25 February 2008

Of Mist, only the German sort

When I think back to the months I worked in the refet on the kibbutz (dairy/milking station) one particular day stands out. It was a Friday and milking had started at 3 am so that everything would be finished by 12 for shabbat [Judaism is hard on cows] [oh, and  me] and it had been raining. On my kibbutz there were always high piles of manure inside the pens and when I walked out to yellingly persuade the next group to come in I realised that big piles of shit + rain = sucking device. Walking was very hard and I eventually did lose one boot in the struggle, my foot simply slid out while the boot remained. I was thrown off balance and took a step forward to avoid falling and ended up stuck to my knees in cow shit, without any leverage. Then I was forced to dig around in the shit for my missing boot and after that I went round the rather large pen gathering the cows, suctioning myself off the shit one leg at a time. I managed to keep the other boot on, not that it mattered much by then, and it all took a despairingly long time bcs the cows were nervous and wanted nothing to do with me, they'd rather have their udders burst, it was still pouring and it all happened in literal slow motion. By the time I got back and could finally wash I was knackered and milking had barely begun.

This is what February feels like. And I don't like it.

So I am fighting February and that is why I stopped by the shop on the way home and bought bread and butter for toast, which I sonst never have bcs I can eat the stuff beyond any anatomical limits. And now that I am sitting here with the toaster precariously balanced on a box and my three cokes chilling in the freezer I have decided to give you a glimpse into my Wildlife Pathology optional subject bcs, well, it was a revelation. We first covered parasites in different species (favourite sentence: Tyres are the squirrels' biggest predators) and then came the Cinegetic Regulations bit, you know, how to ensure you have enough animals to hunt down. [Incidentally, my personal conviction regarding hunting is that if you are a hunter and don't even eat what you kill, if you hunt simply so you can have a trophey above your mantelpiece and waste an entire animal first and an entire carcass next, it is my deepest regret that the Jivaro Indians aren't allowed to do their magic anymore.] Now, we have all sorts of laws and it seems to be alright if Cervids (deer et al) mate interspecies or if wild boars mate with domestic pigs bcs that is not checked at all but Red-Legged Partridges, the only species originally indigenous to Portugal [this is the rationale behind it but see cervids and boars though so - what?], are special special birds and therefore not allowed to produce hybrids EVER. Speaker, with disgust: Red-Legged partridges will mate with any species of partridges, it's... it's disgraceful, it's like they don't know any better! It almost is like that, yes. Red-Legged Partridges must never be allowed to sully their genetic patrimony, where would we be? Well, he told us. Instead of looking like this,
I'm a hunter, these are worthy of the hunt, look at those bodies!, they might end up mating with a Chukar or Rock partridge and look a bit more like this,
Just look at them, see how absolutely ugly they are, and to top it all they absolutely are rotten flyers, no fun whatsoever!, and he is right, the difference is astonishing and God yes, "ugly" is the very word I'd use and also somewhere in the world right whales would certainly strand in protest over such gross disrespect for Portuguese hunters and their aesthetic and cinegetic needs, you do see how it really is all abt the ecosystem?

You are now probably wondering what to do if you come across a partridge that is not red-legged, and rightly so. It is a bit of a pickle but fret no more, the speaker, a fellow veterinarian, has a lot to say: Eh, whenever I come across them I just pick them all up and wring their neck. Mind, people don't seem to like it much, they always act so shocked and I'm not even sure it's legal - actually I'm sure it isn't - but I don't care, look at those partridges, *makes wringing motions*, annoying little buggers aren't they, mind, when I was in France and kept seeing Chukra and Rock Partridges - and they're legal there, you understand! - it was all I could do not to wring their necks as well!

And there you go.

Vintage February.

4 furballs:

Udge said...

Deeply and worryingly strange, all of it.

Six more days, dear Johnny, then Feb will be history (for a while).

Udge said...

Sorry, four days. Meh.

Diana said...



Um, well, I can see why the other partridges would want to mate with them. They're terribly sexy. Perhaps if they were not so pretty, they'd not be spreading their tarty genes all over the place.

Poor February. It hasn't a chance, has it?

QuietusLeo said...

I get the feeling that the red-legged partridges know something that the rest of us don't.
BTW, I milked my way through med school. As a result, I really like cows (they are much nicer than most bipeds).