News and Notes from the past few days …
The (Brief) Farm Report: Guineas Gone – Again
I’m pretty sure Chareva is ready now to give up on her plan to employ guinea fowl as bug-eating machines on our land. As I reported in a previous post, our first flock of guineas decided to take a hike as soon as we moved them from the basement to the chicken yard. We saw them waddling around the land for a couple of days, but then they were gone –probably eaten by some local predators. Those guinea fowl were pretty young (we were hoping they’d bond with the young chickens and all sing Kumbiya in the coop at night), so we decided the mistake was putting them outside too soon.
For the second flock of ten, Chareva kept them in a big ol’ dog kennel in the front yard for two months, hoping they’d think of it as home and stick around. That part of the plan worked. When she opened the pen last week, they wandered around and ate bugs, but stayed pretty close. She figured it was safe to let them wander because they were fully grown by this time and we’d read that guinea fowl are tough little birds who flock together and raise a ruckus to ward off predators. They can also fly, which you’d think would save them from becoming a fast-food meal for foxes and coyotes.
So much for that theory. As I was on my way to Chicago on Friday, Chareva called to tell me that we had one surviving guinea fowl. She found bunches of feathers in various spots on the land and one headless carcass. Something managed to attack and kill them in less than a day. Whatever it was, the guinea fowl didn’t fly to safety or bunch together and scare it off. All we’ve done in two attempts at raising guinea fowl is provide tasty meals for some local predators.
The lone survivor is now living within the confines of the chicken yard.
Yeah, that’ll help … a college president has decided students shouldn’t be allowed to eat pork on campus:
A world without bacon may just be one we don’t want to live in, but Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College in Texas, couldn’t care less. In an announcement on the college’s website this week, he banned pork and all pork-related products from his campus in an effort to steer his student body into more mindful food choices.
I don’t know what President Sorrell’s definition of a “mindful food choice” is, but I’m quite mindful when I eat pork. I say to myself several times per meal, “Man, this is some goooood pork!” Perhaps he’s envisioning a scenario like this:
“I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to serve you bacon anymore. Would you mind if we put turkey sausage on your plate instead?”
“Yes, I’d mind that very much.”
“Congratulations on your mindful choice.”
In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Sorrell explained, “When you come to college, you come to be educated.”
Yes, President Sorrell, that’s exactly right. I went to college to be educated, not to have some busy-body college president tell me what I could and couldn’t eat.
“We thought we could do more in the area of promoting healthy lifestyle choices and healthy eating habits.”
Well, sir, all you’ve done is prove that you’re the one who needs to be educated. Half the fat in pork is monosaturated – like olive oil – and rest will raise your HDL. It’s good for you.
Though the ban on pork was met with applause by students …
So some students are applauding because other students won’t be allowed to eat pork on campus anymore? I fear for the future of my country. The concept of individual liberty doesn’t seem to resonate with many people these days.
If you think pork is bad for you, don’t eat it. If others choose to eat pork, that’s none of your @#$%ing business. You shouldn’t be applauding this Big Brother nonsense, you student dimwits; you should be raising holy hell about it.
… others don’t find much merit in Sorrell’s beliefs that “the other white meat” is inherently unhealthy. According to Ceci Snyder, a registered dietician and the spokeswoman for the National Pork Board, pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast. “You can cook any meat incorrectly and add fat and salt.”
Geez, even the National Pork Board is falling for the low-fat nonsense. Ms. Snyder, there’s nothing wrong with fat and salt … unless you prefer your meat without any flavor.
Progress on the knee
I’m mostly on one crutch now, trying to train the left leg to adopt a natural walking motion again, albeit with less weight on it. I can do it, but the knee swells up after awhile. I can push it into a totally straight position with my hands, but can’t pull it into that position with my own leg muscles yet. The knee freezes with a few degrees to go. The physical therapist tells me that’s mostly muscle panic … the muscles seize up around the knee to protect it, even though I consciously want to straighten it.
Going in the other direction, the knee will bend to 113 degrees. That means I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s 12 degrees more bend than I could manage last week.
Dimwitted college students who applaud when college presidents forbid other students to eat pork notwithstanding, being on crutches has given me a positive outlook on people. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many people have gone out their way to be helpful. At both baseball stadiums in Chicago over the weekend, people held doors for me when they saw me coming, and a few actually trotted back to a door they’d already exited to hold it open. At every elevated train or subway stop over the weekend, the people waiting to get on a train waved at me to get on before they did. On the crowded elevated train heading to Wrigley Field, a woman insisted I take her seat.
If I find myself in a grumpy mood after the knee heals, I may dig out the crutches and go visit a few public places to remind myself how nice people can be.