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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Daisy and Zingo Closeup

Zingo, left, and Daisy, sensing some snacks headed their way

(Continued from Part 1.  When last we met, my ex-boyfriend had just decided to breed his pair of Salers-Limousin cross cows.)

From the start of the plan to breed Daisy and Zingo, everything that had gone so perfectly—so stereotypically—so far got turned on its head.  Now everything that had been easy was nearly impossible.  Cow intercourse turned out to be beyond the calves.  When Charlie the bull showed up and trundled off his trailer, Zingo, apparently feeling threatened again, charged him and then tried to mount him.  Charlie hung around for a few days with his unwelcoming pasture-mates, and then, evidently sensing that nothing fun was in the offing on John’s place, deciding one evening to go walkabout.  He literally walked through chest-high pagewire fencing, onto the next property, and off into the sunset. (more…)

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Daisy on the left and Zingo on the right, looking protective

Daisy on the left; Zingo on the right, looking protective

Much of why I became so interested in the environment—maybe more than half of the reason—was the six years I spent dating a Canadian who had five acres and a yen for homesteading.  John had read an enormous amount about permaculture, peak oil, going back-to-the-land, country living, and on and on.  More than that, he was raised in a rural part of Canada in the 50s, and he grew up with a rake in one hand and a shovel in the other.  He was a natural and skilled gardener, and he had a great touch with animals.  He deserves his own blog post, at the very least, and I hope to tell a little more about what I learned from spending weeks and weeks outside of Kingston, Ontario, in his fine company. (more…)

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Panda Twins

My latest internet time-waster is the Atlanta Zoo’s Panda Cam and the accompanying blog posts.  These new twin panda babies, born on July 15, are almost as cute as kittens.  I’m especially enjoying reading the intelligent entries on the panda maternal instincts.  The zoo lets the mother, Lun Lun, care for one twin at a time.  Apparently pandas don’t have the bandwidth to care for two; until recently, one of the twins born in captivity always died.  But the Chengdu (China) zoo pioneered the cub-swapping technique, and Lun Lun seems to not even notice she’s got two different cubs.  The voice-over on a recent video of the two babies added that, “When the cubs are switched, they will spend a short time in the incubator together.  This gives Lun Lun some time to finish her sugar cane and possibly drink some water.”  I’m sure she’d really appreciate a few minutes to take a shower or have a nap, too.

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Have you seen this criminal?  Wanted for assault in the District of Columbia

Have you seen this criminal? Wanted for assault in the District of Columbia

The other day, when I was sitting at my desk working and my cats were out in the garden sunning themselves, I saw a bird swoop by right before the cats ran back into the house, terrified.  I laughed at their fear of birds—they didn’t grow up outdoor cats and it showed, or so I thought.

I’m not laughing anymore, because this week the same bird terrified me.

The day before the bad storms hit the East Coast, my mother and I were in the garden, pulling weeds and trimming branches.  My mother took the pruning shears to the holly tree, and soon there was a bird shrieking and screaming at her.  We figured she had gotten close to a nest, so she backed off.  The day after the storm, I went back outside to check to see if the nest had survived.  I was looking at the bundle of twigs on the holly branch when I felt a THUMP on the back of my head.  (more…)

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A rear-view glimpse of a white-tailed deer

A rear-view glimpse of a white-tailed deer

Coming home tonight at the end of an evening with friends, I turned off Massachusetts Avenue onto Calvert Street.  This intersection sits, more or less, in the front yard of Naval Observatory, which is where the Vice President lives.  The grounds of the Observatory are always thick with deer; I often see them in the evening grazing.  Tonight, turning left, I saw a deer run across Calvert Street and into a neighboring yard.  I pulled my car over to catch a glimpse of it. (more…)

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Juliet the bear with cubs, April 25, 2012

In a comment on my post about my trip to Kansas, dclioness noted that although humans can significantly interfere with the habitats of animal species, people can also coexist fairly well with animals given a little information.  She gave the example of a Minnesota organization, The Wildlife Research Institute, that both researches and tracks bears and also offers outreach programs to the communities where the bears live.  WRI is educating locals about how to satisfy bears’ need to snack in the spring in a way that avoids raids on trash cans and bird feeders.  As WRI explained in an April update about the habits of the bears they tracked: (more…)

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One thing I noticed shaping my perception of my trip to Kansas City was my recent reading of William Cronon’s “The Trouble With Wilderness.”  It’s a key essay in environmental history that apparently generated a lot of controversy when it came out.  It makes the argument that the idea of wilderness in American history has been harmful to the extent that we think of wilderness as pure, unspoiled, and something that we ruin by our presence.  It’s made us value nature only (or especially) when we perceive it as wild, untamed, or untouched.  In this view, though, as soon as we enter the picture, nature is irretrievably damaged.  (more…)

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