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Coming way late to this discussion because I've been off camping with my horse.

Back to selling the cattle for slaughter, we sold our young males and kept the breeding females until we'd have too many. The day they hauled off the sold cattle was always a horrible day for me because the mama cows bawled piteously for several days for their babies. It is such an awful mournful sound.

I longed for children for 20 years before I was lucky enough to be able to adopt. When you adopt a child, it is incredibly difficult, time consuming, and every single day for months and sometimes years, you have to answer this question: "Is this really what I want to do?" So you have to want it very much for a very long time . . . which I did. When I'd hear those mamas grieving for their sold-off babies, going to be slaughtered, it was very hard for me. I can only imagine how hard I would grieve if someone took my child away from me to be killed. I know the mama cows don't know the fate of their babies and in a few days, they seem to get over it . . . but I wouldn't, so it was hard to hear them bawling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,002 ·
What are the woodchips from the tree farms for? Heating or energy production in some form?
No, Australia has coal and gas if we want to burn stuff, and of course we also have incredible amounts of sunshine so are eminently suited to solar electricity generation - our household here is off-grid and all the electricity is via solar panels. Albany, 30km away, has the main electricity grid running on 70% on wind power thanks to the Albany Wind Farm:

The woodchips from the blue-gum plantations are for paper pulp production largely for international newsprint, and sadly most of that still ends up in landfill as the majority of paper in the world is still not recycled. We actually don't need most printed newspapers anymore (if we ever did) and for those we do, a far higher recycled content could be used and so these plantations don't achieve much good in the world and have taken food areas out of production, therefore increasing pressure on clearing the remaining native vegetation here and elsewhere for farming.

It is especially sad that the government decided to throw our tax money at subsidising the tree plantation corporations, when the scientific advice to them 25 years ago was that the tax money should be thrown at helping farmers fence and rehabilitate on-farm areas and to establish shelter belts at regular intervals across the landscape - shelter belts that could be fodder trees or plantation trees or specialist furniture wood or nut crops or replanted habitat for wildlife corridors and biodiversity conservation. These shelter belts would have addressed livestock welfare, soil conservation, control of waterlogging and secondary salinisation (a huge problem here because of the widespread broadacre clearing for agriculture removing native deep-rooted perennial vegetation), and would have added wildlife habitat, permanent carbon storage (which tree plantations for harvest aren't), and diversification opportunities for cash-strapped family farmers - and the local farmers were very keen to see this happen, but the government gave the money to their corporate mates instead, to buy up family farms that were going to the wall financially and plant them fence-to-fence with blue-gums, thus impoverishing our rural communities with further population loss and transferring more land from the hands of the people to the hands of the international corporate sector.

I was part of the team of scientists the government funded for scientific advice on addressing the waterlogging, land degradation and secondary salinisation problem of a local focus catchment area 25 years ago. We had hydrological modelling to show that the least amount of land would be taken out of production from the necessary replanting with trees if it was done in repeating belts, on the contour, across the whole landscape; 10-20% of the landscape replanted would have controlled the main environmental problems that way and also addressed all the other issues mentioned above - and would not have resulted in a 10-20% loss of agricultural production on the farmland, because shelter belts increase livestock and crop production per unit area. Our research and recommendations, which had majority support from an enthusiastic farming community, were roundly ignored by the government. Way more than this has now been block-planted to blue gums, and the environmental problems have not been controlled. Instead, our rural communities have shrunk as land has gone from family ownership to corporate ownership, and soil erosion, waterlogging and salinisation have continued - just as we predicted for the block plantation model 25 years ago.

It all gets so backwards when anything turns into industrial scale production and driven by profits for mega corporations.
Exactly. Case in point above.

Most of my editing work is in the environmental chemistry area about degradation related to industrial production...
So you'll be extra aware of this...

Ha, and no, we are not superior about our non-meat eating at all. In fact, until about 3 years ago, we did eat meat. Just not that regularly because we only bought local and ethically produced. Then it just got too expensive to sustain, so we just gave it up.
I take it you enjoyed JP Sears? 😄

We supported farmers' markets as much as possible before we bought our own smallholding, when we were living in town. It was easy to buy F&V and eggs that way, better quality, better ethics and competitive prices with some of the middle man cut out - although in our town, and many others, the stallholders are paying quite large fees to be able to sell there, and it cuts into profits and drives prices to the consumer up. It makes me mad because the town squares are already paid for with our taxes and council rates and there should not be additional fees for people to be able to sell produce and home-made items at community markets. I spent part of each year living in Italy before my family emigrated to Australia when I was 11, and there, the community market in the town square was a democratic thing that didn't have middle men that had to be paid for the privilege.

Between the stallholding fees and the lack of local beef abattoirs, it was almost impossible for us to buy farmer-direct meat at the Saturday markets in Albany - the price of getting the beef back after an 800km round trip to the Harvey abattoir makes it much too expensive. Even lamb and mutton - there's a local sheep abattoir still - was exorbitantly priced; like $40/kg for neck meat and chops, and even more for roasting cuts - and that was largely down to stallholding fees, expensive inspection requirements, etc. Dairy was similarly exorbitant for similar reasons and we simply couldn't afford to pay upwards of $40/kg for cheese, even when we were both working professionally. Also, there was no cheddar...

Actual food culture countries like Mediterranean Europe manage to do these things far more affordably for the average consumer through their farmers' markets and ability to sell even meat and dairy directly from the farm, which is not allowed in Australia, allegedly for health reasons, but really to keep smaller players from competing with existing monopolies. (Europe coped fine with the health side of things and I used to pick up milk legally from the local dairies there, and you could buy meat off farmers legally and much more easily and affordably.)

If you think about it, farmers' markets and farm-direct sales was how produce was originally distributed, before the advent of supermarkets etc. Even in our local district, that's how things were before the advent of middlemen and supermarkets. It is so ironic that people used to be able to afford to buy local food back then, and sure, supermarkets, when they became the big thing, were cheaper (at some price to farmers, the environment, etc), but now it's actually less affordable for the average person to buy from local farmers than it was back in the 1950s and earlier, especially meat and dairy.


I am excited for you and saddling Julian!! That is a massive feat! Congratulations!!!
It took all of 5 minutes and I should do it again soon. But it's like trying to get back into Pilates or music practice or finishing the attic - always so much else to do. I'm currently actively trying to reduce the amount of work maintaining this place, e.g. I've bought two truckloads of woodchips to spread thickly on garden beds and paths etc to reduce the amount of time I spend controlling weeds. I've decided to buy a hedge trimmer to make pruning the garden bushes faster. I'm looking for a fencing contractor who will put in strainer posts for me in the internal paddock areas, which are currently star pickets and polybraid, so that I can have one run of high-tensile wire at knee height that will properly carry electric current forever and therefore end the problem with cattle damaging fences when grazing in those areas (I can't tell you how many hours I've spent fixing those fences post bovine bulldozing; the polybraid simply isn't reliable for more than three months and I can't keep replacing it).

I really am blown away by all of the thoughts on raising animals and food. I loved this discussion. It seems something people rarely think about in urban environments. No, that is wrong, it’s simply that I feel they don’t think about the whole picture, such as farming the land vs raising the animal.
I think that's right, and it's because they don't see the whole picture from where they are sitting. Most of the people in Australia, which is highly urbanised, don't have significant immersion experience in natural ecosystems, or good ecological understanding, or personal experience trying to live off the land - let alone growing anything edible themselves, although that part is getting better again, with more enthusiasm for backyard vegetable growing - and the pandemic has increased this further!

Our First Nations people, on the other hand, culturally did spend their lives immersed in natural ecosystems and living off the land until colonisation, and therefore have a much better cultural understanding of ecological realities, the interconnectedness of things, and the place of humans in the overall scheme of things (in siblinghood with other species, not as lord and master).

Here we cannot sell meat directly to a consumer. I guess we could “on the hoof,” but we cannot butcher and sell animals without a whole lot of nonsense to work through. I cannot sell the milk from Mama Pepper either, as that is very illegal.
Similar to Australia. I make a point of buying as much "illegal" milk as possible, because I want to buy local and support local farmers. And because the national dairy herd has no TB etc, and is actually safer to buy unpasteurised milk off than it was in Europe, where buying and drinking raw milk was considered a public right. And if you look at the whole issue of what's happening to gut flora in modern humans, I think the clamouring to exclude pathogens largely came at the expense of also killing beneficial microflora. My gut is much happier on raw milk than sterile milk.

On the other hand, the people who argue for animal rights, tend to think all animals raised for meat or milk are bad. The ones who argue for ecological purposes do not want cows on the range, but lack the realization that we are the caretakers of the range, and thereby the other animals on it. When that realization hits they desire the mountain to have zero caretaking, but the feral horses are to be allowed to roam free and breed excessively without an actual understanding of those repercussions.
I guess we're back to Disneyfication problems here - and just lack of understanding. Also, I think even with your rangeland production, just as anywhere else, the downward pressure on price is incompatible with continuing to make livelihoods without putting more and more pressure on the land. We see that in Australia, all over the agricultural areas too. Consumers have got to pay a more reasonable price for their food, and less of it has to be taken by middlemen, for people to be able to steward the land properly, and enough people to be out there to do it - which there currently really aren't, in Australia.

It seems to me that actual conversations about our food and how it is raised or farmed are important to be had. I appreciate those who are wanting to make positive changes in the overall picture, but I think they need to have all of the information before they come to their final conclusions. Just as you discussed the fire and that responsibility.

I think when the entire picture comes together, from an environmental perspective, what is left to discuss is exactly what you are discussing; creating positive lives for the animals we raise and those we effect. The animals themselves can benefit the land and feed the population.

Maybe, when it all comes down to it, our biggest problem is the population itself. ;)
When I was 16, I wrote something in my journal which I now think was spot on: "If you're looking for the Apocalyptic Horsemen, just look in the mirror in the morning." 👺
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,003 ·
Hiya, @knightrider! :) I hope you had a great campout. Have you got pics and a story? I'm always happy to think of you going on your early morning rides and regular big campouts! ❤

In fact, it's nice to be in this position to care about these people from all over the world who correspond here, and wonder how they're doing, and compare notes, and read updates, and have conversations like this! That's a good global-village thing; I think this journal group is the best example of a global-village thing in my life! 🧸🌏
 

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Hmmmm...if folks needed to depend on local farmers in Tucson, we'd all starve. There were big cattle ranches near at one time, but farmers have switched to dairy (dairy?!) and cotton. Water intensive. In the desert. May make business sense but ecologically it is a disaster. Foreign investors have built huge dairy farms based on 1,500+' deep wells and sucking out the groundwater. Incredibly STUPID but I assume they are paying off the politicians. Or maybe it is based on the greed of the local people who value short term jobs over devastating consequences down the road:

"Though the arid Willcox area averages 12 inches of rainfall a year, the farms have access to huge amounts of groundwater. There is no restriction on how much they can pump out of the ground. Big farms around Willcox draw on wells as deep as 2,500 feet. As they do, water levels throughout the area are plummeting and homeowners’ shallower wells are increasingly going dry. As the water is pumped out, the ground is sinking. As the earth settles, fissures are gouging cracks in the roads. Farms and other well owners are pumping more than four times as much water as the estimated natural recharge that goes into the ground in an average year, according to data from the Arizona Department of Water Resources...

Willcox is a closed basin encircled by mountains, without any major river that runs in or out. The entire basin drains into a large dry lake just south of Willcox. Other than local rain and snowmelt, there is nothing to recharge the underground water supply.
"


Consider:

"Comanche Springs, once the sixth largest spring in Texas, has a long and storied history, from
mammoths sipping its brackish flow to hosting conquistadors and frontier forts to irrigating
thousands of acres to being the focus of a key court decision. Unfortunately, due to pumping

seven miles to the west, the springs started to fail in 1947 and stopped flowing in 1961 for 25
years. Along with the loss of Fort Stockton’s natural swimming hole and the livelihoods of
more than 100 families downstream was an ecosystem that supported several species now
recognized as endangered, including the Comanche Springs pupfish. In 1986, the springs
sprang back for a couple winters, disappeared, and then returned off and on in ensuing decades.
Consistent winter flow over the past decade had posed the question: What would it take to
bring flows back over the entire year?
"

 

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@bsms we are having massive problems with that here. They are working to change the laws, depending on what side you are on there are huge arguments.

The law would be to shut down all of the water rights given after a certain year (our groundwater is being overpumped, and now it is not only a hugely different landscape than it once was, but the water is disappearing). Now, they don’t want that to happen, so they are trying to instigate a plan which socializes the water. Therefore everyone is cut a certain amount, but they can move that water and sell it, and that makes a whole other onset of issues.

They don’t want to end people’s livelihoods, but they do have to solve the problem. It is such a mess!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,006 · (Edited)
Sadly, it seems that resources are over-allocated and silly things done all over the world, and the problem is, if you make a free-for-all at the start with a finite resource like groundwater, then more people come to depend on it than can be sustained in the long term, which is the situation @Knave and her community find themselves in. And that's similar to the story along Australia's Murray River as well - it's been overpumped for decades, as have the nearby aquifers - scientists were calling a red alert about that when I was still in middle school, nobody listened and the chickens have come home to roost. Sadly, both irrigation farmers that came to depend on the water and the entire Murray River ecosystem are suffering as a result, and there can be no win-win solutions here - only environmental degradation, business failure and human heartbreak. This is what happens when you take over twice as much as is sustainable, and human beings don't seem to learn when it comes to these things - and especially, it's a case of governments not listening to their own advisors and allowing this to happen.

All along the West Australian west coast, groundwater was overpumped in recent decades as high-water-use mega-vegetable farms were allowed to establish, and then what was left of the Tuart forest on the Mandurah-Bunbury stretch started to die "mysteriously' - it was no mystery to people who thought about it; the trees were running out of groundwater, and ridiculously it took another decade for the science to catch up with that obvious fact. All the way up and down that coast, which carries millions in human population, the salt water from the ocean started to encroach into aquifers as people pumped them out for their farms and golf courses, so that coastal bores went salty.

The tragedy is that these situations could be prevented in the first place by the use of common sense - by preventing overpumping in the first place. But apparently, that's beyond human communities, where everyone just takes what they want and the consequences show up later.

Ridiculous to be dairying in the desert, @bsms, just like it's ridiculous that rice and cotton are grown in Australia's dryland agricultural areas by irrigating with water from the dying Murray River. Human beings as a species really are a cancer on the planet, and if we don't mend our ways soon it's going to come back to bite us big time.


THE DAY'S ACHIEVEMENTS

In other news, today I finished moving one truckload of woodchips around the garden (photos soon) for good-looking anti-weed mulching that will save me time, trimmed two sets of donkey feet, and even managed to go for a 20-minute bareback loop of our valley floor tracks, walking and trotting. @gottatrot may be interested to know that this time there was less embarrassing heaving as I mounted bareback from the ground and I was on quite smoothly, and did not lie across the horse like a bag of potatoes with my feet hanging off one end and the head off the other with the horse walking in circles while trying to turn myself 90 degrees. 😜

However, I did have to get off 15 minutes into the ride and walk the remaining 800 metres home because I managed to chafe my backside painfully in that short time. The horse's spine is a bit more prominent than it used to be with age and Cushing's and not doing regular intensive riding anymore, so he's not quite as cushioned with back muscles as he was, and as a result I get too much friction in the wrong spot - and too much tension on my bum crack of all things, which exacerbates the friction problem. Maybe I need teflon underwear.

Nappy rash cream has been applied and fingers are crossed because tomorrow is our day off, with a good weather forecast, and we are hoping for another cycling expedition...

The calves have settled in well and spent last night in the big paddock with the horses, as there's mild weather and no wind and rain just now, so I'm not attempting to lock them into the small paddock with the shelter shed and the tree lucerne hedges all around - though come the weekend, I'll see if I can't persuade them back there, with another 40mm of rain expected over Saturday/Sunday... tonight too they're out grazing with the horses, and after the horses were fed, I took some cow cubes and a biscuit of hay for roughage to them in their current favourite spot, which is grazing the grass under the trees in the western windbreak, which I opened up to them (but not the horses or donkeys) by removing the bottom polybraid line a couple of days ago. Calves like the shelter amongst the trees and seem to find the shade-grown grass there extra tasty, although they also come out into the open paddock during the day to graze the sunny grass there.

They are very cute when I come to visit them with food, or just on welfare checks to see how they're doing and to remind them where the water is in that paddock - it's in a bathtub and I go splashing it demonstratively when they're nearby, which always results in them running over to investigate, and drink. They're still saying, "Hmmm, this isn't milk is it, but OK..." - having drunk milk from buckets at the dairy. It's why I've bought them cow cubes, because they're so young and even though it's normal to wean these things at 3 months and they're apparently OK to subsist on pasture as long as they get enough roughage, I think giving them some cubes for a couple of weeks will help them make that transition to all-grazing better.

But, they seem happy and are kicking up their heels when running around, so that's good - four days here and starting to get the geography of our inner paddocks - the 4 hectares that we've fenced off. They won't be going into the common (8 hectares pasture, 50 hectares bush) until spring, because the pasture there is too wet in the winter and because I don't want these littlies getting lost in the bushland where I can't find them. In another four months they will be more than twice the size they are now and far more sturdy and streetwise, but until then there's plenty of feed in the inside paddocks for them.

Dinner tonight was pumpkin soup and tuna pasta salad (with capsicum, cubes of cheddar, and home-grown spring onions, celery, tomatoes and olives, all in a Greek yoghurt/whole-egg mayonnaise dressing), while watching classic Dr Who (we're in the middle of the Sylvester McCoy era from the late 80s). Half an hour in I fell asleep at the ridiculous time of 8pm; that's what happens if you're shovelling and wheelbarrowing all day. Three hours later I woke up again in need of tea and a late-night snack, and it seemed as good a time as any to update my journal. The nappy rash cream is working already and I'm hoping that with extra precautions and my padded bike shorts I'll be OK to do the Torbay Rail Trail with Brett tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,007 ·
NEW PRINT FOR OUR WALL

And now for something completely different. A while back I bought a print at a fundraiser for a heart charity. It was done by the singer/guitarist of one of our favourite bands, and we'd not have bought it if we hadn't actually really liked it. It took about a month to get here from the UK and then it took six weeks for the framing I'd chosen for it to get to the picture framer's. But I hung it up last week. I took some photos of the print in its place and of its companion decorations - and you can see why we had to hang it in that room.

The one place we had left in this room was a place we used to have a framed photograph of a view from a house we lived in on a working holiday to Tasmania, but it kept fading and we were fed up with replacing it. So we had room for this print.


It may seem out of the way, but we see this every day and it's like another little window out into the night sky at night. It's a bit fuzzy here because of the glass reflections, but it's a gorgeous night sky reflecting in the ocean.

The other good thing about hanging it in a private room is that we won't have to explain to people that no, that's not whale blood or a nuclear explosion, just an allusion to kissing. (Which is kind of nice because we do understand this, "The universe is so beautiful and I love sharing it with you" thing you can get in a couple.)

Here's a close-up of the best-matching frame I could find it:

Here's the companion wall decorations that were already in the room - a print of "Pensée Musicale" by Valérie Maugeri, which we bought in Hobart over a decade ago, and our favourite wedding picture in a frame friends gave us for our wedding.


This is the wall we don't hang art on because it's already art:

This is Brett making that art back in 2012:

And this gives you an idea of the overall room - we took this photo for the Australian Owner Builder magazine in which we have about a dozen articles on what we've done around here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,010 · (Edited)
Well, it's good to see some other people getting something out of these cartoons, bwahaha! 😜 There is actually another that really tickled me today...



@egrogan might also like this one as a follow-up to existentialism and the whole Jean-Paul Sartre cookbook thing... (see The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook)

This cartoon could be seen as taking the mickey out of either position here, but to me it just shows up the negative, self-absorbed, self-pitying nature of existentialism - at each point where the character imagines he is conducting philosophical discourse and drawing valid conclusions, he is actually making self-limiting choices. Why choose to obsess about death when it's pretty miraculous you're even alive? Why look the gift horse in the mouth? Why waste your finite time worrying about the end of your time? Like the Stoics said, while we live death is not with us, and when death is with us we are no longer there. Existentialists are like children who, when you give them an icecream, say, "Oh, this is too small for me to enjoy it, all I will think about is how terrible it will be when I run out of icecream." And they are not happy unless they have an infinite supply of icecream, and if you gave them that they would probably find something else to complain about, like their impending and allegedly inevitable obesity or the monotony of infinitely eating icecream.

And then this view that you "have" to make choices, rather than seeing it as a privilege - always that poor-me negativity and this casting oneself as this imposed-upon victim, because one is alive, for heaven's sake. And if your life is meaningless at the end because you die, well then it's because you've not thought about anyone else but yourself, because if you have planted a tree or made someone smile you have had a meaningful effect, to mention just two examples.

Existentialism has got to be one of the most myopic, emotionally immature and self-centered philosophies in the universe. Too right, go take a run around the block. Maybe to a soup kitchen to help someone else instead of moan in this ludicrous manner. For further information, see the above cookbook link. End rant.
 

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Why choose to obsess about death when it's pretty miraculous you're even alive? Why look the gift horse in the mouth? Why waste your finite time worrying about the end of your time?
The Christian in me believes in an afterlife, and I don't worry about "reason" per se. As much as I value reason, I know MY reasoning powers are limited and I assume ALL of us have limits to our reason based on how, when and where we live. A lot of very intelligent, "reasonable" people have supported things like slavery, raping the earth, etc. If they can make errors like that, then why would I trust MY reasoning powers?

That said, I've argued before that if I didn't believe in God, I'd still believe in karma. People who live for themselves, who value profit or power over doing "good" - and most societies worldwide have a lot in common on how they define good - over the long term strike me as having miserable lives. I'm not sure THEY would agree, but I've never met someone who behaved like that whose life I would like to step into! I've met high-ranking military officers who sacrificed their families and their values to advance their careers. And I thank God I'm not them! I wouldn't trade my life for theirs for anything. I feel that way as a Christian, but I'd feel that way (I think) if I were an atheist.

In The Silver Chair, CS Lewis has the character Puddleglum give this speech:

One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so.

Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world.

I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say.


I'd rather be intellectually shallow and foolish and blind to "the real world" and live the life I've had than be a smart existentialist. I'd rather enjoy my family, the dogs, Bandit and the horses, try (although often fail) to do right by others, etc - because I've met people who didn't, and if there is no God, then truly "Karma" is a [expletive deleted]!

Or, as you put it more succinctly:
And if your life is meaningless at the end because you die, well then it's because you've not thought about anyone else but yourself, because if you have planted a tree or made someone smile you have had a meaningful effect...
(y)
 

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Nicely put! I have a much-loved quote on my wall.

“One of the very first things I figured out about life...is that it's better to be a hopeful person than a cynical, grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you're hopeful, you have more fun.”

― Barbara Kingsolver
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,013 ·
Just throwing in a song that came out today. It's a bit more electronic than I usually like my music, but the atmosphere of this is excellent and so are the lyrics.


HOW NOT TO DROWN

I'm writing a book on how to stay conscious when you drown
And if the words float up to the surface
I'll keep them down
This is the first time I know
I don't want the crown
You can take it now
You promised the world and brought me it hanging from a string
Stuck in my mouth, into my throat
Told me to sing
That was the first time I knew
You can't kill the king
And those who kiss the ring

Tell me how
It's better when the sun goes down
We will never escape this town
I wasn't scared when he caught me
Look what it taught me
Tell me how
It's better if I make no sound
I will never escape these doubts
I wasn't dead when they found me
Watch as they pull me down

I'm writing a chapter on what to do after they dig you up
On what to do after you grew to hate what you used to love
That was the first time I knew
They were out for blood
And they would have your guts

Tell me how
It's better when the sun goes down
We will never escape this town
I wasn't scared when he caught me
Look what it taught me
Tell me how
It's better if I make no sound
I will never escape these doubts
I wasn't dead when they found me
Watch as they pull me down

Watch as they pull me down
Watch as they pull me down
Pulling me down
Dead when they found me
Watch as they pull me down
Watch as they pull me down
Watch as they pull me down
Pulling me down
Dead when they found me
Watch as they pull me down

I'm writing a book on how to stay conscious when you drown
And if the words float up to the surface
I'll keep them down
This is the first time I know
I don't want the crown
You can take it now
You can take it now
Take it now
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,014 ·
I'm happy today because Nelly is feeling better after giving us a scare.

She's in the foreground, with offspring Ben behind.

I don't know what she ate but we found her unable to walk properly in the edge of the bushland last night when she didn't come in for bucket o'clock. There was a severe weather warning (again!!!) and it took Brett and me half an hour to shift the 200kg donkey the 100m back around the house to the internal paddocks and the shelter, with one of us pulling at one end and the other pushing, and lots of encouragement. She was starving hungry so we fed her some hay after her hard feed, and because she then lay down in a big sand hole outside the shelter I put a rug on her.

A late-night phone call to the emergency line of our usual veterinarian had the duty vet suggesting she might have laminitis, which really freaked me out because it's the middle of winter and she's not obese and she didn't get into a feed bin, and with laminitis you really have to know the cause and eliminate it, or it can conceivably kill them. It was suggested I ring the vet clinic in the morning.

Early morning when I went to check on her she did a fabulous dead donkey impersonation which gave me a scare - lying flat on her side with glazed eyes, and unresponsive to my calls. However, Ben responded to me with a loud bray, which is sort of like a foghorn, and this startled Nelly awake - phew! Not dead, just in deep sleep.

Example of a dead donkey impersonation, starring Don Quixote:

Nelly was definitely not happy. Nobody at the vet clinic could come out before lunchtime and they suggested I ring around to see if anyone else could do it earlier - which is how I contacted Dr Shae from Nullaki, who whipped out to our place after finishing a bit of surgery. I instantly liked her and her approach to the animal and trying to figure out the problem. Like me the night before, she couldn't find evidence of a bounding digital pulse or of pain when pressure-testing her soles, so she listened to her gut sounds and found them too quiet, and had a look at her last batch of droppings. Her hypothesis was that Nelly had a bad belly-ache, at least partially caused by probably not drinking enough the previous day, which had dehydrated her manure and made her uncomfortable - and possibly by eating something unsuitable out in the bushland. She also said because her heart rate wasn't badly elevated and her colour was good, she wasn't particularly worried about her at this stage. I should encourage her to drink (I'd already placed a bucket next to her previous evening but she wasn't that interested) and keep an eye on her.

The vet gave her an IV painkiller and told me donkeys are incredibly sooky when they do eventually get overwhelmed by pain, but that like in humans, gut aches can be really bad without actually being dangerous. But because we didn't know the cause, to call her again if she wasn't up and about next day.

Nelly was up and about in the afternoon, still a bit staggery but determined to do some grazing, so I let her and Ben into our garden, which is where they are spending the night. She's looking better and hopefully will continue to improve.
 

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Hiya, @egrogan! 🙂 Nelly is better, as in up and about a bit instead of lying on her side like yesterday morning. She's still ill though; I'm not letting her out in the Common with the horses because I'm suspicious that she ate something she shouldn't have in the bushland, and if she heads back for more it could make things worse. I've no proof that this is what the problem is, but she and Ben are always sampling all sorts of native vegetation instead of staying on the pasture, and we do have some poisonous plants in the region, possibly on our block - and we'd certainly have things that would give livestock a stomachache if they ate it.

Ben over the last few months has been occasionally coming in at night with a mild bellyache, which has him refusing his evening bucket and standing straddled and looking preoccupied. He's always been fine again the next day but I was starting to wonder what was going on - and now Nelly, so since these two are always gallivanting about together, it does make me very suspicious about what they might be eating.

We've run livestock in the Common for ten years now and never before now had a possible case of animals having trouble with native plants, even though they've always had access and all of them - horses, cattle, donkeys - will nip into the edges and eat bush grass. But perhaps, with Ben and Nelly, something more adventurous and less advisable? Or maybe I'm on the wrong track and it's something else altogether.

Nelly definitely still has abdominal discomfort - eases herself from one hind leg to another and looks back at her belly, occasionally nipping at it. She's eating and she's on phenylbutazone so that makes her more comfortable. There's a chance that she does have mild laminitis on top of her bellyache - and if she ate something untoward then the two could easily occur together. Her heel bulbs are warm, but it's hard to tell if they are warmer than any other donkey's - no flinching on the hoof testers yesterday, heart rate and colour pretty normal. She does walk as if her feet are sore - very careful and short with lots of lifting her feet up - but better than yesterday and looking brighter than yesterday (which you'd expect on bute).

Still, the best thing for her is to walk around, graze and take her mind off things - true for colic as it is for mild laminitis, according to Dr Shae. Donkeys aren't as heavy as horses so are less likely to mechanically damage their feet walking around with mild laminitis, and as the vet says, if they don't walk around then the blood doesn't circulate properly through their hooves, which you need for healing.

It's because I'd kind of apologised for walking her around the house on Wednesday night because so many people, including experts, say, "Do not move an animal if you suspect it has laminitis!" ...but 1) we had a severe weather warning with sheep hypothermia alert, so I had to get the sick donkey under shelter, and 2) just rugging her wouldn't have been helpful as she needed to be with her herd, or at least with Ben, and I couldn't leave both of them out there eating bush plants if there's any chance it's been making them ill. And we do not have a forklift, so.

The donkeys are all braying disconsolately as I type because they want to go into the Common. I'm not going to let them unless I can supervise Nelly and Ben, and I've got a ton of work to get through - right now I'm waiting for the washing, and for my spaghetti to cook, and then I've got to make up more seed trays and direct sow more broad beans and peas in the garden. There's a pipe to repair and a leaky laundry tap to fix and some tax paperwork to do and the windows and floors look like they need attention again already, although they probably won't be prioritised today - and the western barge on the house has peeling paint and needs sanding and repainting, which I've know a while and probably won't fit in today. Anyway, the donkeys have got four hectares of space in the internal paddocks to walk around and I've cut them acacia for roughage, so...honestly!

Nelly and Ben are both big cuddlebugs and when I was fixing up a bit of fencing this morning, I literally had one donkey under each arm. Nelly was really enjoying having her itchy spots scratched and kept following me around.

@egrogan, how are you finding the to-do list for your homestead? What are you currently tackling, and what jobs are sitting there needing to be done but you can't get to them just yet? And how are you coping with having more stuff to do than you have time for?

And how often do any of you clean the windows in your houses? We vacuum and do a basic clean of our house weekly, but that doesn't include windows, which I tend to tackle in sections every three months or so - not all of them at once or I would scream. We also do deep-cleans of various rooms and areas when they really need it - something we can't do with the standard weekly clean. All up, to do a standard clean of our house and the week's laundry takes about a day out of every week here - but that includes the guest wing...
 

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And now for something more fun, following on from a previous topic:

Existentialists are like children who, when you give them an icecream, say, "Oh, this is too small for me to enjoy it, all I will think about is how terrible it will be when I run out of icecream." And they are not happy unless they have an infinite supply of icecream, and if you gave them that they would probably find something else to complain about, like their impending and allegedly inevitable obesity or the monotony of infinitely eating icecream.
A cartoon I read yesterday put this well:

Schopenhauer appears to be another of those misery-guts philosophers, and from some accounts not a very nice person either. He sort of reminds me of a toddler with oppositional defiance disorder, at least in his cartoon version here; though it does strike me that quite a few people who are revered as serious philosophers didn't confront their inner demons and instead projected them outwards and called it a philosophy.

So people like Sartre and his ilk had problems with finding meaning and with personal responsibility - but it's so infuriating when people extrapolate their own deficiencies out at the world, and then pretend they know something about the world noone else does, and that the way they see the world is the true and correct way to see the world. So like religion, actually, and I've often said it, it's easy to exchange the "mind mould" of organised religion for another "mind mould" from philosophy. To me, the whole idea of philosophy is to consider various different perspectives and let that make you think and synthesise and come up with your own ideas, rather than adopt one perspective like a religion. You can see where that leads... and yet, people who substitute a philosophy brain mould for a religion brain mould then often feel so superior to the "dumb" religious people they've left behind. But really, their new mould is just as limiting.

Just general observations, and I'm not saying that every narrow-field philosopher or all religious persons have "mind moulds" and don't question anything critically! 🌟 If you look through a psychological lens every now and then, the human race seems extra weird.

Here's some more fun cartoons:

A Day In The Life Of Arthur Schopenhauer



Schopenhauer's Despair


😁 😂 🥳 🤪

More here: Arthur Schopenhauer - Existential Comics
 

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I was so glad Nelly was well. I do sometimes believe though that one should trust their gut over what the vet says. Sometimes, like with Bones’s hoof (remember when they wanted me to put him down?!), you have more information floating around in your brain about that animal and that specific situation. It works that way with kids too (remember the doctor who tried to put wart cream on little girl’s tumor?!). I’d go with your gut. Donkeys are particularly smart though I’ve heard, and I would believe she learned her lesson maybe if she is similar to Zeus.
 
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Concerning the cartoons....when I get hungry enough, I'm a flaming [expletive deleted]! Back when my rancher friend was my college room mate, he glared at me one evening and shouted, "Just EAT SOMETHING! I'm tired of your {stuff]!" And...he was right. Something we sometimes laugh about 40 years later.
 
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