If you can’t say something nice

Our blog is intentionally non-political and I will persist in keeping it that way. Unfortunately though, there are times in which certain forces and pressures push each one of us towards some measure of introspection. Some of us are even capable of keeping our feelings and opinions to ourselves long enough to query additional sources in order to make a logical summation of current events. Others, well, they seem to be less able to store a single byte of information within the massive storage device we are all born with. Lest one thinks I am pointing a finger at any particular group, it is clear that this malady affects people on all sides of a dilemma, myself included at times.

 I certainly don’t pretend that I am immune to the fray or even innocent of bias, opinion or even a few rash words bantered here or there. What strikes my funny bone however is that all of this hullaballo since the election seems to have taken many people by surprise. Without a doubt there were surprises in the entire process, no denying that. What has impressed my observing eyes and ears though is how quickly and irrationally conversations today seem to explode into discord. In fact, words don’t even have to be used to elicit hatred and anger from one side or another. A simple picture of a person or icon appears enough today to meet the hand of friendly discourse with gnawing, gnashing claws and teeth.

 As an amateur student of history, all I can do is sit somewhat in the background and chuckle at the outrage (both real and pretend) as well as the new fervor of patriotism (both real and pretend). I have spent much time over the course of my life looking into the mysteries of history to try and discover this so-called time of utopia when “times were good.” To my dismay I have found no such time to have existed in the past, nor likely to exist in the future.

 Perhaps, or perhaps not, it was purely by chance that during this tumultuous time that I happened to pick up a book that has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for a long, long time. The title is “1775 Another Part of the Field,” by Ivor Noel Hume. It is an interesting look at the dispatches, news articles, personal correspondence, and government records from various sources leading up to the American Revolution. What I have noted in this introspection is similar to what I find nearly every time I read an historical account that includes more than a single point of view. Here is my simple conclusion:

We humans are a fickle bunch and we are all too eager to latch on to even the slightest offense, whether real or perceived, in order to enjoin ourselves to some real or arbitrary cause so that we can then relish in ecstasy as we welcome the burn of dopamine which courses through our brains.

 To bolster my conclusion, here’s a simple quote from Mr. Hume: “Thus, on both sides of the Atlantic, rumors both true and fake, and often a little of both, were served to the public pages of their newspapers, and the readers, being then no less gullible than they are today, generally accepted them as facts. For some extraordinary reason the public still possesses the same faith in the printed word that it has exhibited for centuries, being prepared to accept the most outrageous nonsense as the gospel truth, providing it is served on a printed page.”

 This was written in the early 1960’s about a population 200 years removed, and yet nothing really has changed. Although our cumulative acceptance now spreads to the digital screen that did not exist in Hume’s time, I could not agree more with his assumption. I cannot personally attest to how many times I have read or heard and over-the-top response to a headline only to discover that the content within the article has nothing at all to do with the outrage, slander, or otherwise vicious response.

 If anyone is really looking to find a solution to the incredible divide in our collective consciousness, all I can say to my fellow humans is something very, very profound:

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I know, that doesn’t really help with our addiction to dopamine, but I’m pretty sure it would benefit our species nonetheless.

A Sunday Afternoon Surprise, Our First Lamb

Not much was getting done around the farm while the temperatures dipped below 20 degrees. On Sunday the thermometer finally pushed upwards and when it hit about 45 I decided it was time to get to work on the garden. With tiller in hand I set to work preparing the bed. Sometime later I heard Ruth the Donkey making a ruckus so I looked in her direction and didn’t see anything spectacular (boy did I miss it!). I figured they may just be low on water and I’d be down there soon to take care of it anyway so I kept on digging.

When I was done I packed up the tiller, filled up the animal dishes and headed for the barn. We went through our usual routine, with one exception. One of the sheep didn’t come running to the barn at feeding time. Strange, but I’d take care of it after everyone was safe and sound.

The time came and I approached said stubborn sheep. Then I noticed something I didn’t quite recognize at first. Suddenly my brain told me what my eyes saw…4 itty bitty legs behind the sheep…she had a lamb!

I turned to our 4 year old and told him to run and get mommy, quick! He looked at me, puzzled, and said, “What?” Okay, so he comes from my bloodline and isn’t very quick to act 🙂  I went to get her and together we gently got momma and baby into a lambing pen and watched.

It looked like momma had done a great job of cleaning up her baby and the lamb seemed in good shape. It was trying to get milk while momma stood there patiently, but couldn’t latch on. I caught momma up in my arms, leaned her back and my wife trimmed some overgrown wool, cleaned everything up and then checked the milk flow. Nothing was coming out, but she tried a few more times and the blockage cleared, nearly spraying me with a nice flow of milk.

We guided the lamb to momma and it took a nice long drink then let momma up again. This time baby lamb was able to latch on and began drinking.

Since then we’ve watched carefully and everything seems to be going well. I administered the CD&T vaccine (not my favorite chore) and we’re keeping momma well fed and watered. An exciting day on the farm welcoming our very first lamb!

Wanda's First Lamb

Wanda’s First Lamb