2. We can't do anything to alleviate the damage we see as global warming unless we re-evaluate and renew our relationship with the world which created and sustains us.
Band-Aids won't help.
3. Virtually every part of our lives is destructive.
It's not just the cars, it's the highways they roll on. The lots they park on. The tires they wear out.
It's not the light bulbs, it's the fear of the dark.
It's not the fossil fuels, it's the rampant waste of energy.
I cut another piece of sheep hide and fluff for Abe today. This one will go across his chest where the pull pressure is.
When I used to raise sheep for market I'd go to the sale barn in spring, and buy orphan / market lambs. About weanling age.
Had a couple ewes too, lambs.
I lived over on the other farm then.
I had my grassland divided into tiny paddocks, small enough that 10 or 20 lambs and sheep
3. Would eat it down like a lawnmower in three or four days.
Move them to fresh grass.
Repeat to 85 pounds weight.
The market wants lambs at 100 pounds with a number one pelt. The way this hide I've got, got this nice fluff, was its owner's last haircut.
Abe's lesson for today was: Stand.
He needs to learn to stand calmly while I work. They way he won't have to be tied up, and work will be far more efficient. Many tasks are, work a little, move a little, work a little.
3. He was still kinda grouchy when I went to get him up. I missed getting him up for two days, because of weather and other obligations. I like to see him / get him up every day if I can.
Today he walked up with no lead rope, on voice command, but he wasn't enthusiastic about it.
Cushion for Abe's back, to carry the weight of the cart poles or shafts. A portion of the weight in a 2 wheel cart is directly supported by his back.
That's the harness part known as the back saddle. The loops the shafts go through hang from this saddle at his sides.
It's made of a portion of a New Zealand shearling lambskin. Furry side view.
Leather side view, with sewn on straps for mounting it.
The carrot, the stick, and casual brutality.
To understand how brutal, how crude, and how violent the United States has become, and how fast, consider the hackneyed metaphor of the carrot and the stick.
2. The anchorperson says, "Here's the carrot...🎂🍰🥧
And the stick...💩💣💥
And everybody goes, yup, yup,
Do what we say and we'll reward you.
Do otherwise and we'll beat you.
Sounds like a great offer.
3. That was originally a carrot *on* a stick.
Back in the horsedrawn years there was the image of the tired old overworked horse, and the teamster would then carrot on a stick and hold it out in front of her, so she'd walk toward the stick but not get to eat it.
You may not think this is a big deal, but...
This is a big deal. The two day punch, not going to pay respects in France on the *real* Veterans Day, and not going in the US on the party day-off three day weekend Veterans Day... ->
No President since Lincoln has failed to pay visible public respects in some formal way to veterans.
The Armistice that ended combat in World War I, on November 11th, 1918, became Armistice Day then Veterans Day, and the "some formal way" to respect veterans became standardized.
Most of my readers know that I am a disabled combat veteran with a hole in my brain from a mortar round.
That was in Vietnam.
The idea of the war was a shitty idea, but those of us who showed up to fight weren't honoring that idea, we were honoring another one.
In the immortal words of the prophet:
Some days chicken, some days feathers.
Today Abe learned that, although he can outrun me, he can't outrun his cart.
I suppose that's just as well.
I rigged him up to his cart for his first ever day of real work with it.
He'd pulled it around the barnyard a few days ago. Perhaps we should have done that again, but...
3. I did quite a bit of filling on and around the dam in the west pond back during the summer drought, and I needed to seed that all with grass. So I loaded up his cart with grass seed, a bucket, a yogurt cup for spreading it, and a watering can.
I'm going to tell a short Abe story here. Got a hot date tonight.
I've been trying to get him to walk ahead of me while I drive with lines. It's a step towards pulling a cart with a driver.
2. When I get behind him, he'd prefer to just stand still, thank you.
This is how donkeys get a reputation for stubbornness.
Some people strike them with a whip, but I'd prefer not to.
A frightened animal is a dangerous animal.
3. Not because they'd hurt you on purpose, but because if they're frightened, anything can spook them, and they might run.
They're not as crazy as horses, but if pressed they can run right alongside a horse. I'd prefer we all be calm and working at this all together.
Current events are bizarre beyond imagining.
I grew up in Missouri, in the United States of America.
There were *not* mass murders on 5 of every 6 days.
There were *not* anti-Semitic hate speeches and images shown on broadcast media.
Racism was *known by everyone* to be shit. ->
2. Oh, there were racists and anti-Semites, but *everybody knew they were slime.*
We didn't pretend the 1st Amendment meant mainstream media had to broadcast that shit. And they didn't.
The bugs and snakes lived under flat rocks.
ONE OF THE BUGS IS PRESIDENT!
Rocks. Under rocks.
3. And *before he got elected* the New York Times and CNN were interviewing Nazis because Free Speech and Objective.
If the rat bastards were objective they'd objectively say, Nazis are slime. When my daddy was young the whole world got together and squashed them.
I was pretty busy today, but I try to spend at least a little time with Abe every day.
Went out to the pasture to get him. I no longer carry a lead rope with me when I go to get him up. He walks with me on voice command.
When we got to the barnyard I put his work halter on him like always. Yesterday I added his bit to his work halter.
Domesticated equines have front teeth, then an empty space in their mouths, and then behind that space, molars.
The bit fits in the empty space.
3. I use a John Lyons copper mouth full cheek snaffle bit. There's no leverage, and the metal is very smooth. The bit is designed to not hurt the animal at all, but rather to give a mild means of communication.
2. Our current Constitution worked, to some degree, for a long time.
As black Americans can tell you, it didn't work all that well for them. That said, the original, pre-amendment, pre-bill-of-rights, Constitution really wasn't about rights. It was a blueprint for a government.
3. I'm not sure this is widely appreciated. I see a lot of tweets that reference the Constitution in some way, but most of them go on to speak about something the Constitution never said or implied.
It's just a how-to manual.
Want to hear the day's Abe story? Sorry, no pics. Not a major story, either.
In the long run I want to be able to drive him with long lines so I can sit in a cart behind him and ride. That means he has to learn to walk without me leading.
2. It also means a bit in his mouth.
The bit isn't there to force them to obey, or to cause them pain. It's to communicate. There's a British donkey trainer who uses rubber bits and they still "obey" them, because it's not about force.
3. He's had a bit in his mouth a few times so far - I'm not sure, maybe four or five.
When we started it made him very nervous to have me behind him with lines. He continually wanted to turn around and face me, not have me in his blind spot.
I have been planning for a few days to write this, regardless of the outcome of the election.
This is the tweet thread of a one trick pony. I have really only one message:
Good government works *for* people.
It's in the Constitution.
2. I firmly believe that our Democratic Party does not address voters and potential voters at the right level.
We talk about what we want to do with / as government. This should be the right level, but it's not.
3. It is a demonstrable fact that some huge numbers of Americans *do not believe* that:
- Government is supposed to do anything for them
- Government is capable of doing anything for them
- Government can or will do anything to make their personal lives better.
What do you suppose would happen if the United States just, in an organized fashion, withdrew all troops and activities from all combat zones in the Mideast and south Asia?
Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and wherever else. Nambia and Normay.
2. Leave out all the why. What if?
Well, dictators and warlords would kill people, so, no change.
Afghans would grow opium poppies, so... No change.
It is a grim fact that the United States has not won a war in my lifetime, and I'm the same age as Hillary Clinton.
3. Now I'm not talking about NATO countries, those installations. I'm talking about all the wars we got into just because it seemed at the moment to be a good idea.
A bunch of Saudia Arabian Wahabbi true believers flew airplanes into our buildings, so...
I finished Climate - A New Story, by Charles Eisenstein. It is a very powerful look at all the ways in which the systems of our life are destroying our home and only planet.
2. The carbon that we "emit" is only one tiny part of the system which is, among other things, warming the globe.
We need to make peace with the natural systems. We cannot continue to pave the land, butcher the forests, raise our domesticated animal brothers and sisters in prison
3. The inhuman scale of industrial agriculture is inherently wrong. Our speeds, our greeds, our fabricated needs, are wrong.
Every day - literally every single day - there is less life on Earth than the day before.
So... The story of the day.
G and Abe and I cleaned out the chicken house, then G and I put an overlayment over its beat to death, partly rotted, mouse holes and historic shit, floor.
Tomorrow we're going to add a second layer.
Since Abe is still a rookie at all this work, somebody has to hold him at all times in case the noises and activities frighten him.
3. We used his stoneboat to transport the old shit and worn-out litter.
Chicken litter starts out as (in our case) straw, but after a year or two they pretty much reduce it to shreds and powder. And shit.
"Today the President* indulged in hate speech directed at prominent Democrats and at Jewish people. He told 11 lies and two massive exaggerations.
"In other news..."
See? No quotes needed.
It is not "journalism" to spread hate speech verbatim.
2. He's right, in his own twisted way.
The media *is* responsible for the rage.
You got him elected.
Can you say, "Emails"?
Now you spread his poison all day every day verbatim with video and audio.
And we say, "Gee, why does [name] do this to us?"
Listen to radio
3. I am dead serious. It's not the fake media that's killing us.
It's the not-fake, verbatim with video clips media.
His message is everywhere all day every day.
You wonder why people act out.
Stop the ad campaign already.
Last week I used Abe the Donkey in real work, but it was carry work, not pull work.
I put a saddlebag on him, carrying acorns, water, and a hand trowel, and we planted about 64 (guesstimating) acorns in a paddock I had gridded out.
2. Today I used him in real draft (pulling) work.
One of my objectives is to get him to pull a cart / wagon / buggy. If his feet are well enough, I'd like him to prepare the seedbed in our garden, which would be light tillage work.
He's never learned any of this.
3. He's about 15, lived with me all his life. His parents lived here; I sold his mama to a friend and his daddy died of natural causes.
I'm going to step far from current events, and express a few thoughts about domesticated animals. A thread.
Domesticated means, literally, brought in the house.
Which is pretty much how it started.
The original deal was, we'll take care of you, and feed you, and help your children grow up, and in return we'll eat most of you sooner or later.
Sheep took it. Cattle. Geese. Chickens.
3. Everybody dies. All wild animals die. All domesticated animals die. The original deal was, in return for an easier life than you had it in the wild, we'll decide when you die.
Then we'll eat you.
I have this utterly unprovable and widely doubted theory that little dogs were part of the pre-domestication range of wild canids.
The accepted theory is that dogs evolved from wolves and the range of sizes, appearances, and behavior differences were human-developed.
Little dogs are such efficient predators that I can hardly imagine a complex, highly evolved and untamed ecosystem that didn't have them in it.
Cats, mustelids, foxes, coyotes - most families of predator come large, medium, and small.
The smallest of all mammals is a predator. The shrew preys on insects, but it's a predator.
Chica weighs 11 pounds. She's pretty tame, but left to her own devices she's a predator. She catches mice, grasshoppers, flying bugs.
Abe pulled his first real, heavy-enough-to-feel, draft load today. That's a pretty heavy hunk of chain, probably 15 - 20 pounds.
It was heavy enough to put pressure on his chest with his breast collar.
First I just hooked him to the singletree and had him walk around the barnyard pulling it.
Where his first instinct the first time was to run with it, this time he took about five steps and stopped. He wanted to make sure it would stop too. It did.
Home made light driving harness by the numbers.
Long distance view:
Main piece: breast collar / traces, all in one. (With courtesy chihuahua.)
The part between the rings wraps around Abe's chest, below the throat and above the top bend of the leg.
The long parts reach back behind him and hook to the load. Those are temporary connections at the ends of the traces.