There’s a short little poem by Gelett Burgess titled “The Purple Cow” that I dearly love.
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
The full title is “The Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable, at Least.” Most people leave off the second line of the title.
Pity too because that’s where the essence of Burgess’ poem lies. A purple cow stands out, a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable. Most people don’t want to be Purple Cows. Conformity is comfortable.
The poem appeared in the first edition of his humorous little magazine The Lark in 1895. It’s fun. It’s silly and that was Burgess’ trademark.
I’ve quoted the words a gazillion times myself. As did United States President Harry S. Truman when asked if he’d ever seen a UFO. He substituted UFO for the purple cow.
But Burgess tired of the poem’s popularity and pinned this rebuttal, which he published in The Lark three years later.
Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
I’m Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!
Maybe Burgess didn’t personally want to be considered remarkable. In reality, he was. Some say his works inspired Dr. Seuss.
The Gelett Burgess Center for creative expression, organized to honor his creativity, gives The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards yearly. It’s not the Caldecott, but still a prestigious honor for a children’s book.
Burgess also coined the word blurb in 1907. He introduced the term on the cover copy of his book, Are You a Bromide? using a quote from Miss Belinda Blurb.
His definition is “a flamboyant advertisement; an inspired testimonial.” I’m not sure such a blurb on a book in our 21st century would be as well received.What do you think?
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
The morning glories are doing really well this year. In fact, they are once again taking over everything in their path.
I suppose I could try to contain them to the side fence, but I am inspired by their tenacity. Our back gate is covered.
Every time I walk to the back yard, I feel like I am going through a magic gate. It is much more fun to think of it that way than to think about the reason I am going – to mow the grass, check on the chickens, fill the duck pond, or any other number of farm chores.
I’ll trade my mundane tasks for an imaginary magic kingdom any day.
I love Old English sheepdogs. We’ve had five, so I know the breed well. Unfortunately, their life span is only 10 to 12 years. That’s how we’ve had so many. Our fifth OES will be five years old this week.
His name is Finnegan MacCool after the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill of Giant’s Causeway. You can read the legend here.
Finn’s our largest OES at 99.6 pounds, and the most loving. He’s always up for a cuddly nap with you.
Besides the unconditional love, Finn has taught me some important lessons.
Trust your instincts.
Finn senses if someone or some animal or some situation poses a threat. He has that inbred instinct to protect me. I trust him.
In life, we must trust our instincts too. Others’ opinions are important. But in the end, we should heed our gut instincts.
Know what you want and be super persistent about securing it.
Finn normally settles under the table at mealtime unless he’s smelled fried eggs or pizza. Then he nudges my thigh throughout the meal reminding me he’s waiting.
The scenario reminds me how important dogged persistence can be. We should not give up on our goals even if there are setbacks or defeats.
Poor Finn doesn’t always get to lick the fried egg plates. Sometimes we have visitors and seeing a dog lick a human plate tends to freak some people out. That’s why there’s a Sani-wash option on the dishwasher. But when he smells pizza baking or eggs frying you’ll always find him nudging my leg not under laying under the table. He doesn’t give up.
Even if we fail, persistence helps us learn what to do better next time or what techniques or approaches work, and what don’t.
Go outside and play.
I tend to spend hours on my laptop. In our technology world, it’s easy to be online and working 24-7. For Finn, it’s boring. After a while, he will drop that big old head in my lap or nudge my elbow with that bigh black nose to get my attention until I push away from the computer, iPad, or iPhone.
I never regret spending time with him. When I return to my task, I’m refreshed, and it’s not imagined. Research suggests exercise can improve our productivity.
What lessons have you learned from your pet?
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
This seems to be a very good year for blueberries – they have been on sale for several weeks in a row and they are very tasty. It just so happens that while perusing a magazine passed on to me by my mother, I stumbled upon a section of blueberry recipes. One of them was a triple-layer blueberry lemon cake. It looked delicious.
Beekeeper Brian and I have no business eating an entire triple-layer blueberry cake regardless of how wonderful it may be. I decided to make the cake for our Community Group meeting. I did tell them it was a new recipe.
I bought fresh lemons and grated the peel before squeezing the juice from them. I took the butter and eggs out to bring to room temperature and carefully measured out all the ingredients. The three layers came out beautiful.
Then I made the frosting. That was not so beautiful. In fact, it was quite slippery, and I had to use skewers to keep the layers from sliding around. It was a disaster.
This cake proved my point – it was delicious!
But that’s not necessarily true. Nappers may be the wise ones.
Like young children, too many of us soldier on, whether we’re tired or not, to get everything done we think we need to do.
Studies indicate the opposite is true.
The tendency to avoid naps or take breaks to relax during the day can reduce productivity and/or produce results that are less than our best.
Don’t believe it?
Check out this New York magazine video. You may change your mind about nappers. Or become one.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Marv, our first dog, was a lab/hound mix that lived outside. We put his food in a bowl but as he got bigger, he started picking the full bowl up and flinging the food all over the back patio. We finally gave up on the bowl and just dumped the food on the patio. Marv never went hungry.
Max, our youngest dachshund, is an inside dog. He also throws his food on the floor. He can’t pick the bowl up, so he uses his tongue to fling the food all around the bowl.
Alex, our grandson who just turned one, is also a messy eater.
The difference is Alex is a very cute messy eater.
He makes me smile.