Saturday, December 4, 2010

Animal Rights

Well, I've been gone for a long time, swept up in Brian May's Save Me campaign, and also swept up into the animal rights movement. I've come to a point where I need to reset my course, after feeling emotionally beat-up over things that are overwhelmingly beyond my control. I live in mid-America. Farm country. Among farmers and hunters and people who came from that background. Animal rights is not a popular topic. There is a big disconnect between "pet" animals and "food" animals. I won't belabor the topic.

I tried being vegan, and have decided after several months that, living with a man who has no intention of giving up meat, much less eggs, cheese and the like, is self abusive to someone who doesn't particularly wish to spend lots of extra time and effort on cooking, which takes away from art project time. It also creates a lot of other difficulties that have just gotten me down. I'm not happy giving up, but unable to continue.

Anyway, I'm back to reconnect with bioregional animism and art. The Sacred Web of Life, which encompasses respect for the living earth and all it's creatures. I still support animals in this context, but not exclusively. I think a time will come when it is no longer feasible to spend so much in resources to keep using animal products, but it will not come easily or soon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Part of the solution or part of the problem?

A couple of months ago I joined Facebook, following Brian May there from his Soapbox website to join his Save Me campaign to keep blood sports from being re legalized in Britain. Being a Queen fan, it was a double allegiance. It was like suddenly being catapulted forward at warp speed. I have loved and hated it. Brian closed Save Me, Facebook down last Wednesday because the politics surrounding animal welfare and animal rights in the way of trolls at the site and personal attacks upon himself by the British press had gotten so vicious as to compromise the whole objective of the campaign. It looks like the Save Me website will be rebuilt to serve the campaign in a similar fashion.

I am greatly relieved, actually, because between working on a project and keeping up with Save Me, nothing else was getting done. My house looks like bikers have been partying in here for the last month or two. Don't get me wrong - it has not been a waste of time. I met a great many similar minded people, and a nucleus of us watched some of the most wretched footage of what is wrong with this world's treatment of animals that you could ever imagine, and we all cried together, online, at the horrific abuse of living creatures that takes place daily in this world and wondered how it has come to this. How can the human race be so cruel and unfeeling?

Every day left me emotionally strung out. But I think what bothers me most of all is that being involved in something like this is like beating your head on a wall. It isn't just the trolls that show up to tell you to go live in the "real world" (and much worse!), but the thought that most people do not even consider the exploitation and treatment of animals to be a problem. It is just business as usual. Some genuinely don't know. Some know, but don't want to think about, or don't want their boat rocked. Some don't see a problem - after all these are food animals. That was what I was told when I objected to the horror of unwanted baby male chicks being ground up alive at commercial hatcheries, supplying the commercial egg producers with hen chicks. The worst part of this is that maybe those male chicks are the lucky ones, when you consider what happens to the hens that go on to be raised in crowded dirty conditions, and stuffed into little cages as layers so that they never have a life and must stand on wire cage bottoms for what time they have, then being rewarded with a gruesome death of some sort.

You get to a point where more than anything you don't want to be part of the problem yourself, because you really can't control any more of it than that. Go vegetarian? Well I probably could because I don't care that much about meat, though even I wouldn't want to be strictly vegetarian, and my husband doesn't want to give up meat at all. The only conclusion I can come to is to only buy from ethical producers, which pretty much rules out the big commercial outfits. So that is to shop at the local food coop, which I would love to do, but it will mean spending a lot more on food, and/or spending probably more time preparing food, which cuts into my time for other things, including artwork.

Oh it isn't just meat, it is the whole giant system of corporate agriculture, the big chain stores that have driven our local store owners out of business, or they just scrape by on the periphery by having items that the chains don't carry. The cheap chain goods have caused our jobs to be shipped out of the country to keep up, and the money we spend there goes somewhere else too. All of this cheap food and cheap goods are produced by the exploitation of animals everywhere and the people in developing countries, or by exploiting illegal people in this country. How can we feel good about that? How long can it go on like this? I don't want to keep rewarding this system! I want to reward the people who are doing it right. Bring back local businesses and small producers who care about the welfare of their animals and the quality of their products. Who don't produce the toxic meat and nutritionally barren crops resulting from accepted modern chemical farming practices. Who see a partnership with animals to produce things like eggs and milk, instead of just a power relationship and the bottom line.

Native Americans lived here in the "New World" for 10,000 years without destroying the integrity of the natural world. Western civilization has made a shambles of most of it in 500 years. There is something inherently wrong with the attitude of western civilization, and it is the fact that we assumed we were awarded dominion over the earth, and when the ties with the natural world were eventually broken then it just became a place to exploit for the benefit of humans. Now it is estimated that if the whole world's population is to live to the standards of western civilization, it would take two more planet earths to support us - and for how long?!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The little things creep out...........

As the weather warms we begin having more guests in this old farmhouse. The black ants have shown up to patrol Tinker's cage bottom and the floor underneath. They are polite enough not to get up into his food dishes. They used to bother me but now I just accept them as part of the warm-weather ecosystem here along with these really long-geared, spindly-legged spiders, click beetles and the occasional wolf spider. Later there will be crickets hiking around and the occasional daddy longlegs that gets in, as well as other miscellaneous visitors.

I find the black ants and the daddy longlegs to be very entertaining, going helter-skelter when they are disturbed as they are going about their business. They are sort of my comedy relief around here sometimes. The daddy longlegs are especially goofy-looking. Later I will enjoy the crickets singing until cold weather silences them in the fall. I have been known to bring in some of the last of them so to hear their cheerful songs for just a little bit longer.

Then there will be the lady bugs. I'm told they are not REAL lady bugs but a close relative brought in from Asia to go after aphids on soy beans, but as far as I am concerned, if it looks like a lady bug, trundles along like a lady bug, and smells like a lady bug, then................Lady bug hell is for one to climb up to the top of a cup and to go endlessly in circles around the rim as if stuck in that mode and unable to stop.

These "guests" and others are just part of my community. I can't be rid of them, as I won't have poisons sprayed around, so I have come to appreciate them. Even the tiniest creature possesses life from the Creator, which is something that humans cannot replace once extinguished, which is a pretty big thing. Some may have arrogantly defined humans as being created in God's image, but that's about as far as it goes - wishful thinking. When I look outside at the lush spring growth of myriads of plants tumbling out of the ground, old friend trees putting out their leaves again for a new year, and all of the summer birds coming back to the feeders and then off about their business, and chipmunks out and about and so on, then I know I am seeing the face of the Creator.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Inexcusable Atrocity in Pennsylvania

After talking with someone about Brian May's Save Me campaign to defeat the return of hunting foxes and other wildlife with dogs in the UK, I got to wondering about another barbaric "sport" that some had been trying to revive a few years ago in the USA.

If you have heard of trap shooting at clay pigeons, then you should know that it evolved from the barbaric "sport" of shooting at live pigeons who were in traps on the ground, that would be sprung open, releasing the birds to be shot at as they flew away. Upon googling this I found that there is one state that actually allows this atrocity to be practiced, and it is Pennsylvania. Apparently many of the people of PA have tried to get this outlawed, but the NRA (National Rifle Association) has stepped in to undermine their efforts by supporting those who wish to keep live pigeon shoots on the menu.

SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) has released a video showing just what a live pigeon shoot looks like, but be warned, it almost made me throw up:

It is hard to decide which is more abhorrent, the poor birds, (many of whom have been raised inside like chickens and have never even flown) who are sprung out of the traps, where many are shot as they stand, bewildered, or the children whom the organizers employ to pick up these birds, many of whom are still flopping around, wounded. The kids jump on them, beat them, or pull their heads off to kill them, or sometimes just carry them back and throw them in a barrel where they die slowly. It is obvious by the way they handle the birds that they don't even see them as living creatures with feelings.

What are these people thinking? Are they apes who have not yet come down from their trees?What is this disgusting spectacle teaching these kids?

If you care enough to get involved, or at least to send an email to Governor Rendell, go to:

It is just unbelievable that this is allowed to go on.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Save Me Campaign in the UK

Anytime a person wants to put himself out there on behalf of the natural world, well, my hat's off to him. That is what Brian May has committed himself to doing in the UK. He has launched a campaign to keep people out of office who will likely reinstitute hunting foxes with dogs. If you are in the UK, join him at:

He has also been trying to find a way of preventing the killing off of badgers in Wales due to the spread of bovine TB. If you would like to follow this then check in at:

Monday, April 12, 2010


I began this blog to share some thoughts with anyone out there who might also be on the same journey, but it became obvious that sharing my art had to be a part of this because I am enchanted by these gifts that I collect from the natural world. I have been investigating different ways to also sell some of the pieces. I thought I had found one, but as I have been trying to familiarize myself with the way it works, I realize that it just doesn't feel right. There just seems to be too much hoopla attached to it all for me to feel comfortable with the process. Nor do I want to become involved with something that ends up consuming so much time and attention that it cuts into my creative time.

So at least for the time being, if anyone who might come here would be interested in acquiring any of these pieces of transformed twigs and tendrils, with even the occasional incorporation of some of my father's collection of odds and ends of clock gears and the like, then please contact me here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Worm Art

I just went for a walk around part of the woods, and upon crossing a ravine I came to smallish dead elm tree fallen across the path. Most of the bark had sloughed off, revealing a treasure trove of worm art. This is one of my favorite things, and I will be sure to go back and haul it up. I haven't seen such fresh, fine examples in a long time. There is someting fascinating about the designs they leave behind as the larvae of these bark beetles branch out.