Thursday, June 25, 2009

Arab Cavalry

This picture was taken in 1946, and shows a group of armed Bedouins on horseback. These men were part of an Arab Legion cavalry unit supporting King Abdullah. The picture was taken in Amman, Transjordan. It looks to me like a very fine set of horses they have.

DOMESTIC UPDATE: Project Peacock continues to move forward. We did have a little setback in the program yesterday. I guess the best way to describe it would be that it is associated with barnyard politics. Mrs. PJM and I were talking about our new flock, and it became clear that we had different things in mind for the barnyard. You see, I had imagined what I will call a "Capitalistic" system. We would let the peacocks out onto the property, and they would go out and scratch around and find their own food. Those that were the hardest workers, and had the most motivation would be successful in eating well, and the other ones would not. Mrs. PJM had a different idea. Her idea is what I will call the "Big Government" model. In the "Big Government" model, Big Government (i.e. Me) goes to town, buys food for everyone, come homes and puts it out. Everyone gets fed, whether they work for it or not. No need to walk around in the sun, toiling to make it, Big Government is going to provide all their needs. Upon further discussion, I learn that the Big Government model will include Nationalized Health Care. Yep, each peacock will receive annual trips to the Vet, and will receive any medical attention needed, all paid in full by Big Government, removing any motivation for individual members of the flock to make healthy lifestyle choices.

This is the way I look at it. When I watch the peacocks in the cage, I notice that already at two days old, little Festus is showing lots of initiative. While the other peacocks are sleeping under the Mama peacocks wing, little Festus is out running around the cage, picking and scratching, looking for something good. He is keenly interested in the outside world, and I can see him really looking around outside his cage. I can see that this little guy just can not wait to get out and set the world on fire. Little Bo Bo, on the other hand, spends most of his time sleeping under his Mama's wing. Now if we implemented my "Capitalistic" system, I can see little Festus out running around the property, finding good things to eat, and working hard, and doing his best. I have to say I have very high hopes for this little guy. He would find the best food, he would have the best plumage, and would be trim and fit. This would certainly catch the attention of the lady peacocks in the barnyard, and little Festus would then procreate. With time the flock continues to improve, and grow stronger, as Festus passes on his exceptional work ethic.

Under Mrs. PJM's plan, no one would have to go out and work to find food. Food would be provided to them. Little Bo Bo, and the others would just sit around the barnyard, living off the bounty provided by the government, growing fat, dumb and happy. Knowing little Festus, I would imagine that under such a system, he would still go out and try to find his own food . . . it is just who he is. But, while little Festus is out toiling to make a way for himself, lazy little Bo Bo would be sitting around home, eating the free food, and procreating . . . eventually leading to a flock of lazy unmotivated peacocks, always looking at the back door for Big Government to come out and give them their food.

Well, I tried to explain all this to Mrs. PJM, but she just told me, "Go buy the Peacock Food". At this point I had a moment of self reflection. I reminded myself that the overall goal of Project Peacock was not to create a capitalistic utopia, but was to stay in Mrs. PJM's good graces so as to enable me to get a tractor at my next birthday. So, being the wise person that I am, I said, "Yes Dear".

Well, so much for free peacocks. I went to the Tractor Supply and got the supplies. If you are interested, I present a list of costs below from my Tractor Supply run:
$15.75 - 1 Jumbo Bag, vitamin fortified Peacock Pellets
$13.25 - 1 Bag, Chick-Chuck nutrient enriched chick food
$68.67 - 1 Large size, foldable Peacock Hutch
$45.67 - 1 Medium size, foldable Peacock Hutch
$2.75 -1 Small size watering bottle
$3.75 - 1 Large size watering bottle
$39.97 - 1 barnyard bottle watering system
$2.99 - 1 small feeding tray
$3.99 - 1 large feeding tray
$4 - 1 copy "Big Dan's" Tractor and Farm Implement Magazine
$6 - 1 two ounce package Beef Jerky
.25 - 1 Atomic Fireball large gumball
.25 - 1 Sour Green Apple gumball.
So, the free peacocks are not turning out to be so free. Now, some of you will argue that some of the items on the list are not directly related to the peacocks, like the beef jerky or the tractor magazine. The point is, though, I would not have bought these things if I had not been in the tractor supply store, so they will be registered as peacock expenses. While I had not anticipated these expenses, I still feel that it is a small price to pay in order to achieve my dream of getting a tractor for my birthday next summer.


  1. Perhaps Little Bo Bo should be offered a peck at the Atomic Fireball? That will cure his dependence on Big Government!

    Love your blog!!

  2. Reminds me of the FREE Toy Fox Terrier puppy I got last fall. Turns out after all the puppy shots,the hysterectomy, the bed, food and all the chew toys, she's not so free at all. But she gives me plenty of laughs. She is such a little clown.

  3. Just a thought - perhaps if you substituted a tractor parts (e.g., 12v ignition coil, universal seat assembly, red handle hitch pin, etc.) for impulse purchases, in time you could just assemble your own tractor from pieces just laying around the garage.

  4. Dear Mrs PJM,
    With the newly implemented regimen of hauling and spreading seeds for the flock of peacocks, Coupled with the "advancing years" of Mr. PJM, might it not be pointed out that a tractor with a spreader is much less expensive than what is accumulated over time because of a bad back (personal experience). In the interest of peacock maintenance, a tractor with a spreader is therefore required.

  5. Unless it's all a joke, your ignorance about how to take care of these birds astounds me. I suspect you should not have buffalo either. Peacocks are extremely tough and hardy birds. If you don't keep them locked up and fed for a couple of months they will not imprint on your home and the hen will simply go where the food is good and the trees have nice high branches good for roosting. Those chicks will grow up fast! They might end up living at a neighbors place who doesn't like the noise and poop and will simply shoot them. (They are delicious BTW.) And then your wife will hold that against you.
    You might be joking again, but if your wife thinks she's going to take them to the vet annually, well good luck catching them. Be sure to film that attempt and post it on youtube. It will be hysterical.
    Call the plumber NOW and put that event behind you. Regain your plumber's cred in year with some other project. Aim for a reasonably priced used tractor for Xmas, because this is going to backfire unless you educate your self better about caring for large fowl.

  6. And your ignorance astounds me in posting a rude comment of this nature

  7. I actually specialize in ignorance. I figure if you study and do things the way other people have, you always end up at the same place they did. Ignorance is the key to discovery.

  8. panavia999:

    your comment is rude, totally inappropriate and out of keeping with the tone of this blog.

  9. PJM:

    I have a solution for your "Big Government" approach - call Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Joe Biden, and have THEM distribute the peacock food for you.

    They'll probably be happy to do it, as long as YOU pay for the food.

  10. SmartGirl
    I am more concerned about the birds than feelings.

  11. PJM:

    It usually true that "free" pets end up costing money.

    But that doesn't mean that you and Mrs. PJM won't enjoy the peacocks, even if they DO make noise or involve some work. Wait and see how it works out.

    We had a similar experience with a kitten about 10 years ago.

    My buttinsky aunt picked up two "free" Abyssinian kittens from a breeder who couldn't sell them.

    For some reason, she decided to gave one (the runt of the litter) to my daughter without my permission.

    Abyssinans are beautiful cats - they are descendants of the Pharoh cats from ancient Egpyt. They look just like the statues you see from the ancient tombs, and they have beautiful red fur. They are very friendly and interactive.

    But . . . I grew up without pets and was not used to having an animal in the house, let alone that awful litter box.

    My aunt convinced me to keep her by saying that cats are "easy" and "cheap" pets - a little cat food and litter.

    Well, the kitty was adorable, but it turned out she hadn't been sold for a reason - she was really sick and had a fungal infection (m. canis) as well as gum disease. She was also malnourished.

    After having her for a couple of days, my daughter broke out in huge, oozing, itchy lesions all over her face, neck, and hands.

    It was really ugly, I can assure you.

    I had to rush my daughter to the dermatologist and the cat to the vet. The whole thing cost me over $1,500 by the time it was over.

    The cat had to have oral anti-fungal medication and special baths twice a day. And we had to isolate her and wear protective clothing.

    My daughter had to have oral fungal medication and use creams, and we had to either bleach or destroy everything she had touched. It was worse than having your kid come home with head lice.

    And I had to take this expensive drug called Sporanox to protect me because I was handling both the cat and my daughter. This went on for almost three weeks, and I had to take time out from work.

    And we had to brush her teeth (we still do) and rinse out her mouth with disinfectant.

    It was so awful that I almost got rid of the kitten, but it wasn't her fault.

    So we toughed it out, and she got better. And she turned out to be the most wonderful pet - she is my best friend. She follows me everywhere, knows her name, and never leaves my side.

    So the beautiful birds may be worth the expense!!

  12. Panavia:

    Well, there's is still an appropriate way to express your opinion, and that's not it.

    From your tone, I guess you're a member of PETA.

    I'm going to go outside now and swat at some flies. Maybe that will upset you, too.

  13. PJM,

    I came across this from a friend and I know it will be a help to you in securing your new tractor. The really good thing about this event is that 1, you have to have a tractor and 2, the Mrs can join you in this age old recreational pastime.

    Maybe even the daughter would like to give it a try.

  14. The horses are the most beautiful part of this photo.

  15. The horses are the most beautiful part of this photo.

  16. Al,
    Pretty funny . . . I will keep that one in mind for just the right time.

  17. Don't you have a barn where you can set aside an area for the peacocks ?

  18. Nope, no barn and no tractor.

  19. Hi Anon,
    I am most definitely not a PETA member. For one, I wear fur. I am a redneck farmer with guns & ammo and pickup trucks and tractors and lots of animals, including some given to me by people who had no idea what they were getting into when they got those cute little rabbits, chickens, geese, goats. I do worry about these peacocks in a hot Texas summer and the fact that PJM took them on without any research, or having a clue what his wife would think of a flock of adult peacocks. I worry when PJM says "Ignorance is the key to discovery." That's OK with mechanical things, but not necessarily with animals.

  20. Those peacocks may end up being not pets but partners on your property.

    I've always heard that they make superb guards, like the geese the ancient Romans used to guard their cities.

    Got an eyeful of that at the National Zoo in DC this past week. Our oldest daughter, 15 and a dyed in the wool animal lover, managed to crouch and creep up to within 2 feet of an adult male peacock with my camera. I had my heart in my throat because I had read they can defend themselves quite well. But Louisa, as young as she is, handled the situation well and got some outstanding photos.

    What struck me is that the peacock seemed to be in charge of the encounter with my daughter, and with all other humans who entered the area. He had a sharp eye about him, and Louisa ebbed and flowed to that. She never pushed too far. She has that 'feel' about animals. The peacock gave the 'eye' to others who got too close.

    Read up and see what happens. It could be interesting.

  21. Marie,
    I think you may be right. Bonding between Mrs. PJM and the flock has progressed quicker than even I expected. She is delighted with them, and especially likes the babies. The peacock mama is sweet, and is very tame. Babies are tame and curious.

  22. Panavia:

    I'm glad to hear you're not a member of PETA, they're a bunch of loonies.

    I love my kitty, but I have a couple of fur coats myself. Even though I live in an suburban area, I grew up with guns in the house too - my grandfather and uncle were avid hunters (they went to Canada all the time).

    And . . . despite being located in New Englad, I'm also a closet southern sympathizer, and I have been, ever since I studied the Civil War in high school. I'd fly the Confederate Battle Flag here if I could get away with it, but my house would probably be vandalized.

    It's OK to be concerned about the peacocks, but PJM is a smart guy and he has the space to accommodate them. I'm sure a lot of other people have peacocks in Texas. He'll figure it out.

    It's just that the tone of your message was a little over the top, and I think you could have gotten your point across in a more tactful way.

  23. With only $10.50 worth of 'pork' in that budget (< 5%), I say that we could use a man like you in Washington.

  24. The picture of the men in the Arab Legion spurred my interest and made me remember all the movies and old, exciting tales of the French Foreign Legion. I wondered if there were still such a thing. YES! I looked it up on Google and it is still going strong. Great blog, a bit of everything, you are a hoot. By the way, did you just give up on the buffalo? It might gore you but it would do it quietly.

  25. Smart Girl
    I hope you did not get the impression I live in the South. I am in California. Maybe you just commented in general.