Tag Archives: Poultry

Real synthetic meat

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Sitting around waiting rooms exposes a person to a lot of reading material he’d proabably never encounter otherwise.  Popular Science magazines are a favorite example for me.  They’ve always been great predictors of how our lives will be in the not-too-distant future.  As John Prine observed, “We’re all driving rocket ships and talking with our minds” here in this future we’re living in.

Anyway, the November, 2013 edition of Popular Science had a series of articles I found fascinating about some folks who are in the final phases of development of synthetic meats to replace those that came off living animals and poultry.  Indistinguishable from the real item.  Columbia University’s one of the places it’s happening, not because of better health, but because of the greenhouse gasses resulting from grazing livestock.

Evidently it’s so far along in getting it going they’re already producing real leather that never rode a cow for use on automobile upholstery, etc.  And they’re doing well with chicken, since almost everything tastes like chicken.

Naturally, if this doesn’t happen now it well be because the cow industry went in at night and destroyed everything they couldn’t buy up and squash.  It won’t be the fault of the lousy record Popular Science has in predicting the future.

Still, it’s nice to think of future generations being able to walk around in the woods without stepping on cow manure if they ever go outside.  And driving along rural highways in the west not having to see a yellow sign with a cow on it to warn there’s a rancher feeding his black cows on the pavement at dusk for the insurance.

Interesting stuff, and it ought to get more interesting.  Human beings ought to get a lot more violent in a world where there was no real meat that needed killing to take the edge off natural inclinations.  And thus far there’s been no mention of where Kosher fits into it all.  Synthetic pork might come from the factory Kosher and Jews and Muslims could start sitting down together to a nice ham instead of shooting one another.

Old Jules

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Chicken Poems

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The C*ckfight post got me thinking it’s time for putting up a few chicken poems.  These are from the Y2k flock, so enough time’s passed to allow me to post them without violating any confidences.  They’re almost surely all dead and gone from the stewpots of history.

El Palenque
El Palenque doesn’t think;
Knows and loves
His only job
And does it;
Perfection without compromise.
Reality
Where owls, hawks
And sly coyotes salivate
Reduced
To lowest common denominator
When the cackling hen
Rises from a fresh-laid egg.

Gallo del Cielo
Gallo del Cielo
Looks at God
Before he dies
Weeps
For eggs
Unlaid
From Araucana
Hens.

Red Tail Hawk

Raptor eye
Picks the kindred soul
Of silky bantam
From the flock

Rosencrantz
(A buff-crested Polish)

False dawn
Full moon
Morning.
Treetop cries
Of Rosencrantz
And Guildenstern
Deceived by
Counterfeit
Light
And sound
Misty memories
Of owl dreams

Old Jules

Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Pore old Brother Rattler

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gale had a hip replaced recently, and he’s doing the recovery routines. Called me a few days ago asking me to search around in one of the storage buildings for a wheel chair and walkers stored in there somewhere. I used to store chicken feed in there and hadn’t looked inside much after I got rid of the flock.

So I opened the door and began clearing away all manner of things before the first rattler announced himself, followed by another somewhere on the other side of the path I was creating. I moved something else and a third, maybe a fourth kicked in to the orchestra.

I tippee-toed around and carefully got the wheel chair and walkers out without anything attaching itself to my leg, called him to let him know it’s all down here where it can be picked up. We discussed the plethora of rattlers, how to get them out of there. And whether I actually wanted to get them out of there before I’m ready to hit the pavement.

On reflection, I like them a good bit better in there than outdoors where they can get underfoot. My thought is I’ll leave them to themselves for a while if they’re happy there. When the time comes he can run them out with mothballs or ammonia. He’s thinking he’d like to try forcing them out the hole they came in and have people standing around to shoot them as they emerge. Which I want no part of. I mostly have no argument with pore old Brother Rattler. If he’ll leave me along I’m content leaving him alone, tending his own affairs.

However, half-hour ago I was inside the RV when Niaid announced she’d come on prey, or caught something. I looked out the screen door and watched her leap on something in the weeds. Quicker than I can tell it she had a 3 foot rattler in her mouth dragging it toward the RV, meowing out the sides of her mouth as she came.

Brother Rattler was still trying to grasp the fact he was dead, his head and neck squashed. Squirming and wiggling between her forelegs as she brought him to show off.

I’m keeping a close eye on her. No way of telling yet whether she was bitten, but she seems okay. Not favoring any body parts.

Life in the big city, I reckons.

Old Jules

Picking your symbolism: The biggest food bird, or the biggest predator?

hero patriot2

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Hydrox, Niaid and I were out in the RV a little while ago, two of we three scurrying for new places to hide every time a new dash of thunder rolled across the landscape, rain pelting the roof and some edifying lightning to season it all.

Finally the drama ended, but the rain continued a while and the cats decided the world wouldn’t end.  I sat there gazing across the meadow, opened a side window to let the odor of fresh rain inside.  Something big moved around the other RV ……. six wild turkeys grazing on apple cores I’d thrown out the window.  Occasionally letting out enough turkey noise to scare the bejesus out of the cats and have them scurrying for cover.

Watching those turkeys got me thinking about how they were runners-up to become the National Bird, once.  This is no BS.

Time was when most of the people in this country were acutely aware they had relatives, distant cousins somewhere, still laboring for nothing, starving to death, fighting wars and living under the iron heel of aristocrats.  Aristocrats who had histories as far back as anyone could remember of using the biggest predatory bird anyone could think of as a symbol of what aggressive sons-of-bitches they were.

Eagles.  Imperial eagles.  Regal Eagles.  Birds that didn’t do a damned thing but come down out of the sky and kill anything they could catch.  Birds nobody anywhere ever ate.

So a lot of people in this new land thought they’d donealready had everything they wanted to do with eagles and starving, and having heavy heels on their necks by a bunch of damned aristocrats.  They figured if they were going to pick a bird to symbolize the way of life they wanted, a the biggest bird people could make a meal of would be a good symbol.

A symbol of common people with full bellies for a change.  A symbol of people being able to go out into the woods and get a wild meal without some aristocrat telling them that deer, or turkey, or rabbit belonged to them, the aristorcrat, and common people would do better to starve than get caught eating one.

Well, friends and neighbors, we donealready had an aristocracy putting itself together, deciding whether we wanted to be represented by the biggest predatory bird with a complete history of aggression, repression and exploitation.  They knew whether they wanted to be represented by a turkey, or a Regal Eagle.

You can look around you and see which one they picked.  And you can consider the 50 tons of laws they’ve made since they adopted that eagle for their symbol, the several tons they’ll pass this year, and know why they picked it.  50 tons of laws telling you what you can’t do, a few tons more this year.

But you have the satisfaction of knowing you have a proud bird for a national symbol.  Not some damned turkey you could make a meal of in a pinch if there weren’t a law against it.

Old Jules

Silky Rooster’s Been Raptured Out

I told you that silky rooster was intelligent, but I thought he’d outsmarted himself by getting loose and left behind here.  All those hens he came up with as a chick, the surviving rooster.  Kay’s hens and rooster.  All now joined with a free ranging flock somewhere else.

And he was sorely depressed being alone here.

But he must have known faith would see him through.  A lady down the road with 17 hens and no roosters emailed me after I listed him on Kerrville FreeCycle.  We arranged to meet yesterday at a pullover midway between her and me.

“What a beautiful rooster!”  He preened.

What’s his name?”

I’ve never given him a name.”  She scowled and stroked him.

I always name my chickens.”  Attractive pucker.

To which Mr. NoName Silky replied, “I’ve been to the wild wood, mither.  Mak my bed soon.”

All’s well that ends well.

Old Jules

Trot-lining for Skunks

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.  I appreciate you.

We’ve been blessed with some moisture the past couple of days and the ground’s soft enough I might be obliged to cancel my trip to Kerrville for groceries and cat food.  Not at all sure that car will make it up the hill until things dry enough to give the tires some purchase.

When I went out to turn the chickens loose this morning I found I’d offended a skunk who’d been trying to take advantage of things by digging under the wall of the chicken-house several places.  Because it happens occasionally, and a skunk, or coon will kill every chicken it can corner, I’d laid out chains along the bottoms of the walls with treble-hooks attached.  Evidently this was a new skunk, or [if an old one] it had forgotten the last time it tried this.

Underneath that wall is limestone, most places, but there are a few places were a determined predator could get underneath if it got past the treble-hooks.  This one didn’t.  Left a tuft of hair, a bit of paw-hide and a stink enough to have the chickens overly anxious to get the hell out of Dodge in a hurry. 

Maybe some things are worse than having your life saved.

Incidently, all that erosion control stuff I was doing for a while’s performing a lot better than I expected.  Lots of that cedar’s now buried in silt.  This place must have been losing tons of soil every time it rained for longer than anyone alive has any business remembering.

Damned cattle were eating their seed corn without a thought.  Same as the rest of us.

Old Jules