Buzz Kill


Notice anything creepy in this photo?


In case you missed it, here it is from another angle:


I have been informed that this is not a Russian spy device, an alien mother ship, or an incubator for anything that will – when it grows up – need an exorcism.

It’s a hornet’s nest. More specifically, I’m pretty sure it is a “Deadly Asian Giant Hornet” nest, and it is on my property, about three feet above the barn door where the horses go in at night.

I did not make the name “Deadly Asian Giant Hornet” up. It is a real thing known by entomologists as Vespa mandarinia, by rural Asians as the “yak-killer,” and by National Geographic as “the hornet from hell.”

When I Googled these things, one title suggested “This Hornet is the Last Thing You’ll See Before you Die.”

CNN reported that last year, these hornets killed forty-one people and injured more than 1,600 people in China. Its venom – which according to one scientists feels like a “hot nail piercing the skin” – leaves a wound the size of a bullet hole that needs stitches and can cause instantaneous airway closures, kidney failure and cardiac arrest.

Deadly Asian Giant Hornets have been spotted in a dozen states here at home, and one of those spottings was in Arlington Heights, a community about 20 miles from my farm.

According to the Arlington Cardinal, “…the insect was at least two inches long and as thick as a human thumb. It had a wide orange-yellow head with large eyes, and distinct yellow-orange and brownish-black bands on its body. The Asian Giant Hornet patrolled around a house in the front yard — occasionally hovering and landing on shrubbery.”

Then it apparently gathered up all of its friends, left Arlington Heights, and found the neon sign in the sky that blinks “EASY PREY” and points straight down to my house.

Everything I’ve read about these things indicates there’s nothing good in my future. They are covered in armor, have piercing black teeth, and will chase, in mass, anything that runs.

They have sentries whose sole purpose in life is to sit at the door of their house and watch for victims.


See those cold, beady, heartless eyes? They’re looking for blondes with flyswatters. They’re watching for cans of Raid. Inside are 1,000-2,000 of their offspring, and no rake, no water hose, no tennis racket or pinata stick is getting anywhere near them.

I thought of calling the fire department, county animal control and CNN, but what are they going to do? Even the Hong Kong police are at a complete loss and tell people to stay as far away from them as possible, so I doubt the local Orken Man can come to my rescue either.

I wonder if my neighbor could just shoot them. I’ve also toyed with the idea digging out the torch blower I tried to burn my garbage with last winter. Or the gas-powered leaf blower.

Has anyone out there every dealt with these things?





Something Worth Sharing

Wish I was an artist. Despite all the angst that probably goes with being one, who wouldn’t want to create something like this in the end?


This is painting called “Cayuse” by Donna Bernstein, and captures what she describes on her web site as movement that is “bigger than what you see.”

And that’s the thing about horses – there’s so much big movement beyond what mere words can describe that they need art – I think – to describe them.

I can blather on for hundreds of pages in a book about what my horses look like, but one image like “Cayuse” captures what they are.

While Donna B’s work focuses on movement, take a look at Mike Becker’s “Contemplation Horse” that zeroes in on expression:

horse painting

Anyone who’s been around horses will recognize this look… I’m hungry, and unless you’re here to feed me, get out of my personal space.

That’s probably not what Mike had in mind, but that’s what I see. And that’s the thing about real art versus writing that I admire so much: it doesn’t dictate anything.

Anyway, I don’t know enough about art to wax poetically on about it. Just wanted to share these pictures.


Where Do Our Carhartts Go When We Die?

carharttOh the things we can do. And how good we can look in our Carhartts while doing them.

That’s the theme behind Crafted in Carhartt where girls who accomplish some amazing things are the feature of this inspirational blog.

I discovered Crafted in Carhartt after they started following this blog last week, and when I clicked the link and stepped into their world, it was like finding a new civilization.

Finally. I’m not alone.

There are others out there who wear water-repellent, wind-resistant, bullet-proof canvas clothes every day, and they’re smart, and they’re successful, and their hair isn’t stained orange from well water.

According to the blog’s About page:

“In today’s media, it’s hard to find the right women to look up to. But look no further, here are the girls we should celebrate… They’re not only making something, they’re making something of themselves.”

They are artists and and engineers and poets. They make wine, wrangle cattle and sculpt pottery. Two girls build dug-out canoes, another binds books, and another drives a pink fork lift.

The site motivated me. The writing gave me courage and the photos gave me hope. Maybe, I thought after devouring the blog, I can be like one of them.

Veterinarians, architects, glass blowers, blacksmiths: all girls who kick ass and look great in their Carhartts while doing it.

Then…I saw a post with the the following title:

“When You Buy Carhartt You Have a Future Vintage Garment on Your Hands”

And my spirit deflated like a hot air balloon in the path of surface-to-air missile.

No one will want my Carhartts left to them in a will.

Don’t get me wrong. My Carhartts serve me well. But they’ve served me so well, they’re now hideous, and when I wear them I look like something covered in road kill hides.

My Carhartts have been gored by goats, ripped by barbed wire and defecated upon by racoons when I left them in the barn overnight.

I have been electrocuted in my Carhartts. I have been attacked by cows in my Carhartts. I have been kicked by a stallion into a muck pile of melting, wet manure in my Carhartts.

When the sheep delivered their lambs in the dead of winter, I was there to catch the afterbirth in my Carhartts. When the same lambs got diarrhea and I spent the night holding them and their diarrhea in my lap, I did so in my Carhartts. When one of the lambs got a fever and I brought him into the house, I let him and his loose bladder sleep on my Carhartts.

On top of all that — on top of the blood and crud and muck and mire — I bought the wrong size.

The overhauls are too long, so the bottom edges are frayed to the ankle, and the coat is too big and gets caught on every nail, pitchfork tong and goat horn in sight.

When I looked at the photos of my new mentors in their Carhartts, they looked clean and sleek and pretty.

I just look… misshapen.

Their Carhartts are seamless and form fitting in all the right places, while mine make me look like a marketing prop for Dr. Seuss.

Here are some pictures of my new mentors in their Carhartts:


And here is a picture of me in mine:


Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.

Since my Carhartts are indestructible, they will be impossible to dispose of when I die.

No one will keep them as an heirloom. No thrift store will take them. They can’t be burned, and I doubt they’d decompose in a landfill, all of which means they’ll be a burden to those I leave behind.

So I’ll have to be buried in them.

And when some archeologist in the future digs me up, he or she will find broken bones and hair stained orange from well water, but the Carhartts will still be intact.

Unfortunately, this means future historians may conclude all of us dressed this way, because none of your clothes bought at the mall can possibly survive the long-term haul.

And that’s OK. My Carhartts are faithful, devoted old friends, and they – out of all of my possessions – deserve a little credit and a decent afterlife.

Oh, yum.

I ran across this recipe while doing a little research on horse slaughter (the Nevada Farm Bureau is suing the Bureau of Land Management because they want the federal agency to round up what’s left of America’s wild horses and send them to slaughter) so… thought I’d share:

Horse Meat & Tripe Stew with Spinach (for the entire recipe, click here for

    • 1 lb horse meat
    • 1/2 tripe (cleaned and washed)
    • 1/2 lb liver
    • 1 beef heart
    • 1 cup spinach
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 21/2 onions
    • kale (fresh, for serving)

Cut the horse meat into serving sized pieces saute until brown. Halfway through frying, add chopped onion, liver, heart, and continue frying. When done, pour 2 cups broth into the pot. Add washed tripe and spinach. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Let simmer for 1 hour. Stew should be thick. Serve over fresh kale.


Now, you might have to go to Canada or Mexico to get the horse meat, but we ship those countries about 150,000 of our unwanted equines for slaughter anyway, so your meat will probably be home grown in the USA. No worries.

That is, as long as you’re not too concerned about the unregulated administration of numerous chemical substances to horses before slaughter, which according to official reports “are known to be dangerous to humans, untested on humans, or specifically prohibited for use in animals raised for human consumption.”


If travel is out of the question, however, you can always buy imported horse meat online.

Check out My Brittle Pony, which is horse meat jerky seasoned with “Guinness, onions, garlic, fresh herbs and Soy Sauce and is guaranteed to contain no horse substitute such as beef.”

It costs £3.50… and you can pay with Pay Pal.

But if the Nevada Farm Bureau has its way, we won’t have to travel or use currency converters to buy horse meat. A majority of the country’s last wild horses live in Nevada, and that state seems ready to cash in on one of its most popular natural resources.

According to reports published in the last week, the Nevada Farm Bureau and the Nevada Association of Counties want the BLM to round up just about as many remaining wild horses as they can. The BLM argues that it’s already housing about 50,000 wild horses it’s already captured and can’t afford to take in many more.

The Nevada Farm Bureau has an answer, however: The BLM should “destroy” horses that are deemed unadoptable.

Before I forget, if you’d like a recipe for Pasta with Horse Meat Sauce, click here > 

I decided, after doing my research, to write a little note of complaint to the Nevada Farm Bureau. My concern was that MY tax dollars would be spent on an inevitably expensive lawsuit that seemed doomed to failure from the start.

The numbers just didn’t add up.

The Nevada Farm Bureau argues that there are too many wild horses on public lands. But there are only about 30,000 wild horses left, and since public lands seem perfectly able to support 1.75 million head of livestock (that belong to private ranchers), what exactly is the problem?

So, I spent a great deal of time trying to compose my email. I spent half an hour on the salutation alone, because it was important that I use the right tone of diplomacy but still get my point across.

To Whom it May Concern:

Dear Members of the Board of the Nevada Farm Bureau:

Hi there:

I took a few breaks and during that time found recipes for Foal Goulash, for Horse Meat Burger with Feta Cheese, and Horse Meat Sashimi.

I even found The Horse Meat Recipe Exchange Club on Facebook, which used this as their last post:

wild horses

They are so clever.

After several agonizing hours of composing my email – complete with footnotes, bullet points and sheer legal poetry – I deleted it all.

They’d never read it. From years working as a political press secretary, I know how little time bureaucrats have to read long-winded complaints from actual people. So what was the point?

The point was there are more wild horses being held by the United States Government in long-term holding facilities than there are left in the wild.

The point was that most Americans view horses as companion animals who are no more wanted at the dinner table than puppies.

The point was horse slaughtering practices have been proven to be cruel and inhumane, and to take one of America’s icons and stab it in the head so private ranchers can raise their cattle on our public lands is about as un-American as I hope most of us hope it gets.

The point was…

I decided the best way to make my point was to get right to the point and, in summary, wrote:

“Dear Whomever: You’re quite the assholes, aren’t you?”

I don’t know if the email got through or not. They haven’t responded, so I have no way of knowing. I sent it to the address they listed on their web site – –   but I haven’t heard a peep.

If any of you want to give it a try, let me know how it works out.

horse-meat-5 Horse Meat Burger with Feta Cheese
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