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Running Goats

You’ve probably heard of running with the bulls …

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Photo by Raymond Forget via Wikimedia Commons

“You’ve got to be kidding?!” is all I have to say about that.

But, I wonder if you’re familiar with goat running?

No?

Well, the folks at Sunflower Farms in Cumberland Center, Maine, may be responsible for a new craze in extreme farm sports …

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Photo by Wilfredor via Wikimedia Commons

Well known for their antics

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Photo by Grand Parc via Wikimedia Commons

and orneriness,

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Photo by GdML via Wikimedia Commons

it’s no secret that goats are prone to kidding around,

but the 44 Nigerian Dwarf babies born this spring at Sunflower Farms are stirring up an unprecedented ruckus on exuberant evening runs with their two-legged farm friends, as you can see in this video that’s had 2.5 million views!

Looks pretty dangerous.

Runners risk tripping and being trampled by tiny hooves due to uncontrollable laughter.

So, how about it?

Would you be brave enough to run with the goats?

 

Honeybee Swarm!

I tried. I really tried. I soooooooo wanted them to want me. I put out a cardboard box and a brand-new starter hive.

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I watched and waited.

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And then I watched some more.

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I tried to entice them with a fresh batch of sugar water.

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I’ve read that when bees swarm they send out designated scouts to look for new digs. Apparently, they weren’t checking ME out.

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After two days, they were gone. If anyone out there has a suggestion as to what I can try the next time I find a honeybee swarm in my garden, please tell all!

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Happy People

Did you know that people who are peppy, pert, and positive share certain characteristics that contribute to their seemingly effortless smiles?

While a good chunk of a person’s cheerfulness—about 60 percent—can be chocked up to a mysterious melange of genetics and environment, the rest is pretty much up to us, according to Dr. Martin Seligman (aka the father of positive psychology).

So what are the habits of happy people, and can anybody adopt them to become happier?

You bet, says Dr. Seligman. He suggests a lengthy list of happy habits that you can find in this Huffington Post article, but here are a few to get you started in the direction of delight:

Joyful people …

Surround themselves with other happy people.

Photo by Alex via Wikimedia Commons

Appreciate life’s simple pleasures (so, yes, stop and smell the roses!).

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Photo by MattBuck via Wikimedia Commons

Lend a hand to those in need.

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Photo by Ed Yourdon via Wikimedia Commons

Listen deeply when others speak.

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Photo by Lazy Lightning via Wikimedia Commons

Unplug from technology on a regular basis.

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Photo by Matthew Bowden via Wikimedia Commons

Exercise habitually.

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Photo by Mike Baird via Wikimedia Commons

Spend time outdoors.

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Photo by Linda Bartlett via Wikimedia Commons

Laugh!

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Photo by Nosha via Wikimedia Commons

 

Honeybee Navigation

Trick question: Who first discovered that the world is round?

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Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia Commons

No, contrary to outdated grade-school history books, it wasn’t Columbus. It wasn’t even one of those brainy philosophers of ancient Greece.

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Photo by Matt Neale via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, you might say that it wasn’t a “who” at all …

Stumped?

Well, hold onto your honey jars, because the answer might surprise you …

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Photo by Björn Appel via Wikimedia Commons

That’s right, honeybees can be credited with the first system of global circumnavigation! And you don’t hear them bragging about it, do you?

Using the sun as a reference point—even when it’s on the other side of the planet—honeybees are able to communicate the location of food to one another through a deceptively simple dance.

“The dance language, which bees use to communicate, is based on the location of the sun,” explain researchers at Ohio State University. “When bees return from a food source, they perform a ‘waggle dance’ on the vertical comb nearest the entrance to the hive. The dancing bee makes a short, straight run while waggling its abdomen, then circles back and repeats the action several times. The bee orients its dance so that the angle between the direction of the straight run and the ray opposite gravity is the same as the angle between the food source and the position of the sun. Given this angle, other bees can orient themselves to the sun and locate the food source.”

Need I mention that bees have a minute fraction of the brain cells we possess?

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Photo by Ken Thomas via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, I’m sure the bees’ sense of direction is boosted by the fact that bees are more sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field than any other creature. Not only do they incorporate this magnetic pull into their solar calculations, they use it to accomplish the perfectly precise hexagonal design of their combs.

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Photo by Merdal via Wikimedia Commons

 

D-day Commemoration

Hi MaryJane ~ The Bee Nation book (gosh I loved that book!) talks about the Women’s Land Army of America movement in WWII. Intrigued, I began reading up on the Internet to learn more. The women were known as farmerettes, which got me to thinking about how the MJF sisterhood is a sort of continuation of this great American legacy. Women were offered classes on how to be a farmer before being shipped off to their assignments … The MJF parallel is the farm-related badges we all enjoy doing with great pride. The program was mirrored from the one in Great Britain and launched in WWI here to accomplish the same goals of feeding the nation at war. Here is a poster of a training session during WWI that takes place in Charlottesville, VA, at the University of Virginia, which is where I grew up! It was a two-month program.

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Love Letter to Food

“Dear Food, you probably already know this, but I need you.”

So begins a touching new video, “Love Letter to Food,” created by YouTube channel MinuteEarth. The channel’s planet-minded production team joined forces with families, farmers, and friendly faces to drive home the reality of food waste in the U.S.

“Roughly 40 percent of the United States’ food supply is never eaten,” explains the University of Minnesota study, which preceded the video. “At 1500 food calories lost per person per day, that is twice as much as most other industrialized nations and 50 percent more than was lost in the 1970s.”

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Photo by Dwight Sipler via Wikimedia Commons

Even though I’ve talked about food waste before, I still find these numbers shocking. Nationwide, obesity has skyrocked since the ’70s, and we’re wasting more food than ever.

As you’ll see in the video below, waste is happening in more places than the kitchen. In fact, every step of a food item’s journey from field to fork is fraught with the peril of perishing at the hands of humans in one way or another. Whether it’s a crop left standing to rot due to high harvesting costs, proverbial spilled beans, milk gone sour, bruised banana skins, or misleading label dates, the woe of waste often seems to have a common denominator: we take food for granted.

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Photo by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble via Wikimedia Commons

Even as the rapidly rising global demand for food threatens the very survival of our species, food is cheaper and more readily available in our country than our ancestors could have dreamed possible. It comes in rainbow colors, eye-catching cartons, super sizes, and all-you-can-eat.

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Photo by National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia Commons

“Part of the problem is that on average, I spend a smaller fraction of my household budget on [food] than in any other country or any other time in history,” states one of the video’s stars, CGP Grey. “My spending is spread out over days or weeks, so I don’t notice the cost of wasting [food]. But my lack of noticing adds up.”

In addition to wasting the food itself, the University of Minnesota study’s authors Alexander H. Reich and Jonathan A. Foley tell us, “Tremendous resources are used to produce uneaten food in the U.S.: 30 percent of fertilizer, 31 percent of cropland, 25 percent of total freshwater consumption, and two percent of total energy consumption.”

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Photo by Tony Atkin via Wikimedia Commons

I know you share my punch-in-the-gut reaction to these statistics, but this is one of those issues I feel like I can tackle, starting today. I don’t need a how-to manual, a support group, more money, or special doo-dads.

I just need to appreciate food.

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Photo by Roger Braunstein via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the video that got me to thinking and speaking out …