Animal Moment – Chickens

baby-chicks-and-eggs-1159952

According to a Bristol University professor, chickens are smarter than human toddlers.   New chicks can keep can track of up to five numbers.  They can also grasp the concept that an item that is out of sight still exists, something that human babies don’t understand until age one.  Read more here.

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Animal Moment – Cows

Fun fact – according to PETA, Cows “are generally very intelligent animals who can remember things for a long time. Animal behaviorists have found that cows interact in socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against other cows who treat them badly.”

Enjoy the cute video:

Animal Moment – Miniature Pigs

Cutie pies!

Fun fact – according to a research project by an Emory University neuroscientist, pigs are actually quite intelligent, often outsmarting dogs.  They also found that pigs:

• have excellent long-term memories

• are whizzes with mazes and other tests requiring location of objects

• can comprehend a simple symbolic language and can learn complex combinations of symbols for actions and objects

• love to play and engage in mock fighting with each other, similar to play in dogs and other mammals

• live in complex social communities where they keep track of individuals and learn from one another

• cooperate with one another

• can manipulate a joystick to move an on-screen cursor, a capacity they share with chimpanzees

• can use a mirror to find hidden food

• exhibit a form of empathy when witnessing the same emotion in another individual

Read more here. 

Animal Moment – The Pudú

I only learned about this species of deer a few months ago.   According to Wikipedia, pudú are the smallest species of deer, ranging in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long.  Unfortunately, they are on the endangered species list due to over-hunting and loss of habitat.  I hope we are able to enjoy the beauty of these remarkable animals for generations to come.

Enjoy the video!

Road Trip

Inspired by this week’s Story A Day prompt.

Angie’s long shift was finally over.  She stretched her legs and poked her bare feet out of the open car window, enjoying the breeze as the cars and trees whipped by.  Her mom told her she was crazy to post a flyer at the college looking for someone to share a ride across the country.  What if a crazy person responds? 

Angie thought that most people would consider her to be the crazy person.  She insisted on taking her large German Shepherd, Susie, with her.  A retired police dog, she looked scary but was as docile as a lamb.  At the moment, Susie was curled up on the back seat, snoozing, seeming to smile in her sleep.  After a long life of forced labor, Angie wanted Susie to enjoy her golden years.  She had a bag full of homemade snacks for Susie at her feet, and insisted they stop every two hours so Susie could go for a short walk.  She worried she’d get claustrophobic stuck in the car all those hours unless they took frequent breaks.

Joe agreed to all of her terms.  He was the only person to respond.  The only person going the same direction she was.  He said finding her flyer was destiny, telling him it was time to finally meet his true love, starshinegal08 aka Mara.  They’d been playing StarShine, an online game, for years alongside each other.  Their avatars had been on countless adventures together.  They’d spent hours chatting late into the night about their lives.  But they’d had yet to lay eyes on each other.  Not even a picture.  Mara thought that would make it more romantic when they saw each other in person.

On the side of the highway, waving frantically, was a girl wearing a dress covered in pink feathers and clear high heeled shoes that increased her diminutive height by at least five inches.  Her white blond hair was in what Angie believed was called a bouffant, piled high and unmoving, despite her efforts to flag them down.  It was a either a gravity-defying freak of nature or benefiting from an obscene amount of hairspray.  Angie noticed Joe was slowing down, that the car was veering to the right.

“What are you doing??!!”  Angie sat upright.

Joe shrugged.  “She looks like she needs help.”

“She could be deranged!”

“Does she look dangerous?”

“Neither did Ted Bundy…” Angie mumbled under her breath as the car came to a stop.  The girl leaned in the open window.

“Thank y’all so much for stoppin’!”  She spoke in a Southern drawl.  “I was on a cross country bus trip with the Miss Magonlia USA pageant.  I’m Miss Georgia Magnolia…” she indicated her pale pink sash “…and well there was some trouble on the bus and I seem to have lost my ride.  Could I trouble y’all for a ride to the next town?  I hear there’s a bus station.”

“They ditched you?”  Joe asked.

The pageant queen lowered her eyes and nodded.

I wonder why, Angie thought, crossing her arms.

“That’s horrible!”  Joe was incredulous, clearly unaware of all the ways girls like that employed to torture each other.  “Sure we can give you a ride.  If you don’t mind sharing the backseat with Susie.”

“Oh, I just adore dogs! I don’t mind at all.”  She scurried around the front of the car and hopped in the backseat, while Angie glared at him.

“It’s just for a few miles.”  Joe insisted.

Susie sleepily eyed her new seatmate, before closing her eyes and putting her head on her lap.

“Where are my manners!  My name’s Lola.  Really Magnolia, but everyone calls me Lola.  Mama knew when I was in the womb I was gonna be Miss Magnolia USA.”

“Hi Lola.  I’m Joe and this is Angie.”

“Nice to meet y’all!  Thanks so much again!  I don’t know what I would have done if y’all hadn’t come along…”

Lola’s damsel in distress act was growing thin, so Angie popped in her earbuds and turned up the volume, letting Adele lull her to sleep.

She woke again when she felt the car come to a stop, opening her eyes to see a huge hot dog statue in towering in front of her.  Home of the Six Foot Hot Dog!  The sign above the statue declared.

“Lola was hungry,” Joe offered as explanation when he noticed Angie’s confusion.

Well, we can’t have America’s Sweetheart’s stomach grumbling.  Angie stumbled from the car, opening the door to let Susie out as Joe and Lola made their way inside the diner.  After walking Susie, Angie went inside to peruse the menu, noticing that the only item that accommodated her vegetarian diet were the french fries.  She ordered a large basket of fries with a soda and reluctantly joined Joe and Lola.  At least the fries were perfect, hot, crisp and salty.  She noticed Joe seemed distressed as she sat.

“…so you’ve never seen this girl, this Mara?”  Lola asked, a cruel twist to her voice

Joe shook his head.

“…not even a picture?”

“She thought it was…romantic, I guess…”

Lola screamed with laughter, her hot dog forgotten.  “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh, but that is just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.  But I mean, I guess that’s the only way some people can meet…”

Joe winced.

“..and you.”  Lola turned to face Angie.  “Driving cross country so your dog can see the ocean for the first time?”

“You told her?!”  Angie yelled at Joe.

“She asked where we were headed.  I didn’t think you’d mind…”

“I’m sorry, but that is just the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard.  A vacation with your dog.  At least Joe has someone to meet at the end of this trip.  Allegedly.”  Lola brazenly grabbed a french fry from Angie’s basket before hopping up.  “I need to go to the ladies’ room and then we can get back on the road.  Y’all excuse me.”

Lola sashayed down the aisle to the restrooms, reveling in all the male attention she received along the way.

Joe tried to wipe his wet eyes without Angie noticing.  She noticed, but didn’t say anything.  He’d been humiliated enough.  Instead, she said, “Let’s ditch her!”

“What?”  Joe asked, a smile slowly forming across his face.

“You heard me.  Let’s go.  Come on, hurry!”

She grabbed his hand and they ran back out to the car.  Susie was roused from sleep as they screeched out of their parking spot.  Lola burst through the front door, screaming some language very unbecoming of a Miss Magnolia USA at the retreating car.  Joe and Angie laughed so hard their stomachs hurt.

“Oops,” Joe said a mile down the road, still chuckling.

“What?”  Angie asked, wiping tears of mirth from her eyes.

“I think we left her with the bill.”

The Herbivore and the Carnivore – A Love Story

before wedding
Me and hubby before we were married.

When I met my future husband, I was a twentysomething, exercise-averse, meat and potatoes and candy-eating girl.  Now, seven years after our wedding, I’m a thirtysomething, fitness-loving, vegetarian, but still candy-eating, woman.  He’s still a meat and potatoes guy, but we have a meat-free home.  I can’t stand the smell or texture of meat anymore.  I have a friend who doesn’t eat meat any longer but still cooks meat for her husband every night.  I don’t know how she handles it.

Hubby goes out and gets take out for himself when he has a craving for meat, and he orders it sometimes when we go out for dinner, but when I cook at home it’s always a vegetarian meal.  So that brings me to the questions – if you’re a single veggie, do you only date other veggies?  If you’re in a relationship and your partner is not a veggie, if you do most of the cooking, do you prepare meat at times to appease your mate?  If you eat meat, how would you feel if your partner became vegetarian?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Second Helpings

“Glad to see you finally came to your senses!”  Christian’s father slapped him on the back heartily.

“I am too.”

“All that no faces, animals are people too, propaganda, vegan nonsense.  I knew I didn’t raise a wimp.  Real mean eat meat!  Bacon! Burgers!  Brats!”

Christian said nothing as he flipped the burgers on the grill and kept a watchful eye on the brats.  There were fresh veggies, corn, peppers, onions, zucchini, among others, on another grill that Claire was manning.

The family was gathered outside on a long wooden picnic table.  Claire had spent a lovely afternoon hanging twinkling lights from the heavy branches of the oak tree.  The sun was setting.  The laughter of their extended family members danced in the air.  They were all enjoying lemon cucumber water, sangria, and chips and salsa.  It was one of those rosy, perfect family moments.

“Looks like were ready!”  Claire yelled as the family erupted in cheers.  Everyone was hungry.  The delicious smells from the dual grills were driving them mad.

His father grabbed a bun and a juicy brat, slathered it with mustard and quickly took a bite, moaning his delight.  The rest of the family soon followed suit.

Christian grabbed a beer from the cooler, then put his hand on his father’s shoulder. “Enjoying it?” He gave a thumbs up.

“I have an announcement everyone.”  Christan clapped his hands loudly to get everyone’s attention.  His family looked up, mouths half full, faces greasy.  “Everything we’ve served you today is 100% vegan.  Including the brats.  We hope you enjoy!”

The rest of the family shrugged and kept eating.  His father glared at him as though he didn’t want to finish chewing his final bite.  “Bon appetit, Dad.”  Christian took a long sip of his beer.  “Seconds, anyone?”

Vegetable Garden

Green, sweet, bitter, mellow
Red, orange, white, or yellow
Colorful, beautiful, kind and bright
I’m happy, whole, peaceful and light
No faces haunt me as I indulge
Strength to follow my mightiest impulse
To harm no one
And help our world heal
My soul smiles as I taste the kindest of meals