Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld's U.S. facilities. For Hargrove, becoming an orca trainer fulfilled a childhood dream. However, as his experience with the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld's wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers.
After leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove became one of the stars of the controversial documentary Blackfish. The outcry over the treatment of SeaWorld's orca has now expanded beyond the outlines sketched by the award-winning documentary, with Hargrove contributing his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing both federal and state governments to act.
As I listened to this book written by a former orca trainer at Sea World, the analogy that kept coming to mind was alien abduction. Humans have taken orcas out of their natural environment by force. They are made to live in cells with others of their species with whom they do not share a language. Several died before the exact requirements for keeping them were figured out. Humans control when they eat, when they play, and when they are bred. Humans separate them from their offspring even though we know orcas have complex matriarchal families.
This is a fitting analogy because eventually the author discusses it too. Seen in this light, it is impossible to justify the practice of using whales and dolphins for entertainment.
The author started as a true believer in Sea World. From the age of 6 he dedicated his life to becoming an orca trainer. He loved the whales. He believed that some of the whales cared for him too. But he came to realize that no matter how close the relationship between whale and trainer was, at the end of the day he was still their prison guard. It is only natural that an intelligent creature kept under these conditions will try to fight back.
The book opens with the detailed account of his attack by a whale. He is clear that the whale chose to let him live. His break with Sea World came after the 2009 and 2010 deaths of trainers. In each instance Sea World’s public statements blamed the trainers for making mistakes. After studying the incidents it was clear to him that they did not and that Sea World was lying to hide the fact that this aggression was a result of psychological stress to the whales.
He discusses many types of aggression and health problems that result from captivity. One telling story concerns the baby whales. They swim nonstop for several months after birth. This is because in the wild orcas never stop moving. They have to learn to stop and float still in the tiny Sea World pools.
Since the animals are not able to released, he discusses options for how to care for the current whales in a more humane way.
Even if you’ve seen Blackfish, I’d recommend this book to get a better idea about the lives of the whales from someone who has lived on both sides of the issue.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
It was time for a spring photo walk around the neighborhood with Freckles where I take pictures of flowers and try not to look like I’m casing the joint.
I have baby blueberries!
I planted two blueberries in containers last year. Nothing happened last year but there are babies on the largest plant now. I moved them into a large crop cage to try to save them from predators. I guess they aren’t free-range blueberries any more now that they are in blueberry jail…
Freida and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions - wives to wealthy and powerful men.
The alternative - life as a concubine - is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty - her only asset - in peril.
And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future - even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known...
It was the tagline on the book that got me. “Mean Girls meets The Handmaid’s Tale”
In this world female children are taught that their only asset is beauty. They will be selected into one of three groups – companions, the privileged wives of men; concubines, the playthings of men; or if chosen of either of those they will be teachers who live to serve the girls yet to be chosen. All women die before the age of 40.
Every day the girl’s popularity is ranked based on pictures taken each morning. Their social media profiles are watched by those outside the school to see who is the best. They have to maintain a very narrow weight range or they are but on calorie blockers. They have to be “perfect.”
In their last year though, a change comes over Isabel. Isabel has always been ranked number one but now she is gaining weight. That is the worst thing that can happen to a girl. She doesn’t seem to care though. Frieda can’t understand why she is doing this when the boys are about to come to pick their companions.
This book seems to be meant to be accessible to those who are too young to read The Handmaid’s Tale. It is only about the school. You don’t have to see the lives of sex slavery that the companions and concubines are forced into. The book ends with the selection. The ending is very quick and nothing seems resolved. I knocked it down a star for that.
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality--the black Chinese restaurant.
Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens--on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles--the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes, but when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir.
Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident--the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins--he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
Have you ever read a book and thought the whole time, “I am way too white to be able to review this book” while laughing out loud at the story?
In a forgotten agriculturally zoned area of Los Angeles, Mr. Me as gotten himself a slave. He doesn’t want one but Hominy Jenkins grew up as a child actor playing the most racist roles imaginable and thinks that being a slave won’t that much of a change. Me isn’t sure about this since Hominy is only willing to work a few hours a day and is fairly useless at best. He’s also wracking up bills at the local S & M dungeon because Hominy insists on being beaten and Me won’t do it himself. The beatings have to happen though because anytime Hominy decides he isn’t being treated badly enough he stands on a box in the front yard and tries to sell himself to passersby.
Me was homeschooled by his sociologist father, who had a lot of very bizarre theories on child rearing. He was also known locally as the “n—– whisperer” for his ability to talk black people out of suicide or acts of violence. His other claim to fame is starting a philosophical society at the donut shop that continues after his death.
This book is proudly not politically correct. It discusses “weren—–” – black people who visit poor black neighborhoods occasionally to bump up their credibility and then flee back to their suburban homes. It maintains that every Californian since the first Native Americans who heard missionaries ringing bells early on Sunday morning, agrees that there are too many Mexicans. If you are the type of reader to be offended by things like this, avoid this book. Otherwise, read it and let it sink in. This is one that you read more for the insights you gain as you read instead of reading for the overall plot.
Since I gave up processed food for the Whole Life Challenge, I’m getting more interested in going chemical-free in other areas too. I’ve seen recipes for homemade cleaning products on Pinterest but I haven’t gotten the gumption to make them.
Last night I watched the movie Chemerical on Netflix. It was about a family who did a three month challenge to remove all chemical cleaning agents and personal hygiene items from their house. It wasn’t the best documentary ever but it made me do some research this morning and I went out and bought some ingredients to try some of these myself.
But, I must confess. I have been doing one thing for close to a year now. I quit shampooing and conditioning my hair.
This is what I keep in my bathroom now. I read a lot of recipes about how to do this. I think I have it down to the absolutely easiest way to do it because I am lazy.
1. Pour about 1/8 cup of baking soda in the measuring cup. This is enough to cover the bottom of this cup. It isn’t measured exactly.
2. Fill it with hot water from the shower and stir it with your finger until it dissolves.
3. Pour it onto your hair.
Most of the instructions want you to make it ahead of time and add in pretty smells. If you make it in large batches then it is relatively colder than your shower when you pour it over your head and that did not make me happy.
This mixture doesn’t suds up or do anything when you apply it. To wash your hair, you scrub your scalp more with your fingernails than you need to do with shampoo. I let it sit for a bit and then rinse it well.
When you start doing this the websites say to be ready for a 2 week to 2 month adjustment period. Here’s how I understand it. When you use shampoos you strip the oils out of your hair and scalp. To compensate for that your scalp makes extra oil. I have super fine, very dry hair. When I was using shampoo once or twice a day, if I skipped a day my hair would get really oily. I thought that was weird because my hair is so dry. I was using Wen and other fancy stuff to try to put moisture back in my hair while at the same time fighting the oil that shows up if I didn’t shampoo it daily.
When you use the baking soda you don’t strip the oils but your body doesn’t get the message right away. It keeps kicking out the oils. So until your body understands and slows the oil production your hair may be oilier than usual. But hang on because the results are worth it.
I started this when I was out of town for a conference. I figured if it turned out that my hair was nasty at least I didn’t know anyone. At first it felt like I wasn’t really getting my hair clean. You don’t get the “squeaky clean” feel like you do with shampoo. My transition lasted about 2 weeks.
Now, my hair is softer and easier to manage. The husband says it looks healthier. I only need to wash my hair every few days even when working out. If I’m sweaty I can just rinse my hair well and it comes clean. I also have scalp psoriasis. I don’t see a huge difference in it but it can’t hurt to keep chemicals off the damaged skin.
The second part of the routine is the vinegar rinse. I put about 1/4 cup of vinegar in the cup and fill the rest with water. I pour it on the long parts of my hair mainly. I let it sit for a minute and then rinse.
This made an immediate improvement for me. Super fine hair tangles if you look at it wrong. This stopped that after the first application. I was in Florida when I started this. My hair gets super frizzy in Florida. I was piling leave in conditioner in it and anti-frizz serum and flat ironing it. One application of vinegar and the frizz was gone! I didn’t have to use anything else.
I know this might sound weird but it is worth a try. It has worked so well for me that I can’t imagine going back to regular shampoos.
Over the next month or so I’ll be making detox baths, facial cleaners, soft scrub, laundry detergent, and whatever else catches my eye. I’ll let you know what works.
At my old house I had a recycling system. It was in a little closet and consisted of separate paper bags for each type of recyclable. The only problem with this is that I would get too busy (read, lazy) to take the bags to the recycling center until they were threatening to explode from the closet. When I moved in here the SO said that I couldn’t do it because in this old house we’d be begging for bugs.
But I was starting to twitch when I threw away something that could be recycled. I called the garbage company and asked what options they provided. It turns out that curbside recycling is mandated here. Funny, I’ve never seen any curbside recycling containers around. They asked if I had the blue container. I said no so they said that they’d send it out.
It came this morning. I’ve never been so excited to get a dirty blue plastic bin. I proudly threw some well rinsed cans into it and contemplated the fact that I am such a geek.
I just read The Margarets by Sherri S. Tepper, whose books I love. This one takes place during a time when the Earth has become too overpopulated to sustain life. The plot is way too complex to summarize here without sounding nonsensical but it ties into a video posted today on Hecate’s blog.
It makes perfect sense to me but people stare at me like I’m insane when I say that overpopulation is one of the reasons that I’m choosing to adopt instead of reproducing.
I heard a story yesterday on Living on Earth‘s podcast comparing water used in a typical day by an American guy in D.C. and a lady in rural India. You can download the broadcast or read the transcript here. It made me think about tracking my water consumption for a day. I’m not going to be able to measure all my water in gallons like they did but I’ll write down all I use.
1. Get up and use bathroom. One flush would be about 3 gallons.
2. Brush teeth. I turned off the water while brushing because I was thinking about this.
3. Fill up buckets for both horses. That’s 10 gallons. I have a hose that I use in the summer to get water to the stalls. It leaks in several places so I waste some water each time I use it because I’m too cheap to go buy another hose. In the winter I have to carry the buckets to the faucet. I think it is hard work. It is 65 feet from the faucet to the farthest stall. It is about 130 feet to carry a full bucket to the closest pasture. It makes me whine to have to do that. The lady from India’s closest water source is half a mile away.
4. Come in and wash hands.
5. Water plant. I do recycle water for one of my plants. It is sitting next to the bird cage so I dump Ozzie’s dirty water into the plant. Since Ozzie dunks food in his water the plant gets a bit of extra fertilizer and is the best looking plant I have.
6. I’m drinking Crystal Light. I keep a gallon jug in the fridge. I usually have to make a new batch daily.
7. Flush toilet and wash hands.
8. Make lunch which requires 1.5 cups of water. Go outside and get distracted. Allow water to boil over and pan to scorch and smoke up the house. Start over with another 1.5 cups of water.
9. Wash hands after petting horses.
10. Scrubbed bathtub and rinsed. I used 6 large glasses of water to rinse.
11. Showered and more bathroom trips.
That’s it. I had a pretty low usage day. I didn’t have to wash laundry or dishes and I didn’t cook any big meals that required a lot of water. I also wasn’t working where I wash my hands constantly. The horses didn’t drink a lot so I didn’t have to keep filling up their buckets. For as little as I used today I’m still insanely glad that it came out of a tap and I didn’t have to haul it half a mile.
EcoStreet is running an environmental challenge for the next two weeks. Everyday they post one thing to do to help the environment. Day 1 was to stop buying bottled water.
I don’t buy bottled water unless I’m stuck in a situation where I neglected to plan ahead. Those are getting to be less and less as I make it a routine to carry a drink with me. I bought reusable bottles but they don’t seem to last long. They grow black gunk on the inside that won’t come out after repeated washings and soakings in bleach. Any ideas on how to fix that?
Day 2 is to hang up your clothes to dry. It is raining here and I don’t have a clothes line. I may just have to skip that one. Maybe in honor of the day I just won’t do any laundry!
I’ve been planning on doing it all summer but today I finally went to the new Creation Museum in KY. Here is my official review. It is long and has lots of pictures. Sorry to anyone on dial-up.
For anyone who doesn’t know my background, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. At the time I was studying I was a fundamentalist Christian. I learned all my required evolutionary theory with no problems. I didn’t think much about how it correlated with my faith. I was good at cognitive dissonance in those days. After vet school my faith changed. Do I think science has all the answers? No, but I think it has the best answers that we have at this time. So with that all in mind I went to see what was being presented at this museum.
I’d been following the story of the building of the museum and knew that there were millions of dollars involved. It shows. The facility is beautiful. This is the entrance.
When I went inside I was amazed that there was a long line for admission. It was 11:45 on a Monday morning. The line was full of very polite people. Since driving in I was feeling very sad. All I could think was, “Do all these people believe this?” and “This is a beautiful presentation of a lie.”
I paid for my admission and bought admission to the planetarium show. I figured since I had driven down I was going to see it all. The first exhibit I saw was a life sized model of a Wooly Rhino skeleton with these signs.
If you were near me at this point in my tour I would have been the lady standing slightly open-mouthed with tears in my eyes. It actually felt hard to breathe. Everyone around me was happily taking all this in as fact. I turned the corner and came face to face with this.
The dinosaur and the prehistoric child together. The dino wags his tail and moves his head. It is similar to canine play posturing. Dinosaur as prototypical Golden Retriever.
From here you are funneled past some small exhibits. Here is a representative sign.
I tried to go to the rest of the museum but guards stopped me and wouldn’t let me pass because it was less than 45 minutes to my planetarium reservation. So I wandered a bit near the entrance and found this.
The vegetarian part of me loves it but sadly, the scientific part just can’t agree.
I went to the planetarium and the show was very well produced. It was pretty good until the end when it started talking about things that science doesn’t have an answer for. I’m ok with not having an answer but I don’t know that I can trust that they are telling me the truth about there not being scientific rationale for the examples cited. Astronomy is not something I know about. That’s the problem with this museum. If I wasn’t well versed in biology would the absurdity be as clear?
On my next attempt I got past the guards to the rest of the museum. I walked into a display of fossils. There was a movie playing. The “scientist” on screen said that he knew how to interpret fossils because the Bible tells him what happened. His colleague comes to a different conclusion because he doesn’t believe. Shot of spooky looking Chinese guy representing the unbeliever is on screen. I scoffed out loud but quietly. That washed away the sadness I was feeling and moved me towards open disbelief.
So how do you deal with the fossil record? Show displays comparing and contrasting “Human Reason” and “God’s Word.”
Then there is a display about the Bible and you move into a narrow hall that talks about what happens if the Bible is ignored. You are moving from a light and airy room to a cramped, graffiti lined passage. There are fake mice. It is dark and gloomy. The walls are papered with magazine and newspaper articles doubting Christianity. The guys in front of me looked at each other and said, “Are we going into the ghetto?”
There are 2 video screens under a sign asking what happens if you remove Scripture from the home. In one a boy is wearing a t-shirt with beer pictured on it and he is on the internet. The room is messy. I couldn’t hear the sound. In the next a teen girl is on the phone. She has a pregnancy test in her hand. Then there are displays for taking Scripture out of church, etc. A loudspeaker gives statistics. As I was about to be able to leave this room it said that 50% of teen girls had had premarital sex. I stopped cold to wait to see if they would say anything about boys. No. Apparently either the girls are having sex by themselves or they are all lesbians because no boys are involved. Got my feminism all riled up. By now I was starting to talk out loud. But it must not have been too obnoxious because no one even looked at me. There was a thing that said that the church might be dead and buried in 40 years. Ah, the Christian persecution complex is alive and well.
I eventually moved into a replica of the Garden of Eden and the story of the fall of man.
Let us never miss a chance to take a swipe at gay marriage, I guess.
You turn a corner and come face to face with huge pictures of women screaming in labor, junkies (minorities only), wolves snarling, etc. I doubled over laughing. It had gone so absurd at this point. I worked my way through Noah’s Ark to the dinosaurs. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
In case you didn’t know the Flood was in 2348 BC. That would be smack-dab in the middle of the Egyptians building the pyramids. They don’t address that little problem.
I was in a pretty good mood so I decided to hit another movie on my way out. It is called Men in White. Two angels in white coveralls tell an animatronic girl not to listen to her culture and to believe the Bible. The intro says that it is a satire but that you will learn truths. This movie made me furious. I was taking notes like crazy all the way through. It was so bad that I’ll just give the highlights.
1. The basic idea is that evolution equals despair. If it is true then life can have no meaning.
2. They said that evolution only makes sense if you believe that you have billions and billions of years to work with. Then they laughed because that’s obviously not true.
3. There was a fake news broadcast with a scientist called Dr. Ed U. Kaded. The angel guys would mute him and mock what he was saying. That gives the impression that it is bad to be educated.
4. They tried to say radioisotope dating of rocks doesn’t work using various examples. My favorite was when they said that the rocks thrown out of Mt. St. Helens were tested to be thousands of years old when everyone knows that it erupted in the 1980s. (Uh, they were inside the volcano for a long time and were spit out in the 80s? Sorry, my logic kicked in there for second.)
5. There was a scene in a science class. No one is listening to the cartoonishly boring teacher. (Implication – science is boring). The angel guys start asking questions to the teacher that he of course can’t answer. The implication being that no one can answer them. The teacher says that the proof for evolution is the picture of an ape leading to proto-humans leading to Homo sapien. The angel guys say it is just a picture. The teacher gets flustered because this drawing is the only proof he has.
6. At the end they explain that atheism is a bias that scientists have so they can’t see that God created everything. (And they aren’t biased?)
7. Again they state that if you dismiss Genesis then you dismiss the existence of God and therefore life has no meaning.
I was so frustrated after this that I went for a walk in the gardens. They are lovely and getting out in nature made me feel better.
I breathed deeply and settled myself. I started to imagine what wonderful museums could be made about the Hopi Creation stories or the Feri Star Goddess who who gave birth to the universe after an act of (gasp) self-love if millions of dollars were available. I took a comment card and wrote that it made me sad to see these displays of intellectual dishonesty and lies presented as fact. I mailed the card so my voice can be heard even though it won’t matter. I will be making a matching donation to a scientific organization to balance the money I spent on admission.
I was just walking by a window that overlooks my front flower beds. I have given up on these beds. For some strange reason such as microclimate or the gods laughing at me, nothing will grow in these beds but huge weeds. Like 5 foot tall weeds of wonderful diversity. For years I’ve tried different plants but they get broken by wind at ground level while the weeds prosper. So this year I gave up and let the weeds win. I now have 4 – 5 foot tall thistles blooming all along the front of my house.
As I walked by the window I saw some motion. There is a group of honeybees gathering nectar from the thistle blossoms. We’ve always had a lot of bees here especially bumblebees. But this year I’ve only seen one huge bumblebee and no honeybees. I was hoping we’d be spared from the effects of colony collapse disorder but apparently not.
But they are back. It is a relatively small group but they are working hard. There is also the smallest bee that I have ever seen. It is smaller than the heads of the other ones. It must be just hatched. It is trying its hardest but the big bees keep pushing it away from blossoms. When the big bees just fly past it the air turbulence throws it around.
Hopefully this is a sign that the bees in this area are recovering.
I recently listened to a podcast of The Story featuring Ashley Menger. She did an experiment where she carried all her non-recyclable, non-compostable trash with her for 2 weeks. You can read about it and about other people who are trying this also on her blog.
It got me thinking about how far you should go to be environmentally friendly. She started to carry around her own silverware and cloth napkins so she didn’t need to use plastic spoons that she would have to add to her trash pile. That lead to a discussion of how much of a scene are you willing to cause to be environmentally friendly. Are you uncomfortable asking for no silverware and napkin because people will look at you strangely?
They also discussed what I’d call “surprise trash.” Like getting a cloth napkin circled with a paper wrapper. I got an ice cream cone the other day that had paper attached to the base of the cone for no really good reason that I could fathom.
I’m on a personal crusade against plastic bags. Whenever I ask for no bag in a store the cashiers look at me like I’ve grown two extra heads. How could I possibly carry a pair of socks to the car with no bag? Even better is when I’m at the grocery store and I take my own bags. Then the baggers feel compelled to wrap my stuff in plastic before they put it in my bags. They are trying to be helpful and I feel bad about asking them to stop. How did it get harder to use less packaging than more?
Speaking of reuseable bags, there was an article on it in a recent Vogue. (Don’t mock. I get it from the library to read the articles.) I read this article because I was glad to see the issue being brought up in a decidely non-environmental magazine. But although the article was very well done, the examples of reuseable shopping bags was a bit extreme. $875 for a small bag, anyone? Or would you prefer over $1000 for Hermes? Maybe if my bags cost that much I’d want my salsa wrapped in plastic first.
I want to feed birds. But the birds around here must be the most self-sufficient animals ever because they refuse to come to my feeder. I have high quality feed and everything. I realized it might be hopeless this fall when the corn was harvested. A lot of it spilled on the driveway as the wagons were pulling out. No animal (not even deer) ever came to eat it. If they won’t eat free all you can eat corn then they aren’t coming. I didn’t even put the feeder up this winter.
Then last week when it got really cold a flock of cardinals started hanging out in the front pasture. I put up the feeder. The cardinals disappeared. A dove did come and eat under the feeder one day. A flock of crows started hanging out around the neighborhood and one ate a bread crust I threw out. But no one landed on the feeder.
This morning I looked out back and some birds were sitting in some weeds. I told them there was a feeder on the other side of the house but they didn’t hear me. I came back later and those birds were gone and the cardinals were on the weeds. So I went out and got a bucket. I buried it upside down in the snowdrift at the base of the weeds. I put seed on it. Now the weeds that they were sitting on by their own personal preference are sitting within inches of the bucket covered with seeds. If they don’t eat my food I know it is personal.
I came inside and am playing with Ozzie, the one bird in the universe who likes everything I feed him.
Vultures are a very common sight around here. You often have to slow your car and almost nudge them out of the road. But the other day I was driving and saw these guys on a fence. My first thought was vultures but then they were so still for so long I thought that the neighbor may have put up scarecrows. There was a line of 7 vultures wing sunning. They stand up and spread their wings and hold still for long periods of time – long enough to be confused if they are real or not.
By the time I got a clear shot with my camera I could only get the one still sunning himself.
I’ve been mowing the lawn off and on over the last two days. It hadn’t been mowed for about 3 weeks and therefore had areas that are stunningly thick. I’m not a lawn purist so my lawn consists of whatever grass we seeded it with and whatever else decided to grow. There is a lot of red clover blooming right now.
My problem with mowing is that I have a tendency to stop for bugs. I swerve around butterflies. This makes interesting patterns in the finished lawn. No one has ever asked why my lawn looks like that and I’m glad because I can just imagine the stares I would get when I said, “You see, there was this butterfly that didn’t want to move….”
But this weekend I hit a new level of braking for bugs. I actually started stopping and moving bugs to safe havens. Why? Because they were baby praying mantises (manti?). I’m not sure if I saw several different ones or just one highly mobile one. But they definately seemed to be worth stopping and watching while they maneuvered out of the way. The one today was just not making good progress so I moved him to the flower bed. I hope I see them around as adults. I saw a huge one on a rosebush last year. At first when I glimpsed it out of the corner of my eye I thought it was bird in the bush. The one I gave a lift to today was about 1.5 inches long and a delicate light green color. Very cute and very dignified as she accepted her ride to the flowers as if it was the most normal thing on earth.
I so want to go the Green Festival in Washington DC in October. I love DC – I’m a museum devotee – and I think this would be fun. I’d need to go by myself because I’m sure that the husband would never go to such an enviromentalist wacko gathering. Or worse, he’d go and argue with all the people there.
Yesterday I found out that the husband doesn’t have the patience for auctions. Personally I think auctions are fast-paced but if he isn’t bidding he’s bored and that is dangerous at an auction. We ended up getting a dwarf gala apple tree and a dwarf fuji apple tree. I’d like to get several more fruit trees like cherries also. I’m not a huge apple fan but I have two large apple fans in the barn who will think daily supplies of fresh apples is great!
Then I went to the sorting show. I was very proud of Prize. She settled right in. I groomed her and then rode her without having to do lots and lots of ground work to settle her. I think maturity may be sneaking up on her finally. It also helped that the show started at 2 PM so I had her out in the pasture all morning and she was ready for a nap. After I rode for a bit I tied her up. She worked for a while on untying herself but eventually gave up and decided to take a nap.
When it came time for her to go it didn’t go so well. In this event you have two small round arenas set side by side. A 12 foot opening is in the middle. Two horses and riders go in. The goal is to move 7 of the 8 cows from one arena to the other in numerical order in the fastest time. If a cow goes in out of order you are disqualified. One rider goes and gets a cow and the other stands in the opening as a gate to stop other cows from moving.
I was worried if she would be able to stand her ground if a bunch of cows charged at her. Now I know that the answer is a resounding NO! We started and my partner went and got the first cow. It was coming towards her and she faced it and started to shake. I think she was going to be ok but then another cow joined it. In Prize’s mind that qualified as a stampede and therefore you need to get out of the way. (It is hard to argue with that kind of good sense.) Here’s the vibe I was getting from her – “Ok, ok, ok, I’m going to be ok, Holy SHIT!!! Run!!!!!!”
She went into panic mode but this is why I love this horse. Spirit in that instance would have flung me repeatedly into the fence in an attempt to escape. I would have had to bail out to calm him enough to get him out of the arena. Prize took two fast steps sideways and stopped. That was enough to get us DQed as the cows rushed past her but she stopped. She turned to face the cows and then helped round them up and put them back in the other arena. After your turn your job is the put the cows in a bunch in the middle of the arena for the next team to work. When they start you have to get out of the one arena through the other arena and out the gate without letting any cows out. So in a flurry of action one horse shoots forward to get a cow, two horses run from the cows and pass through a 12 foot opening where another is standing, and there may be cows coming too. She had no problem with that. This is a horse with a history of kicking in crowds but she was fine. She also had a horse back into her and she was fine with that. Yep, maturity is catching up with her.
She was mad after her run. She was standing by the fence and as cows would come over she’d make nasty faces at them and try to get them through the fence. She’s a tough girl when the cows are on the other side of fence. There was also a dog there and she decided that it would be good fun to step on his tail. I stopped that plan quickly and decided to go home before she picked more fights because she was mad about being attacked by cows.
Happy Earth Day everyone! I took a quick walk through my yard this morning and it has positively exploded due to the rains in the last few days. The area I weedwhacked last week to prepare for new beds looks like I never did anything to it.
I’m leaving in a few minutes to go to a tree auction. Then this afternoon I’m taking Prize to work some cows. I’ll update later if there is good news from either activity.