Sunday, March 31, 2013


While visiting my family, I spotted our neighbor putting away his garbage cans. I use the word "spotted" because he is a birder. On a whim, I decided to cross the street and say hello. I was expecting a light-hearted chat about birds, like Chats for instance. But the neighbor played the tough guy card. He offered an unsolicited recommendation of binoculars. He suggested 8, 9 or 10 power. Then he said that he prefers 12 power but most people cannot handle them. “Unless you’re used to holding things steady in your hand like I am.” Then the neighbor made his hand into a gun and held it steady, rock steady. He looked at his hand then looked at me with a look that said," When I say I handle things steady, I am talking about guns buddy."
Suddenly he pointed at what I know as a Scrub jay. He asked, "What's that bird?" "Scrub jay," said I. "You sure?" Then he talked about how the American Birders Association (or some such authority) in their infinite wisdom decided they should be split...etc, etc," the story was decorated with cuss words. He is the foul-mouthed, tough Marine of birding. Then he said, "It's a Scrub jay."
Somehow he transitioned to his property in Montana. He told me that "Indian braves" routinely steal his horses. They have to either steal horses or go to war to become men, so understandably, these kids choose horse theft. 
He went on to say that there is a Marine sniper living on his property so he doesn't worry about it while he is gone. Even when he is there, visitors "will not appreciate the welcome they get," because he  has a tendency to shoot people. Then he amended the statement to "at people," because his neighbor is a deputy sheriff and he frowns upon the shooting of people. 

So forget what you thought you knew about birders. They are tough, braggarts, maybe liars, and they might shoot you. You could probably substitute the word "neighbors" for "birders."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Animals lower your heart rate - probably

Watching animals do normal activities like sleeping is relaxing - I might even say revitalizing or even therapeutic. I just saw Jasmine, our black and white "barn cat," sleeping in a sun-drenched flower bed. It was as beautiful as anything. Diego, a long-haired Chihuahua has a great talent for getting comfortable on couches, chairs and luggage. The luggage sitting is a clear message to us not to leave him behind. Dogs are smart.

I don't think enough has been said about the love and devotion of a dog. Someone quote worthy once said that the dog human relationship is "The best deal man has ever made." Agreed. Better than the Louisiana Purchase. Yet somehow many people still do not know it. If I had a puppy for every time I heard someone describe their first dog as amazing, smart, exceptional and variations there of, I'd have a lot of puppies. Some of them would be dogs by now. You and I know that those adjectives fit most dogs.

What can I say that hasn't already been said about alpacas?

Our goats are of course as smart and heroic as you might expect. The stories you've heard about goats are true - but probably toned down for believability sake.

Besides their famous altruism, Chickens have many admirable traits. Here is an incomplete list:
Grace (needless to say)

I could go on.

Horses are the only animals that it is ok to sit on at our farm.

Friday, March 08, 2013