Trump Deports Margaret Cho


panda1American born, LGBT activist and rumored comedienne Margaret Cho has been deported to China in what Cho’s representative calls a misguided and racist miscarriage of human rights by the Trump administration.

Wait a minute. Pandas aren’t Korean. And Margaret Cho isn’t terribly funny, either. So, let me double-check my facts.

The difference between a panda and Margaret Cho is that I would cuddle with a panda after sex…and pandas are funny.

Donald Trump isn’t the first president to fight the treachery of China. You have to go all the way back to Richard Nixon’s visit to China and their white elephant gift of “loaning” the United States two pandas.

The National Zoo in Washington, DC has shipped a three-year-old panda, named Bao Bao, to China. In one of life’s magnificent ironies, Bao Bao the panda is the only instance of the United States exporting something to the Celestial Kindgom.

Expect this panda’s anchor baby to sponsor his family for US citizenship in the next few years.

Bao Bao the pampered panda is traveling by air in a crate the size of a double bed, so he can stretch out and relax, while his personal keeper and veterinarian keep up a constant stream of bamboo over the sixteen-hour, non-stop flight. The last thing you want is an animal that eats thirteen to sixteen hours a day to get cranky from hunger pangs.

I hope I’m reincarnated as a panda. I can’t get my company to pay for business class.

The Chinese are a clever people. They invented gunpowder and silk and noodles and border walls. They invented trickery, too. Their slanty eyes and bucked teeth are a government sponsored cosmetics surgery program specifically designed to get the round-eyes of the world to drop their guard.

panda2What other explanation is there? The damn Chinese tricked the country into establishing a breeding program for their pandas.

Pandas are the vegans of the animal world. These picky sons-of-bitches not only refuse to eat anything besides bamboo, but they’ll only chow down on two of the eighty-six varieties.

If my kids were as picky eaters as pandas, they’d starve.

Pandas are one animal that should have gone extinct years ago. They deserve to die out. Not only because pandas are more difficult to feed than a lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive, vegan albino with irritable bowel syndrome, the furry beasts won’t breed to save their species.

Search the internet all you like. There are only a handful of photos depicting real, live pandas mating, and I suspect they are different angles of the same pair. They’re terrible at it. I found more photos of people dressed as pandas having sex, which was disturbing in itself and something I discourage everyone from seeking out.

It’s easier to get white millennials to reproduce with each other than convincing pandas to get it on.

The San Diego Zoo has three of the remaining dozen pandas in the United States. I assume they are the same trio I never managed to see in the decade I lived in the area. It wasn’t for lack of trying. My family had annual combo-passes to the zoo and Wild Animal Park for at least half that time, so we went frequently to get my money’s worth. Each visit to the zoo included a trip to the panda enclosure, but luck was never with us. Our timing was always bad. The pandas were always at a vet appointment or a field trip or in time-out for biting a zookeeper on the ass.

Until one day, when we caught a break.

Past the signs admonishing visitors not to speak above a whisper on pain of being tasered by zookeepers, Mrs. Cunha and I passed out animal crackers (oh, the irony) and jugs of Bug Juice to the kids to keep them muzzled. In harsh tones and stern looks from video monitors, generic Asians in Mao jackets explained that pandas are sensitive, artistic animals, easily triggered into fits of PTSD by sudden movements, loud farts, and presentation of conflicting opinions.

These snowflake pandas are as bad as Antifa feminists at a Milo Yiannopoulos university speech.

Approaching the rail that overlooked the panda enclosure, our hearts buoyed at the prospect of finally seeing a God-damn panda. What we found was a plywood cutout of a panda holding a sign that read, “Sorry, folks. We’re feeling under the weather.” Clearly, this was a common enough occurrence the zoo people went to the trouble of making a reusable, long lived sign.

I ran down the nearest khaki safari outfit to express my dismay and displeasure at the dearth of pandas in the panda display.

If I had my way, we’d turn every one of those pandas into bathrobes and invite the nearest Chinese embassy to the Panda-B-Q that Sunday.

The perky young, blonde information kiosk confided the pandas weren’t really ill. Ping Pong was heat, so they penned her up with Ding Dong in the hopes a romantic afternoon together would encourage them to start pumping out little pandas. However, I was in luck, because a Panda Cam had just been installed in their little love nest.

panda3After schlepping the kids from the other end of the county to trod an asphalt midway in the summer son, the thought of voyeuring queer pandas in night-vision over the internet in the hopes they do some panda stuff was not high on my bucket list.

Even if I want my kids exposed to panda porn, I’m sure there are more efficient ways.

That’s why the Chinese kick our ass in trade. They take poorly camouflaged cousins to raccoons with the dietary requirements of a kosher anorexic and convince America to create a breeding program for animals so blasé about the survival of their kind they can hardly be bothered to screw.

If Donald Trump wants to make America great again as much as he claims, he will deport the rest of those alien pandas and their anchor baby cubs. That will teach China. Let them breed their own pandas.

And send Margaret Cho with them, for good measure.

 

3Thank you to every one of my readers for coming back week after week. The content on this website is free to access, but does take resources to produce. Please visit my Patreon account to see what I have in the works and consider becoming a supporter. Patronage will get you additional content, behind the scenes access, goodies not available on the main site, and unique Thank You gifts for support.

L'homme Theroux CoverIf you’d prefer something more tangible in return for supporting my work, please preview my novel L’homme Theroux and consider purchasing it, if you enjoy the sample chapters.

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on Fire


img_20161102_144452712Fires on farms are catastrophic events. When the farm in question is your homestead, it has the potential to be catastrophic, since both work and home are in danger of being reduced to ash and charred bits of metal.

“Yah bahn’s on fiyha,” my neighbor’s New England accent emanated from the cell phone, muffled by wind and road noise on both ends of the call. I needed him to repeat what he said, while the meaning sank in.

There are some pieces of news that catch you flat-footed; a parent’s death, being laid off from a job, a positive pregnancy test, a Cunha graduating high school. The possibility was always understood, but never really expected.

Grandma fondly recalled the eighth grade as, “My senior year.”

Having grown up in California, I’m well acquainted with wildfires. However, contrary to the widespread rumor, none of them had anything to do with turkey frying mishaps.

img_20161102_144138867_hdrThe upshot of having a significant portion of your farm burnt is you get to meet all your neighbors. People I’ve only seen in passing, and several I didn’t know existed, came from all points of the compass to gawk and shake their heads. I briefly considered charging admission.

The embers smoldered for several days, giving off an ethereal show at night that is likely the closest I will ever get to seeing the Northern Lights in person.

Tallying up the damage was sobering. Half of the hay field was burned, along with burning the undergrowth and saplings in virtually all of the white oak stand at the back of the property. A bunch of fence was destroyed, both by the fire and the firefighting efforts. What really hurt was the loss of my hay barn packed with most of this year’s hay crop.

As it turns out, “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing. Hay is both.

img_20161102_143910623_hdrI pride myself on being a gallows humorist, but make no mistake, there is little to find funny in the ashes. The insurance adjuster must have an appreciation for dark humor, as well, since he didn’t make any notes when I mentioned the barn also contained an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Ark of the Covenant, and several lost Picasso paintings.

With a nod to the sense of humor and understanding of my insurance adjuster, here are my best attempts.

  • Wasn’t there a scene in Bambi like this?
  • We won’t have to worry about deer freeloading from the field for a while.
  • I bet this is what Hell will look like.
  • Mrs. Cunha was disappointed the firefighters bore no resemblance to her calendar.
  • My daughter wanted to know why they didn’t bring a Dalmatian with them.
  • It was a barn-burner of an afternoon.
  • Feel the Bern!

If you ever find yourself on the wrong end of a fire (and I’m pretty sure there is not really a “right” end of a fire to be on), here are five things to keep in mind as you sift through the ashes.

Fire is hot

“No kidding, Fire Marshall Carlos,” you might be telling yourself. What I mean is things that get caught in a fire stay hot for a surprisingly long time. The heat was still noticeable through the soles of my boots when I walked around surveying the damage the next day, and there were still pockets of what I suspect were large roots that were still smoldering just below the surface.

Check buildings and equipment because the heat from a fire radiates a surprising distance. Turn on faucets to ensure the water flows and test underground power lines with a voltmeter. Plastic pipes, wire insulation, and even panes of glass will begin to melt and deform well before combustible items around them show evidence of heat and flame.

Gear up

The natural reaction to this type of catastrophe is to assess the damage. Mrs. Cunha and I were inspecting the losses while trees were still on fire and fence posts were still smoldering. It’s a natural reaction, and for most of us who are not part of the volunteer fire department, gives the property owner something to do besides standing around worrying. I won’t begrudge anyone taking what action they are able, just don’t get yourself in trouble. Take a battle-buddy, take some communication, and leave the damn dog at the house.

Wear your heavy boots, long pants, and gloves. If you’re a Safety Sally, I won’t fault you for taking a hardhat, eye protection, and long sleeves. Wear what you think is appropriate. Taking along a tool like a hoe or a metal rake is a good idea, since you will likely want to pick up or dig out something that I guarantee will be too hot to touch.

Inspect often

You’re first tour through the debris will be overwhelming. Not in the sense that it gives you PTSD (or it might, depending on what you’ve done in life), but fire changes the look of the landscape in such a significant way that the woods I was hunting a few days prior were near unrecognizable. The sights and smells and feel of everything will be alien. It takes a second to process what was a fourteen-foot tall barn when I walked by yesterday is now eight inches high.

The first month, I averaged walking the woods or the field every other day. After that, I poked around the trees a couple times a week for the next month. Each time, I found something new that made my heart sink; another break in the fence, another bulldozer gouge in the hillside, a marketable-size tree charred past use as lumber and now firewood, if I’m lucky. You’ll find something new each sortie for quite a while, so take all the pain now.

No touchy, touchy

Whatever you do while poking around the ruins, keep in mind that you are traipsing around in a crime scene. Well, not really, but kind of. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to do something that jams you up later. Let me explain.

Several different people were inspecting the damage in the course of this whole thing. There was a report from the fire department that included input from the forestry service, three visits by insurance adjusters, contractors for building estimates, and a survey by a certified forester. Starting the clean-up process too soon might very well have affected an accurate calculation of the loss sustained. Do yourself and your pocketbook a favor by suppressing the urge get everything back to normal until everyone who needs to take a look has done so.

Not all is lost

At some point in this process, you will have a solid grasp of the losses. We were lucky. There was no loss of life, people or animals. We lost a structure, some agricultural products, and a bit of future profit. Losing livestock would have been terrible, but losing humans would have been devastating. I have nothing to offer that will help fill the void left by loss of a loved one, but short of that, everything is replaceable. We will amend the field and crops will grow again. Burning out the undergrowth will likely help the trees in the long run.

img_20161225_170713399Heck, seven weeks after the fire, the grass had begun to poke through the charred earth enough to lure a couple of does into the open. I filled my freezer with one of them Christmas afternoon, so maybe there is something good to pluck from this entire mess.

In a spurt of optimism in my prowess as an apex predator and putting aside her pique at me for delaying Christmas dinner for butchering a deer, Mrs. Cunha purchase a stand-up freezer for all the wild game she expected to be dragged back to the house. We didn’t see another deer the rest of the season.

That’s about how life goes.

3Thank you to every one of my readers for coming back week after week. The content on this website is free to access, but does take resources to produce. Please visit my Patreon account to see what I have in the works for the homestead and consider becoming a supporter, which gets you additional content, behind the scenes access, goodies not available on the main site, and unique Thank You gifts for support.

L'homme Theroux CoverIf you’d prefer something more tangible in return for supporting my work, please preview my novel L’homme Theroux and consider purchasing it, if you enjoy the sample chapters.

Young Pigs in Love


img_20161220_155021037-1Generations of homesteaders and farmers have relied on hogs for food, field preparation, waste disposal, and occasionally, companionship. The little buggers have personalities better than most people you will meet. Who knew a Christmas present would turn into a love affair?

A few days after Christmas, the entire tribe climbed into the War Wagon for a two-hour drive to buy a replacement rabbit for my youngest daughter. Unlike the unfortunate incident with Jennifer a couple years ago, the impetus for this trek was neither my fault nor the result of friendly fire.

Death is a frequent enough visitor to the Cunha farm that I finally broke down and put up a sign reserving him a parking space next to the barn. I figure the faster he is in and out on his business, the less time he has to notice job opportunities while skulking around.

I’m giving serious thought to diversifying into a discount pet cemetery. Nothing fancy. Just a hole and a marker for the budget conscious parents of pet-owning children.

We had acquired Winter at our local co-op. She was on consignment from someone who had a connection with the manager. I should have known better.

Most days you’d have an easier time asking permission to date one of my daughters than convincing me to hand over a proven breeder, but reproduction wasn’t a factor. This rabbit was to be a pet, something cute and fluffy that wasn’t destined for the dinner plate.

This is how a farm turns into a petting zoo; one sacred bunny at a time.

Putting aside my misgivings about the rabbit’s lineage, living conditions, and lack of liveliness, I relented to the pleas of the women in my life. The rabbit came with a cage and paraphernalia, so I’d break even, if it died prematurely.

It was dead inside a month from a nasty eye infection we couldn’t get under control. Mrs. Cunha has a pretty good track record of doctoring animals, but even the best lose one every now and then.

It’s just my luck that it was an eleven-year-old’s pet…and Christmas.

61c55ee6adc9f00717d5e37f06081d250ea6164726bb1b0e5apimgpsh_fullsize_distr-1I still don’t understand the vagaries of rabbit math any better than Chicken Math, but we ended up a hundred-some-odd miles away from the farm, at a stranger’s house, answering a Craigslist ad offering Lion Head rabbits for sale. Mrs. Cunha always finds something unsettling and mildly creepy about answering the Craigslist ad of a complete stranger. I revel in the Libertarian rush of two independent, like-minded people coming together for an exchange without Big Brother being any the wiser.

While Mrs. Cunha and the girls cradled bunnies and gossiped about people none of them mutually knew, the husband of the pair took me on a tour of the menagerie. Before me was an organized, well-maintained suburban homestead that offered neighbors and the Home Owners Association no substantive reason to be upset…but, of course, they were.

If availability of food ever becomes an issue, neighbors who complain about others keeping chickens will be last in line and charged three times the going rate for having been twats.

Milling about the yard amongst the chickens and beneath the elevated cages of quail and pheasant was a bristly black package of pork protein. Something about the way I watched the little boar must have clued the husband into my mild interest because the next thing I knew, I was handed a wiggling, grunting, four-month-old American Guinea Hog.

Mrs. Cunha appeared beside me without my knowing. We’ve been married long enough that she knows her presence is probably necessary when there is that much commotion and squealing going on. Even if her skills are not needed, Mrs. Cunha appreciates slapstick.

Just once in my life, I’d like to have the farm prepared for a new animal addition.

She was falling in love as quickly as I was. The feeling was second only to looking into the eyes of a newborn child. We were sure he would be delicious.

img_20161221_092635780_burst001-1I try not to hold it against people when they tilt their heads and shoot me a quizzical look at my choices in livestock. It’s not their fault the animals we husband are a tad unusual, but it does take me down a peg when someone says, “Never heard of it.”

American Guinea hogs are pigs and not available at any pet store I can think of. Your local Petco carries Guinea Pigs, which are actually rodents, but I’ve had to explain the difference several times already. English can be confusing, but this distinction eludes many people. Most folks hear “Guinea Pig” as soon as I say “Guinea” and assume we are some sort of quixotic rodent-wrangling ranchers.

Marketability is second to producing what meets the needs and desires of my family.

It’s always dangerous to draw conclusions about an entire breed based on one example. Any scientist, pollster, and jackass in a bar who says, “The rest of the world calls it football” will be quick to point out how small sample size skews and can often invalidate conclusions. Anecdotes are not data, but I’m optimistic, bad at math, and like to gamble. That’s why I play lotto, too.

Over the next couple of weeks interacting with Hamilton (named for the first three letters of the word, and not the crappy, Leftist play), his personality convinced Mrs. Cunha and me to modify his job description from “Dinner” to “Bacon Maker.”

That’s how we found ourselves on a two-and-a-half hour sortie the opposite direction to find Hamilton a couple of girlfriends.  Despite the reputation of my area of the country, we desired some depth to our gene pool.

Why is it every animal I want can only be found somewhere between Timbuktu and frickin’ Narnia?

img_20161221_092100811Muddy and mildly bruised from the extended fumble recovery drill of chasing down two gilts my wife and daughters selected from the dozen or so available, I sat in the front seat watching the landscape roll by and daydreaming of the little black, wiggling piglets in my future. The new additions to the farm grunted back and forth between themselves, nestled in a bed of hay in a wire dog carrier in the far rear of the passenger compartment.

“I’m hungry,” came a call from the middle row of seats.

“Holy crap. The pigs can talk,” I said, turning my head toward my wife. Mrs. Cunha shot me the stink eye. It dawned on me that I was playing with fire.

The reason there aren’t very many comediennes is because, as a general rule, the female of our species largely lacks a sense of humor.

Hamilton’s new girlfriends, already christened Petunia and Baby Girl by my daughters, must have smelled the delicious aroma of fast food as we pulled into the drive-thru. I could hear my porky piglet producers rouse themselves inside their pen. Their chattering increased the closer we crept to the order board.

I was busy with the continual internal debate of whether my fat ass would survive skipping Going Big or Super Sizing or whatever this place called their sneaky attempt to pry an additional dollar from my clenched fist in exchange for ten cents more worth of compressed potato flakes and sugar water when the squawk-box fired auditory shrapnel through the driver’s window.

Despite having visited a drive-thru literally thousands of times in my life, the voice burst is always jarring. Maybe it’s the screechy tone. Maybe it’s the sudden blast of noise from a direction devoid of human beings. Maybe I’m just wound too tight.

Apparently, Baby Girl and Petunia are both wound a little too tightly, too.

The phrase “Squeal like a pig” has basis in reality, let me tell you.

My spastic lurch wasn’t finished before both those pigs were on their feet, banging the sides of the carrier as they ran in circles, grunting, snorting, and oinking. My daughters covered their ears with their hands against the piercing racket, as I shouted our order back at the disembodied voice.

Order placed and pulling forward to the first window please, I hoped the hay the gilts were kicking out of the cage wasn’t contaminated by anything foul-smelling enough to remind everyone of this adventure the next time we climbed in.

As the car drew up to the window, I glanced over at Mrs. Cunha, who had a look on her face that was a cross between horror and mortification. I turned my head the opposite direction, not know what I would encounter, but half expecting to find a circumstance that would require zombie apocalypse skills.

Freddy Mercury sang that fat bottomed girls make the rockin’ world go ’round.

Now, I’m between 6’4″ and 6’6″ depending on the angle of the video surveillance camera and clock-in at three hundred-none-of-your-damn-business pounds, so I realize my commenting on a woman’s size is akin to Stalin chastising Hitler on his human rights record.

Having said that, I’m going to throw a couple of stones from my glass house.

img_20161230_123607555The young woman collecting money at the window within earshot of the pair of squealing, oinking gilts in the back of my car wasn’t ugly at all. For a hefty girl, she was reasonably attractive and probably has no problem finding a ride home long before last call. She was far from a Tess Holliday, but a carb holiday wouldn’t have killed her.

Women, especially the younger ones, are self-conscious, so she probably knows this about herself.

The look of hatred coming from the chubby cashier confirmed my suspicion that she had heard my little piggies squealing all the way home. I was afraid to hand over my debit card for fear of how many customers behind me I was going to “accidentally” be buying lunch for. At minimum, each burger would be spat on before wrapping.

As I handed over my card, I saw her eyes dart behind me, looking into the back of the car. Her eyes sparkled as they widened, and her mouth untwisted from its scowl into a smile.

“What kinda pigs y’all got there?” the young lady said.

“American Guinea Hogs,” I said, my chest puffing up just a bit.

“Never heard of them,” she said.

 

3Thank you to every one of my readers for coming back week after week. The content on this website is free to access, but does take resources to produce. Please visit my Patreon account to see what I have in the works for the homestead and consider becoming a supporter, which gets you additional content, behind the scenes access, goodies not available on the main site, and unique Thank You gifts for support.

L'homme Theroux CoverIf you’d prefer something more tangible in return for supporting my work, please preview my novel L’homme Theroux and consider purchasing it, if you enjoy the sample chapters.

Time to Pay the Piper


With the inauguration of Donald Trump, an awful lot of celebrities should be leaving the country soon, if their previous pronouncements are any more believable than campaign promises. With any luck, Hollywood will soon be a veritable ghost town, leaving a void where the all-to-rare original thought for a movie plot can take hold and flourish.

I get it. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider to become Spider Man. I didn’t forget from the last movie.

Just for giggles, I collected a list of the scum and villains who promised to vacate the wretched hive that is the United States in the event of a Donald Trump presidential victory. Some I recognized. Some I had to take the word of my good friend Google that they were part of the Cool Kid Club.
A couple of them threatened to leave the planet entirely. It’s a prospect that’s quite appealing until the realization sets in that they would want the project to be funded by taxpayers. Considering the proclamation of University of California freshman Seth Greenberg to cut off his penis should Donald Trump build a wall along the Mexican border, threats to leave the country just don’t have the same pizazz.

This youngster definitely upped the ante in the Things I Want to See Happen category, but looking at his photo, I suspect he doesn’t have much call for its use, so it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.

Considering these trend setters garnered a collective shoulder shrug from the villagers for crying wolf one too many times, I wouldn’t blame any of my readers for missing the news. Each of them probably has far better uses for time than to research stupid things said by spoiled brats in a snit.
I had to do a fair bit of searching to collect the evidence. As a matter of fact, when I went to double check myself a few days ago, virtually all of the brave would-be emigrants had recanted.
Some brushed off the statements as a joke that very few people were smart enough to understand. Others claimed hyperbole. Most claimed some sort of burning bush moment of realization that they were needed to effect change in America, rather than flee the Trump Reich.

More likely, reality set it. I only wish we had as strong an immigration policy as Canada or Australia or pretty much any other country in the world.

It seems that when push comes to shove, these same brave pioneering souls, who largely wanted to ditch America for another First World country, or possibly settle on Uranus, found their destinations didn’t want them, either.

Lena Dunham

Probably best known for sexually molesting her sister, false college rape allegations, and insisting everyone find her sexually desirable, the poor child would be better served with membership in a platonic cuddle club to make up for her lack of parental affection as a child.

Reverend Al Sharpton

Tax-evading, race baiting, FBI informant Al Sharpton took about a day to realize he had been caught in another lie and whip out the “just kidding, y’all” card. I think I speak for a sizable chunk of America when I say, “We wish you hadn’t been.”

Raven Symone

We loved her in The Cosby Show. Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper wasn’t too terrible for a 1990’s sitcom. For reasons that elude me, That’s So Raven was popular, but it was downhill from there. If I had to pick between success under Disney and remaining a poor dirt farmer for the rest of my life, I’d pass on working for the Big Mouse. I swear, there is a curse on Disney talent.

Jon Stewart

Despite what Millennials believe, John Stewart began his career as a comedian, so his comment to leave the planet has a reasonable likelihood of having been a joke. Kidding or not, I’d like to see him lead the mission to Pluto. He can even decide whether it’s a planet or not.

Amy Schumer

She should be denied entry to Canada for the Pirelli calendar alone, but there’s so much more to make Amy Schumer an undesirable immigrant. If joke stealing is considered actual theft, our neighbors to the north probably won’t let her past the Customs desk.

She’s further proof that women, on average, just aren’t funny.

 

There are a whole bunch more, but it will just get boring from here on. I think I’ve made my point.
img_20161230_123607555Besides, I have to go feed Amy and Lena.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3Thank you to every one of my readers for coming back week after week. The content on this website is free to access, but does take resources to produce. Please visit my Patreon account to see what I have in the works for the homestead and consider becoming a supporter, which gets you additional content, behind the scenes access, goodies not available on the main site, and unique Thank You gifts for support.

L'homme Theroux CoverIf you’d prefer something more tangible in return for supporting my work, please preview my novel L’homme Theroux and consider purchasing it, if you enjoy the sample chapters.

Hello, World!


44a6a4ead1c67a92cfbfae8cfa23d1ebb529f0239b02f885b3pimgpsh_fullsize_distrLife on the farm entails a lot of death, but for once, new life visited the Cunha homestead this week. Even if my family were to go the vegetarian route and only keep animals for what they produce, they will eventually die. I’m still young enough that I will outlive all the animals I own, and as their steward, one of my responsibilities is to minimize suffering at the end of life.

Having said that, we are ruthless in application of Rule #3: Those that don’t produce have no place. My farm is neither a petting zoo nor an animal retirement community. References to livestock riding the bullet train to freezer camp are gallows humor because I don’t take pleasure in killing. It’s necessary to eating animal flesh, controlling costs, and ending suffering.

Even the times I’ve screwed up dispatching an animal were far less gruesome and prolonged than the average take-down of prey by a predator in nature.

Mrs. Cunha and I have been kicking around the idea of purchasing an incubator for about a year, and spent most of the summer on the verge of taking the plunge. The option of producing a batch of chicks whenever it was convenient for us was attractive, as was having control over the pace and timing of reproduction. Depending on how fancy we wanted to get, the cost wasn’t terrible, but the prospect of adding one more chore to the list kept us holding out for a hen to go broody.

539a00524f9ee110005cf75710f4a781f896eb630a60411a0cpimgpsh_fullsize_distrTime always seems to be the resource of which we have the least. The chickens look to have a lot of time on their hands. Their job is pretty low stress and low skilled. Maybe that’s why they don’t qualify for minimum wage.

I don’t know how industrious your chickens are, but mine make Department of Motor Vehicle employees look like tornadoes of ambition. The dumb clucks in my flock don’t even have hobbies. They just sort of mill about like teenagers at a school dance; moody, self-absorbed, and convinced nobody likes them.

Well, they’re right. The teenagers, I mean. They might be more likable, if they crapped out eggs, but then they’d want a trophy for it.

Fully understanding that a broody hen stops laying, the trade off a dozen or so eggs during a gestation cycle of approximately twenty-one days sounded like a fair trade, both in terms of unrealized ova and, especially, unexpended effort on our part.

Any time the animals do their thing without human intervention is a bonus in my book, since it’s less work for us.

My first rooster, John Wayne, was a cock apostle. Prior to him, I wasn’t keen on having one around, but lack of a cock-of-the-walk caused my chicken coop to have the same dynamics as a women’s prison. There was incessant gossipy chatter, squabbling as cliques emerged and dissolved, and a big bull-dyke hen named Henrietta strutting around with a chain hanging off her wallet pressuring the other hens into lesbian relations.

I’m not kidding. I saw her mounting the other hens. She is also suspected of radicalizing the flock into mounting the Chicken Uprising of 2015.

1389d74399e7d94e12031c4ee0ee0b75ad0ca2dce77429e3bepimgpsh_fullsize_distrAll that silliness ended when John Wayne stepped out of the carrier he was delivered in. By sundown the same day, peace and order were established in the flock. When I went to close up the coop that night, I found tranquility, instead of the usual bedlam.

John Wayne sat in the middle of a perch, Henrietta nuzzled up submissively at his side, surrounded by all the other girls for warmth and protection. The only head that raised when I walked in for the nightly headcount was his, and I swear he winked at me.

I’ve been a fan of roosters ever since. Feel free to insert your dirty joke here. I know how chicken people are.

I go so far as to always have an understudy rooster, since you never know when a coup in the coop might become necessary.

The loss of John Wayne was a blow to the flock, but we were in luck, as his previous owner, a classmate of my oldest daughter, had an incubator full of eggs fertilized by his brother. It wasn’t exactly genetic cloning, but it was the best shot we had at a replacement that might be close. Of course, there were no guarantees, but considering the emphasis on bloodline that each animal breed association has, we figured our odds were decent.

This young lady, who is the most responsible and reliable teenage I’ve ever met, was beside herself when she lost the entire batch by forgetting to plug the incubator back in after some maintenance. Another blow came when informed that John Wayne’s brother was, also, no longer among the clucking and the last in his line.

16be5ebcb8e5d6364be5ea3a8d05aca64a18ab9a05e6accd4cpimgpsh_fullsize_distrMy current rooster lacks a name. He’s a big, gangly thing, and, for quite some time, I suspected he might have been a turkey. He’s nowhere near as handsome as either of the predecessors, but hasn’t displayed any of the behavior that earned Clint his coup d’état. This goofy looking rooster has done something neither of the other two managed to pull off.

We have new chickens on the farm.

This isn’t the first bringing forth of life on the Cunha homestead, but it’s the first of the feathered variety. I’m excited. My assumption is all five will reach maturity. At which point, we will have to determine how many of each sex we have and begin the decision making process of who stays, who goes, and who gets replaced.

It’s a never-ending cycle of deciding how to maximize available resources to reach goals, and a big part of the homesteading mindset.

But for the moment, I’m basking in the joy of new life and little, feathered puffballs.

 

3Thank you to every one of my readers for coming back week after week. The content on this website is free to access, but does take resources to produce. Please visit my Patreon account to see what I have in the works for the homestead and consider becoming a supporter, which gets you additional content, behind the scenes access, goodies not available on the main site, and unique Thank You gifts for support.

L'homme Theroux CoverIf you’d prefer something more tangible in return for supporting my work, please preview my novel L’homme Theroux and consider purchasing it, if you enjoy the sample chapters.

 

Send in the Clowns


clowns1This week’s clown sighting in the woods behind my children’s grammar school caused a panic induced, district-wide lock-down and a roaming mob of concerned, armed parents, supported by local law enforcement authorities, to scour the county searching for a man in clown makeup.

Reports from witnesses told of the clown doing everything from peeking out from behind a tree, to offering children fee candy from a nondescript, windowless van, to ritually sacrificing a puppy.

Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns.

The only leg-pull in the above description is the exact location. As far as I know, there have been no clown sightings in my end of the Tennessee Valley, but with the scary clown hysteria sweeping the country, I expect to be recruited into an insane clown posse any day.

Hopefully, I won’t go insane in the membrane.

I’ve long held the opinion that eyewitness accounts are the least reliable form of evidence. This is especially true when the witness is also the victim. Pain, adrenaline, shock, and emotional stress screw up perception and the mind’s ability to accurately recall the most basic of details.

Disregard the mountains of research that clearly demonstrate everybody sucks at accurate detail recollection in stressful situations. Ask your favorite cop how often a witness’s description of anything is accurate.

It’s not that they’re lying. They’re just plain wrong.

We labor under a cultural assumption that children are accurate relaters of information and possess astute observational powers. It’s as if we believe children are born with clairvoyance that diminishes as they approach majority.

That’s hogwash. Children are sneaky, devious liars who relish opportunities to embarrass adults by innocently blurting out gems such as, “My baby brother was an accident” or “Mommy and Daddy are buying me a pony for Christmas. They’re hiding all the leather tack gear in the closet.”

You’ll get a pony the day I get peace in this house.

Children are not allowed to make important decisions in their lives precisely because they lack experience, the ability to accurately discern, and a wider contextual understating of the world. In short, they’re ignorant of most things, and to take what they say at face value, without rigorous scrutiny, corroborating testimony, and physical evidence, is parental foolishness.

Now, that I think about it, we should probably disregard the vast majority of what children say because it’s mostly whining. Entertaining their petty grievances and indulging their fantasies only encourages them in their neuroses. Try telling my grandfather there was a clown lurking in the woods. You’d be lucky to only be laughed at. More likely, the response would be, “Then don’t go near it, stupid.”

clowns4Harsh? Perhaps, but still sublime. Somewhere along the line, we decided the only letter’s that should not be appended to a gentleman’s name on his calling card are M, A, and N.

Post-secondary education produces exactly the opposite of what it claims. Today, college only makes people dumber. The same founts of idiocy that have given society safe spaces and trigger warnings, also turn out educators, administrators, and civic officials who will shut down an entire school district on a child’s say so.

Doesn’t anybody besides me remember the McMartin preschool case and how many lives were ruined by false testimony from children?

How many IQ points are sacrificed with each tuition check written?

The creepy clown craze has grown from a few isolated instances of idiots to a full-blown hysteria. Schools are prohibiting clown masks during Halloween. Various local police are arresting people in clown costumes for disturbing the peace, inciting public disorder, or whatever catch-all law their jurisdiction uses to deal with low-grade troublemakers.

Most of the arrests are of teenagers getting their kicks scaring younger kids. It’s deplorable behavior, but pretty much what I’d expect from a teenage boy. Whom I really feel for are the honest-to-goodness, no-kidding, professional clowns, who spend years perfecting their craft, only to see their bookings evaporate. That’s the real crime, destroying someone’s livelihood.

If your age ends in “teen,” it’s an open question as to whether you should be counted as a human being or not.

According to spokesfool Josh Earnest, the White House has consulted with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security about how to handle creepy clowns.

Holy crap. Dig up J. Edgar Hoover because this just became a federal case right up there in magnitude with bank robbery, human traffickers, underage prostitution, child pornography rings, and ISIS trying to cut our heads off.

Since when are assholes in greasepaint such a big problem?

clowns2A quick look around the internet reveals the growing counter-hysteria of videos depicting what can be classified as just deserts for clowns behaving badly. These videos show what I would imagine is a non-professional clown who approaches someone going about his day and behaving in one of those disorderly manners that would earn them arrest by a policeman. Basically, being a jackass.

The person or persons approached, either out of what seems genuine fear or simply not being in a mood to be screwed with, knocks the tar out of the clown.

And I can’t say as I blame them. Most people have no desire to be drawn into someone else’s silliness. If you’re stupid enough to go around antagonizing strangers, don’t be surprised when they express their displeasure strongly.

If you’re gonna be dumb, it helps to be tough.

Here is my wild-assed theory: This whole creepy clown hysteria is a viral marketing campaign spun out of control.

My first thought was the campaign was connected to Stephen King’s IT movie adaptation. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and television mini-series. However, with a release date of September 2017, the timing seems off. Hysterical clown sightings for nearly a year seems to be too long to ask to hold the public’s attention.

Besides, both Stephen King and the film’s distributor, New Line Cinema, are established names with enough budget for a traditional marketing campaign and stand to lose far more than they gain when it foreseeably spins out of control the way it has.

clowns6Just like Youtube, Coca-Cola, and Apple, Stephen Kind and New Line Cinema are such dominant players in their fields with such broad general appeal that avoiding alienation of a segment of society is more important that thrilling and impressing a tiny target demographic; i.e., horror movie fans.

Rob Zombie, on the other hand, is a better candidate for wild accusations. His latest movie, 31, is clown-centric and was released September 16th of this year.

Hummmmmm. Law enforcement types call these things “clues.”

clowns5A well-known, but far from household name, movie maker releases a horror movie set in a circus, chock-full-o’-clowns, right at the same time dumbasses in clown costumes begin making benign appearances standing near trees and skittish, overprotective parents hit the panic button, setting off a national frenzy that makes it to the White House and much of the English-speaking world.

Well played, Rob Zombie. Well played.

Starting November first, bearded men in buckskins and Indians wearing loincloths will begin making public appearances to promote my book, L’homme Theroux and generate pre-release interest in Little Crow’s War, the next installment in the Coureur des Bois series.

What the hell. It worked for that other guy.

 

 

 

3Thank you to every one of my readers for coming back week after week. The content on this website is free to access, but does take resources to produce. Please visit my Patreon account to see what I have in the works for the homestead and consider becoming a supporter, which gets you additional content, behind the scenes access, goodies not available on the main site, and unique Thank You gifts for support.

L'homme Theroux CoverIf you’d prefer something more tangible in return for supporting my work, please preview my novel L’homme Theroux and consider purchasing it, if you enjoy the sample chapters.