Golf, Pools, Horses and Sheep

I don’t know if it is true, but several people told me that air bases are required to have golf courses, the idea being that all that flat, grassy space is available in emergencies for landing or at least the storage of aircraft.  It sounds a little glib, but who knows?  Home owners in some arid regions sometimes get a discount on their fire-insurance policies if they have swimming pools that can serve as reservoirs.   We got a discount on our insurance from USAA in New Hampshire because our house was within a convenient hose length from a pond.  I thought that was just a specious reason until the condominium clubhouse caught on fire and the fire department did indeed tap the pond water.   Their attempt to save the structure was futile but they did prevent the fire from spreading to the neighboring woods and homes.

On the left is pond in New Hampshire.

A surprising number of people hate golf courses.  They are evidently offended by them and work themselves into a frenzy saying things like the land and resources devoted to golf courses could be used to feed poor people. I suppose if we were close to subsistence, this would be true and if we plowed up all the golf courses we could feed a few more people.  Of course, there are lots of other places food is wasted that would come first.  We have all sorts of fruit trees we don’t harvest and all kinds of unused land.  I think the real problem is that luddites associate golf course with affluence.   I don’t golf, never have.  But golf courses are usually attractive.  They provide nice vistas and often good places to run -around the peripheries; golfers get annoyed if you get to close to them.

Maxwell Air-Base features another luxury item – horses.  Even the luddites rarely object to horses because they are graceful and beautiful.  I would not want to own one, since I don’t know how to care for them, but I am glad to have them around.  Mariza is very fond of horses.  If she (and we) lived nearer to the tree farms, we could buy one for her.

Grazing animals are good management; of course a couple horses are not enough. It is good to have different types of animals, such as sheep or cows or goats to rotate in the pastures. Animal species have different digestive systems. The sheep help slow the spread of horse parasites and vice versa and tend to favor different mixes of greens. Healthy pastures are diverse because of the different habits of species and the different characteristics of their manure. 

They have lots of nice trees on base and Alabama is a big timber state. Slash, Loblolly & longleaf pine together are called “southern pine”  and they sustainably supply around 58% of American timber needs.