Boredom: Chubby Chickens and Tiny Cattle

                                                    Copyright 2016 by Raunig-Graham

Life devours our days as it gobbles our minutes, so boredom is not something I know much about.  Perhaps I did when I was a girl.  Echoes of my mother admonishing me “to go outside and play then,” lurk in the recesses of my of memory.  Boredom, surely is a preserve of the young, but not having been young for a long time, I realize I have little patience for those who claim it. The world offers us a cornucopia of possibilities that mitigate a sense of ennui.

Pick up a daily newspaper (Yes, some of us still do that!), and peruse it with a cup of something, and if your feelings of listlessness toward daily routines don’t quickly vanish then you must be devoid of  interests outside of yourself, or I might add, lacking in a sense of humor.

Two items that caught my eye in the last couple of months included a piece by Kelsey Gee in The Wall Street Journal ( May 5, 2016), on how this country’s grocery shoppers now apparently seek chicken that has been grown “more slowly,”    and a short article by Ellen Barry in The New York Times (May 3, 2016 ) on India’s attempts to make “cows less flatulent.”  Now if those two items didn’t relieve a sense of tedium, probably nothing would. Before these two pieces, I’d had no idea that when shopping in the meat department, I ought to consider how quickly that package of drumsticks had matured.  Nor, though concerned about global warming for several years, would I ever have realized how much methane India’s cows send into the atmosphere.  A lot, it turns out.

While the two articles tweaked my curiosity and brought smiles to my face, they actually provided information that prompted me to become a more aware, engaged citizen of the world. Many people today are interested in animal welfare and, according to the Gee article, a better “flavor profile.” France, known for its love of good food, has used traditional methods of chicken farming, for years. A demand for the slow-growing chickens is, of course, also related to how the birds are being treated. We know that free range chickens must like it outdoors better than locked inside a noisy, factory-style chicken coop.

In regard to India’s cows, Barry wrote that “methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does.” Now that certainly gives one pause when considering what to have for dinner.  But how encouraging that India’s scientists are researching how to reduce the gas their cows contribute to global warming. One of their answers is a strain of dwarf cattle. The tiny cattle, I learned, produce much less manure and therefore much less methane.

As I glance out my window to consider what I’ve just written, I see a hummingbird fluttering above a branch of a giant green fir tree.  Boredom?  What’s that?

–Judith R-G

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