What Really Happened to the Quail Population?

I recently read an opinion article from Outdoor Life called What Happened to our Quail? Observations From an Old Quail Hunter. It was authored by Gordon Jones, M.D. Here is the link to the article:

The article is basically his opinion of what happened to the quail population in Texas. His reason for the quail numbers decreasing is the use of herbicides. He believes the herbicides reduce the amount of seeds available for the quail to eat.  This shouldn't be a total surprise because one reason to use herbicides is to reduce the seed bank in agricultural fields. 

I won't repeat the entire article, you can view the link. What I'm getting at is that I don't think the author knows as much about pesticides as he thinks he does. He says that herbicides kill insects and can harm humans. Well, not exactly. Herbicides kill plants. Insecticides kill insects. Herbicides cannot kill insects. Maybe it was a typo on his part. I don't know. I will admit there are a few herbicides that can harm humans. But for the most part, those herbicides are not used anymore. Some of the comments on the webpage were bashing Roundup for being toxic and harmful and wiping out fields, when in fact Roundup is one of, if not, the safest herbicides farmers use. Its mode of action is an amino acid inhibitor. More specifically it is an EPSP inhibitor. I won't bore you with the details of that, but what Roundup inhibits only exists in plants! Also, the farmers of today are much smarter about their herbicide use. You might have heard of "Farmer Logic." That is, if x lbs of atrazine per acre will kill weeds good, then 2x lbs per acre will be even better. Those high, probably off label rates can contribute to runoff into streams and could potentially contaminate surface waters. However, research has indicated that lower rates of atrazine can actually increase the herbicide efficacy and reduces runoff potential. Farmers are realizing this and practicing it!

Now don't get me wrong, I wish I had more quail around to hunt. I love to eat quail. I love hunting quail.  One of my best hunting experiences was hunting quail with my dad. We started out walking on a cold brisk mid-morning hunt with our two labs, Blackie and Jade. A fair amount of walking was involved. We saw a couple different coveys and ended up with 6 birds total. We each shot 3 times and never missed. The dogs worked like professionals in flushing and retrieving. It was about as good a quail hunt as I've ever been on. My point is, I like quail hunting as much as the next guy. But I also like to eat. I can't shoot enough quail to live off of each year. The world can't be fed on shooting quail. The world needs proper herbicide use to raise enough food.  By 2050, there will be about 9 billion people on Earth.  We need genetically engineered crops and herbicides in order to feed the mouths of the world.  (Here's an interesting tidbit: For those that say that all herbicides are unnatural, just take a look at the herbicide known as Callisto, or active ingredient mesotrione. It was actually discovered from a tree that didn't have anything growing under it.  A scientist noticed this and looked for the reason.  They found the tree was putting out its own natural chemical for defense against competing plants). 

He mentioned his frustration with Quail Unlimited because they won't spray their plots with herbicides.  He thought if they sprayed the areas, they would find that herbicides were hurting quail.  What I think he fails to realize is most of the time there isn't a need for a herbicide application on a wildlife area.  Why kill the plants that the quail use for a habitat?  

One way that herbicide usage could impact quail has to do with the efficiency of farming.  Technology has advanced so much over the years that farmers are able to produce more food.  They are able to get more done in the same time.  Wouldn't you if you could?  There are pastures that are ripped up to make crop fields so that more wheat, corn, soybeans, etc can be grown.  The habitats are getting somewhat smaller in that case.  Urbanization has also taken away good wildlife habitats.  There are so many reasons that could contribute.

Also, the purpose of this post was not to suggest to people to bash and rail against the author. I don't think he necessarily has a political agenda or anything against herbicides. I think he is just a hunter that longs for the quail population of years past.  Maybe there are more reasons for the declining quail population. Maybe the quail are going through a rough patch right now. Who really knows?


How To Use Citristrip

As I mentioned in Working Through the Layers, one product out performed the other three I used.  The product was Citristrip!  I thought I would share what worked best for us when we were using the product.

The wonderful product!

1. Wash and dry the floor

2. The directions call for a light sanding before applying Citristrip.  I didn't do any sanding and it worked great!

3. You are ready to spread Citristrip! I didn't have to apply the product thick for it to work.  I used a paint brush to spread the orange goo out on the floor evenly.  It is important to work with the correct area size.  You have to be able to reach every inch of the treated area.

4. I sprayed the area applied with water right away and 20-30 minutes later.

5. After spraying the area for a second time, use a plastic scraping tool if working with wood surfaces.  Since Citristrip works so well, there shouldn't be a need for anything other than plastic.

6. Wash the area off and you are ready to refinish the surface as you would like.

I hope your finished product looks at nice as ours ended up!

I will share the next step in our floor restoring project as soon as we get to it!

Good luck to any brave people attempting restoring wood floors!


Working Through the Layers

I am about halfway through the first step of restoring and refinishing our hardwood floors from 1950 and have already learned a lot!  The product used to take the polyurethane/varnish off the floor matters. Not all stripping agents are alike.  In fact, I have found they are EXTREMELY different in how effective they are.

We used 3M Safest Stripper, Back to Nature Ready Strip, Citristrip Stripping Gel, and Zinsser StripFast.  I set up a side by side comparison, but the results were so disappointing I am not going to share it.  Two of these products didn't even begin to loosen the finish and one didn't work very well.  The fourth product is amazing.  It works the quickest and by far most effective.

Here are the products we used

This is after the first product we used
After using the Zinsser StripFast, the finish started to loosen.  It worked okay, but it was not worth the time putting it on.  Also, the goo (look and felt like snot) had to be applied extremely thick to get results.  The fumes from this product is why it took so long for us to start the project.  We had to have the windows open and it was still too much.  I didn't feel that it was safe to use, especially since it didn't work very well.

This is what the wood looks like underneath!

Bye bye yellow, old polyurethane!!!
With our health on my mind, I went looking for a better product.  Back to Nature Ready Strip and 3M Safest Stripper claimed to have zero harmful fumes and work well.  I knew I would need two containers of either product and there was only one of the shelf, so I bought both.  After a few trys and 24 hours, we determined that the products weren't doing anything.  ZERO!!!!  I happened to see another option as I was choosing between products.  It was called Citristrip.  To be honest I thought it wouldn't work at all and was a waste of money, but I decided anything was worth a try.  We applied it to the floor and surprisingly the finish scrapped right off.

The next picture shows the difference between the first product and the winner.  On the left is where we started with the Zinsser and then used 3M Safest Stripper and when that didn't work we finished up with Citristrip.  In the middle where the wood looks healthiest is where we used just Citristrip.  I love the results!

Hello pretty wood underneath (left) and goodbye to the yellow finish. (right)

When we get the whole floor stripped I will wash the floor up and post about the progress to then.  After the floor is washed and prepped, we will put a product called Restor-a-Finish to recolor the wood.  Then it will be time to add Polycrylic which will not yellow over time.  (Woohoo!)

To see previous posts about this room:
My purple palace
Wood Floors Prepared


14 Goals to Accomplish in 2014

It is a new year!  Time to put goals on paper to forget or fail at, right?  This year is different.  (I hope!) I have goals and I intend to keep up with it!  Will you join my challenge?  Use my goals or edit them to fit you!  I plan to give updates along the way.

2013 was a great year, let's make this one even better!

1. Lose weight - I have lost 8 lbs since starting my goal after Christmas!
2. Get in the best shape of my life - Unfortunately our exercise equipment is out of commission while the floor in My Purple Palace is waiting to be finished.
3. Eat healthier - I hope to eat more green beans and carrots this year! (Small steps for the picky eater)
4. Stay in touch with friends better - Now that we are grown up, my friends are scattered all over the state, country, and world.  Facebook, texting, etc. help, but how often do we not take the time to actually have a conversation.
5. Keep the house ready for company at all times - I currently have the house as clean as it can be for having one room completely emptied into the living room!
6. Do one load of laundry - (Thanks for the idea, Kelly!)
7. Do the dishes every morning - It sure makes the kitchen feel better to have everything clean and put away!
8. Take a picture of something with my camera...EVERY DAY - I want to have a record of everything that happens this year!
9. Learn a new skill each month - I am going to learn a new crochet stitch or pattern and maybe pick up sewing!
10. Cook at least one new recipe a month - I am a picky eater so I tend to cook in my comfort zone. 
11. Write more - I would like to start writing a letter with a friend, like a pen pal!
12. Finish our house projects - We have a long list!  It is all written down and ready to have projects checked off the list.
13. Have an open house for friends and family when our house is finished - I would love to have my family and friends come up to see our house when it is finished!  Be ready for an invite!
14. Get more involved in the community - We want to get more involved in the community and church this year!

And an obvious goal for life, cherish every day with Redbeard, Scraggly, Andie, and Custer - I am very lucky to call them my family!  I must enjoy every day this year!

Join me on my year long journey to be a better me by January 1, 2015!


We Are THOSE Pet Owners

Redbeard and I have two handsome cats and an adorable puppy.  It is no secret that we love our pets a lot.  They bring quite a bit of joy to our lives, so when someone mentioned making a barn quilt block of a cat, I jumped on the idea!  I thought about making them myself, but I knew there was someone who would make them perfect...MY MOTHER!  She finally agreed and did a wonderful job.

Andie Cats (left) and Scraggly (right)
The day I brought our cat barn quilt blocks home is the day we picked up our new puppy, Custer.  I told her that she needed to paint a Custer block now.  She made me think that she couldn't figure out how to paint Custer.  To our surprise Mom had it painted and wrapped up for Christmas!

We finally had a chance to hang them up on New Year's Eve.  I was so excited to see what they would look like on our garage!

Our pet portraits ready to hang up!

Custer was first!

Andie came next!

Thank you for your handwork, Redbeard!

Scraggly's turn!

Finished product!  This is my view when I wash dishes!
Thank you to my mom for painting perfect portraits and to Redbeard for hanging them up for me!

Interested in having a barn quilt block hanging at your house?  Contact me if you are in the Phillips county area!


Like us!