Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Man and His Dog

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

A man and his dog go out for a walk on a winter's day. The man follows a hay hauler's tracks through the snow. His dog bounds ahead of him, reveling in the deepest drifts and the scents he uncovers beneath them. He turns to the man.

"I smell rabbits! Let's chase rabbits!
"I'll chase and chase and chase the rabbit and then you shoot it, okay? Okay?"

The man doesn't hear. He's thinking about his cows and the price he got. Should he have held out in hopes of an upturn? He's thinking about his city job and its wages. Should he look for something better? At this age, would anyone else hire him?

The man turns down the section road toward town. In a few moments the dog emerges from a fallow field, shakes the clumps of snow from his coat, and runs after the man.

"Hey! Going to town, eh?
"Maybe we'll see some people. We can jump on them and lick their faces!"

Continued at... A Man and His Dog

Rural Delivery
Outrider Reading Group
Artwork: Walking the Dog in a Winter Landscape

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Winter's Sleep

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

These are the longest nights. From now until mid-January the sun will set before most of us are done with the day's work. We'll be coming home in darkness and leaving the house again before dawn. Some folks never see their home in daylight this time of year except on weekends.
This is a time of torpor, when many mammals take to their burrows for hibernation. Colder weather and shorter days signal biological changes in the Earth's creatures, including man. Holidays alone are not the reason we do more shopping, put on more weight and feel more tired than usual.
Each of us comes with a built-in biological clock that affects virtually every function of our bodies, including sleep. Blood pressure rises and falls, pulse quickens and slows, and glands secrete proteins according to daily -- or Circadian -- rhythms established by this inner timepiece.

Continued at... A Winter's Sleep

Rural Delivery
Second Nature
Outrider Reading Group
Artwork: Winter's Sleep

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Carol's Tale

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

Hardly anyone sings old Christmas classics like "La Bonna Novella" and "Nowell" any more. Both were big European hits in the 16th and 17th centuries. So was the German carol "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" ("Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.")
Like a well-worn pair of boots left on the back porch, old songs lie forgotten until they lose their usefulness. Then they don't seem to fit any occasion.
One Christmas carol defies this musical evolution. It plays as well today as it did in 1818, and to ever larger audiences. Composed in a single day by two amateur musicians, it began its charmed career in Oberndorf, Austria on a Christmas Eve.

Continued at... A Carol's Tale.
Rural Delivery
Holidays and Notable Events
Out of the Past
Artwork: Church Choir Singing

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Mouse in the House

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

Among the most common sounds of autumn in the country, along with rustling leaves and crackling fires, is the scratching and scurrying that can be heard inside walls and rafters of almost every rural dwelling.

These are the sounds of the house mouse, mus musculus, one of the least welcome of guests and most difficult to dissuade. This uninvited visitor will eat, or chew on, almost anything and defecate everywhere. He contaminates food, causes damage to structures and property, and  carries dangerous diseases.

Continued at... A Mouse in the House.

Rural Delivery
Farm Fresh
The Nature Pages
Artwork: House Mouse

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Where Oliver Found His Place

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

Oliver Wendell Douglas finds the Haney Place advertised in The Farm Gazette, which he picks up from a news stand while on a business trip to Chicago. Compelled by a deep-rooted urge, he decides to go have a look. To get there, he changes planes twice, takes a bus from the county seat to Pixley, then hops on a train known as "The Cannonball" for the last leg of his journey. When he gets off in the town of Hooterville, he breaks into song:

Green acres is the place to be,
Farm living is the life for me.

Continued at... Where Oliver Found His Place.

Rural Delivery
See the Movie, Read the Book
Farm Fresh
Artwork: Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Give Eggs a Break

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2000. All rights reserved.

When I was growing up eggs were often called "the perfect food" -- a massive dose of protein packed into a small container with all the essential nutrients for making strong bodies. Everyone endorsed them. We all ate them at almost every meal.

Then some egghead discovered cholesterol and everything got scrambled.

Eggs contain more cholesterol than almost any food source, a whopping 212 milligrams or so per yolk. So when doctors started prescribing less cholesterol in the diet, eggs were the first to go.

That decision may have been a little too hard-boiled.

Continued at... Give Eggs a Break.

Rural Delivery
Kitchen Supply
Farm Kitchen
Artwork: Eggs at a Farmers Market

Monday, March 30, 2015

Passing Clouds

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

"Each day, each hour, clouds reinvent the sky, serene as silk, big as hippos, loud as choo choo trains," writes author John Nichols. "Their Greatest Show on Earth can create a brand new postcard shot faster than I can whistle for help backward."

This time of year the clouds in our sky tend to race across the heavens in thin wisps like sleek airliners, or they come rolling in low and dark and heavy like a freight train. Either way, they seem to be in a great hurry to get somewhere else, or to get away from whatever is coming behind them.

March rushes in as a blustery lion, his mane a changeable mass of water vapors: fog, drizzle, mist and downpour. And, then, just as swiftly as his approach, he slinks back into the jungle across the horizon and the skies clear.

Continued at... Passing Clouds.

Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Out There
Artwork: Passing Clouds by Georgia Inness

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Beware of Bambi

Lions and tigers and deer, oh my!

Danger lurks in our forests and other wild places. Grizzly bears and alligators and mountain lions have been mauling humans for ages, and fear of their claws and jaws bites deep into our consciousness. Somewhere inside, we all remember cave bears.

But while most of us retain a healthy respect for wolves and cougar, the urbanization of humankind has diminished our awareness of vicious raccoons, angry squirrels and the mostly deadly critter of them all -- deer.

Continued at... Beware of Bambi.
by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.

Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Out There
Artwork: Trophy Buck Deer with Big Rack