Friday, March 30, 2012

You picked a fine time......

I took this photo on February 15 this year.  The porker--eating us out of house and home--weighed close to 700 pounds and try as we might, it was impossible to get her interested in a truckride to the auction.  She simply refused....and how does one argue with a 700-pound pig?  The answer?  You don't engage the argument to begin with!  You take command.  In the only way you know to be a "possible" option.  So, we "re-purposed" her from a piglet factory to a meat source. We still have two sows, which, by comparison, appear diminutive with each weighing more in the neighborhood of 400 pounds or so.

Now, if the above photo makes you a bit squeamish, I apologise, but if you eat meat, you must acknowledge the process of porker to plate.  It's the atavistic side of humankind that we need to kill to eat. 

But then again.....maybe not. 

Shortly after butchering, we opted for a film by the name of Forks Over Knives as our Netflix evening video fare (to go with our pork and potatoes).  (How dumb could we get?!)  With an entire FREEZER full of lovely pork......we chose to watch a film that completely demonized our diet and transformed our thinking on eating meat.

If you've not seen it, I recommend you take a look.  And then elect to run it again.  If ever there were reasons to "go vegetarian" this masterfully lays it out.  We are killing ourselves with our over-consumption of meat in this country. 

Here's the offical web site:

So, MM--now--has decided to drastically reduce our consumption of meat!  With close to 400 pounds of pork in the freezer!  But who am I to challenge a desire to live longer!  And stay healthy.  It's just the timing I'm complaining about!  You picked a find time, MM! 

Nonetheless,  I believe we are right to do this, as the resolution to pare down and eventually eliminate most meat consumption is key to maintaining the excellent health MM and I are currently enjoying.  Any affects of former consumption levels are reversible, too.  So, whenever you (decide to) begin to cut back, you're starting the process of reclaiming your health.

Americans eat way too much meat.  Period.  It's time we challenged what the USDA is telling and selling this country.  Have a look at the film and tell me what you think.  As for us?  Well, at the consumption rate we're planning, now....we and the dogs will be eating pork for the next two decades in small doses!  Fortunately, we have an equally daunting supply and variety of home-grown plant-based protein in the form of dry beans.

Oh, and by the took the two of us a whole day to get that danged pig OUT of the pigpen and up to the house for processing. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Should we be wary of this early spring?

If you're like me, you're reveling in this too-early spring.  The sun feels soooooo good!  The birds are already staking out their nesting territories, the grass is painfully is good!   Whoopeeee! It's only March!   We've got the world by the tail on a downhill pull.  Right?  Well.......take a moment to consider:

The U.S. has experienced a heat wave in March that’s seen 7,271 daily temperature records broken or tied from coast to coast, according to the National Climatic Data Center. That includes a March 22 record for New York’s Central Park of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). The average monthly temperature in the park was 51.2 degrees through yesterday, 9.4 degrees above normal and 0.1 degree above the record from 1945.

My advice (if someone were to ask) would be to temper your jubilation....or hold those thoughts....

PBS is currently running a series on global climate change.  I've seen a clip from it on the Internet.  If you'd like to follow it go here:
Be sure to track all the links listed in the article, too.
Of course, it's only Texas, right?  And they've always been pretty cavalier about conservation of anything.  The Lone Star state has always "had it all."  Long ago, I heard it said that of ALL the states in the union, Texas could survive as a country.  That said, can we connect the dots in reverse, here?  If Texas is long will it be until the rest of us start feeling the global warming effects close to home?  Or is it only in Mumbai and Ethiopia?  The photos of Texas seem counter to that misconception.
In PBS's program the head of NOAA tried to describe the situation in Joplin, MO, site of last year's devastating tornado.  One comment she made was simply beyond my ability to picture it:  the tornado reduced a high-end, thoroughly equipped hospital to toothpicks, just 12 inches high; there remains in Joplin 1,800 acres of debris from homes, businesses, parks, does a single homeowner, for example, cope?  Get ready for the future...Instead of shopping for a McMansion, it might be more advisable to check out a commodious underground shelter...and not just in Kansas.
Google's Science section this morning was loaded with global warming articles.  Here's one:

So... if any of us is celebrating this early spring, perhaps we should temper our enthusiasm with the knowledge that we are sitting in a leaky boat.  I don't know about your location, but mine has been slightly scary of late.  That half hour of 50 mph winds three weeks back--the storm that brought down numerous trees, and frightened me enough that I took shelter under the stairway--and the hailstones last year the size of quarters, and the 80-degree afternoon yesterday....need I say more? 

What's going on?  And shouldn't we --in spite of those pompous blowhards we call Senators and Congress people--who claim divine knowledge that global warming is a hoax--start pushing back?  May I suggest we at the very least, put them last in line to receive a cool drink of water....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Goodbye Clean Sky

Meet our new neighbor out here JOTOLR.  Rather striking, isn't it?  And speaking of striking, I am wondering what the lightning will look like when it chooses to hit this 300+ foot tower now embedded in the top of the mountain.  I don't have a cell phone, but I suppose it's only fitting that having had an uncluttered, basic nature horizon for the past 30-some years, I should have to relinquish it to "necessary" technological impact. (Can't help remembering that "silent treatment" commercial we've had to endure these past few weekends watching March Madness and questioning real need here...Then again, I also recall when I was out selling Pampered Chef kitchen tools at night and --coming home being unable to contact anyone due to spotty connectivity.

Nonetheless, I mourn the loss of uncluttered sky.

Installation of this monstrosity has certainly brought the industrial complex closer.  I'll admit it's been quite a feast for the eyes in one way:  watching the construction workers climb to the top and working their way down, inch by inch.

But the noise-level out here has increased significantly.  For the past several weeks, we've "enjoyed" the constant beeping of backing equipment, the grinding of bulldozers and the slow emerging of this iron fretwork structure.  The earth has been scraped and scoured, big boulders rolled out of the way of the roadbuilders; trucks by the score have hauled limestone rock up the mountain, and two buildings now sit at the base of the tower.

I'm not sure which has made the greatest impact:  the erection of the tower or the clear-cutting of the forest for miles around, that made this construction possible.  In reading about "compensation" for the footprint of cell phone towers, the owner will --they say--receive something in the neighborhood of $1,000 per month.  But since he doesn't live here, preferring the bright lights of the city to the one-lane road, it would seem only fair --at the very least--that those of us who do live here, should be compensated for the loss of our pristine night sky.

I guess once you get used to having red lights blinking across the road all night long (preventing air traffic from crashing into it, we hope) it could seem remotely like the lighthouses MM and I used to navigate by,  when we lived aboard our sailboat.  But somehow a cell phone tower lacks the ambience and goodwill of a lighthouse.  It's not at all the same quality of friendliness that a lighthouse is.

But....I suppose things could be a lot worse. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm Back....! For better or worse.'ve talked me into it!  Hi, everyone!  And thank you for the many sweet and loving emails inquiring about MM and me.  We couldn't be better!  I've simply been pre---or perhaps I should say,  "post-"occupied."  

It's been awhile, hasn't it? Seriously, I've missed you all.  But I needed a break to reconsider if my ramblings here were worth a hoot!  Or if I were simply too busy or too "whatever" to continue them.

In coming to the conclusion of "probably not" in both cases, I decided to pick up the traces and soldier on, returning to my bucolic roost rather than my political one--because I've learned that blogging about my natural world is --to me--like a capital letter at the beginning of the day.  It's something I seem to need to do just for myself.

The political world is a disaster and getting worse daily.  We're now in the "barbaric era" and getting more mean-spirited and Orwellian with each passing week.  The economic world is a lie.  Social justice seems to have hit insurrmountable obstacles.  The draconian stance of our country is horrifying.  The only thing that anchors me to a shred of my rural perch out here Just Off the One-Lane Road.  So, here I am!  Again.

Our lives since my last check-in are still on a roll.   MM and I were instrumental in starting a community association for the purpose of helping us know our neighbors and try to do "good things" for our community.  The effort has prompted us to start thinking about our bondedness as a community as well as our overall well-being.  So far we are beginning to realize a few fruits of our efforts, albeit slow going.  There are--as always-- a few critics (but far more supporters).  I've discovered that negativity is scientifically more natural to the human spirit than positive thinking. I'd wondered why it is that people often seem to gravitate toward tearing down, rather than building up.  Come to find out, after researching the Internet, negativity is a survival skill.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Puffballs on the day they arrived January 7, 2012 at 13 weeks of age

Here are two additions to our lives.  I call them puffballs, definitely a misnomer as they are anything but puffy, poofy!  These are now our guardians of the manor.  They begin every evening with a thorough bark-out of the pasture as they dash from hilltop to hilltop--all within our farm boundaries-- sounding thunderous and threatening way beyond their 6-months' age.  They outweigh the Border Collies by a goodly amount.  (And BTW, Jessie is doing wonderfully well.  At 12, she's a speedball.  More about her in an upcoming post.)

The photograph was taken the day they arrived as "puppies" at 13 weeks.  Their names reflect their Basque heritage:  Apala and Zurina.  They are a "replacement" (and we all know you can never "replace" the loss of a previous pet) for Torre.  You may recall that Torre's time was cut short by an ancient maple tree on a stormy night.

The Puffballs (so-tagged because of their fluffy/puffy coats) are sisters.  Huge, gentle giants celebrating life every day as they gambol with each other across the green fields, protecting us and our livestock from predators of one kind or another.  They are Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd crosses, and seem so far to possess the very best in Guard dog traits.  Loving to an unbelievable level, incredibly alert, smart, and--oddly--fun--at least with us, their masters.  But they already are wearing a don't-mess-with-us badge and we look forward to years of joy in our relationship with them.  I'll talk more about "training" a guard dog in an upcoming post.  For now....suffice it to say we are so lucky to have invited these girls into our lives.  In spite of the fact they both DID get into an offensive argument with PePe LaPew last night!  P.....U.....!!!  Skunks are important.  They do lots of good things.  But they don't suffer challenges by curious puppies very well.  Phew!!!

Tomorrow, I'll show you our new neighbor...