Posts Tagged ‘animals’

On Raccoons and Reality

IMG_6927As you know, I have chickens. I have them for eggs, meat, entertainment, learning, and just a little dependence taken away from The Man. This spring I got more layers, turkeys, and some meat birds to expand my flock. For the layers, I got ones that lay cool egg colors. The meat birds were to see if I could butcher them myself.

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Then the verb for my chicken keeping became had.

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Here’s the thing — I could blame the raccoons. I could get angry or weepy and then go out and trap and shoot every last one of ’em. Technically that’s not legal until October, but I doubt any of the neighbors would complain. Then I could go out and trap and shoot all of their relatives that wander onto our property. Then I could trap and shoot all of their relatives that expand into my territory. It’s mine, after all (more or less), so I get to decide what’s allowed!

Or — I could look at it through the lens of reality. Despite their reputations and super-villain masks, raccoons are not evil. In fact, I suspect that they are thoroughly amoral like the rest of the natural world. They didn’t go after my birds because they wanted to hurt me or push my healing back or so they could cackle with malicious glee when I came out to see the death and destruction. They killed my birds because I left delicious, easy food that couldn’t fight back in non-raccoon-proof containers. Er, coops. That’s all. That’s reality.

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I’ve been wrestling with an idea for a while and this situation helped me to define it. See, there’s the reality we’re sold and then there’s real reality. They aren’t the same.

Sold reality: Getting chickens is great for your health, encouraging exercise, fresh air, and laughter (have you ever seen a chicken run?). I’m taking business away from those awful factory farms and I’m doing my part to bring food knowledge back to The People. Maybe I can even start my own business with it. It’s happy and shiny and so Martha Stewarty!

Real reality: I accepted responsibility for animals that would find it difficult at best to survive in Maine without human intervention for a lot of reasons. Food and shelter from the elements were handled well. The massive amount of wildlife was ignored despite several warning shots. Also, egg businesses? They rarely so much as break even.

Now, I had a lot of excuses for not taking the threats more seriously. I may even have one or two legitimate reasons.

Raccoons and reality really don’t care.

This also extends far beyond fresh eggs and masked murdering bandits. This extends into every aspect of our lives, every decision we make.

My butt is dragging so hard on the way to work and I forgot to bring my mug to put coffee in. One plastic to-go cup won’t actually do any harm, right?

Raccoons, reality, and the Pacific Gyre don’t care.

I have to have a job to pay my debts and maybe, eventually, I’ll even get to pay rent again. The only jobs I can do are a 40-mile car ride each way. I gotta pay my bills.

Raccoons, reality, and atmospheric CO2 levels don’t care.

I need clothes. Not only are natural fibers out of my budget range, they’re such a pain to take care of. A few cheap, polyester outfits isn’t the end of the world.

Raccoons, reality, and the plastic we’re drinking don’t care.

I am not going to end this post with how we all need to go vegan and minimalist and if we hold hands and sing Kumbaya loud enough it’ll all work out in the end. I don’t know how to fix this. What I do know is that if we don’t become aware of the clash between the realities and do something to bring them back in alignment, real reality will win. It will win with extreme prejudice. That’s how reality works.

I also know that the first time a raccoon tries to get through the fencing with my new electric charger attached, I’ll be thrilled to report what to do with BBQ coon.

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National Western Stock Show- Part 1

This is going to be mostly a picture post, again. However, I took so many pictures, that I need to split my one day at the stock show into four parts. This one will be the critters I saw in the Expo Hall.

According to the back of my National Western Stock Show Bar and Grill menu, this stock show started in 1906. It is the largest in the world by number of animals. The proceeds are used for scholarships to schools in Colorado and Wyoming for studying medicine and agriculture. Pretty cool, huh? Through my wanderings, I figured out that they weren’t kidding about the “national” part of the title. There were farms from as far away as New York and Massachusetts.

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The first event I wanted to see was Urban Farms: Fabulous Farm Animals.

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I was hoping for something like a lecture, but it turned out to be kid-oriented.

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That’s ok, though. More kids need to meet animals.

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Not that he thought so.

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The next spot was the shorn fibers . . .

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and their former wearers. (There had to have been alpacas and llamas somewhere, but I never did find them.)

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Pork butt. Also known as “Happy as pigs in . . . sawdust.”

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Pink with black spots.

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Black with pink spots. (It’s so much easier to be sure than with zebras.)

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Oreo pig! (Probably a Wessex Saddleback, but I didn’t check to be sure.)

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Chocolate pig! Is that where chocolate-covered bacon comes from?

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I have now seen a steer with a blowout. And so have you.

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How cute is she?

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Highland cattle are very hardy, coming from the Scottish Highlands, and produce lean meat.

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Also, they’re cute.

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And sweet- he was asking every passer-by to pet him while he was being groomed. Although I’m not sure how he saw them.

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Ha! I found the basis for the ton-ton’s heads! (Sorry about the picture quality.)

Unless I change my mind before I put up the others, the rest of the series should be horses, stockyard, and everything else.