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.

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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.

Love is in the Air Tonight


Eve

I’ve learned the hard way teenagers are like rabbits. Perfectly calm one minute and flailing around scratching you with their claws the next. Both are nervous, insecure creatures. Rabbits because they taste good and know this fact. Why teens are that way is anybody’s guess. Not even they know why.

One thing in particular you can’t do with either is leave them with members of the opposite sex because nature will take a fairly predictable course which winds up with a fairly predictable result.

It’s actually quite the hilarious show. The prancing and posing to prove suitability by the males, along with the feigned disinterest by the females, is a riot to watch.

The rabbits are funny, too.

My earliest experiences with purposeful breeding of livestock came courtesy of Spanish Pete. It was August and time to back breed the cows, so they would calve in May, when the weather in was reliably warm.

images (5)
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Spanish Pete was the nearest thing to a cattle baron I knew as a kid. He seemed to own every sheep in sight and all but about three of the cattle. How in the world a Basque immigrant who arrived on the shores of America with literally nothing in his pocket could become the virtual Lord of Lassen County was beyond me, but he had done it.

It was a wonder I pondered until the moment Pete said, “You picked a good day to come. We’re knocking up cows today.”

After being assured the day’s activities would be a strictly bull-on-cow affair, Jake and I pulled on our rubber boots and followed Pete out to one of numerous outbuildings on his spread. Inside an enormous barn was a pipe pen divided into two sections, one empty and the other populated by half a dozen young bulls, barely a year old. Even at the tender age I was, the proportion of bulls to cows struck me all wrong. Come to think about it, there were no cows.

What the hell kind of bovine sausage party was Pete running here, anyway?

I was under the impression that very few bulls were needed for a large number of cows. Something was definitely wrong with this situation. Where were the cows?

Pete usually let nature take its course, but he had a few head he kept separate from the others because he was doing something particular that I don’t remember. The point is there were a couple dozen cattle assigned to the Spanish Pete Special Projects Division, where breeding was controlled.

1cow1
I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

I have always figured I had a pretty good life, all things considered, but these cattle were some pretty pampered animals. They didn’t spend their time out on the range in the weather exposed to predators. No, sir. They were kept close to the house, fussed over, and even saw a vet. I suspected they had cable TV in the barn for them, too, but I could never confirm it.

A ranch hand separated two of the fence sections, while another led in the lucky bull. Unlike the bulls at the opposite side of the pen, this one was impressive. He was the Arnold Schwarzenegger of bulls, and it wouldn’t have surprised me a bit, if old Pete told me this one survived on a diet of anabolic steroids and live sheep. It would explain why Pete was the only person in the county to run sheep.

As the behemoth lumbered into the pen, he scanned the young bulls lined up in the adjacent temporary pen and snorted with contempt. They all took a step back at the same time.

I'm here to chew cud and screw cow. And I just ran out of cud.
I’m here to chew cud and screw cows. And I just ran out of cud.

“That’s Sam. Ain’t he pretty?” said Pete, with a gravely Basque accent from behind a huge yellow grin. Sam was led by a rope attached to a ring through his nose. The opposite end was tucked into the back pocket of one of the ranch hands. “The rope won’t do any good, if Sam decides to do his own thing. It’s just a reminder from when he was young.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I still dry off inside the shower before stepping out onto the bath mat. To this day, I expect my mother to come flying around the corner and beat me with a slipper for dripping water onto the carpet.

Sam made a couple of laps around the corral after the rope was removed from his nose ring. The bulls in the other corral stepped back from the railing each time Sam passed. It seemed to me that Sam had established his bona fides with these fellas quite a while ago.

A few minutes later, another ranch hand with a rope in his hand appeared leading a steer by the nose and coaxed it into the corral with Sam. It was obvious the steer was nervous by the way the hand had to pull him into the corral. Hell, I was nervous for him.

I was starting to believe this was either some sort of elaborate practical joke or old Pete didn’t know as much about cattle as it would seem.

The ranch hand manning the corral opening produced a spray bottle. The ranch hand leading the steer held out his hand, his compatriot spritzed a liberal amount of the contents onto the other man’s hand, and the steer’s rope-holder rubbed his moistened hand over the steer’s rump.

Pete explained that Sam was a genetically superior specimen, but was such a massive beast that, as often as not, he would injure the cow. The solution was to artificially inseminate the cows with Sam’s sperm. And that’s where the steer would do his part.

It turns out, the spray bottle contained the urine of an ovulating cow.

Yes, you read that right. This castrated bull, presumably lacking an interest in sex, was getting Horny Cow Piss smeared on him to trick the bull into mounting him, so Pete could collect the…ahem, genetic material.

I’ve heard stories about these sorts of tricky shenanigans going on in Thailand, and they typically don’t end well.

I wondered about the poor bastard who had to collect this ovulating cow urine.

Don't ask.
Don’t ask.

My mother tells the story of how, when she was about eight and still living in the Azores, Grandpa would thresh grain my laying it down and having one of the cow walk back and forth across the stalks. My mother was handed an old coffee can and given instructions to walk just behind the cow to collect anything that came out before it fouled the grain by landing on it.

My mother always said she loathed the task, but she should have been grateful for being taught one of the skills necessary for scientific selective breeding. There is no word what the cow thought of the entire arrangement.

And the bulls in the adjacent corral?

“They’re there to learn,” Pete growled. “You wouldn’t know what to do, if we threw you into a room with the Sports Illustrated magazine girls, would you?”

Ah, good old Pete, with his farmer’s understanding of the world. I didn’t respond. I just blushed at my lack of carnal knowledge in cows, women, and any other species. It turns out, they’re all pretty similar.

You know you’re pretty low on the priority list when your job involves acting as bait in the sting operation. How mad is this bull going to be when he figures out what’s going on? Then again, it wasn’t Sam’s first time doing this, so he might have been OK with the whole situation. There was just no way to know. Either way, this poor steer is taking the risk of getting severely injured from one end or the other of Sam the bull.

It rather reminded me of a school dance. All the guys without dates lined up against the wall, facing the the dance floor, while the captain of the football team stepped out for a dance with the head cheerleader. Every one of them jealous of what he fantasized would be horizontal dance moves executed away from prying eyes and adult supervision.

We parents tend to figure things out. We just might not tell you that we have.

So, there’s me, Jake, Spanish Pete, and a couple of his ranch hands, standing by as bouncers in case the whole thing went south, and a corral full of teenage bulls staring at the transvestite sex show that’s about to go down.

It was horrible and wonderful, all at the same time.

Sam is sniffing at the air as the steer is led around the corral. I can tell he’s thinking, “It smells like a girl.” For his part, the steer is really nervous. He keeps looking over his shoulder at Sam and quickening his pace. Sam falls in behind the steer for another lap, sniffing at cow urine as they circle. As he passed us, the steer looked at Pete with hate in his eyes.

Gimmie some sugar
Gimmie some sugar

After about the fourth lap, Sam decides he’d rather take what he can get before the lights come up at last call. Sam swings his front legs over the steer’s rump and lines up to take care of business. The steer starts bawling in what I can only imagine is the cow equivalent of a convict calling out for the guards to save him from getting railed by another inmate.

The teenagers, bovine and human alike, are staring wide-eyed at what’s unfolding in front of them. Out of the corner of me eye, I see Pete grinning and mouthing the words, “Atta boy. Get some of that.”

Before Sam can skewer the Thai Lady Boy steer, one of Pete’s ranch hands comes running through the corral with what can only be described as a sandwich bag for baseball bats and comes to a skidding stop underneath Sam, while simultaneously grabbing the bull’s cock with his free hand and slinging the plastic sack over it, all the way to the base.

Nearly thirty years later, the speed, accuracy, and sheer balls of that little, brown ranch hand still astounds me.

The ranch hand then spends about six and three-quarters seconds giving Sam the bull what might have been the world’s fastest handjob. Mission accomplished, the ranch hand hauls ass out of the corral carrying the plastic bagful of bull jizz before Sam realizes he had not only been doubly tricked, but embarrassed in front of the younger bulls, to boot.

The Artificial Insemination process was not nearly as exciting or as conducive to retelling to my schoolmates that fall. Looking back, I’m fairly certain that stories like that, or at least, the retelling in detail, is a significant reason I didn’t have a girlfriend until after high school.

I haven’t heard news of Old Pete for at least a decade, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to hear he was dead. There are regrets I have at not returning to the ranch for so many years. Principle among them is missing out on exposing my seventeen-year-old to the same experience. Perhaps, he too, could have avoided having a girlfriend in high school.

It would have certainly prevented the current bout of sulking around the house, news of his girlfriend’s pregnancy weighing on his shoulders, and petrified of having to break to me the news I’ve known for a couple of months.

I made a career collecting and interpreting information from a wide array of carefully cultivated sources. Part of tradecraft is not burning those sources or revealing informants unintentionally. And, occasionally, you drop a breadcrumb to observe for effect.

Perhaps, if the boy took an interest in my writing, he could save himself some anguish. Looks like he’ll have to keep twisting in the wind until he finds “the right time.” Maybe I should have hired a Mexican ranch hand who is quick on his feet with a plastic baggie.

 

 

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 content, behind the scenes access, and goodies not available on the main site.

Live Sex Shows on the Farm


Eve
Eve

I get a kick out of watching animals breed. Most animals are a riot to watch getting it on. Monkeys, horses, pigs, cattle, insects, or zoo animals; I’m not only fascinated by the act itself, but by the behavior leading up to the main event. The prancing and posing to prove suitability by the males, along with the feigned resistance by the females, is far less removed from how human beings select mates than most of us would care to admit around a feminist.

Rabbit Breeding Day is an event around my house. The kids invite their friends over to watch (and possibly, learn a little bit), and we place wagers on things like number of laps around the cage, how many attempts before successful breeding, and duration of the act.

The only ones that seem to mind are the does, but they don’t put up near as much of a fight as you would think.

Ever wonder why “Ravish Romance” is such a popular category of romance novel? “Ravish” is just a polite term for rape.

I work in a virtually all-male environment chocked absolutely full of adventurous, alpha-male types. The sorts who take risks and pursue goals that involve the possibly of death or horrific injury, followed closely by death or permanent disability.

And each of us punches far above his weight class when it comes to attractiveness of our wives and girlfriends. There’s not an ugly woman between the lot of us, and I think I understand the reason.

Females of our species use similar mate selection criteria as any other species.

Eve, my first and best breeding doe, will be kitting her third litter for me any day now. Shelby, the other doe of the original breeding trio, will be kitting her second about the same time. We intentionally time the litters to coincide.

Needless to say, I’m excited, not least because their children are delicious.

Shelby
Shelby

You would think after nearly half a dozen litters between Eve and Shelby that imminent kitting would be something of a non-event, but you would be wrong. I still get excited when Eve’s mood turns dark. That’s how we know the time is near. Eve turns into a supreme bitch the last few days of gestation.

The sweet doe who meets my wife at the hutch door and follows her around the yard when not encumbered by a litter, begins to snarl, charge, and bit whenever she’s near kitting. I can understand disliking me, since I am the bringer of forced breeding and child death, as far as she is concerned. However, biting my wife is completely uncalled for.

Sampson, my breeding buck, is always thrilled to see me, since to him, I am the bringer of treats and girlfriends. I’m his buddy.

Like any good animal husbandry practitioner, I put a lot of thought into the breeding process for my rabbits. Once you have more than a trio of breeders, the possible combinations begin to boggle the mind, especially when you hold back a kit or two from each doe’s first litter. Within a year’s time, my wife and I have become accidental genealogists. All I wanted was to have a meat source that didn’t involve driving to Walmart.

My big boy, Sampson
My big boy, Sampson

Right now, we run them on a three-litter-a-year rotation. If I had my way, we’d be pumping out six a year, but my wife thinks I’m too aggressive and will wear out the rabbits. Where I’m more conservative is the genetics. We pay close attention to the bloodlines, so as not to cross them too badly, even though I will admit to one of my pairings being inbred due to them having the same father.

Considering that my intent is strictly for meat production, as opposed to improving the breed, I don’t feel bad about this mild bit of inbreeding. Were anyone interested in purchasing one of the offspring, I would certainly disclose the Flowers-in-the-Attic nature of their pedigree.  I don’t know enough about rabbit eugenics to take the experiment further than the dead-end of my dinner plate, so I don’t pretend.

Some of our first births
Some of our first births

Oddly enough, the incestuous pairing has produced very desirable kits with no losses so far and no noticeable problems up to butcher weight. The buck we purchased a few months ago is a different story. It turns out he developed an overbite that we have not been able to manage just by letting him chew on hard things.

We bought him young, and I’ve dealt with the seller enough to know she would not intentionally sell us a bum bunny, so I chalk this one up to the unpredictable nature of life. Unfortunately, for this particular guy, I’m not willing to perform rabbit dentistry every six weeks to shave down his teeth.

Congratulations, buddy. You’re going to Freezer Camp.

For those who have bred rabbits, the phenomenon of “the fall-off” is nothing new. I have only seen it in rabbits and teenagers, but then again, my animal breeding experience is somewhat limited. I use it as an indication of a successful breeding, and, let’s face it, one of the more entertaining parts of my day.

Go to Youtube and search “rabbit fall off,” if you’re unfamiliar with the term. You will laugh yourself silly.

My earliest experiences with purposeful breeding of livestock came courtesy of Spanish Pete. It was August and time to back breed the cows, so they would calve in May, when the weather in was reliably warm.

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Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Spanish Pete was the nearest thing to a cattle baron I knew as a kid. He seemed to own every sheep in sight and all but about three of the cattle. How in the world a Basque immigrant who arrived on the shores of America with literally nothing in his pocket could become the virtual Lord of Lassen County was beyond me, but he had done it.

It was a wonder I pondered until the moment Pete said, “You picked a good day to come. We’re knocking up cows today.”

After being assured the day’s activities would be a strictly bull-on-cow affair, Jake and I pulled on our rubber boots and followed Pete out to one of numerous outbuildings on his spread. Inside an enormous barn was a pipe pen divided into two sections, one empty and the other populated by half a dozen young bulls, barely a year old. Even at the tender age I was, the proportion of bulls to cows struck me all wrong. Come to think about it, there were no cows.

What the hell kind of bovine sausage party was Pete running here, anyway?

I was under the impression that very few bulls were needed for a large number of cows. Something was definitely wrong with this situation. Where were the cows?

Pete usually let nature take its course, but he had a few head he kept separate from the others because he was doing something particular that I don’t remember. The point is there were a couple dozen cattle assigned to the Spanish Pete Special Projects Division, where breeding was controlled.

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I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

I have always figured I had a pretty good life, all things considered, but these cattle were some pretty pampered animals. They didn’t spend their time out on the range in the weather exposed to predators. No, sir. They were kept close to the house, fussed over, and even saw a vet. I suspected they had cable TV in the barn for them, too, but I could never confirm it.

A ranch hand separated two of the fence sections, while another led in the lucky bull. Unlike the bulls at the opposite side of the pen, this one was impressive. He was the Arnold Schwarzenegger of bulls, and it wouldn’t have surprised me a bit, if old Pete told me this one survived on a diet of anabolic steroids and live sheep. It would explain why Pete was the only person in the county to run sheep.

As the behemoth lumbered into the pen, he scanned the young bulls lined up in the adjacent temporary pen and snorted with contempt. They all took a step back at the same time.

I'm here to chew cud and screw cow. And I just ran out of cud.
I’m here to chew cud and screw cows. And I just ran out of cud.

“That’s Sam. Ain’t he pretty?” said Pete, with a gravely Basque accent from behind a huge yellow grin. Sam was led by a rope attached to a ring through his nose. The opposite end was tucked into the back pocket of one of the ranch hands. “The rope won’t do any good, if Sam decides to do his own thing. It’s just a reminder from when he was young.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I still dry off inside the shower before stepping out onto the bath mat. To this day, I expect my mother to come flying around the corner and beat me with a slipper for dripping water onto the carpet.

Sam made a couple of laps around the corral after the rope was removed from his nose ring. The bulls in the other corral stepped back from the railing each time Sam passed. It seemed to me that Sam had established his bona fides with these fellas quite a while ago.

A few minutes later, another ranch hand with a rope in his hand appeared leading a steer by the nose and coaxed it into the corral with Sam. It was obvious the steer was nervous by the way the hand had to pull him into the corral. Hell, I was nervous for him.

I was starting to believe this was either some sort of elaborate practical joke or old Pete didn’t know as much about cattle as it would seem.

The ranch hand manning the corral opening produced a spray bottle. The ranch hand leading the steer held out his hand, his compatriot spritzed a liberal amount of the contents onto the other man’s hand, and the steer’s rope-holder rubbed his moistened hand over the steer’s rump.

Pete explained that Sam was a genetically superior specimen, but was such a massive beast that, as often as not, he would injure the cow. The solution was to artificially inseminate the cows with Sam’s sperm. And that’s where the steer would do his part.

It turns out, the spray bottle contained the urine of an ovulating cow.

Yes, you read that right. This castrated bull, presumably lacking an interest in sex, was getting Horny Cow Piss smeared on him to trick the bull into mounting him, so Pete could collect the…ahem, genetic material.

I’ve heard stories about these sorts of tricky shenanigans going on in Thailand, and they typically don’t end well.

I wondered about the poor bastard who had to collect this ovulating cow urine.

Don't ask.
Don’t ask.

My mother tells the story of how, when she was about eight and still living in the Azores, Grandpa would thresh grain my laying it down and having one of the cows walk back and forth across the stalks. My mother was handed an old coffee can and given instructions to walk just behind the cow to collect anything that came out before it fouled the grain by landing on it.

My mother always said she loathed the task, but she should have been grateful for being taught one of the skills necessary for scientific selective breeding. There is no word what the cow thought of the entire arrangement.

And the bulls in the adjacent corral?

“They’re there to learn,” Pete growled. “You wouldn’t know what to do, if we threw you into a room with the Sports Illustrated magazine girls, would you?”

Ah, good old Pete, with his farmer’s understanding of the world. I didn’t respond. I just blushed at my lack of carnal knowledge in cows, women, and any other species. It turns out, they’re all pretty similar.

You know you’re pretty low on the priority list when your job involves acting as bait in the sting operation. How mad is this bull going to be when he figures out what’s going on? Then again, it wasn’t Sam’s first time doing this, so he might have been OK with the whole situation. There was just no way to know. Either way, this poor steer is taking the risk of getting severely injured from one end or the other of Sam the bull.

So, there’s me, Jake, Spanish Pete, and a couple of his ranch hands, standing by as bouncers in case the whole thing went south, and a corral full of teenage bulls staring at the transvestite sex show that’s about to go down.

It was horrible and wonderful, all at the same time.

Sam is sniffing at the air as the steer is led around the corral. I can tell he’s thinking, “It smells like a girl.” For his part, the steer is really nervous. He keeps looking over his shoulder at Sam and quickening his pace. Sam falls in behind the steer for another lap, sniffing at cow urine as they circle. As he passed us, the steer looked at Pete with hate in his eyes.

Gimmie some sugar
Gimmie some sugar

After about the fourth lap, Sam decides he’d rather take what he can get before the lights come up at last call. Sam swings his front legs over the steer’s rump and lines up to take care of business. The steer starts bawling in what I can only imagine is the cow equivalent of a convict calling out for the guards to save him from getting railed by another inmate. The teenagers, bovine and human alike, are staring wide-eyed at what’s unfolding in front of them. Out of the corner of me eye, I see Pete grinning and mouthing the words, “Atta boy. Get some of that.”

Before Sam can skewer the Thai Lady Boy steer, one of Pete’s ranch hands comes running through the corral with what can only be described as a sandwich bag for baseball bats and comes to a skidding stop underneath Sam, while simultaneously grabbing the bull’s cock with his free hand and slinging the plastic sack over it, all the way to the base.

Nearly thirty years later, the speed, accuracy, and sheer balls of that little, brown ranch hand still astounds me.

The ranch hand then spends about six and three-quarters seconds giving Sam the bull what might have been the world’s fastest handjob. Mission accomplished, the ranch hand hauls ass out of the corral carrying the plastic bagful of bull jizz before Sam realizes he had not only been doubly tricked, but embarrassed in front of the younger bulls, to boot.

The Artificial Insemination process was not nearly as exciting or as conducive to retelling to my schoolmates that fall. Looking back, I’m fairly certain that stories like that, or at least, the retelling in detail, is a significant reason I didn’t have a girlfriend until after high school.

They Ain’t Shorts ‘Till You Can See the Pockets


“American by birth. Southern by the grace of God.”

You’ve seen the bumper stickers, I’m sure. They are usually in close proximity to a Confederate battle flag, not to be confused with a Confederate flag. There is a difference.

Confederate National Flag (top) Confederate Battle Flag (bottom)
Confederate National Flag (top) Confederate Battle Flag (bottom)

I prefer to have the Flag of the Confederacy sticker on my car to encourage the uninitiated to ask questions, so I can watch their reactions.

Despite the occasional social opprobrium, a Confederate battle flag on your front lawn is quite possibly the world’s best alarm system. Add an eighty pound dog of questionable lineage with free range of the house, and you can literally not have locks on your doors.

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Yes, that really is my bathtub.

As an Adopted Son of the South, I’ve had to get used to little oddities like not being able to buy liquor on Sundays and having strangers wave as I drive by. In exchange, no one raises an eyebrow at chickens in the bathtub, slapping Hell out of your kid in the middle of Kroger, or shooting a deer in the backyard through your bathroom window. As a matter of fact, the last two will earn you praise.

Life is different down south and gets even different-er when you can’t see your neighbors.

Due to the specter of possible legal action, I am only willing to admit to chickens in the bathtub. If you ain’t got video of the other two, I’ve never done either.

Shelby
Shelby, one of my breeder does, has her first litter due in a week.

If you’ve been following my writing for any length of time, you may have heard me mention my rabbits. Now, these aren’t pet rabbits. They are livestock. Little fifteen pound blocks of white meat on the paw. Basically, their job is to get fat.

Actually, their job is to get muscular. I’d start them juicing steroids and build them a weight room, if I could get them to use it.

The recently acquired chickens (who spent a month in the Protective Custody Unit of my bathtub before release to Gen Pop) exist on a pay-as-you-go system; provide yummy eggs for my breakfasts, and I continue to feed, shelter, and keep other animals from killing you.

It’s Prison Rules around here.

I think the exchange is a fair one. It’s the equivalent of me having a job that provides for my needs in exchange for drinking scotch, smoking cigars, and chasing the wife around the house naked. The downside of this arrangement for them is the retirement plan stinks.

Dumb Chick

Probably the most useful thing I have learned keeping chickens is that they are stupid and mean, which is a bad combination in any creature. Add the desire to be photographed, and they could run for elected office. Thank God chickens aren’t the size of people because we wouldn’t win that fight very often without being heavily armed.

I have a dozen chickens at the moment, but I might not by the end of the week. I have one hen in particular that seems intent on breaking the covenant. Honestly, I’m not certain she’s a chicken. I swear I was sold a turkey. Not a metaphorical turkey. I mean an honest-to-goodness Meleagris gallopavo. Compared to the other chicks we bought at the same time, the girl is huge.

She’s the biggest chicken I’ve ever seen up close and personal, but that’s not saying much since this is our first foray into chicken farming. Or would that be chicken ranching? I have a lot to learn about homesteading, but I haven’t killed anything accidentally, yet.

Fat Chicken 3
Fat Chick

From what my wife tells me, this chicken is likely too fat to lay eggs. Watching the way she waddles around the chicken coop (the chicken, not my wife), I tend to believe her (my wife, not the chicken).

I frequently scold my sons that the first tenant of manhood is to produce more than you consume. The same requirement is imposed on livestock in the Cunha household. We also have a standing rule of “behave or be eaten.” This portly pullet clearly wasn’t paying attention to the pep talk I give all new additions.

Not only has she refused to learn to forage despite being surrounded by eleven other chickens who freely demonstrate the behavior, my husky hen will body slam any other chicken that gets between her and store-bought feed thrown on the ground. It’s like watching a fat bridesmaid dive after a wedding cake bouquet.

Fat ChickenScratching about the yard for bugs and grasses on their own is a technique we use to defray the cost of feed. We do the same thing for the rabbits in some nifty ground cages I built called rabbit tractors. I don’t know if animals experience quality of life in the same way as humans, but they seem healthier and faster growing when offered more variety in their diet and some room to frolic.

In addition to our fatty boombalatty literally being on the chopping block, we have another yard bird who violates the “behave or be eaten” standard. My youngest daughter describes the situation best, “I named him ‘Pecker’ because he pecks everybody. You should kill him first.”

From your lips to Daddy’s hatchet, my dear.

At first, I thought it was the exaggerations of a nine-year-old. The little fella was probably doing rooster stuff like strutting and flapping his wings that she took as aggression, so I entered the coop to observe. Entering as calmly and unobtrusively as I could, I crouched in the corner. I was the Jane Goodall of chickens watching them mill about while chuck-chuck-chucking in chicken conversation.

Pecker approached to within arm’s reach and stopped. I reached out a steady palm-full of Purina’s finest chicken treats in an effort to form whatever passed for friendship in the world of chickens. Pecker eyed the crumbled treats and stretched out his neck for them. I waited for the gentle tap of Pecker’s pecker picking pieces of pullet pellets from my paw.

A good hand in Portuguese Poker

Instead, the little bastard tried to impale my hand. He pecked the web between each of my fingers before I realized he had turned on me. It felt like a game of Portuguese Poker gone horribly wrong.

Pecker will be culled along with his fat girlfriend.

On the farm, “culled” is a euphemism for killing an animal that doesn’t make the grade. Maybe it’s sick. Maybe its genetics are not what a breeder is looking for. Maybe it’s simply the wrong gender. One of the many harsh realities of farm life is eugenics is alive and well. We rule our little versions of the Fourth Reich like Josef Mengele swishing our riding crop left or right as livestock run around us in a large circle.

Two additional cockerels will be enjoying an afternoon in the stove-top Jacuzzi for no better reason than they are not as friendly as Brownie, our congenial cock.

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One of my creations. I’ve since added a watering system.

We do even worse for the rabbits. My wife and I fret over whether they are too hot or getting enough minerals or watching too much television. I pay more attention to the breeding does’ ovulation cycles and prenatal care than I did my wife’s for any of her pregnancies.

When it comes time for breeding, I’m a one-main peep show audience as I stand by the cage making sure my breeding buck Sampson performs the one job he has in life. My wife and I endlessly discuss breeding schedules, due dates, and possible genetic combinations to achieve desirable results. Our alternating obsessions with miscegenation and genetic purity makes Heinrich Himmler look like a hippie.

Three and a half weeks later, my wife fusses over kindling boxes and changing rabbit moods. She sneaks out to the Rabbit Condo in the middle of the night to see if we have squirming, pink additions to the family.

We fuss over these animals more than grandparents over grandchildren. Then we kill them, cut their corpses into pieces, and eat them. It’s that Circle of Life thing.

Chicks with chicks.
Chicks with chicks.

But in the meantime while they await their ticket on the Freezer Express, they have a pretty good life. The chicken pen, at about a thousand square feet, is bigger than my first apartment, and what I refer to as the Rabbit Condo is better constructed than my house.

I don’t know if the way I raise my livestock is particularly Southern because I don’t have a basis of comparison. I didn’t raise any prior to living in the former Confederacy. What I do have experience doing as both an Adopted Son of the South and as a Yankee is going to Walmart.

Whatever your particular Walmart politics, here are my Walmart Truths:

  1. If Walmart ain’t got it, I don’t need it.
  2. Walmart ain’t never done nothin’ but make my life better.
  3. I love me some Southern Walmart in the summer.

That last statement cements my wife’s belief that I’m a dirty old man. And she is probably right, but she is also on record saying she would not have me any other way.

However, I have parental concerns that the skimpy nature of the attire worn by the young women in our locale is having a detrimental effect on my children. While working in the yard last weekend my youngest son walked out onto the back deck wearing this:

David
Don’t blame the shorts.

Son: “Dad, do these shorts make me look gay?”

Me: “It’s so much more than the sorts.”

Son: “Are they too short?”

My wife: “Carlos, aren’t you the one who says they ain’t shorts ’til you can see the pockets?”