Monday, August 6, 2012


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk

Jul 15, 2012

Column Number: FM 1229

So, I’m driving down Morrell Springs Road the other day; and I saw an incredible display of smart from a dumb animal!

No, I am not talking about an intelligent performance from a critter of the two-legged persuasion (there are not too many of those anyway); I am waxing eloquent about an act of such perspicacy, such perspicuity, such perspicacity, and such percipience as to defy all realms of sagacity and acumen.

Actually, with such a build-up; this must rank up there with Creation on the first page and The Second Coming on the last page. Well, no; nothing can reach to those heights; but it was purty ‘portant, I betcha.

It answers an age old question that children have asked their older and smarter (in some cases) leaders: “How do those cows walk around the sides of those hills without falling off, rolling down, and ending up giving pre-churned butter or pre-ground beef?”

You got that question if you have been in these here hills long enough to have kids.

So, as I was saying, I was driving down Morrell Springs Road one day and lo and behold, I saw it! It was an act of such acute, astute, shrewd, clear-headed, discerning, penetrating, piercing comprehension as to de….. well, you know!

There he/she was, standing there casually munching his/her way to the butcher shop – the most intelligent, keen, canny, discerning, and clever four legged critter of the bovine persuasion I have ever seen.

All his/her peers were standing precariously on the side of the hill, desperately trying to find a level square foot on the “cow trail” that serpentined its way around the sloping landscape.

They were all having great difficulty trying to maneuver their way to the next little clump of graminoids of the pasture grass persuasion on their way from here to there – but not the budding bovine that had captured my undivided.

I think he/she was a Charolais type of the domesticated ungulate family of Bos primigenius. I did not inquire as to the specifics of my case study in bovinology; whether he/she was a bull, cow, heifer, calf, steer, ox, or springer – that didn’t matter; he/she was what my wife, “Miss ‘Nita” called “the other white meat”.

As a side note; my dear mother-in-law once made a frantic call to the Oak Ridge 911 operator; and when all the tape recorders came up to speed and all off-duty personnel had been awakened for this bonified emergency, “Mimmi” breathlessly cried “There’s a bull heifer in my back yard”.

Seems that he/she had jumped the cell bars of a pick-up truck and sprinted to freedom in Mimmi and Daddy Bill’s back yard; but she was too swift to let the escapee escape; and very soon, another freedom loving “bull heifer” was once again incarcerated.

Some of you will get that about midnight tonight; but if not, call my son-in-law, Larry the Dairy Guy and ask him about that.

Anyway, I digress. That intelligent Charolais was standing perpendicular to the path, with his/her front legs up the slope and back legs down the slope (well, duh); and enjoying a leisurely repast of the afore-mentioned graminoids. It was actually very easy because the slope of the hill brought the grass right up closer to the intake valve of the milk/meat making process.

Smart, huh? I told you, we grow ‘em right around here; and they get smarter the closer the farm is to Frogpond! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I bet you thought I was never going to get to the point didn’t you?

Are you smart enough to have made the decision to follow the only begotten Son of the Creator of this wonderful world? Man has made such a mess of the world’s system; we need to stop and smell the roses and allow the Lord to speak to us every once in awhile.

Tom Mooty writes the Five Minute Column for the Thursday and the Weekend Editions of the Newport (TN) Plain Talk. Send your favorable comments to P.O. Box 851, Newport 37822; or to Send all unfavorable comments to your own "File 13".

As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk

Jul 12, 2012

Column Number: FM 1228

This is the column for which you have all been waiting. You have all been asking for this subject to come front and center. Those of you familiar with this title are probably thinking about catfish right about now; but since I am seriously “fishermanly” challenged, that is not what is going on in the old grey matter.

No, I am thinking about an incident that presented itself outside my bay window the other day; and it involves some of my critters!

Ok, so where do I start? Since June was a big month birthdaywise around the Frogpond Five Minute Headquarters, we decided to celebrate all of them together in one big swell foop; and since my kids are too cheap to buy individual gifts, we included Dads’ and Moms’ Days in that too – and, you guessed it, Miss ‘Nita and I got one gift between us (I told you they were cheap; they say frugal; tomato – tomahto).

Miss ‘Nita and I found ourselves to be the proud owners of a genuine high speed, down draft, double clutching, e-flat bird feeder (not installed nor assembled, batteries not included, and for best results do not remove from plastic bag); so waddiyougonnado?

Well, you know what they always say – “Don’t let the bird feeder get you down”; so, I put my seven years of high school physics 101 to work and figured out how to assemble the thing and fill the thing and hang the thing; I did so with great gusto and awaited my first customer.

The angry birds (the great big ole black noisy critters) got the word first (they must be on facebook) and flooded the front forty like it was a Hitchcock movie. They first lit in on the droppings (the bird seed type, not the other type) that I had spilled in my excursion into assembly, fillery, and hangery.

They protected their four square feet of turf like those storm troopers outside the Star Wars Canteen. But, here came a male blue jay.

Now, normally, I don’t allow these beautiful but obnoxious critters through my electric critter fence; but this one got through and I wanted to watch the show. He went up on top; and, although the angry birds didn't like him being up there, they were all too busy feeding off the bottom, they didn’t issue anything stronger than a “caw’ or two – and he didn’t pay them no mind.

Now, comes a male red bird – one of my favorites; and he immediately went up top. Actually, he had read the manual on “How To Influence Birds and Make Feathered Friends” and began kicking out enough bird seed for the bottom feeders to staff a wedding processional; but they didn’t get the message and began to object because he was “raining on their parade”; and one of them flew up and ran “Red” out of Dodge.

He came back again and again, and I guess the angry birds got tired (or full) and let him have the whole cafĂ©; and he brought in his girl. She tried a little bottom feeding herself but she was not built for that and, after a sheepish little look up top, she flew up and began to help herself. Red was flying around in protective cover like a “harrier” around a “carrier”. NOTE; you can see this on the ‘net under “carrier harriers”.

Next came the little guys, and even a confused hummer. He had not gotten the memo that a hummer feeder will be next Mom’s/Dad’s Day.

These guys wanted fresh food; they were not satisfied with road kill scattered on the bottom. Even a squirrel checked it out. He/she/it climbed the nearby oak and stretched out but couldn’t reach the metal pole. Then, he went to the ground and looked over the possibilities of a leap into the air; no go. His looks upward told me he was considering climbing the metal pole and, yep, he tried. Got up a foot or two, and then slid back down.

Meanwhile, “Red” came back and kicked him some dregs out – trying to make peace, you know? Didn’t work, Chip (or Dale – never could tell them apart) wanted up top like the big boys and tried and tried and cried and cried. Talk about frustrated! He was not content to bottom feed; but not equipped to top feed.

Surprise, the next day, Chip/Dale had scratched off enough metal filings to enable a climb to the top and for a while, he was king of the hill, scattering droppings to all the unfortunates down below.

I did the only manly thing I could do. I scared him off and greased the pole! I know! I know! I know what “Radar” O’Reilly (no kin to Bill) said in an episode of “Mash”: “Critters is people too”; but enough was enough.

The rest of the story will come down the yellow brick soon; but, boys and girls, what have we learned today?

You, my dear friend, are special acts of God’s Creation; and you are not designed to feed off the dregs of the world, taking a little here and a little there from the devil and his ilk. You were designed to be on top; as a special breed – a Child of the Living God!

Are you living up to your potential? No? Don’t know how to get back on top? I do; and I’ll surely share!

Tom Mooty writes the Five Minute Column for the Thursday and Weekend Editions of the Newport Plain Talk. This excursion into literary mis-excellence also appears on the website – Your comments are appreciated (especially the good ones) which can be sent to P.O. Box 851, Newport; or to