and Bust

By Dennis Powers

The Medford Commercial Club--now the Chamber of Commerce--promoted a long advertising campaign in the early 1900s about the great advantages of the area’s orchard industry: Anyone could plant fruit trees and make easy money. With this information, out-of-towners in numbers arrived in Medford where “real estate men appearing well-to-do” met the trains to hawk orchards. The speculation eventually led to a terrible bust.

Whether wealthy Easterners or poorer farmers, newcomers joined residents in buying, managing, and selling orchards. From 1905, the boom continued to where two years later, a carload of Comice pears from Bear Creek Orchards sold at an auction in New York for $4,600, the highest ever received. The 1909 real estate sales in the area totaled $5 million with a record $2300 per orchard acre.

Medford’s newspapers that year reported newcomers jamming the hotels, the need for more homes, and that some even pitched tents. The Southern Pacific Railroad set up tents on its Medford station property every night to bed down as many as 200 potential investors.

Along with the hype and inexperienced buyers, the con men were busy, as well. North of Medford in the Agate Desert (where White City is now), promoters planted more than 400 acres in the desert-like area. Although the land was not suitable for fruit trees such as apples and pears, potential buyers asked about the numerous rocks. The swindlers answered that this was the best point: Since the rocks kept the heat from the day’s sun, smudge pots weren’t needed at night. The gullible forked over their money.

A Chicago promoter bought 2000 acres on Roxy Ann Butte, covered the rocks with layers of dirt, and planted fruit trees. Promoting out-of-state by telephone, he sold plots for $15 dollars down and $15 a month so that the investors could retire later to a “little place”. The trees died, the buyers lost everything, and the promoters disappeared.

In 1910, valley nurseries reported that one-million trees were contracted to be planted. The inevitable bust happened when the hype couldn’t match the over-supply and even the hustlers went broke. Owing to World War I, blockades stopped the export market; insect blight, frost, and drought took care of the rest. Medford’s population by 1920 had dropped by 28 percent, all due to the orchard bust, and it took years to recover. One-hundred years later the same speculation in real estate and boom to bust occurred again.  

Truwe, Ben. “Southern Oregon History, Revised: The Orchard Boom” at See also: Dunn, Joy B., editor. Land in Common: An Illustrated History of Jackson County, Oregon. Medford, Oregon: Southern Oregon Historical Society, 1993, p. 53 – 69, 67-68.

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