Most people, when they think of cows, picture them in numbers grazing contentedly on rolling green hills. That is, the average person does not see them as individuals but in the plural as cattle, as part of a herd: nameless, indistinguishable one from another, a little un-fantastical, never to be acclaimed, and certainly not destined for “great things.” Once you’ve seen one cow, you’ve seen them all, right?
Yet, don’t be fooled by their seeming docility. As any cow-owner will tell you, each has in fact a distinct personality. And while most have remained anonymous throughout the long history of human-domesticated livestock, there are those that have made their name and achieved fame, if not notoriety—from Pauline Wayne, President Taft’s prized Holstein, who once grazed the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; to fearsome Ratón, the Spanish fighting bull responsible for the death and maiming of dozens of toreadors foolish enough to face him (hence the bull’s nickname, el toro asesino, “the killer bull”).
Throughout our short but spectacular history, we of the bipedal mammalian species known as Home sapiens have been utterly fascinated by our quadruped cousins in the Animal Kingdom (not to mention our finny friends and wingèd companions on this Earth). For centuries we have written learned books about them, recounted their exploits in ancient fables and folk tales, celebrated them in song, drawn their figures on cave walls and canvas, and we began photographing them relentlessly almost as soon as the camera was invented.
And, it goes without saying, we have composed countless poems about them. The sheer volume of poetry dedicated to our fellow creatures—all manner of flesh, fish, and fowl, from monkeys to microbes, from the common to the exotic, limbless and many-limbed, the living and the extinct, and all inhabiting every corner of this amazing terraqueous globe of ours—is daunting, to say the least. Where to start?
This April, to celebrate National Poetry Month, Ketchum Mfg. Co. showcases just a few of our favorites among the most famous poems about our brother animals—both wild and domestic. Continue reading “An April Bestiary in Verse”
Why paint a cat? It is art already.
— Wieland Grant
From the time of the ancient Egyptians, through the classical period and the Middle Ages, and right up to the present day, the common house cat (Felis catus) has been a constant object of attraction, mystery, and fascination for humanity. And throughout history, artists and craftspeople have expressed that fascination in every form of art—in sculpture, mosaics, drawings, paintings, and more.
The homesteading movement in the United States represents a return to “first principles,” chief among which is self-sufficiency; and two of the cornerstones of this burgeoning movement are “do-it-yourself” and “grow-your-own.” Now that Spring is just around the corner, what better time to put both these ideas into action at once than to build your own backyard chicken coop?
It’s easier than you might think! More importantly, the overall benefits far outweigh the initial investment and effort. The endless supply of farm-fresh eggs alone is worth the price of admission. Without the added chemicals and hormones you might expect from mass commercial egg production, they’re healthier for you, they taste noticeably better, and they’re available at a moment’s notice just a few feet from your kitchen. Likewise, if you use the birds for meat, they grow fast, don’t take up much space, and more than pay for themselves in reduced grocery bills. Last but not least, it’s fun to raise your own chickens—it’s something that you and your whole family can learn from and enjoy in its own right.
Among the very first dogs known by name in Western literature is Argos, who appears near the end of Homer’s Odyssey. In that great Greek epic of ancient times, he is depicted as the very epitome of faithfulness: waiting patiently for 20 years for Odysseus to return home from the Trojan War, he immediately recognizes his old master at first sight. Only then is the sick and feeble dog able to pass away in peace. Thousands of years later, we in the modern world can still recognize and appreciate this common bond between human and animal.
That is just one of the many reasons dogs are called “man’s (and woman’s) best friend”! Since the time of Homer, many more books have been written and stories told about the canines we love who love us back, entertain us, provide for us, work and play with us, protect us, inspire us, teach us the virtues of kindness and wisdom, and keep us company when we are lonely. Here are five of our favorites. Continue reading “Literary Dogs”
When your canine friend suffers minor physical distress, did you know you can often administer safe “people meds” to treat the problem? This infographic provides guidelines for treating your pet when it is in pain, motion-sick, gassy, etc. Click the link below to download a printable PDF (Safe-Dog-Meds.pdf) of these guidelines. NOTE: Always consult your veterinarian as to appropriateness and proper dosages of these medications before administering!
Today is Black Friday. With Thanksgiving over, many American families turn their thoughts to the next big celebration of the season: Christmas. And often, this is the time of year we think about buying a puppy to join the household.
As any dog-owner knows, our canine friends are highly intelligent (some would say “sentient”) creatures, with a surprisingly sophisticated emotional and behavioral life. For that reason, you should think long and hard before buying a puppy for the family this holiday season. Here are ten reasons why: Continue reading “Ten Reasons NOT to Get a Puppy This Holiday Season”
Of one of his feline companions, H.P. Lovecraft—famed author of the fantastic and macabre—once wrote: “In its flawless grace and superior self-sufficiency I have seen a symbol of the perfect beauty and bland impersonality of the universe itself, objectively considered, and in its air of silent mystery there resides for me all the wonder and fascination of the unknown.”
What is it about cats that has so fascinated and mystified the world’s greatest writers throughout history? That is another mystery that may never be solved. Nevertheless, here we present some of our favorite feline quotes—some witty, some philosophical, but all insightful—from some very notable authors. Continue reading “Literary Quotes About Cats”
The last of the summer’s harvest is being gathered in, the kids have returned to their classrooms (oh joy!), and already the leaves in some places are starting to turn. That can mean only one thing: fall has arrived!
September 22 marks the autumnal equinox, when the hours of daylight and dark are equal. With this shift in seasons, we should also shift our thinking and habits regarding our beloved dogs and cats. Here are a few ideas, apropos for this time of year, to keep your pets safe and happy.