Farmer Jack loved animals, and had all sorts of different mammals on his farm.
He had goats which were alright. Goats were the most common farm animals around the world apparently. He could see why but they simply were not at the top of his list.
He had cattle, but they were not the normal cattle beasts. He had a breed of oxen that had been originally bred to pull heavy machinery in the old days. Personally he found them too strong altogether, and difficult to manage, but they were certainly a talking point with anyone who dared get involved with them.
Sheep were smelly; oily and smelly. In fact they were a lot of work. They had to be shorn and crutched and so on. To get them even to the lamb stage was a substantial hassle.
Pigs, like sheep, were smelly. He had only a few and it was a good way to get rid of household scraps.
Then he had horses. Horses were his favourite. Horses were wonderful! It warmed the cockles of his heart to see horses cavorting in the fields. Yes! Of all the animals on his farm, horse meat was definitely his favourite and the tastiest.
(This will be the second of two postings today because I’m fixing up the numbering system and having two postings on one day is the easiest way to do it! Sorry about that – I usually have a personal rule of only one posting a day!)
I hate it when people call me a “Gentle Redneck”. Just because I live in the foothills of North Carolina doesn’t mean to say I’m a Redneck.
Glad to have got that off my chest, but it’s not what this story is about. This story is about how I like to shoot animals and birds. I used to keep a list of the critters I shot, but now I do it just for the heck of it. So it doesn’t matter about keeping a list.
My favorite was the Bearded Screech-Owl. I shot it down in Mexico a couple of years ago. Had to wait up all night for it to make an appearance, and when it appeared I was pretty pleased with the result. I have it now on a shelf in my billiard room. It takes pride of place and I like to think it supervises the billiard games with my buddies. It’s endangered as you might know and there weren’t (back then) many of them left. Being quite small it provided me with quite a challenge.
I’ve shot some quite big animals too; polar bears for example. And not just mammals from North America. I got literally dozens of koala bears when I was visiting Australia. In Madagascar I was lucky enough to get several varieties of lemur.
I used to have a really good one of a New Zealand kiwi. It was stuffed by a “talented” niece. I seem to have misplaced it. I don’t know where it is now. I like to keep an eye out for endangered species. Sometimes the scientists do a cull as part of the breeding program. Don’t ask me how that works but apparently it does. If I find out that a cull is going to happen I step in and ask if they would mind me shooting a few first. I’ve never been turned down.
So there you have it. I’ve shot dozens of creatures over the years. The highlight was when the National Geographic used a photo I shot in the Amazon of a three-toed sloth. That shot got an honorable mention from the Photography Society that I belong to.
Jim lived in the country and worked in town. He had a neurosis of sorts. It filled time in the car on the way to work. He would have to spy eight species of plant life, eight species of birds, and eight species of mammals. He would do all three categories at once, which meant he had to maintain three separate countings at the same time. If he got all twenty-four, then he would have a lucky day.
Eight plant species were spied quickly.
Eight bird species were spied fairly quickly.
Eight species of mammal…
Luckily there was a field on a corner where there was always a donkey and three alpacas. And then, later there were always two deer in another field. That made it easy to get to eight. The other animals were common.
He arrived at work, minus spying the eighth. He didn’t stop. He drove around the block. Perhaps someone would be taking their dog for a walk. Perhaps someone’s cat would cross the road. He couldn’t see an eighth mammal. This was to be an unlucky day. He couldn’t put off going into the office any longer.
“Morning,” he snapped by way of greeting to the receptionist.