We Dragged out Another Bale of Hay

The horses were delighted, and what we learned is that it takes them about two weeks to eat one bale, even though the bale is small.

During that two weeks, all kinds of progress has been made in my lifelong effort to “catch up,” whatever that is. Probably the only way to catch up is to throw it all away and start over, but then we could be accused both of irresponsibility and of wastefulness, so we keep on trying.

Maybe we should judge progress by the reduction in the numbers of bales of hay. You will be happy to hear I’m not going to list everything we accomplished in the past two weeks, but maybe you will enjoy a few of the pictures I took at the Red Wasp Movie festival. Several photographers worked the show, so you will have to go to the Face Book page, about the time the next bale of hay rolls out. There will be more photos there — and around the middle of November the next hay-bale picture I hope will not include weeds in the background that are higher than the horses, I will have elected a President, and my health will be perfect. How’s that for a plan?

The Book Has Come!!

My test copies have arrived if you want to see one at the clubhouse. They are excellent. Small goof, two cover pictures, but hey, you can tear one off and give it to a friend. Or maybe I’ll fix that. The concern was color management and layout and all that kind of thing that needs to be moved from InDesign to a pdf to BLURB and then to the book. They did a great job on this little book, and affordable too. An excellent stocking gift if you order the soft cover.

It lists for $15 plus tax
Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary
Photos by Lynn

Bare Bones Biology 129 – Community III

Community is a big deal these days, and community building is a hot topic. So lots of people are out there building communities; but what I hear them talk about – do they really know what a community is? And if not. How can they build one? I don’t see communities; I see dollar signs and dominance relationships, and while I’m sure you can’t have a community with no source of support and no defined relationships – also I know that dollars and dominance are not enough for a sustainable community. You can build a “network” that way, but not a community.

That’s a problem for humans, because humans are a social species. We cannot fulfill our deepest, inherited needs without community, and how can you build something if you don’t know what it is?

The social sciences. and the dictionary. define community as a group of people. Different definitions talk about different sorts of groups, but basically, they say a community is a group of people. Oxford American Dictionary – “A body of people living in one place or district or country and considered as a whole.” Well, OK, if that’s their idea of a community, then there is no reason for community building. We already have several billions of people in various groups on earth. That should be enough people, and enough groups. Clearly we need a better idea of communities, or we wouldn’t keep trying to build them.

The problem seems to be that we all have different ideas, and we all keep doing more of whatever we were taught to do – or not do. That’s what got us here in the first place, and I’m fairly sure you can’t cure a problem by doing more and more of what caused the problem in the first place. I think there is a different word for that – addiction, I think if we had a real human community we probably wouldn’t need addictions for a substitute.

The biological definition of community is very different from the social sciences definition. Biologically, a group of any one species (such as a group of people), the biological word for that is not community – it is population. The population of humans in College Station. The population of goatweeds on my ranch. The population of a certain kind of mosquito in the Brazos Valley.

The biological definition of community is: “all the plants and other organisms that live in the same area and interact with one another.”

So biologically, a community is ALL the organisms. Because they all do interact with each other, either directly or indirectly. All the populations in the Brazos Valley. The population of goatweeds and of mosquitoes and of humans – all those populations of organism together form the community of the Brazos Valley, along with all the millions more populations of organisms. When I say millions, we must consider the good rich soil of the bottom-land and all the other places where there are – yes – millions of different kinds of micro-organisms contributing to Life, if we haven’t killed them off, and all the plants and all the insects, the spiders that used to live here and everything else that is alive. That is the biological definition of community.

So it seems that everyone who is using the word community is not talking about the same thing – but we all are right. Whenever everyone is right, and they are all using the same words to mean different things, that is a perfect setup for arguments. But why argue? We do want the same thing; we only need to know what it is.

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in emotional and social ways very much like the organisms of a biological community interact among themselves in biological ways. Why? The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself. The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, fire and water that we require to maintain our human communities.

By that definition, I see very few human communities in this country. And very little community building.


This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing
this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at

Tags: community_building, biology, addiction, population, social_sciences, social_species, networks, community

Recommended References:
Previous Bare Bones Biology in this series on community
Bare Bones Biology 127 – community
Bare Bones Biology 128 – community

Odum, Eugene P. Fundamentals of Ecology, any edition, the “bible” of ecology
Krebs, Charles. 2008. The Ecological World View. University of California Press

David Suzuki

Oh, yes, finally you get to see the fruits of my labor. Two horses, approaching thin, delighted to be digging into that puny round bale that I dragged out for them. I was a little concerned they wouldn’t like it, as happened once or twice before, but no such problem here. I think they probably need a little help getting rid of worms and botfly larvae, and they will be in fine shape for pasture horses. Next step will be to spend a weekend mowing.

Tomorrow is the big day we place our offer for the place in Chama that has no name; it’s on the other side of the mountain from all those bears I told you about; and then we will take the lid off the pickup and take our horse trailer to someone to check the bearings and what-not. By March I will be more caught up and ready to roll than I have ever been in my life, and it’s taken only 13 years of retirement to get there.

Tonight, super tired. At my age we are supposed to be just hanging out, consuming medical things (that would cost half as much in Europe) to enrich the corposystem, and just generally being pitiful so the do-gooders can think their doing good is worthwhile.

Wait! I thought we women were liberated! Didn’t we bother to liberate old people at the same time? Or do we women stop being liberated when we get old? I didn’t hear anything about that in the contract. I do remember being liberated, and now – well, we Americans will do ANYTHING to force someone else into the position of pitiful so we can feel good about saving them. (Helpful hint if you really are pitiful, there is someone waiting for you out there who wants to be better than you – all you have to do is – well, this is a family show).

I suppose my time will come when I actually qualify for that kind of help, and clearly the corposystem, and a whole lot of ordinary folk, are doing their very best to make me believe it already has, but they haven’t convinced me yet, and every time they give me a phony reason boosts my ego just that much. The latest is that, since I have a hearing loss, and damn I can’t wear that hearing aid because of my chemical sensitivity – therefore I am in danger of becoming senile and depressed. Just because the birds don’t sing as pretty as they used to sing. Nothing I could do to prevent that, of course, other than buy one of their hearing aids.

I do have to admit, though – after spending an hour hauling out that round bale and then another hour boosting the dryer into the pickup – my body really does HURT!

But it’s not a bad hurt.

Reminds me of the days when I could do anything I wanted to do.

Well Finally

Finally found my long chain by the oldest method in the book. I bought a new one. It still took me about an hour to drag out that teeny weeny (about 600 pound) round bale, as my system involves also the availability of comealongs, both of which have also disappeared. But I guess it’s progress, or I hope the horses think it is. No pictures. Too busy trying to load the dryer into the pickup.

Finished the Bitsy book (see her below, that’s on the title page), and I’ve started a page for her, listed in the upper left corner, but there’s nothing much on it yet. You could help if you find her book on BLurb and send me the link. BLURB seems to send my computer somewhere else.