Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Past Is Never Dead

 

Until I was ten years old, I lived in Los Angeles, just a few miles from the LA Coliseum. I still remember the address: 1711 W. 60th Street. Isn’t it weird that I would remember that address? I haven’t lived in that house for 72 years, yet there it is, 1711 W. 60th Street, a permanent little memory in my brain, probably occupying space that I might have used all these years for other things.

My home was located in one of those quintessential LA neighborhoods you see in movies every now and then, a row of palm trees in front of little pastel-colored stucco bungalows. I visited there a few years ago and the neighborhood looked exactly the same. Apparently, time doesn’t pass when you’re a little pastel bungalow in LA.

There was an Italian woman down the street, the mother of my buddy Pat Smaldino, who bought live rabbits from a farmers’ market downtown. She would come home with a rabbit and hang the poor thing upside down on a tree in her backyard and then club it to death with a baseball bat.

I usually avoided Pat’s backyard when her mother did the clubbing, but one day I walked into the backyard by mistake and, before I could avert my eyes, I saw Pat’s mother swing her club and hit the wriggling and squealing rabbit on the shoulder instead of the head. She swung again and hit the head of the rabbit a glancing blow. All this time, this rabbit was screaming like a baby. If you’ve ever heard a rabbit in distress, you know that terrible sound. I finally turned my head away but still heard the thwack of the coup de grâce. I ran home, crying all the way.

I’m now 81 years old and two clear memories out of that little downtown LA neighborhood have traveled with me all these years: an inconsequential address and a traumatic scene of horror.

I suspect the image of the rabbit who cried before he died had much to do with me being overly sensitive to animal suffering to this day. There’s a particular television advertisement for a non-profit animal rescue outfit that shows an emaciated dog chained to a post. As soon as I hear that ad’s familiar music, I either turn away, as I should have years ago in Pat Smaldino’s backyard, or grab for the remote to turn the channel.

It’s also possible that the image of the screaming rabbit had something to do with my desire not to be complicit, in even the smallest way, in the killing of animals for my food. I’ve been a vegetarian, off and on, for a good part of my life, and my conscience nags me when I’m off my vegetarian diet. That screaming rabbit won’t even let me enjoy a hot dog.

As Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

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  1. The Reticulator Member

    KentForrester: As Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    Hit it with a club, harder, and the past will quit screaming and squealing.

    • #1
    • January 15, 2020, at 7:35 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    KentForrester: As Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    Hit it with a club, harder, and the past will quit screaming and squealing.

    Your aim also has to be true. That’s not easy when you’re trying to hit the head of a struggling animal hanging from a rope.

    • #2
    • January 15, 2020, at 7:37 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnellJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Just slightly off topic:

    When I was 9 (73 years ago) and we lived on the farm, my responsibility was to raise the family flock of 100 chickens each year for eggs and Sunday dinner. I also had the chore of selecting and killing the chicken for the dinner table. I did this by picking it up by the legs, which caused to extend its neck out full-length, I would hit it smartly on the back of the head with a stick of kindling to render it unconscious, then chop its head off on the chopping block with a hatchet. Very quick, painless and humane. Wonder why your neighbor lady didn’t use that method?

    I’ve never had any inclination to avoid meat, but I cannot bear to see any creature suffer needlessly. I gave up hunting at an early age because I didn’t really see killing as a sport, but still greatly enjoy stalking wild creatures with a camera.

    • #3
    • January 15, 2020, at 9:08 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpringJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One of my vivid memories of growing up is when my older brother (probably about 10-11 years old ) cut the head off a chicken we were to have for Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s. The farm foreman – Bennie – was holding it down on the chopping block when my brother swung the ax. That struck me as an amazingly brave deed on Bennie’s part.

    It literally did run around with its head cut off!

    The odd thing was that I only remember one chicken, but Sunday dinner was typically 8 people and everyone got a piece of chicken. I guess it was like the loaves and fishes.

    • #4
    • January 15, 2020, at 9:34 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  5. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt BartleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Reminds me of this:

     

     

    • #5
    • January 15, 2020, at 9:43 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    Reminds me of this:

    It’s odd, Matt, but I don’t remember that scene. I should have. I remember great chunks from The Silence of the Lambs. Thanks for retrieving it to show us. 

     

     

    • #6
    • January 15, 2020, at 9:58 AM PST
    • Like
  7. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    One of my vivid memories of growing up is when my older brother (probably about 10-11 years old ) cut the head off a chicken we were to have for Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s. The farm foreman – Bennie – was holding it down on the chopping block when my brother swung the ax. That struck me as an amazingly brave deed on Bennie’s part.

    It literally did run around with its head cut off!

    The odd thing was that I only remember one chicken, but Sunday dinner was typically 8 people and everyone got a piece of chicken. I guess it was like the loaves and fishes.

    WillowSpring, chickens really do run around like chickens with their heads off, don’t they? It’s no wonder that expression has survived. It’s a great metaphor. Let’s see, now: “Democrats are running around like chickens with their heads off.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. 

    • #7
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:02 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have two dear friends, brothers, out here in the sticks who, for many years, worked as butchers. Many of the small-town slaughterhouses are considerably more humane than those associated with the factory-farming trade, but both of them couldn’t take it after a time, and they quit. And they’re a couple of the toughest men I know. So tough they still slaughter their own animals. But kindly.

    I’m a meat eater, and I’m a farmer myself, although we no longer send our own lambs to the 84 Auction down the road on Monday mornings (I’d get up at some ungodly hour of the morning to take them at the last minute, so they didn’t have to spend from Sunday afternoon there, although, again, they’re watered and cared for before they’re sold off.) And although I’m careful not to get carried away by the loons, I abhor practices which cause the sort of suffering you describe, or in which the first blow isn’t the final and dispositive one. Just as I abhor waste; almost nothing makes me angrier than hunters who shoot deer, cut off their “trophy” and leave the thing to rot. Not so hot on those who bait the creatures onto their property, and then sit in a blind and take pot shots, as if at fish in a barrel, either.

    Sometimes, I hear a creature screaming in the woods (probably a rabbit; yes, I do know what that sounds like), when it’s been caught by another animal. That’s bad enough, but, I keep reminding myself that’s it’s Nature, red in tooth and claw. And then I remember Rosie Sayer, in one of my favorite movies, saying to her favorite drunk, “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put on this earth to rise above.” You go, girl.

    And I keep saying what I think, and I keep going.

    • #8
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:04 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  9. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    I have two dear friends, brother, out here in the sticks who, for many years, worked as butchers. Many of the small-town slaughterhouses are considerably more humane than those associated with the factory-farming trade, but both of them couldn’t take it after a time, and they quit. And they’re a couple of the toughest men I know. So tough they still slaughter their own animals. But kindly.

    I’m a meat eater, and I’m a farmer myself, although we no longer send our own lambs to the 84 Auction down the road on Monday mornings (I’d get up at some ungodly hour of the morning to take them at the last minute, so they didn’t have to spend from Sunday afternoon there, although, again, they’re watered and cared for before they’re sold off.) And although I’m careful not to get carried away by the loons, I abhor practices which cause the sort of suffering you describe, or in which the first blow isn’t the final and dispositive one. Just as I abhor waste; almost nothing makes me angrier than hunters who shoot deer, cut off their “trophy” and leave the thing to rot. Not so hot on those who bait the creatures onto their property, and then sit in a blind and take pot shots, as if at fish in a barrel, either.

    Sometimes, I hear a creature screaming in the woods (probably a rabbit; yes, I do know what that sounds like), when it’s been caught by another animal. That’s bad enough, but, I keep reminding myself that’s it’s Nature, red in tooth and claw. And then I remember Rosie Sayer, in one of my favorite movies, saying to her favorite drunk, “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put on this earth to rise above.” You go, girl.

    And I keep saying what I think, and I keep going.

    She, thank you for your response. I had a feeling you would respond. It’s a wonderful, thoughtful response — as usual.

    I agree with your little rant against cruel hunters.

    How in the world did you come up with the exact words from that movie? Would I recognize the movie if you named it? I really like the quote you pulled out. It must have resonated with you, seeing that you remembered the scene exactly.

    • #9
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:13 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Manny Member

    KentForrester: As Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    I love that quote by Faulkner! It’s one of my all time favorite quotes.

    I would have been traumatized too to watch that to the rabbit. If I had to kill my own animals for meat I would have to be a vegetarian. Perhaps that’s hypocritical but so be it. I’m of Italian ethnicity and my mother who grew up in rural Italy once brought rabbit home from the butcher and made stew. Just seeing the little rabbit legs had us children in tears, so much so that even my mother couldn’t bring herself to eat the stew. She never bought rabbit again.

    • #10
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:16 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Rodin Member

    Plants scream at a frequency we cannot hear when cut or pulled from the ground. Be kind and efficient in your deadly work. All life is predator and prey.

    • #11
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:19 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Plants scream at a frequency we cannot hear when cut or pulled from the ground. Be kind and efficient in your deadly work. All life is predator and prey.

    Rodin, I don’t think that all life is predator and prey. We can rise above that. I really don’t think that plants suffer in the way that animals suffer. Plants respond to light, touch, etc., of course— as all non-sentient things do. I doubt if they suffer.

    • #12
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:23 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Manny Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Plants scream at a frequency we cannot hear when cut or pulled from the ground. Be kind and efficient in your deadly work. All life is predator and prey.

    They have no organs to sense and scream. I don’t know what you mean.

    • #13
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:26 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Hartmann von Aue Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    One of my vivid memories of growing up is when my older brother (probably about 10-11 years old ) cut the head off a chicken we were to have for Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s. The farm foreman – Bennie – was holding it down on the chopping block when my brother swung the ax. That struck me as an amazingly brave deed on Bennie’s part.

    It literally did run around with its head cut off!

    The odd thing was that I only remember one chicken, but Sunday dinner was typically 8 people and everyone got a piece of chicken. I guess it was like the loaves and fishes.

    Yes, they do run around headless. And now, a bit of macabre family history: After they stopped running around and had been plucked and gutted, my older sisters liked to use them as hand puppets before the final cleaning. 

    • #14
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:33 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Chuck Thatcher

    How interesting that we can remember things, or scenes, from our extreme youth yet so often forget that our five year old and younger children/grandchildren/great grandchildren may likewise remember.

    • #15
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. B. W. Wooster Member

    A couple years ago, my girls (teenagers) were walking our dirt road and happened on a rabbit that had been injured by a car. It was obviously damaged and would not survive. My youngest pulled out her Benchmade knife and proceeded to cut off the head. Needless to say it upset her – but she did what had to be done.

    • #16
    • January 15, 2020, at 12:30 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Sometimes, I hear a creature screaming in the woods (probably a rabbit; yes, I do know what that sounds like), when it’s been caught by another animal. That’s bad enough, but, I keep reminding myself that’s it’s Nature, red in tooth and claw. And then I remember Rosie Sayer, in one of my favorite movies, saying to her favorite drunk, “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put on this earth to rise above.” You go, girl.

    And I keep saying what I think, and I keep going.

    She, thank you for your response. I had a feeling you would respond. It’s a wonderful, thoughtful response — as usual.

    I agree with your little rant against cruel hunters.

    How in the world did you come up with the exact words from that movie? Would I recognize the movie if you named it? I really like the quote you pulled out. It must have resonated with you, seeing that you remembered the scene exactly.

    The African Queen. For lots of reasons, one of my favorites. I wish that I could find the scene I refer to above on YouTube, but I can’t. Humphrey Bogart, a gin-swilling riverboat captain, and Katharine Hepburn, an uptight missionary woman, are on an old tramp steamer making their way down the river in the middle of WWI. Bogie awakens with a tremendous headache, after a bender, to find Kate sitting primly, with an umbrella to keep off the sun, pouring the contents of one bottle after another from a case of Gordon’s Extra Dry over the side of the boat. The conversation is recorded in the script as follows (as you’ll see, I didn’t get it exactly right, but close enough for gummint work, I think):

    Charlie: You don’t know what you’re doing, miss.
    I’ll perish without a hair of the dog.
    Miss.
    It ain’t your property!
    What a headache.
    There was a bold fisherman
    Set sail from off Pimlico
    To catch…
    But when he got off Pimlico
    The one…
    It’s a great thing
    to have a lady aboard with clean habits.
    Sets a man a good example.
    A man alone,
    he gets to living like a hog.
    Then, too, with me,
    it’s always putting things off.
    Never do today what you
    can put off till tomorrow.
    But with you,
    business before pleasure, every time.
    Do all your personal laundry.
    Make yourself spic-and-span,
    get all the mending out of the way,
    and then, and only then,
    sit down for a nice, quiet hour
    with the Good Book.

    . . . 

    How’s the book, miss?
    Well, not that I ain’t read it.
    That is to say,
    my poor old mom used to read me
    stories out of it.
    How’s about reading it out loud?
    I could sure do with a little
    spiritual comfort, myself.
    And you call yourself a Christian.
    Do you hear me?
    Don’t you?
    What you being so mean for, miss?
    A man takes a drop too much
    once in a while.
    It’s only human nature.

    Rosie: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put
    in this world to rise above.

    Charlie: Miss.
    I’m sorry. I apologize.
    What more can a man do
    than say he’s sorry?

    • #17
    • January 15, 2020, at 1:04 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Jon Gabriel, Ed. King

    First house I remember was 123 Birch St., Park Forest, IL.

    When I was five, we moved to 660 Sullivan Ln., Park Forest South, IL . (That little town went bankrupt after we left and renamed itself University Park, if memory serves.)

    Then, at age six we stayed at 12602 N. 34th St., Phoenix, AZ (phone number 992-9712). That house was later demolished for a freeway, along with all the homes on my old paper route.

    Why all those numbers and street names still rattle around my brain is hard to figure out. Haven’t thought about them in many, many years.

    • #18
    • January 15, 2020, at 2:16 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):
    If I had to kill my own animals for meat I would have to be a vegetarian.

    I did survival school at the USAF academy in the summer of 1986. After a few days of the survival portion, we had to demonstrate our ability as a team to “thump it and muck it on down” with a rabbit. Generally the instructors got the person they considered most squeamish to do the thumping.

    You held the rabbit by the hind legs, and petted it to try to get it to relax, once it calmed down and got more relaxed you picked up the thumping stick and let swing.

    Our teammate missed, so we were treated to the scream. The second thumper made quick work of the rabbit and we skinned it to make stew. It was the last recognizable meat most of us would get for the better part of the next 5 days. Those days were spend doing land navigation at night, while avoiding aggressor patrols and resting during the day.

    If you went through survival school you would definitely be willing to kill for meat.

    In the world today vegetarianism is either a luxury good or a sign of malnourishment.

    • #19
    • January 15, 2020, at 2:25 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpringJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    Why all those numbers and street names still rattle around my brain is hard to figure out. Haven’t thought about them in many, many years.

    I had a paper route when I was in Elementary School and instead of addresses, remembered the customers by the names on the mailboxes. I still remember the sequence “Wanner, March, Little, Esposito”. I think I felt it was kind of poetic.

    • #20
    • January 15, 2020, at 2:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    First house I remember was 123 Birch St., Park Forest, IL.

    When I was five, we moved to 660 Sullivan Ln., Park Forest South, IL . (That little town went bankrupt after we left and renamed itself University Park, if memory serves.)

    Then, at age six we stayed at 12602 N. 34th St., Phoenix, AZ (phone number 992-9712). That house was later demolished for a freeway, along with all the home on my old paper route.

    Why all those numbers and street names still rattle around my brain is hard to figure out. Haven’t thought about them in many, many years.

     

    You remember more than I can, Jon. I can remember that distant one I talked about in my post, but I can only remember one since then, a house we lived in for 24 years in Kentucky. Three were seven or eight in between. 

    • #21
    • January 15, 2020, at 2:36 PM PST
    • 1 like
  22. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It is funny, the things you remember. When I was at boarding school (1964-66) I was, for a year, the person who gathered up the history exercise books (where we wrote up our essays on the week’s lectures–I was eleven at the time), put them in alphabetical order, and delivered them to the teacher, who was our housemistress. I still remember the order: “Acheson, Adams, Armstrong, Baggeley, Barrington, Baylis, Brown, Cliff-Hodges, Davey, Foreman,” and so on until I came to me, who was the last name in the form (which had two classes , A-M, and N-Z).

    Then, when I was a sophomore in high school, one of our assignments was to take a map of Africa, and put every country’s name in the right location. I decided to memorize the names, just to help me remember, if I got stuck with a couple of “blanks” and needed to make an educated guess: “Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabinda, CAR, Chad, Congo, Congo, Dahomey, Ethiopia, Fernando Po . . . .”  I expect half the names have changed by now.

    Meanwhile, these days, I forget what it was I was going downstairs for in the time that it takes me to get there. And sometimes I have to read a page six or seven times before I have the foggiest idea what it says. Oh well. Considering the alternative, it’s not a bad life.

    • #22
    • January 15, 2020, at 2:58 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  23. Chuck Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    First house I remember was 123 Birch St., Park Forest, IL.

    When I was five, we moved to 660 Sullivan Ln., Park Forest South, IL . (That little town went bankrupt after we left and renamed itself University Park, if memory serves.)

    Then, at age six we stayed at 12602 N. 34th St., Phoenix, AZ (phone number 992-97 haven’t thought about them in many, many years.

     

    Just imagine how wealthy Park Forest would have become if you’d only stayed.

    • #23
    • January 15, 2020, at 3:35 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    It is funny, the things you remember. When I was at boarding school (1964-66) I was, for a year, the person who gathered up the history exercise books (where we wrote up our essays on the week’s lectures–I was eleven at the time), put them in alphabetical order, and delivered them to the teacher, who was our housemistress. I still remember the order: “Acheson, Adams, Armstrong, Baggeley, Barrington, Baylis, Brown, Cliff-Hodges, Davey, Foreman,” and so on until I came to me, who was the last name in the form (which had two classes , A-M, and N-Z).

    Then, when I was sophomore in high school, one of our assignments was to take a map of Africa, and put every country’s name in the right location. I decided to memorize the names, just to help me remember, if I got stuck with a couple of “blanks” and needed to make an educated guess: “Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabinda, CAR, Chad, Congo, Congo, Dahomey, Ethiopia, Fernando Po . . . .” I expect half the names have changed by now.

    Meanwhile, these days, I forget what it was I was going downstairs for in the time that it takes me to get there. And sometimes I have to read a page six or seven times before I have the foggiest idea what it says. Oh well. Considering the alternative, it’s not a bad life.

    Wow, Mrs. She! You have a memory. Your memory of the alphabetical order of the last names of the writers of the history essays is amazing. Ah, but I keep forgetting: You’re just a young thing whose mind and body are still supple — except for those times when you forget where you’re going. But I guess it’s still amazing.

    • #24
    • January 15, 2020, at 3:37 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Jon Gabriel, Ed. King

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):
    Just imagine how wealthy Park Forest would have become if you’d only stayed.

    Chicagoland was weirdly segregated by neighborhoods, at least at that time. You had the Polish enclave, Hispanic enclave, Russian enclave, etc. As you headed to the ‘burbs, it diluted into the cruder white vs. black. Park Forest South was a new development my parents bought into, all lily-white. We moved to Phoenix three months before it imploded, the bankruptcy cutting public services to the bone. They since changed the name of my first-grade school from Hickory Elementary to Coretta Scott King Magnet School; the population seemed to change a bit.

    • #25
    • January 15, 2020, at 4:57 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Manny Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    If I had to kill my own animals for meat I would have to be a vegetarian.

    I did survival school at the USAF academy in the summer of 1986. After a few days of the survival portion, we had to demonstrate our ability as a team to “thump it and muck it on down” with a rabbit. Generally the instructors got the person they considered most squeamish to do the thumping.

    You held the rabbit by the hind legs, and petted it to try to get it to relax, once it calmed down and got more relaxed you picked up the thumping stick and let swing.

    Our teammate missed, so we were treated to the scream. The second thumper made quick work of the rabbit and we skinned it to make stew. It was the last recognizable meat most of us would get for the better part of the next 5 days. Those days were spend doing land navigation at night, while avoiding aggressor patrols and resting during the day.

    If you went through survival school you would definitely be willing to kill for meat.

    In the world today vegetarianism is either a luxury good or a sign of malnourishment.

    Yes, that is probably true. I have given thought along those lines. I don’t think I would want to go through it, though.

    • #26
    • January 15, 2020, at 5:14 PM PST
    • Like
  27. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

     

    Instugator (View Comment):
    In the world today vegetarianism is either a luxury good or a sign of malnourishment.

    Instugator, your analysis is a bit limited in its scope. Are you not open to the possibility that some vegetarians might be motivated by ethical or humane considerations?

    • #27
    • January 15, 2020, at 6:25 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well timed, @kentforrester. Today, January 15, in anticipation of what I think is the most beautiful poem in the English language, John Keats’ The Eve of St Agnes, (which I, an old married grandmother, always remember, and which I, with a spectacular focus, managed to be totally on-point, and on-time about last year), the first two lambs of the year were born today at Chez She.

    I will try and get some video of them tomorrow and post it on YouTube (if they’ll cooperate), but for now, this is the best I can do (as might be expected, they are in the most unattractive and soggiest corner of the barn):

    They are presently in a much nicer stall, with food and water for Mom, and seemingly OK, and I’ll see how they are in the morning.

     

    • #28
    • January 15, 2020, at 7:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    Well timed, @kentforrester. Today, January 15, in anticipation of what I think is the most beautiful poem in the English language, John Keats’ The Eve of St Agnes, (which I, an old married grandmother, always remember, and which I, with a spectacular focus, managed to be totally on-point, and on-time about last year), the first two lambs of the year were born today at Chez She.

    I will try and get some video of them tomorrow and post it on YouTube (if they’ll cooperate), but for now, this is the best I can do (as might be expected, they are in the most unattractive and soggiest corner of the barn):

    They are presently in a much nicer stall, with food and water for Mom, and seemingly OK, and I’ll see how they are in the morning.

    She, are they going to be black lambs? Did you have to help the birth?

    • #29
    • January 15, 2020, at 7:29 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Well timed, @kentforrester. Today, January 15, in anticipation of what I think is the most beautiful poem in the English language, John Keats’ The Eve of St Agnes, (which I, an old married grandmother, always remember, and which I, with a spectacular focus, managed to be totally on-point, and on-time about last year), the first two lambs of the year were born today at Chez She.

    I will try and get some video of them tomorrow and post it on YouTube (if they’ll cooperate), but for now, this is the best I can do (as might be expected, they are in the most unattractive and soggiest corner of the barn):

    They are presently in a much nicer stall, with food and water for Mom, and seemingly OK, and I’ll see how they are in the morning.

    She, are they going to be black lambs? Did you have to help the birth?

    Yes, black lambs. Mom is black, and so is Dad. That means Dad must be Fuddy Duddy, who’s official name is FDR. Named that because he had polio as a lamb. In sheep, that’s caused by a thiamine deficiency. So, for a couple of months he lived in a pack-‘n-play in the bedroom, getting daily shots, and I did physical therapy with him a few times a week until he got strong enough to go back in the field, and has been fine ever since. (Yes, I’m nuts. And happily so. Strays”R”Us, as they say around here. Four-legged, two-legged, makes no never mind. I’m like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I have the time. And the inclination.)

    Black lambs are usually nicely black at birth, but they often lighten up when they get older. Sometimes, their fleeces can be beautiful, grey/silver (as is Mom’s here). Sometimes, they lighten up as a result of sunlight, and go brownish. In any event, I think they’re very pretty (and prized by hand spinners), so I don’t mind.

    Commercially, though, black/brown fleeces are worth far less than the white.

    And no, she managed this all by herself. I only have to help with the birth when there’s a howling gale, when the temperature is below zero degrees Fahrenheit, or if the babies are born at the bottom of a steep hill, preferably in an icy creek, and if they, and Mom, have to be dragged up the icy hill on a tarp.

    • #30
    • January 15, 2020, at 7:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes

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