Thursday, August 14, 2008

Green Acres ain't the life for me!

Many of us here on the blog remember that old TV series where the businessman decides he wants to be a farmer and drags his wife, Eva Gabor, the human equivalent of a miniature poodle, off to live on a ramshackle farm. Of course she does her best to citify things out there and it's all very funny.

It's not so funny in real life when city folks move to the country. They have a raft of reasons why they want to do that. It's cleaner! It's healthier! They want to keep the kids away from drugs and gangs. They want some land and room to roam. What they don't want, invariably, are all of the things that have been in the country since time immemorial...namely, livestock and the aromas that go with them. It never occurred to them, you see, that those picturesque cows grazing in the green field smell like, um, cow shit. So they start bitching. And putting in new zoning and new regulations. And arguing that somehow it's a health hazard, all of this livestock, and it's contaminating the water supply, and blah blah blah, until they have turned the country into a (gag) suburb and run off all of the people who had been enjoying it for the past 50 years.

That's what we've got going on in the little town of Hickman, Nebraska. Here's a clue. When you move to a place called Hickman, it's going to be a little different than living in someplace called, let's say, Fairlawn. You are going to have all kinds of things there you may not care for, like trailer parks and dive bars and livestock. If you don't like that, live somewhere else. But, no, in the past 20 years the lemminglike march of the suburbanites have led them to Hickman and now they want to get rid of Peter Rabbit.

Peter is not a rabbit. He is a 32 year old Morgan/QH cross who was born in the field he lives in and has had the same owner all of his life. He looks wonderful and is a damn lucky horse. His owner is 76 years old, a guy named Harley Scott, who clearly knows how to take care of an old horse and has a lovely place for him to reside. Observe the picture at left. This is hardly some old broken down horse living behind two strands of barbed wire behind someone's trailer home. He has a great place to live (four acres), he's shiny and happy and is receiving proper care. He's totally picturesque.

The shallow, soulless asshats on the Hickman City Council have decided old Peter has to go. They don't want a horse living in the city so they've decided to harrass a 76 year old man and his 32 year old horse. Yeah. You guys are awesome. News story. In short: "With houses having sprung up around Peter Rabbit's pasture, Mayor Jim Hrouda and five of the six City Council members are determined to enforce the livestock ban. Shortly after a council meeting Tuesday, the horse's owner, 76-year-old Harley Scott, was served an eviction notice that orders the animal off the land. Scott said he has no intention of complying with the Sept. 15 deadline. He faces the prospect of being fined up to $100 a day if he's convicted of violating the ordinance."

Oh my God! Don't you asshats have anything more pressing to deal with in Hickman, Nebraska than to try to make it financially impossible for an old retired man to keep his lifetime pet? What the fuck were you all thinking? One horse on four acres couldn't possible constitute any kind of sanitation hazard. I doubt he's breaking through the fences at night and running wild in the streets at age 32.

They KNOW they are asshats, too! They disabled the contact form on their web site! But hey, you can still call them and write them and we found an e-mail for the city manager, too. Now remember, you get a lot further being polite but you can still politely tell them that their order to get rid of the horse is inhumane to both the horse and the human. In my opinion, it constitutes elder abuse and I hope a smart elder abuse attorney will jump on this!

City Office & City Council: 115 Locust P.O. Box 127 Hickman, Nebraska 68372

(402) 792-2212

Email -

Let's talk about this in general, too. Do you have city folk encroaching on the areas where your horses live? Have you had problems with them? What do you think we need to do in order to keep from losing places we can keep our horses to new regulations caused by newcomers who like the look of the country but not its smell? Have you been able to take certain steps to stay on good terms with even the fussiest new neighbors and keep the horses welcome? Have you actually had to go to court or fight with the city to maintain your right to keep livestock on your land? Please mention where you are when you post - I think it's an interesting topic to see what parts of the country are suffering from this kind of problem the most.

And just since we were talking about old not equalling skinny yesterday, I snapped a pic of my 35 year old toothless wonder, Clover. She isn't really eating that hay but she does like to play with it! She gets hay pellet mush twice a day with Clovite and corn oil. When I got her, she looked like this - that was January 2007 when I got her free off of Craigslist and this is how she has maintained ever since I got her back up to weight.