We All Fall Down


I know, the blog’s been silent for the last couple of weeks. This interlude (perhaps peaceful, depending on your viewpoint) resulted from yours truly taking a header. I had a laundry basket under one arm and my can of clothespins in the other when I hooked my foot on a paver and face-planted on the driveway. Literally face-planted – I thought at first I’d broken my nose. Once I managed to spit out the gravel and catch my breath, I indulged in several minutes of rather creative swearing and then climbed to my feet. The mirror showed lacerations but the nose was intact, as were (luckily) my glasses. However, I had torqued and/or slammed much of my musculoskeletal system. My chiropractor kept saying, “You don’t usually have THIS” and “there’s another one.” Among other things, I had put out three ribs and badly tweaked my right shoulder blade. I’ve been having a thoroughly unpleasant lesson in how much I use those rib muscles for all sorts of things besides breathing. Hubby was out of town, so the two youngest helped pick up the slack, but a lot of things have gone undone around here while I focused on the absolute essentials only I could do. I’m still not back to par, but at least I can type again if I’m careful and don’t do too much at one time. So, my apologies, gentle readers, and hopefully in another week or so I’ll be back to my usual output.
Be careful out there!

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Methane and Cows


The herd waiting for dinner.

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or scream. Some scientists looking at ways to reduce global warming have decided to target the burps and farts of cattle. You heard me. The plan is to breed cows that produce fewer burps and farts, because those are a major source of methane, which contributes to global warming.
Methane, for the uninitiated, is a gas produced as a result of the cow’s digestive processes. Gut microbes inherited from the parents regulate the amount of methane a cow produces. The scientists say they could selectively breed cows that produce less methane. They say they know of “no downside to lowering methane emissions in this way.”

Ruminants ruminating

I say they don’t know enough to be making those kinds of statements. The gut microbiome has been in the news quite a bit lately because people are finally beginning to understand what an important role it plays in our immune system and overall health. Eating low fiber, highly processed foods and high amounts of sugar wreaks havoc with the human gut microbiome. I suspect that the way most commercial cattle are fed does the same to cows. Consider that commercial cattle feed contains such goodies as fish meal – not the sort of thing a cow in the wild would have on the dinner table. Antibiotics are another source of gut microbiome damage.

Time for a sunbath and a nap!

Like that of the human, a cow’s microbiome has developed over millions of years. From the moment a calf begins to nurse, its rumen is being correctly populated by mom’s milk and the bacteria in its environment. The bacteria interact with one another and the balance among the various strains is critical for health. Like a house of cards, mess with one of those strains and others will be affected. It’s extremely short-sighted to tinker with such a delicate mechanism. Look at the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains of gut bacteria we are dealing with because of the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed and medicine. Not to mentions that the real elephant in the room when considering climate change isn’t beef burps and farts – it’s energy production from fossil fuels.
I have a feeling this is a BAD idea.

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The Cell Phone Conundrum


So, OK, I had to steal this from Pixabay…

Warning: rant ahead. A few days ago, I spent almost hour on the phone with an internet company. A website I have used for several years has always asked for my cell phone number when I sign on. Since cell phones don’t work in my area, it’s a waste of time to give them a cell phone number. No one can call me or send me a text message. It’s not until I travel about 15 miles down the road that a cell phone has even spotty reception. Until the last two days, there was an option to say “not now” to the cell phone request. However, the cell phone number is now REQUIRED to get past this screen. The tech support person working with me did everything she could think of to help, without success.
I’ve talked in a couple of posts about the prejudices against farmers and those who dwell in the hinterlands of the country. This isn’t exactly a prejudice, but it’s certainly an example of lack of business forethought about those who live in rural areas. Technology in the city is typically readily available. In rural areas, that is definitely not the case. Rural folks are more subject to problems ranging from power outages to slow DSL to lack of cell phone towers. Even when there are cell phone towers, the terrain may make line-of-sight signals a problem.
The counterpoint to the problems inherent in trying to use a cell phone in the backwoods is that rural dwellers are at least as dependent on communications as those in the city. Many of us are just as technologically savvy as those who live in the cities – sometimes more so since the tech repair folks aren’t close. We need weather information every single day. We need 911 reverse calls for things like forest fires. We need to be able to work remotely, access bank accounts and order things online. To assume that we have the same level of access as those who are in city environments is thoughtless at best and stupid at worst. It’s the same sort of mindset that assumes you don’t need a flashlight handy because the power won’t ever go out. Or that you don’t need back-up paper tools because you’ll always be able to access your computer system. Or – to take it to its extreme – that you don’t need to teach kids how to write legibly because “everything is done on computers these days.”
I made my displeasure clear (politely) to the tech trying to help me. Her comment was, “Well, this is really stupid – lots of people don’t have cell phones or service.” She promised to push it up the chain of command. I also said something about it on my customer service survey. I hope somebody’s listening, because otherwise they’re going to lose at least one customer.

Posted in Money Matters, Random Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments