Monthly Archives: July 2010


The “Four-States”area, made up of Southeast Kansas, Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma, has a long history of mining. Many different types of mining were done all over the Four-States, both surface mining and deep mining.

 The BIGGEST and most memorable bit of history has to be Big Brutus. With statistics like these you can see why! brutus_bucket

  • second largest electric shovel in the world
  • 16 stories tall (160 feet)
  • weight 11 million pounds
  • boom 150 feet long
  • maximum speed .22 miles per hour
  • dipper capacity 90 cu. yds (by heaping, 150 tons — enough to fill three railroad cars.)
  • Brutus at work.

    Brutus at work.

    Dubbed “Big Brutus,” the enormous power shovel took a year to assemble on site in Cherokee County Kansas. Completed in June 1963; Big Brutus was an electric shovel, and actually had a giant ‘extension cord’ supplying it’s power.

    Designed to mine coal for at least 25 years, the giant shovel worked for only a decade due to a combination of environmental problems and falling coal prices. By 1973 Big Brutus was obsolete. Deeming the shovel too big to move and too expensive to dismantle, its owners stripped Brutus of its electrical and auxiliary equipment, leaving it to rust, a dinosaur of the technological age.

     Today, much of the area that Brutus worked in Southeast Kansas is still left as it was, with miles and miles of unreclaimed land. This landscape is known locally as “The Strip Pits”, as there are mounds of over-burden seperated by deep long pits, filled with water. Some of this land has been reclaimed, basically the topsoil has been pushed back into the pits it was removed from. This leaves a nice ‘rolling’ landscape, not quite flat like the land was before. Much of the areas that are not reclaimed have now become the Mined Land Wildlife Area, providing hunting and fishing, as well as refuge for game. Brutus front

     Big Brutus’ past legacy has proved to be a good one. That same thing may not be said of the mining industry’s impact on Picher Oklahoma. Polluted to the point of “Superfund” status and then flattened by a tornado, the town has actually CLOSED. The school, post office, town hall, everything. – more about Picher here Continue reading


    Filed under AMERICANA, Kansas, The Four States

    ARKANSAS by The Ozark Alliance

    Please forgive the amatuer nature of this video, as it is the first one that I personally have made. Also notice that I have added a page: BLUEGRASS. I’ll be adding to that page when the notion strikes me.

    The pictures are from Katy Days 2010 at Parsons Kansas, and I hope to see the Vaughn family return and play for us again!

    Alex on lead vocals, guitar & mandolin
    Jenny on harmony and fiddle
    Robin on harmony and bass
    Dennis on banjo.

    1 Comment

    Filed under AMERICANA, Bluegrass Music, Folk Music, Missouri, Music, Ozarks

    Jeff Beck Live

    1 Comment

    Filed under Blues Music, Jazz Music, Music


    2monks∞ Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

    Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

    “Come on, girl” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

    Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

    “I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”


    Filed under Humor, Religion

    When You Are Old

    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep,

    And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

    And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

    Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;


    How many loved your moments of glad grace,

    And loved your beauty with love false or true,

    But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

    And loved the sorrows of your changing face;


    And bending down beside the glowing bars,

    Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

    And paced upon the mountains overhead

    And hid his face among a crowd of stars.


    Filed under History, Poetry

    Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

    by Wendell Berry

    Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
    vacation with pay. Want more
    of everything ready-made. Be afraid
    to know your neighbors and to die.
    And you will have a window in your head.
    Not even your future will be a mystery
    any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
    and shut away in a little drawer.
    When they want you to buy something
    they will call you. When they want you
    to die for profit they will let you know.

    So, friends, every day do something
    that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
    Love the world. Work for nothing.
    Take all that you have and be poor.
    Love someone who does not deserve it.
    Denounce the government and embrace
    the flag. Hope to live in that free
    republic for which it stands.
    Give your approval to all you cannot
    understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
    has not encountered he has not destroyed.

    Ask the questions that have no answers.
    Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
    Say that your main crop is the forest
    that you did not plant,
    that you will not live to harvest.
    Say that the leaves are harvested
    when they have rotted into the mold.
    Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

    Put your faith in the two inches of humus
    that will build under the trees
    every thousand years.
    Listen to carrion – put your ear
    close, and hear the faint chattering
    of the songs that are to come.
    Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
    Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
    though you have considered all the facts.
    So long as women do not go cheap
    for power, please women more than men.
    Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
    a woman satisfied to bear a child?
    Will this disturb the sleep
    of a woman near to giving birth?

    Go with your love to the fields.
    Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
    in her lap. Swear allegiance
    to what is nighest your thoughts.
    As soon as the generals and the politicos
    can predict the motions of your mind,
    lose it. Leave it as a sign
    to mark the false trail, the way
    you didn’t go. Be like the fox
    who makes more tracks than necessary,
    some in the wrong direction.
    Practice resurrection.

    The Artist And His Muse painting by Wayne Wildcat


    Filed under AMERICANA, Faith, Human Rights, Poetry

    SUNDAY MUSIC ~ I Believe In The Old Time Way

    Ministry or Job?

    Some people have a job in the church.

    Others invite themselves into a ministry.

    What’s the difference you ask?

    If you are doing it just because no one else will, it’s a job.

    If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.

    If you quit because someone criticized you, it’s a job.

    If you keep on serving, it’s a ministry.

    If you’ll do it as long as it does not interfere with your other activities, it’s a job.

    If you are committed to staying even if it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.

    If you quit because no one thanked you or praised you, it’s a job.

    If you stick with it even though no one recognized your efforts, it’s a ministry.

    It’s hard to get excited about a job.

    It’s almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry.

    If your concern is success, it’s a job.

    If your concern is faithfulness and service, it’s a ministry.

    If God calls you to a ministry, don’t treat it like a job!

    Lord, strengthen your servants and move us to a true sense of ministry and service, through your race and mercy.    Amen.


    Filed under AMERICANA, Bluegrass Gospel, Music

    Practice for the New Millennium ~ by the Dalai Lama

    The Practice:

    1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering
    we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved)
    and we are all connected to one another.


    2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in, cherishing yourself; and, breathing out
    cherishing others.

    If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing,
    extend your cherishing to them anyway.

    3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet.
    Practice cherishing the “simplest” person (clerks, attendants, etc)
    or people you dislike.

    4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

    These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful.
    The practice of cherishing can be taken very deeply if done wordlessly,
    allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that
    already exists in your heart.

    If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don’t have the strength to live in a world like that….-Jeremy Irons in the movie “The Mission”.


    Filed under Artwork, Faith, Religion