Murder in The Back Forty

I left the truck after spending the last couple of hours there since I couldn’t sleep. Now in the light of day, I saw white feathers at the rear of the property and went to investigate.

While I was in the truck, or maybe it happened earlier, for I heard nothing, Chick-a-dee, my Margaretta-drinking-chicken, was murdered.

I was in shock, and sad. She was our pet. More of a pet than I knew chickens could be. After losing her sister, she adopted us. One day she sat on the table beside Daughter Dear and stole French fries, and I had mentioned many times how she was a free-range hen and preferred to roost on the back porch. She would have been safe there, but since I wanted a clean porch, I put her in the pen.  

She was in the old pen where she liked to roost on the roof of the little chicken house there. She and her sister had been safe there for a year. We have a run between the two pens, and the other chickens were in the other house.

I saw where she was dragged under the fence.

Maybe I subconsciously knew mayhem was happening and thus couldn’t sleep. However, I wasn’t clear enough to go check on the chickens.

While I lost one bird today, I saved another. A little bird was caught in the plastic bird netting I have over the pen. She was so tangled that I had to make numerous snips with the scissors to free her while she took numerous snips at me with her beak.

 She is free to fly another day.

Chick-a-dee was menopausal and was not laying eggs this summer. I wondered if the murderous critter took her instead of the others, to preserve his food supply. Now I suspect it was he who stole a couple of eggs.

I had gotten up at 3:30 this morning and since I couldn’t get back to sleep, I tip-toed out of the house to the truck where I jacked up the heater and settled down to read my book on my phone via Kindle.

Yep, I bought a Kindle version.

The Frog’s Song is a bargain at any price, the $12.95 paperback or the Kindle version. (I have both.) Don’t let those throw-away books give you the wrong impression that books ought to be cheap. They are losing money on them–poor souls.

The Kindle version only cost me a little more than the latte I bought this morning when Dutch Bros finally opened. Kind of a shame to spend that much on coffee, but what the heck, I couldn’t sleep. The book will last infinitely longer than did the coffee.

“With great amusement…” I had to laugh, that doesn’t sound like me, but it was in my book.

Once in a while, I will find phrases that sound like my editor, not me, but she spent hours editing it, her publishing company typeset it, created the cover, printed the whole kit and caboodle, and sent me three copies. Talk about a bargain. For that, I can tolerate the whisperings of another voice stuck within my pages occasionally. Jaynie of Regal Publishing “The House That Jaynie Built” is awesome.

But I haven’t shut up now that the book has ended. I’m continuing with a blog on https://thefrogssong.com (more pictures there) which I consider a Chat Room in the Wilds such as Hot Dog Guy had on the Island.

He set up the cleanest best hot dog stand I’ve ever seen at the Y in the road, and people stopped to chat whether they bought a hot dog or not. On rainy days, which often happened on our side of the Island, he put up a canopy so people wouldn’t have to wring out their hot dogs or themselves. But here you’ll stay dry. Unless, of course, you’re outside, or your roof leaks.

Want to know why his hot dogs were the best?

It’s in the book.

Want to know what it’s like to live off the grid?

It’s in the book.

I’ve reached a moral dilemma regarding blogging and book writing. With a book, I’m asking people to plunk down their hard-earned money to buy it and hopefully to read it. And I know from blogging that a large page of text is intimidating to people.  (I have a very literary publisher. who has, herself written a novel.)

 I’ve asked people to help me sell at least 200 books, so the publisher won’t drop me.

And it’s embarrassing if you know me—you might not like it. That’s the reason I hesitated to read it. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it either. It had, after all, been out of my hands for two years minus two months.

Things change. People change. I’m not the same person I was two years ago. How about you? Do you feel that way?

Regarding a blog, I figure it ought to supply information or be something someone is looking for. It ought to be of service somehow, if it’s not of service, then what’s the use of it? (Entertaining is of service.)

My book is my personal experience. It’s an adventure. Is it entertaining? Does it provide value? I don’t know.

Okay, here I’ll offer some advice. You know I’m not afraid to offer free content. People have asked me about blogging, and what site I use for travelswithjo.com. I use WordPress, and it requires a learning curve.

Some site carriers will advertise: “Create a blog in 5 minutes.”

Right.

How about a week?

Some carriers are easier than WordPress, but WordPress is great once you get the hang of it.

I spent the past week putting together The Frog’s Song, not that it looks complicated, but I totally screwed it up, changing the themes, losing pages, scrambling content, not having the blog work. I was embarrassed if anyone saw it. Finally, I found a plugin that would place the site on “Maintenance.” However, since my computer knew me, every time I checked to see it. as unpublished, it showed me that it was, but only to me. It was playing with me. (Rather like Pele on the island.)

Usually, I want people to read my blogs, but not during that week. But when I was finally satisfied and decided to publish it. Nada.

I finally got it by removing all the plugins.

More than you wanted to know right?

My advice to bloggers? Hang in there.

Now, excuse me, I’m going out to buy a live trap.

How was your day?

Why Do People Believe Stupid things?

Read Mark Hanson’s book. Read the sample. Read about the most heroic man I’ve ever heard of.

Witold Piecki was already a war hero before he decided to sneak into Auschwitz—the only man to ever voluntarily enter a prison camp. His purpose was to liberate the people.

“Hope,” writes Hanson, “is to strike a match to light up a void. To show us the possibility of a better world—not a better world we want to exist, but a world we didn’t know could exist.”

(His book: Everything is F*cked, -A Book About Hope.)

Holy Moly, I started to write about Why People Believe Stupid Things and found Piecki’s story. Some people minimalize the death camps—thinking they didn’t exist, or think that the number of people murdered was exaggerated. Yet, even before Auschwitz, the Soviets were systematically making MILLIONS of polish people disappear.

I understand, our mind doesn’t want to believe that such evil exists.

Authorities thought Piecki’s reports were exaggerated too, and he was living it. No help came. That was until the war ended, and the US. troops liberated the camps.

Some believe the world is flat.

No gravity? Well, that’s precious. Things just fall down.

Ever hear of Newton and Einstein and mathematical equations?

Circling the globe? “Planes are just fly in a big circle,” they say.

Have you ever been talked into changing a belief?

Maybe you’ve changed beliefs, but probably not in an argument. You changed them because you believe in science and evidence and data, even if sometimes it is only antidotal, but large enough to make a dent in your belief system.

 One of my favorite books is The Magic of Believing by Clyde Bristol.

It might sound like I am talking out of two sides of my face, one is that people believe stupid things, and second that I believe in the magic of believing.

Let’s get a grip here. There are beliefs that fly in the face of science, and there are beliefs that exalt the human condition.

Believe in yourself. Believe that you have what it takes to make this journey through life. Believe that if someone is successful, you can be. Believe in your own goodness, and that kindness matters. Believe in walking gently on the earth, and to preserve as is humanly possible its resources be it animal, mineral, plant, water or air.

It’s tricky when you’re holding a belief about yourself or believing you can do, be or have your heart’s desire. Yet, belief brings the subconscious into play. Believe in good things, not bad.

It’s a difficult job. for we have many factors working against us, and basically it’s been drummed into us, that “Many are called, but few are chosen.”  Like those people can be successful, but you can’t.

My daughter looked up “Why people believe stupid things,” on google, and Google answered. That started me down this road.

We all believe certain things, and evidence is low on the list.

We tend to believe something when we hear it over and over.

Ad writers know this.

Propagandists know this.

Politicians know this.

Most people don’t know it.

Smart people can be the worst for holding onto a belief,  for they are good at rationalizing. They are sometimes too clever for their own good.

When doctors didn’t believe in germs, they refused to wash their hands and thus passed on childbed fever to new mothers.

What doctor would want to believe that he caused his patient to die?

When evidence to the contrary of a belief, such as when Dr. Robert Collins (1829) said that it was the passing of cadaver germs to laboring women that caused the infections, he was ridiculed.

In 1872 Dr Ignaz Semmelweis again presented germ evidence, including closing the hospital, cleaning every square inch, making the doctors wash their hands with chlorinated lime, and the result was that childhood fever plummeted. But, according to belief hospitals and doctors slackened their efforts and more women died.

Childbed fever raged for 50 years.

Smart women, yet on welfare and needed their babies born in a hospital were onto the fact that more women died of childbirth in hospitals than at home, but since they needed a doctor’s verification to get aid, many had their babies in the streets and told the doctors that the birth came on so fast they couldn’t make it to the hospital.

They saved their lives and gave their child a mother.

The belief in long-held practices happens repeatedly in the scientific community. People in authority hold on to an old belief that has endured in the system for so long it is canonized.

We hate to throw out our pet theories.

There are social, cultural, family reasons, personal reasons, emotional reasons, why we hold beliefs. We were raised to think that way. Something influenced us when we were young, maybe a teacher of a particular book.

Most people are approval seekers rather than truth seekers.

It’s our nature. We’re social creatures. We want to fit in. How many times have you faked laughter at a joke that wasn’t funny—well, I guess that’s being polite.

I suppose people believe stupid things to fit into a group, to be a fraternity of like-minded souls set out to battle the world. It makes them special.

Skinheads must fit into that category, but their beliefs are based on hate.

Hate-filled people are more dangerous than those saber-toothed tigers we used to run from.

We all love finding someone who believes as we do. We immediately enter a garden of delights.

Yet, Brene’ Brown speaks of “Braving the Wilderness,” meaning to stand alone if that’s what must be.

What is it that makes a difference in the quality of people’s lives? Why do some people talk about their dreams and never follow through, while others go for it?

Why do some rail about their life conditions, and others turn dire circumstances into light?

Think of the little girl who was raped at 9-years-old then taken for ice cream with blood running down her legs. Later on, she was molested by two close family members. She gave birth to a stillborn child—a pregnancy she hid until delivery time. She was fired from a reporting position because she identified too strongly with her subjects. This person turned to television and now is worth billions. She is Oprah Winfrey.

And while I champion the cause of science as a framework for beliefs, I also know that we are babes in the woods regarding science, especially at a quantum level. How atoms work, and sub-atomic particles, and that everything is energy is new to us. We know we are electrical and chemical, but we don’t know the seat of intuition or ESP.  We know we are bathed in consciousness, but it baffles us. It is our soul? Is it calling out to us?

And so we suppose and create models, that’s all we can do until science catches up to our supposings.

 “Keep believing, keep pretending, We’ll do what we set out to do.”—Kermit the Frog