Mom’s first encounter with the new rooster ended, decidedly, in the fowl’s favor.
Casualties sustained: two bloody puncture wounds on her arm.
Territory surrendered: the primary waterer, which requires going inside the chicken pen to fill, has been abandoned and a bucket placed against the inside fence, allowing the keeping a barrier between for safety. The border has been re-drawn.
This made me laugh for a few reasons, most notably because I know the only reason we have that particular rooster is because it’s the one dad caught.
Catching roosters is not easy, I can attest. Experiential evidence: I’ve done it before with a fairly low success rate.
If you are not fortunate enough to have this in your personal background, I offer an observational example demonstrating difficulty.
Skip to 1:13 to watch the ultimate athlete be humbled by an average yardbird.
So I have this knowledge: catching a chicken is hard.
And when asked how he chose which rooster to catch, dad revealed that the rooster, in fact, chose him.
A surprise attack from the rear, well-planned. Well-planned does not mean well-executed. After a brief, and presumably frenzied, encounter the rooster found himself captive.
The other reason I chuckled?
This is apparently genetic, as perhaps my favorite memory of baby sister Molly is…
Coming from the harvest field one hot, dry summer afternoon. Slowly approaching the house, I could see Molly, around two years old at the time, seeming to throw something and then run in the other direction, retrieve what she had thrown, and repeat the process.
As I got closer I could see a very animated expression that I assumed was laughing, since Molly was usually laughing.
But no – crying, mixed with scared but angry yell here every so often.
I ran, fearing a rattlesnake, scooped her up, and looked. No snakes, no snapping turtle, badger…nothing. There was this annoying little chicken though.
I saw she wasn’t “throwing something”…she was chucking an electric fencepost like a javelin, which was far taller than she.
Then running the other direction, crying, regrouping, and going back to the post to throw it in a seemingly random direction.
The crying slowed to that hyperventilating stage where you average about three breaths every two seconds and a word and a half for every breath. Still wild-eyed with her head on a swivel, I finally got the gist of what she was trying to tell me.
Something about “that damn banty won’t leave me alone”.
The annoying little chicken. The bantam rooster. Bantam, which means, “pertly combative”.
She had been outside playing in the yard, the little rooster was loose and looking to do a little marauding.
This is perhaps the closest I’ll come to watching gladiators do battle inside the Coliseum.
So we have three chicken incidents to think on.
Dad, with a come-from behind win.
Mom, accepting defeat with grace and brokering a peaceful transition to a walled border.
And Molly, whose bout was interrupted and will therefore have to be called a draw.
And that got me thinking…
Human are the “apex predator”…but where do we actually rank?
Rules: no tools. Clothes, eyeglasses, etc…those are tools. In the buff vs on the half-shell. Adam vs Timon, The Naked Cowboy & Pumba on the undercard.
I started to make a list.
Animals I can’t beat up:
Bear. Lion. Tiger. Elephant. Bison. Shark. Most Snakes. Quite a few dogs. Some angry cats.
I realized it would be easier to listen the ones I could beat up.
Animals I can beat up:
mosquito. hamster. miniature goat….possum. most toads.
My internet search shows about 66,000 vertebrates in the world. Fish, birds, reptiles, mammals.
I think I’m being generous when I say about half of the could whip the average human. Given the reactions I’ve seen to spiders, mice, and even crickets from a not-small number of people in my own life, the true result could be far less. Remember Rocky and the Chicken? He was the best fighter in the whole word, and that chicken was just some confused, unlucky cluck who thought this was gonna be, at worst, a surprise 40th (day) party.
So, weak as we are… how did we become the apex predator of the world?
Obviously not with Dave cat-like reflexes and physical prowess over chickens, our only victory thus far.
Also not by Molly’s draw, though her incorporation of technology – the introduction of the fencepost spear to the barnyard battlefield – is a huge separator and would likely put us right next to gorillas and beavers in terms of utilizing tools.
No, we actually won in the manner Patsy lost:
Long-term planning. Precisely, I might say by making a change now for future benefit.
Humans win by creating space for themselves and experiencing life within that space, because outside of it is something we know is bad for us. And we know because someone else had the experience and passed it down long enough for someone else to successfully find a way to avoid that experience.
My habits & routines have taken a beating, being on the farm. I’ve currently involved with at least seven projects I can think of right now, all interconnected yet distinctly different. Anytime I was working on thing one, things two through seven were calling “hey, WHAT ABOUT US?!”.
And so, being somewhat defeated, I retreated. Listened to some (just thought of another two, nine projects now) other people who had similar negative experiences, heard what they did, and thought I would give it a try.
So I’ve been doing the Optavia 5&1 meal challenge for a week.
I think it’s a good company, and if you do too, give them a try. I’m slowly taking clients, and would enjoy talking to anyone interested.
So, as I’m putting my name behind this, I wanted to give an honest assessment, now eight days in.
I started with two simple goals: don’t cheat on the meal plan, and hit my physical movement goals (steps & pushups/day).
After one week, I’m down three pounds. I stopped caring about weight long ago as a goal and think of it more as a vector, as in: which way is it going.
Three pounds in eight days. The meals were filling. The taste is mostly good, but the taste doesn’t matter, and here’s how I know:
I have enjoyed many a meal, sober, at the now-something-else Bob’s Diner in Manhattan KS on late nights. Good company makes a good meal, not the other way around. Proof in reverse?
I tried eating there in the daylight on several occasions.
So for me, I’m distancing myself from a relationship with food to deepen my relationship with people. I realize that not knowing what I’m going to eat next, or having to meal prep all day sunday, or plan out large shopping purchases of increasingly-expensive fresh food that inevitably goes bad – all that contributes to me being rushed, adding stress and anxiety, and making poor decisions in the moment regarding food, and what we eat so accurately reflects our mood. Nobody sits down to a fat plate of meatloaf with mashed potatoes, chased by two cans of coke, burps and says “Nice weather for a bicycle ride”.
So I was looking to solve this food problem, and Optavia had a solution. Shelf-stable foods (so it won’t go bad like the last two bell peppers) delivered to my door (saving me the hassle of shopping, getting frustrated while there, and buying the bushel bag of Dot’s Pretzels instead of ground turkey) with little prep (some you actually get to cook a bit, which is fun and makes me feel like I’m about to play with an EasyBake Oven). The cost was lower than I expected too.
It’s been a very good experience. I spoke with my own coach, who also represents Optavia, on Saturday and when she asked how I was feeling, b/c I should have been entering the “burn stage”, I thought carefully. I was going to bed at the same time, getting up earlier and feeling rested, all while being about 40% more active on a daily basis, according to my wearable smart device. I’d been able to stay out in the heat longer, had restarted my meditation practice, and had been reading more, while being far more productive during the day.
It felt strangely euphoric. I’m not going to put that out there as a description I’m comfortable sticking with, so I’ll just say good. It felt good.
And today feels good as well, as I sit at my desk, pondering the priority of projects, the timeline, which quadrant of urgent/important and vice versa best suits my mind’s plans.
Why work on the goals today?
Because I failed the program.
I ate too much. I ate the wrong things. I didn’t space my meals out. I didn’t hit my steps goal. I didn’t hit my pushup goal.
I failed by every metric possible, but simply by trying I made HUGE progress.
Progress enough for me to realize that I’d better revisit that five year plan, every day. To put up some walls around that space here and in the future, to avoid a repeat of previous failures, which have now simply become the observable metric in the feedback loop.
I’m not looking for a chicken fight, but if one comes…I’ll be ready.
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