Saturday, April 30, 2011

Questions...


What happens when you lose faith in your government? What happens when you start asking questions, and the answers you receive stun you to your very core? What happens when you realize that the People haven’t been running the show, but it’s Big Money and Big Corporations which are in charge, and have been for a long, long time? What happens when you realize that those elected officials you thought were there to serve the People are, instead, pawns for a powerful force which does not care about citizens or their rights, but only cares what those citizens can do to help advance their cause and add to their wealth?

What do you do?

Do you ignore the truth, and go about your business? Do you assume that the revelation, while disturbing, won’t affect you? Or do you hope that someone else will take charge, and step up to the plate to correct the problem? Someone more qualified than you, or who isn’t as busy? Do you feel a twinge of dismay, or sadness or hopelessness, but think to yourself, “Well, there’s nothing I can do about it!”? Do you flounder at the immensity of the problem, convinced that your one voice will be ineffective, thereby persuading yourself to remain silent?

Or do you start to speak out? Do you talk to your neighbors and family members? Do you read and research and investigate so that you are as informed as possible, and then take that knowledge that you’ve acquired and try to educate the public?

And if you do take a stand, for how long will you hold your ground? Will you remain constant if your livelihood is threatened? If your reputation is damaged? Will you stay in the game once you find out that you have been “profiled”—your movements tracked, your “tone” evaluated? Will it disturb you when you are approached by strangers from these corporations who seem to know you intimately?

Will you speak out as often and as publicly as possible when you know you are angering the opposition? Will you be intimidated when you testify before Legislative Committees and discover that the corporate lobby has paid dozens of people to come to oppose you and your position? Will you lose hope when you discover that some of the very people you depend on to help you have been paid off, or have personal and financial interests which create obstacles to their ability or willingness to help?

What will you do when well-meaning insiders sympathetically caution you to “give up”? When they tell you that you don’t stand a chance, and that the entities you are opposing are too well-entrenched and powerful to ever be disrupted by someone as inconsequential as you? How will you act or respond when people who’ve promised to support your cause suddenly back off? When you find out they’ve accepted money in exchange for dropping their opposition, or that they’ve been indirectly threatened in some way?

How far will you go? How long can you hold out? Is the battle worth the sacrifice?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

I have.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes... but if that's what it takes...


Derek Small, Executive Director of the Granite State Zoo (GSZ), a nonprofit conservation-education organization, is bringing some of the Zoo's Animals to Kingfield!

GSZ's animals and Educators have appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Fox-25 (Boston), as well as delivering over 1700 educational outreach presentations per year across Northern New England, while also working to build a new public Zoo in Southern NH!

In 2008 they were also a part of the Animal Planet Expo Tour, and today have their own "Wildlife Encounters" TV Show that airs in communities across the area. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

This is a hands-on show & educational opportunity & everyone is welcome.
Showtime is at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 23
WEBSTER HALL, School St., Kingfield.
Children under 12- $5.00 Adults-$7.50, Families (4 or more)-$20.00

Proceeds to benefit the Friends of the Highland Mountains



WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU THERE!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Open for Business... but NOT For Sale!


Well, it is official. The State of Maine has re-established its credibility and integrity to the People of Maine. Wow, does that feel good!

As you know, I’ve recently expressed grave concerns about the ‘offer’ levied in the permit application of Highland Wind LLC (the limited liability corporation owned by former governor Angus King and Rob Gardiner) to Maine’s Department of Conservation. Highland Wind LLC is asking permission to construct a 39 turbine grid-scale wind energy facility atop the mountains of rural Highland Plantation. Under the ‘tangible benefits’ section of that application, the owners of Highland Wind LLC made this offer to the Agency which would be determining the fate of their multi-million dollar project:

“For the Maine Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands: Highland Wind will provide $1,040,000 to the Maine Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL)over a twenty year period, as a “donation for land or natural resource conservation” pursuant to 35-A MRSA §3451 (1-C) (C). This land or natural resource conservation will be comprised of two Elements:…”

http://www.maine.gov/doc/lurc/projects/Windpower/HighlandWind/Highland_DP4862.shtml

In layman’s terms, Highland Wind LLC was offering a bribe to the very Agency which will be deciding the fate of their development. That was unacceptable. At best—it created a conflict of interest. At worst… it was a blatant bribe. So you can imagine the delight I felt when the following “Agency Comment” was published on LURC’s website today:

“BPL (Bureau of Parks and Lands) declines to accept this proposal. The Bureau’s current policy is to remain neutral in these proceedings, and acceptance of such benefits is viewed as a conflict of interest…”

Acceptance of such benefits is viewed as a conflict of interest….Oh, yeah.

You can’t blame me for smiling when I read that, can you? I hope not. For, you see, concerned citizens have been trying to engage our State Agencies in this ‘wind’ issue for years, and we’d almost given up hope of receiving anything other than politically correct answers which circumvented the real issues. But here, finally, we have proof that a State Agency recognized when it was being put into a compromising situation.


I don’t know about others, but my faith is slowly being restored. Last week the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife submitted comments detailing exactly how the Highland project would pose a significant threat to several threatened and endangered species. And today, the Department of Conservation made it clear that it would not be a party to extortion.

Maine may be “Open For Business” but it is not “For Sale”.

Yep. There’s hope for us, yet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

David vs. Goliath, and a Mayfly vs. a King


On April 13, 2011, Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission posted ‘Agency Review’ comments to the Highland Wind LLC permit page of their website. These comments are solicited from different state agencies which may have opinions on--or knowledge about--the potential impacts of a development such as the industrial wind project proposed for Highland Plantation’s mountains.

What I read from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife caused a wide grin. An ease of pressure in my chest. A lightening of my heart. For the first time in a year and a half, a Maine State Agency had actually given me a ray of hope. Not just hope that the Highland project could be defeated, but some optimism that perhaps the people and the natural resources of Maine will not continue to be sold down the river.

These comments show beyond any reasonable doubt that Angus King’s and Rob Gardiner’s proposed development is not suited for Highland’s mountains. That if built, the turbine facility will cause grave—if not irreparable—harm to the wildlife, ecosystems and environment of the region… harm which may very well have a cumulative effect on species in other parts of our state. The concerns addressed in the IFW’s comments are just a few of the many which we have been speaking about ever since the development proposal was first made. Finally, a state agency has acknowledged that we were right.

Below are a few of the highlights from the report.

“Northern Bog Lemming. We have significant concerns that the proposed development will have undue adverse impacts to this series of wetlands along Witham Mountain and believe that maintaining the integrity of this complex is critical to the local population of this Threatened species.”

“Roaring Brook Mayfly (State-Endangered) and Spring Salamander (State Special Concern)… The magnitude of project area within occupied stream habitat is of great concern and poses a high potential for undue impact to both species.”

Bats: “MDIFW is greatly concerned that this proposed project poses a significant long-term mortality risk to both resident and migrant bats.”

“Nocturnal Migrants and Diurnal Raptors: The passage rates of nocturnal migrants and diurnal raptors through the project area are among the highest reported for projects in Maine…The proposed Highland Wind Project has some of the highest recorded passage rates through the rotor-swept zone, and is among the highest passage rates (targets/km/hour) of any project reviewed by MDIFW…Absent a commitment by the applicant for significant operational mitigations (e.g., seasonal curtailment of turbines during migration periods), there are no plausible strategies to mitigate risks to migrating birds at this time.”

Vernal Pools: “MDIFW contends that the applicant has not yet provided enough information demonstrating that impacts to SVPs (Significant Vernal Pools) cannot be avoided entirely.”

Conclusion: “We conclude that the collective wildlife concerns detailed above demonstrate that this is not an appropriate locality for an intensive wind energy installation such as that currently proposed by Highland Wind Power.”

So, there we have it. A State Agency has determined that the Highland wind project poses a serious risk to Maine’s wildlife and the habitat which supports it. Will this be enough? Will our former governor care more about the state he once shepherded, than he does about building his industrial wind development? Will this cause him to withdraw his permit, when nothing else has? Once upon a time, I would have thought, ‘yes’. Once upon a time I was na├»ve and trusting, and I didn’t fathom the deep-seated desire to make money, no matter what the costs to neighbors, natural resources, or a way of life.

But now, I’m not so sure. Now, I’m cynical. I seem to look for the negative in everything positive. Now, I am picturing other scenarios… none of which bode well for the inhabitants of this region.

I think about the millions of dollars Mr. King is quoted as having spent on compiling his application, and I wonder if he and Mr. Gardiner can turn back. Are they willing to let it go, or are they thinking that—since they’re already in for a penny, they may as well be in for a pound, and they should fight this to the bitter end on the off-chance that they’ll be successful? That their investment will secure those great rewards they’ve been seeking?

If that is what they decide, what will happen next? Will the owners of Highland Wind LLC attempt to offer ‘mitigation’ to the IFW, in the hopes that the department will take their money and drop their opposition to the project? As pertains to these wind developments, ‘mitigation’ is an act where a wind developer offers to protect the flora and fauna in another area of the state by establishing (or enabling the establishment of) a conservation easement, in exchange for being allowed to endanger or decimate the flora and fauna in the location of the proposed development. While the state of Maine has made mitigation an acceptable practice, that doesn’t make it a good one. It’s an ‘I’ll kill a baby here-- but build an orphanage there’ way of doing business which I believe is wrong.

There are still many questions which need to be answered. LURC deemed Highland Wind LLC’s permit application ‘complete’, so intervenors must move ahead within the compressed time mandated by the expedited permitting law and do our best to make our cases. But, while considered ‘complete’ by LURC, there are still many unanswered questions about the application which make it difficult for those who oppose the project to defend our positions.

The applicant was not required to supply the model, make and size of the turbines. That fact puts us at an unfair disadvantage when we must argue the case about sound and how it will affect those living within two miles of the project.

The applicant was not required to prove title, right or interest to all portions of the transmission path from the project to Wyman Station. We know for a fact that Highland Wind LLC does not have all those required deeds, easement and permits, but still… they were allowed to move ahead.

The applicant was not required to prove they have the financial capacity to build their project, either. Instead, they were allowed to submit vague letters of qualified support from financial institutions-- letters which clearly stated that they were not loan guarantees.

And what about the ‘tangible benefits’ section of the application? Will the Department of Conservation (the same department which LURC—the agency deciding whether or not to grant the permit—falls under the jurisdiction of) accept the $750,000.00+ that Mr. King and Mr. Gardiner are offering? If not, who WILL be the next beneficiary of their largesse? Where will the money have the most effect? Will it be offered to the residents of Highland Plantation? The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife? The Arnold Expedition Historical Society?

In a perfect world, these questions wouldn’t need to be asked. But I’ve come to realize that this world is far from perfect, and that money often rules the day.

But… not today. Today, the People are going to be victorious. If my instincts are right, a critical region of this state will be preserved. And that will be, in part, due to the meticulous and admirable work of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

As a woman whose father retired from that Department, I’m feeling very proud.


********
Photo of turbine blades and nacelle taken in Freedom, Maine-- Beaver Ridge Wind Development

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Lunar Module (i.e. A Post About the Moon...)


The moon is waxing, and will be full on Monday, the 18th. Patriot’s Day. The day of the Boston Marathon. The day Eli and his class head to Washington D.C. for a week. Oooh!

Some give no credence to the moon’s affect on humans. Many scientific studies have been done over the decades, and there appears to be no empirical evidence to prove that there are more accidents, suicides, births or violent crimes at full moon. Instead, conventional wisdom says that we have been conditioned to believe such things occur with more frequency during that time in the lunar cycle. That due to folklore, and our culture’s fascination with movies with werewolves or themes of bewitching, or even due to anecdotal accounts, we simply look for the unusual at this time, where we normally wouldn’t give such things a second glance.

I’ve always believed that the moon had some pull. (Sorry, you know how I love a good pun. Or even a pun like that!) Without a calendar at my disposal and even during a week of overcast skies, I can tell when full moon is approaching. Call me daffy, but you can’t change my mind. I’ll bet there are a lot of emergency personnel out there who agree with me. Ambulance services and hospital emergency rooms are busier, and the medical problems are different than at other times of the month, too. More accidents, more violence. Dispatch and police details are right out straight. And new moon is almost as bad.

One friend told me that I acted like a ‘lunatic’ at full moon because all my ‘juices were pulled to one side’. I snorted and called him an idiot… after I said “What do you mean, I act like a lunatic?” I gave it some thought, though, and found this:

An unscientific work by Arnold L. Lieber entitled How the Moon Affects You introduces the author's "biological tides theory" which explains that the lunar cycles which cause tides in the ocean also cause them in the human body, since the human body is almost 80% water.

However plausible that sounds, scientists have debunked that theory, stating that the moon’s effect is on unenclosed, uncontained water, only--and that in reality, the draw of the moon alone is negligible. That it is due to the alignment of the more powerful sun with the moon that the tides are affected like they are. They claim we individuals are too small to be influenced.

Hmmmph!

Scientifically proven or not, I’m in tune with my own senses. I feel differently at full moon. I’m more tense. Less patient. More excitable. I feel more alive, more sexual. My senses are heightened, and my trigger is ‘hair’.

I’m not totally dippy. Evidence shows that herbivores (that’d be cows and such) and humans ovulate around the full moon. The height of the deer rutting season occurs around two full moons. Coral mates at the full moon. (How in the world do coral mate? Is that where the term ‘getting your rocks off’ comes from? Um… Sorry.) Migratory birds appear to follow the patterns of the moon for timing and finding their path of migration. Game birds (that’d be partridges and such) tend to return to certain locations at the time of the Hunter's Moon. Bears (omnivores), caribou (herbivores), and salmon(ah… fish!) move at the full moon. Even oysters (I want to say these are bicuspids, but that doesn’t sound quite right…) are sensitive to the cycle of the moon and not simply the movement of the tide.

And vets and dog trainers note that animals are more restless and unruly during a full moon.

Nope, I’m not completely daffy or dippy. What’s good enough for coral is good enough for me. And chances are good…no coral has ever watched An American Werewolf in London.

So, if I ever seem to be a bit of a lunatic, a little hyper or over-sensitive, please lay it to the Man in the Moon. He does it to me every time.

And that, my friends, reminded me of one of my favorite Conway Twitty songs. In closing--and just because I love the moon--here’s a bit of it, if I remember correctly:

“I talked to the Man in the Moon. I said, ‘Sir, is she coming back soon?’ He smiled and he stated, ‘Son, I’m over-rated. I get too much credit in those old love tunes. I don’t know a thing about love. I just kinda hang here, above. I just watch from the sky. Will love grow, will it die? I don’t know a thing about love.

“You know I can move oceans, when I take the notion… or make mountains tremble, or rivers run dry. But in all matters human, remember there’s Someone in charge of those things, way above you and I. I don’t know a thing about love. I just kinda hang here above. I just watch from the sky. Will love grow, will it die? I don’t know a thing about love.’ ”

A 'Luney' Tune, huh? :o)


*********************
Top photo: Moon setting behind Mt. Abram, taken from my bedroom window.
2nd photo: Ali g's full moon, NSW, Australia
3rd photo: Dozy's full moon, NSW, Australia
4th photo: Waxing (4 days from full) moon behind grey birch in my field.
5th photo: 1st quarter moon at the Hill Place in Elliotsville Twp., July 2010 while Larry (from QLD, Australia) was visiting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Frivolous Lawsuits-- A Contest.


Even though I take full responsibility for the subject matter and tone on Grumbles and Grins, there are times when others influence the content of my blog. My family, friends and neighbors all play a role in my life… and my life is what inspires the content of this online journal.

After a recent post (“Testosterone-Smelling Ears”) one of my Australian friends wrote to me with a suggestion. He proposed that I start a new contest. He thought it would be fun to have readers write in with their best and brightest ideas for bringing a frivolous lawsuit, based on something stupid that they had done. Let’s face it… we’ve all done stupid things. Some of us even make a bit of a career out of it!

His idea sounded good to me.

At his suggestion, however, I am expanding the contest. In my next “Observations from The F.A.R.M.” column in The Irregular, I am going to invite the newspaper readers to join in the fun. Hopefully, they won’t be too shy to play along. I’ll invite them to come to GAG and submit their entries here on the blog, so that you can all enjoy their ‘bonehead moments’, too.

Since there is a bit of ‘lag time’ between when I write my column and when it appears in the newspaper, I’ll keep the contest open for awhile. I’ve already submitted articles in advance, so I believe the contest won’t get mentioned until I write the column for the April 27th issue. Therefore, I’ll let the contest run until May 11th, my mother’s birthday.

Since this is maple syrup season, I’ll award the winner a quart of maple syrup made right here in Lexington which, at today’s prices, is worth almost $20.00. I’ll also throw in an autographed copy of Grumble Bluff. If you’ve already got one, maybe you can think of someone who’d like my novel as a gift.

In addition, I’ll take my top three favorites and publish them in the Irregular, in a subsequent column (with or without the winners' names-- your choice!) I think I’ll ask an author friend of mine to do the judging this time, so that—if we have a repeat winner—it won’t seem as if I’m playing favorites.

How does that sound? I hope it sounds like fun, and that you will enter. Just think of something dumb you’ve done (or something a member of your family has done) which would be a prime example of what might make a frivolous lawsuit, and tell me all about it!

Chances are, though… that lawsuit’s already been 'tried'.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Profiled...


What a gorgeous spring day! Oh, how I wish I’d been able to get outside and enjoy it!

Actually, I did enjoy it. Parts of it, anyway. I attended a LURC pre-conference hearing for the Highland Wind project, which was held this morning at the Maine Forestry Service building in Augusta. That wasn’t the part of the day I got pleasure from, but it was a good meeting to ‘get behind us’, nonetheless. Within a few days the Friends of the Highland Mountains and other interested parties and intervenors will know the schedule of events as they pertain to our most pressing project in the Plantation of Highland.

The part of the day which added additional sunlight to an already dazzling and warm Thursday came before and after the meeting.

I took Josie-Earl with me.

I’d requested that she be allowed an ‘excused absence’ from school, so that she could attend the meeting, too. I believe such things are ‘educational’ and warrant an occasional absence from the classroom. I want my children to be young people who are active and ‘aware’. I want them to be concerned about what goes on around them, and I’d like to see them participate in the shaping of their own futures. I’ve always been of the opinion that a person has no right to complain unless they are willing to take the time (and put forth the effort ) to get involved in changing that which troubles them.

Since I’ve been devoting so much of my free time to ‘wind’, I’ve missed out on a lot of the ‘one-on-one’ time I used to have with my family. So I decided that combining an educational experience with an afternoon of ‘girlie’ shopping was in order.

As often as Josie and I clash, that doesn’t change the fact that she is a delightful young woman. I enjoy spending time with her. She’s funny, articulate, and engaging. I loved spending the day with my daughter.

When it comes to my three kids, I am so very lucky.

After a ten hour day ‘on the road’, I returned home to find forty-one emails waiting for me. I changed into my ‘grubs’ (running pants and a baggy sweatshirt--typical garb for this country girl) and sat down to deal with those many notes. The first one I opened was from a friend in Massachusetts who is also involved in the effort to stop needless and expensive industrial wind sprawl on our mountains. She told me that she’d been searching for something online, and ran across a website called ‘Carbon Capture Report’.


And on this site, she discovered that I have been ‘profiled’.

Profiled. Like I’m an ‘enemy of the state’, or something.

In all honesty, I haven’t had time to read the whole thing. I opened the link, scanned it quickly, and minimized it to the bottom of my screen. It is held ‘in reserve’ for later, in case I get caught up on my work and can devote a few minutes to reading what is there.

All I know is this: The corporate wind lobby is a powerful entity. It has sufficient resources to devote to foolish endeavors such as tracking the activities of a woman from the western mountains of Maine—those same mountains which the wind industry currently covets. Corporations like Independence Wind, First Wind, Maine Wind, Iberdrola Renewables, Patriot Renewables, Eolian Energy…these corporations stand to make millions in tax-payer subsidies if they can build their projects on Maine’s iconic ridgelines.


I also know that the corporate wind lobby is worried. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t waste their time in this manner.

And…I believe that the corporate wind lobby is dirty.

That being said--I also believe they are uninformed. Behind the ball. Wrong. I am far more active in this effort than their statistics show me as being.


If there are folks from the wind industry who want to know my stance on grid-scale wind developments on Maine’s mountains, they need only call me. My home number is (207) 628-2070. My email address is roomtomove@tds.net. I am an open book, and I will not be intimidated by the very corporations which have infiltrated my state--and my federal--government.

This isn’t solely about industrial wind. Not anymore. It is about right and wrong. It is about corruption. Indoctrination. It involves the fabric of the very foundation in which we Americans believe.

I had a wonderful, happy day with my daughter. Feel free to add that to my stats.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wind, Work, and Winning....


It’s been an interesting few days in the world of wind. (And in case you're wondering... I just like that photo, okay? Hehehe....that what my teenage son looks like when I ask him to fold laundry and there are 'unmentionables' in the basket...)

Sunday saw a large gathering of Mainers at the New Portland Community Library for our regularly scheduled Friends of the Highland Mountains meeting. We had some new attendees, which shows that ‘word’ is getting out about the true impacts these industrial-scale wind projects will have on the surrounding areas.

We ‘tended to business’ and also finalized plans for our latest fund-raising effort, to be held at Webster Hall in Kingfield on April 23rd. We are excited to announce this latest family-friendly event. Derek Small, owner of Granite State Zoo, will be bringing some of his exotic animals for an interactive and educational show. Wow. What a great opportunity for locals who are used to communing with moose, black bears, coons and white-tailed deer! Instead, we’ll be introduced to… well-- things like what you see in the photos below!

This is Medusa. I’ve promised our members that if we raise $750.00 from this event, I’ll drape Medusa around my neck. (If that's against some kind of 'zoo rule', it won't be my fault, right?) And if we raise $1,000.00, I will also hold something large and hairy and tarantula-ish. Those of you who know me, know that I HATE spiders. And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

Since April 24th is Easter, we thought we’d combine this event with a food sale, so that people don’t have to do as much cooking on the holiday. If you’ve a hankering to learn something new, interact with some exotic creatures, and pick up some delicious food for Easter, please join us at one p.m. on Saturday, the 23rd.

On Tuesday, several of us drove through the pouring rain to Augusta to testify in support of a bill sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello: “LD 793-- An Act To Protect Ratepayers While Enhancing Energy Independence and Security.” It is hoped that the members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee will come to the conclusion that Maine should pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the ISO NE, and no longer allow the PUC to commit us to long-term energy contracts.


Today, FHM experienced a victory. We were on LURC’s agenda for the first time since Highland Wind LLC resubmitted their wind development permit. We’d put forward a motion for LURC to review the ‘associated facilities’ under their traditional scenic standards as allowed by law, rather than those less stringent standards which the ‘generating facilities’ must be reviewed under.

Highland Wind had submitted a written objection to our motion. Today their representatives, along with an attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, argued long and hard in an effort to convince the Commissioners to deny our request. Attorney Bill Plouffe, representing the MATC, spoke in support of our motion. After careful consideration, the Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of our request.

In the coming days, I’ll explain in more detail what this means for the Highland Wind project and our opposition. But for now… I’ve got to prepare for the ‘pre-conference hearing’ scheduled for nine a.m. tomorrow morning in Augusta.

One thing I will say: the people who have come together to fight for what they believe is right are a source of inspiration to me. Twenty-five members of FHM drove all the way to Bangor to attend today’s meeting. I sat in the audience and looked around me, and I realized I was surrounded by friends. By goodness. By dedication and integrity.

We’ve already won.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Testosterone-Smelling Ears


Here I go again. I’m up on my sturdy soap box decrying frivolous and fraudulent law suits once more. When are we going to put a stop to what has increasingly become a common-place occurence?

What, you might ask, has raised my hackles this time? Well, I’ll tell you. I read in the newspaper that a man has filed a lawsuit against a couple who own a stallion. It seems the plaintiff saw a horse in a paddock on the side of the road, and he decided it behooved him (punny, I know...) to take some food to this horse. For the record (and I say that with great jurisprudence) this horse did not belong to the plaintiff, and the defendants have stated that they did not give the plaintiff permission to feed their animal.

I’m sure the plaintiff started out with good intentions. Most of us like the feeling of companionship that comes from hand-feeding an animal... it's a “communing with nature” ideal. Maybe the man was a cowboy-wannabe, or perhaps he’d had a favorite pony in his youth and seeing the stallion brought back fond memories. Whatever the reason, the man made a conscious decision to stop and feed this horse.

Unfortunately for him, the decision wasn’t a wise one. You’ve probably heard the expression “bite the hand that feeds you.” Well, the stallion involved in the lawsuit had a different take on that saying. He “bit off part of the ear attached to the head of the man with the hand who fed him.” And apparently, the man took exception to that action.

It is believed that the stallion, being a stallion, was enraged by the man’s scent of testosterone and that’s what caused the animal’s agression. I’m not sure, really, what testosterone smells like. I don’t think I want to know, but our virile and noble stallion most definitely recognized the odor. Personally, I think the plaintiff should count himself lucky that his ear smelled more like testosterone than any of his other appendages did, and walk away from the episode feeling lucky that he got off as lightly as he did. He should humbly take this as “a lesson learned.” There is a reason we mothers are constantly harping at our little boys to “go wash those ears!” We’re trying to protect them from painful lessons in the future.

No matter how hard I try to stay non-political (what?????) I simply have to assert my opinion, here. You all know how I feel about how our court system is misused and abused by people suing others over things they shouldn’t be suing for.


“Try having some personal responsibility!” I inwardly scream.

“Whatever happened to the word ACCIDENT?” I silently protest.

“Get a real job,” I mutter to myself.

I, too, have been injured by a horse. More than one, actually--now that I think about it. When you hang around animals, especially big ones, you’re bound to get hurt. But I’m recalling one time in particular. I was on my friend Patty’s mare, and she was plodding down the Princess Road, back in the days before it was plowed in the winter. In the woods off to one side, a skidder started up, spooking Deagon and causing her to rear. Once she’d dumped her burden in the snow, she high-tailed it for home, which was over the other side of the hill at Deer Farm Camps. My hip and back were injured in the fall, and I can still feel the effects of that spill, thirty years later.



If I’d reacted the way this plaintiff has, I would have sued. Darn tooting! After all, I should have been warned in advance that Deagon was a big animal and that she could respond to unexpected stimuli in unanticipated ways. No doubt about it-- I should have taken those people for everything I could get.

Don’t you think?

No?

Me, neither.

So, yeah... I think the horse-feeding, testosterone-exuding, lawsuit-bringing guy ought to reconsider his actions. I think he should apologize for feeding an animal that didn’t belong to him. He should drop the suit and make amends to the horse’s owners for dragging their names into the public lime-light. He should take responsibility for his own actions, and chalk the incident up as one of life’s unique experiences-- a really good story he can tell his grandkids, one day.

And... I think he should shower regularly, and wear a hat.