Got a little bit run over with events yesterday. I started this post in the morning and thought I'd be able to get back to it in a timely fashion. Life kept happening throughout the day and well into the night, and no part of the life stuff included finishing the post. But 10 p.m. when I finally got home it was already well past bedtime, so I punted this thing toward the southeastern horizon, hoping I'd be able to field it cleanly in the light of a new day. So far, so good.
Going to be interesting to see what happens in Blighty now as well as what happens here with the coup. The first world is standing at a crossroads. History doesn't ever repeat, but as Twain is alleged to have said, it rhymes. Although shots aren't being fired, I can't help but think of Lincoln at Gettysburg. "...conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." It's a darned good question. It's going to depend not on what happens in London and Warshington and Brussels, but on whether sovereign people sell their liberty for shiny trinkets.
Ball's in your court, first worlders. It'll be fun to see what you do.
The above garbage out of the way, Heere's, Howie!
The little girl is named Cedar. She and her sister Willow have taken Howard in and introduced him to their duck flock. By all reports he is doing well and much loved. The story would make for a great Christmas movie, no? With myself as the evil scrooge duck-hater who was planning to murder the poor bird for the holiday table (mmm, Gebratene Ente mit Äpfeln!). Then a pair of brave lasses come along and rescue Howard in the course of much spine-tingling adventuring, and also rescue my evil scrooge heart and soul. I should write the screenplay and
Principles. You know I've done this before, and you needn't feel you must read this section. I've been a lot of places and done a lot of things in my life. Some people might say my time on this planet has been extraordinary, and I wouldn't disagree, but placed in the context of my time and my choices it's been pretty middle of the road. I know and knew dozens and dozens of folks who had a way more extraordinary ride. Leaving that last aside, in addition to going places and doing things I spent a lot of time reading, thinking, observing, and trying stuff. At the end of each excursion into possibility I've always returned to the foundational principles I learned as a sprout. They are very simple. All humans are equally human, and I must always do my very best to honestly and objectively treat other humans as I would be treated based on that first principle. That covers every possible eventuality, including the fact that outcomes can't be equal and can often be horrible. All I can do is my best to hew to my principles and if I do so the price I must pay can potentially be incredibly hard and awful.
Which is fantastic. Over the years and down through my stack of experiences I've found that hard is best. Hard is wonderful. Hard is where you grow. Hard is where I have to do my very best and where there is no wiggle room at all for shirking. In gut wrenching and incredibly hard times I always find that my best -- which I must do -- is simply not enough. This is when my creator does for me what I cannot do for myself. This is when I have the opportunity to walk in the sunlight of the spirit, bathed in grace and joy. It seems counterintuitive. It is nevertheless true that the hardest trials, properly navigated, bring me the greatest joy I can imagine. Pain and loss and sadness and disappointment and defeat are part of life and can't be avoided. They can be, and are, the pathway to joy and peace.
I like a couple of things that Jordan Peterson says. Not because Jordan Peterson says them and they are cool in some circles, but because they make a lot of sense to me given my principles and my experience.
The first has to do with the Asian concept of Yin and Yang.
The two things are part of the whole of existence, and neither can stand alone. Light and dark, joy and sorrow, peace and strife, order and chaos. The proper place to exist in this life, says Peterson, is at the intersection, with one foot firmly planted in each side. Both sides call to us with a powerful siren song. But we are not creatures of light alone or dark alone. When we try to inhabit one or the other we are out of balance and our lives run off the rails. Joy and peace are not located in those one-sided places, because we simply cannot go to a place where a single influence -- light or dark, if you wish -- can completely eliminate the other. As a consequence, we commonly find that do-gooders crash and burn is spectacular ways and evil-doers can show compassion and remorse. Regardless of the arguments of others, my proper place is with one foot in order and one foot in chaos, where my existence is hard. For me the hard path is the only proper and sane path.
And speaking of hard, Peterson opined that the proper way of being in this life is to find the largest burden you can bear and then bear it. For me this is entirely correct. And this is one of the reasons I recoil (often visibly!) when I'm advised to take it easy. To me it feels (and I'm sure this is seldom the adviser's intent) like being told to lie or cheat or steal. It's a siren song, and I wish to stay away from those rocks and shoals!
And having disposed of that garbage...
Yesterday started with a cow out.
Red took the opportunity in her zeal to run the out cow right past the gate a couple of times. The group of in cows who were watching and observing wanted to join the out cow by passing through the open gate. Therefore Red and I had to move the in cows back away from the gate. At this point the out cow wanted to rejoin the in cow group, so she charged back through the gate and into the pasture. But Red very nearly put her back out! It's always an challenge, and no circumstance ever plays out exactly as you plan it. Which makes it frustrating at times, sure, but also always an adventure.
I believe I've shared the fact here before that cows get out. There are ways to mitigate cow-outage, such as building and maintaining stronger and tighter fence. There are a lot of factors involved in managing fences and cow outages, and for my particular ranch it comes down to assessing the risk associated with cow outages and comparing that to the opportunity cost of spending time working on fence.
The risk of having cows out is manifold. They are big animals and they eat green stuff, so they can damage a neighbor's crops. A single cow can destroy a hedge and garden and wreak havoc on a lawn in an astonishingly short time. A cow on the road is a real threat to motorists, as colliding with a thousand-pound herbivore will ruin your vehicle and possibly send you to the horsepistol. So it's the prudent and responsible thing to keep your cows in.
At the same time, it's cost prohibitive to construct a fence which is entirely and always cow-proof. You can build a fence like that, but you'll go out of business. So you build a non-perfect fence which keeps the cows in most of the time.
But most of the time is not all of the time, so what do you do? You have to constantly assess the problem and factor it into your running cost-benefit calculation. Are all the cows getting out? Or just a few or even one? If it's the former the answer is clear. You gotta do what it takes to keep them in. If it's the latter then you're dealing with fence that is nearly completely adequate and one or a few persistent fence crawlers.
The time or season of the year is a player too. During the growing season, if adequate rain prompts adequate grass growth, cows won't test even a rickety fence because they've got all the grass they could possibly want right in front of their faces. When the growing season is past (or yet to come) it's harder for cows to find the grass they prefer, which is the green stuff. Even in the depths of winter there is green grass here and there, it's just very sparse, so the cows are constantly searching it out. And because of the dynamics of wind and water and plant life, many of the winter annual grasses germinate and flourish along fence lines. Cows will clean up the green stuff on their side of the fence, then push their noses through the fence to get at the tasty stuff on the other side. Eventually they will break a wire and/or pop enough staples and clips to make it possible for them to get through the fence. It's a dynamic world, and cows and fences are a prime example of this.
It pretty much comes down to constantly patching as needed, and then building/repairing as you can.
I should like to report that after a bit of trial and error, the stock tank floats in the Cederburg pasture are now properly adjusted. Those two tanks are now called Brig North and Brig South. Here's where they are located in the pasture.
You can see 'em from space. Brig North:
A few more conventional views of Brig North, complete with cows making funny faces.
And a video taken at Brig South.
Having checked the cows and water and fences, gotten the cow outage sorted, and having received an okay from Red, it was time to go to shopping hell. But first, I had to close the gate and avoid slipping and falling. It's not really a big deal, but because of the way snow drifts and ice forms at the north gate area of the Cederburg pasture, there's always a winter ice patch right where you have to stand to open and close the gate. You just have to be careful is all, be prepared to fall, and not be a hysterical crybaby about the challenges nature constantly serves up.
The shopping wasn't, of course, shopping hell. It was pretty easy actually, but I like being a hysterical crybaby when it comes to visiting wally-land. Gag. Having visited real wally-lands out in the more populated parts of the world, I know very well that the crowds and the bustle and the shopping-cart wars of the Sidney wally-land pale in comparison. Most of you kind readers would walk into the Sidney location on a busy day and think, "man, this place is dead!"
An upside to visiting the wally-land at this time of year is people watching. So many grim, near-panicked expressions as shoppers go about purchasing holiday cheer!
The Sidney trip culminated in lunch at Perkins. The service was excellent and fast. The food was well prepared and presented quickly while still piping hot. It was a good, tasty meal. I selected the 55+ country fried steak and gravy, which came with mashed potatoes and a garden salad. I was hungry so I snarfed the salad down before I thought to take a picture. As it turned out, I should have ordered the same meal but "hold the steak and potatoes." The 55+ menu is alleged to feature smaller portions for oldsters who don't need all that fuel! It was way more food than I needed or really wanted, but I ate it all anyway. Unfortunately, cream gravy covered steak and potatoes isn't exactly photogenic.
Mom had eggs Benedict. Much more pleasing to the eye.
And now that I've finished yesterday's post, it's time to get on with today's day.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.