Archive for November, 2008

“How could you take a man’s life to save $20 on a TV?”

The darker side of Christmas has been illustrated by the tragic news that on Black Friday, traditionally the first day of the American Christmas shopping season, a man was trampled to death by shoppers looking for a good deal.

A worker at the Long Island branch of Wal-Mart was trampled to death on Black Friday when the doors opened at 5am to let shoppers in. They burst through the doors, sending employees and other members of the public flying, paying no heed as they trampled over them in their desperate rush to get their hands on the weekend-only deals.

When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Wal-Mart worker Jimmy Overby, 43.

“They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me.

“They took me down, too … I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back,” Overby said.

But did they stop, did humanity seep back into their consciousness?


Individual members of the public stopped to help the injured but the mob carried on regardless.

Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like “savages.”

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since Friday morning!'” Cribbs said. “They kept shopping.”

Doesn’t it make you sick?

Thanks to Cathy at Maternal Gardens for alerting me to this story. As she says,

Why? Was it really worth the 20, 30, 40% off? That man, who was trampled to death by greedy, gluttonous, ignorant, rude, pathetic holiday shoppers looking for a “deal”, will not get to celebrate the holiday with his family and I pray he didn’t have children.

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming…

Read more about Black Friday here.

Pig meet cat. Cat meet pig

The boys were just beginning to explore their world last November and having seen me walk in and out several times a day, talking affectionately to someone or something inside, they eventually made their way to the pig shed… only to discover the pigs!

Victoria meets Mac - 30 November 2007

Victoria meets Mac - 30 November 2007

Mac fled just moments after this photo was taken and it took him and Horatio a long time to come to terms with Victoria and Albert’s presence at the farm.

As for Queenie, she viewed them with same amount of disgust that she holds most living creatures in and simply viewed their shed as a warm, comfy place to sleep. And was rarely amused when they tried to say hello!

What’s Your Blogging Personality?

Your Blogging Type is Artistic and Passionate

You see your blog as the ultimate personal expression – and work hard to make it great.
One moment you may be working on a new dramatic design for your blog…
And the next, you’re passionately writing about your pet causes.
Your blog is very important – and you’re careful about who you share it with.

Via Jennie

Dog in the driver’s seat

Last November, I found out exactly why you shouldn’t leave the car door open when you’re carrying the shopping into the house…

Teal in the driving seat - 29 November 2007

Teal in the driving seat - 29 November 2007

Yup, that’s Teal, mum’s Labrador and Snipe’s full sister, albeit two years older. Mum couldn’t believe it when she saw her cheeky mutt – Teal is, after all, “Super Lab” who can do no wrong!

The wish list

It’s nearly that time of year again – though I work in retail so it’s been “that time” for many weeks now and I’m getting The Question: “what do you want for Christmas this year?”. Helpfully*, it’s my birthday just three weeks after Christmas, so this list will do for both.

B has asked me to put a list together but keeps rolling her eyes whenever I say I want practical presents, ones I can put to good use. This includes:

  • home-made Christmas goodies of the edible variety (yes, that’s a hint!)
  • the updated version of John Seymour’s Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency
  • Andy Case’s book, Starting with Pigs: A Beginners Guide
  • any other smallholder books that look interesting
  • pig food
  • bales of straw or hay
  • a new pair of wellies (UK size 6, black or green, no decorations)
  • a new pair of waterproof trousers (small, dark colour, not the ones that rustle every time you breathe)
  • a new waterproof winter farm coat (so I can, from time to time, put one of them in the washing machine! – any dark colour, must be robust enough to survive the brambles and other thorny plants, pockets are good, lots of pockets are better but it needs to have diagonal pockets that you can put your hands in, not the straight ones, if you see what I mean)
  • a waterproof winter non-farm coat (I’ve got one suitable for spring/autumn but there’s no point wearing it in winter – needs to be black, the same issue with the pockets!)
  • a new hat (black, small, little or no decoration, definitely no bobbles etc, maybe one with the flappy ear things for very cold days?)
  • a small, robust and energy efficient radio for the shipping container where I keep the animal food and straw (not one that runs off the mains as the mains ain’t connected!)
  • rubber skips for feeding the pigs
  • buckets with lids for storing stuff like excess corn in
  • I am utterly convinced that such a thing does not exist, but I’d love a wind-up kettle for energy free hot water for coffee (if it doesn’t exist, I hereby declare the idea to be my own and wait for someone to build it so we can share the profits…)

As I said, anything practical.

And yes, having read back through the list, I can see why my nearest and dearest dread buying stuff for me.

Love you all 😀

* Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Moving the chickens

About a fortnight after I probably should have shifted them onto new ground, I finally got round to moving the chooks and their Eglu and Cube yesterday.

Spot the difference between old and new! 25 November 2008

Spot the difference between old and new! 25 November 2008

It’s harder than you might think. At mum’s, the hen house was attached to the side of her old aviaries which meant that they could come and and out of the house as they pleased but at night were restricted to a fully enclosed concrete run measuring about 15′ x 12′. So, whenever we rotated them onto fresh ground, they had to stay in the run until we were done. As this was a simple matter of opening one gate and closing another, it took a matter of seconds.

Moved the chooks, now got to move the houses - 25 November 2008

Moved the chooks, now got to move the houses - 25 November 2008

Now, however, they’re in an orchard, enclosed in a run using 50m of electric netting. Readjusting the run by a few feet is simple – you just pull up the stakes and put them down somewhere new. But a full scale move means distracting the chickens long enough to pull up the majority of the stakes and netting and move them to roughly where you want to go (making you you don’t wrap yourself around immovable objects like ancient apple trees), make sure they can’t get out and then shoo them towards the new grass. you then get a second window to move the bits of netting that haven’t yet been moved and to untangle the inevitable knots and chaos. When it’s set up nice and tight, move the Cube and Eglu to their new sites (if you’re smart, you will have put the end stakes somewhere handy so you can open and close the “gate”. If not, you’ve got to lift up the netting so they can go under it!), replace the roof, litter trays, water bowls, feeders etc and remember to open the doors if you closed them to stop the chickens “helping” as you shifted it back and forwards to just the right place.

All done! 25 November 2008

All done! 25 November 2008

It gets a little bit more complicated if you have a hen and chicks as they need somewhere safe to go while you move them about. Luckily, the move seems to have put the second Silkie off her sitting duties (helped by the fact that her egg ended up in the run and was stone cold by the time I found it) so I decided to move Mother Hen and chicks from the old wooden ark to the Eglu. This made their move very easy – I scooped up two of the chicks and carried them over, hoping the cats weren’t in earshot, then went back for Mother Hen and the remaining two. She was furious and has decided to make her point by making their nest right in the doorway…

What a silly place to make a nest! 25 November 2008

What a silly place to make a nest! 25 November 2008

Doesn't the proper nest look warm and cosy? Daft chicken! 25 November 2008

Doesn't the proper nest look warm and cosy? Daft chicken! 25 November 2008

Still, at least the chicks will be nice and toasty as they nestle right underneath her. So much so, that you have to be careful when you pick her up as at least one will plop back down to the ground after a few seconds of being in mid air!

The remaining three eggs didn’t hatch, which I’m quite pleased about, really, as four seems like the right number going into winter. And she’s such a good mum, showing them how to peck away at the bread I gave her as well as eating the grass!

The whole thing took a lot longer than I thought so I left the farm a bit later than anticipated. Which was fine, as for once I got to enjoy sunset from terra firma instead of behind the wheel of the car:

Sunset at the farm - 25 November 2008

Sunset at the farm - 25 November 2008

Six ‘interesting’ things

I’ve been tagged by Welshpurpletree to tell you six interesting things about my good self.

  1. I have three tattoos.
  2. My mum’s side of the family are ex-pats in Argentina. I believe the family history goes something like this: my great-grandmother’s grandfather and his brothers were told by their father that their ranch in the US wasn’t big enough to divide between all his sons after his death so he gave the youngest sons thousands of cattle and horses and told them to ride south. Some of the brothers made it as far as the northern parts of South America but my great(something) grandfather kept going until he hit the southern Atlantic Ocean. My great-grandmother was born and raised on the most southerly inhabited house in the world! Of course, this may just be something I misheard when I was a kid and have clung to ever since, but I think that’s the way it happened.
  3. I chopped off the top of my thumb when I was four and it never grew back properly.
  4. Since graduating from university eight years ago, I’ve never lived in the same property for more than 12 months.
  5. In that same period, I’ve had eight jobs, though four of them are / were different jobs for the same organisation / company.
  6. I used to have long hair. I mean long hair. Almost butt length. My friends were horrible and never told me to get it cut – even though old photos stand as proof that they really should have!

I tag ……………… anyone who fancies a go!