Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

21 April

Radio Day: 2 p.m., “Katz And Wulf On Animals,” Stream It Live, Call In Or E-Mail. The Podcast Is Here

by Jon Katz

Today is the debut of “Katz On Dogs” 2.0, now “Katz And Wulf On Animals.” Maria Wulf, my life and partner in crime, will be co-hosting the broadcast with me live from the studio. I think the days of men dominating things are coming swiftly to an end; I’m ready to let go of my privilege.

We’ll be on the air from 2-3 p.m. EDT today, April 21, 2021.

We hope to host an intelligent, safe, and useful program mostly about dogs and the animals we live with. You can stream the broadcast live from anywhere in the world: go to WBTNAM.org and click on “live” at the top of the webpage.

You can check out the Queen of Bedlam Farm on her popular blog here.

As of today, you can hear us on a podcast.

That’s it, and it’s free and instantaneous from anywhere in the world.

I’m thrilled to be doing this with Maria; we work very well and happily with one another. She brings a much-needed women’s perspective and years of nose-t0-nose experience with sheep, donkeys, dogs, cats, chickens, and trees.

She has learned so much and isn’t shy about sharing what she knows.

Please call in if you want and have a question you need help with: 802 442 1010. We think we have the phones working well now. You can also e-mail us at any time before, during, and after the broadcast with questions – [email protected], [email protected]

Don’t forget to call. Don’t be shy. We don’t hurt you: 802 442 1010.

When the call volume warrants, I’ll consider expanding the broadcast to two hours.

The broadcasts are now available as podcasts; you can hear them by clicking on the podcasts button at the top of the stations’ webpage.

So check out the new show and support Community Radio at the same time. If you like the broadcast and support Community Radio, the last democratic radio in America, you can donate here via Venmo or Paypal. Thanks.

Small donations are very welcome. They don’t spend much there.

Photo: “Therapy Dog At Work.”

21 April

Meet Charlie, The FishGod Of The Mansion

by Jon Katz

I finally met Charlie, a new Fly-Fishing-addicted resident of the Mansion, yesterday. Charlie came to the Mansion soon after they were quarantined so I couldn’t see him until Tuesday.

He’s an interesting man, a lot of fun.

He’s a great character, Fly Fishing was the love of his life (along with the New York Yankees), and he has had an awful year, severely depressed after a year of isolation and worry soon after arriving.

No fishing, no family all year. The aides were getting very worried about him. They’ve nicknamed him “FishGod.” He loves it.

Shiela, a Mansion aide, decided to take him out Fly Fishing At the Battenkill, and Charlie returned to life, his depression melting away as he took one of the many fishing rods he owns.

It made him very happy, pulled him out of the dark space.

Charlie is outgoing, cheerful,  and the aides were relieved to see him bounce back. I asked him about Fly Fishing, and 20 minutes later, I was still listening.

Two of the aides approached me to see if we couldn’t help him get some Fly Dressing with Dressing  Box, which I found on Amazon. It’s on the way.

I also ordered a new fly kit and the classic fly fishing book The Longest Silence: A Life Of Fly Fishing by Thomas McGuane. I ordered The Essence of Flycasting By Mel Krieger, which’s coming today.

I’ll bring the books and the kit over to the Mansion later today, before my radio show.

I’m also in touch with the very famous American Museum of Fly Fishing in nearby Manchester, Vt., they have offered tickets for me and Charlie to go to the museum.

I’ll be happy to take him.

This is a lovely thing for us to be doing, a small act of great kindness, right in our wheelhouse.

And I don’t need to ask for any donations, I have enough in hand for the books and the fly kit, and the tickets should be free.

I’ll be looking for ways to keep Charlie engaged with his passion; we can take short junkets to the Battenkill River, which is close by, and to other fishing sites.

This can really make a difference for Charlie. He needn’t lose the passion of his life.

It’s great to be back in the Mansion, where I can meet the new people, see who’s gone, and figure out how to help. I’ll keep everybody post about Charlie.

If you like fly fishing and can talk about it, please feel free to write him: Charlie “FishGod,” The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

(Photo by Tania Woodward)

 

 

21 April

Another Image Of Robin And Her Remarkable Connection To Bronx Zoo Gorilla

by Jon Katz

My daughter sent me another in this remarkable series of photos of my granddaughter Robin at the Bronx Zoo Sunday.

She and a female gorilla made this remarkable connection.

The gorilla came over to her and put her hand on the glass as if reaching out to touch her.

Robin was not afraid or uneasy in any way, and the two drew an enormous and silent crowd in awe of what they were seeing.

Robin said she believes the gorilla just wanted to be friends.

Me too. These images are so powerful, we will all be thinking about them for some time. Robin was very much affected, I am certain she will remember this friendship all of her life.

21 April

Just Do It: My New Bike Is Here

by Jon Katz

I don’t have to control my thoughts, I just have to stop letting them control me, as I have learned over time to do.” – Jon Katz

The last straw for me was a series of messages from my readers suggesting that I buy a three-wheeler bike made for children, the impaired, and older people.

“Have you considered just getting a three-wheeler?” one man asked me yesterday in a blog post. I could tell he was getting impatient with the drama not shrouding my decision to ride a bicycle last November.

But he misunderstood me, as often happens when people give advice that was not asked for.

I have nothing against three-wheelers or the people who need them or choose to use them.

They make perfect sense for anybody who feels more comfortable on them than a two-wheel bike for any reason – and there are many good reasons.

But I don’t need one or want one or prefer one, so no, I said, I haven’t considered getting a three-wheeler. It’s just not me.

I was in therapy on and off for 30 years, mostly for what was diagnosed as chronic and generalized anxiety.

I learned a lot in those years, but one of the most important was not running away from my fear but acknowledging it, accepting it, and confronting it. I’ve also learned to project, to act the way I want to feel.

This is up to me. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that all of life is an experiment, the more experiments the better.

That has worked; I have little fear these days and no panic, at least almost no panic (I had some on the e-bike). My doctors and friends, and my spouse have all confirmed that there is no physical reason for me to be afraid of a two-wheel bike, which I used to ride all the time.

But anxiety is mysterious at times; it’s hard to understand where it comes from or why, and the bike thing has me sick of myself. I’ve spent enough time in my life studying the mysterious inner works me. I’m just not that interesting.

Time to move forward with life and take my chances. When I sit on this bike, I am still terrified. But I can see past it. Fear, I learned, is geography, a space to cross. You just have to hang in there and walk through it.

I can assure you that one day soon I will be posting a photograph of me writing my new bike on a country road. And I know the road.

I know a part of this has to do with aging and the vulnerability it can bring. I had two heart procedures last year and had my prostate rearranged as well.

Each procedure has made my life better and healthier, but they have also made me feel more vulnerable. I need to work through that as well, and I will

But there is something else: an affirming, empowering resolve: I feel it deep down below my heart,  know I can do this, so I tell myself just do it and stop thinking about it.

I see how stiff and wary I am when I get on a bike. Time to get to another level – calm, slow and confident. I don’t have to control my thoughts, I just have to stop letting them control me, as I have learned to do.

I decided enough is enough. I got in the car and drove to Saratoga Trek to meet with my new and valued friend Caleb, who has become, along with my therapist, my bicycle guru, counselor, a savior.

Caleb is one of those rare people of any age, an empath who loves to sell bikes and cares deeply about the people who ride them what he considers a sport and a passion.

His confidence and passion are contagious. He also took the time to understand me, know me, and even listen to me,  which I deeply appreciate.

He is a very special human.

He is also about 200 pounds and 50 years younger than I am, but no matter, he sees right through my neuroses and pretensions. He has no doubt I can ride this bike.

After watching me, he confirmed my suspicions that there is absolutely no reason why I can’t ride a bicycle that isn’t charged up for space travel.

So I bought another bike, another Trek, eight gears, no computer parts or electronics. He also sold me back all the accessories I had purchased for the e-book at a reduced price.

It costs about a sixth of what the e-bike cost. We got it into my car; I brought it home; Maria came out to stare at it, offering at one point to take over the bike if it didn’t work out for me for any reason.

What I decided was that it’s time to stop gazing at my navel and do it, as the sneaker ad says. It’s really up to me, and I understand there are fear and shame and other old issues involved, but there comes the point where you have to decide to do it if it’s something you want to do.

The bed wetter in me says be careful, the old man says nuts to that. One day, the two of us shall meet.

This is something I want to do. There are beautiful flat and quiet country roads around here that I would love to ride on, especially on beautiful Spring and Summer days.

I love going to the gym now; I overcame that with a little bit of help, now onto this. Between the gym and some country road bicycling, I can love my heart and take care of my body. I’m not ready to leave the world yet; I love my blog, my photos, and having sex once more.

One day soon, I hope to love my bike as much as I love Zinnia and my car.

We have rain and cold the next couple of days, so it might be a while before taking my first real ride. I will keep you posted. I will take my time. Rushing is not smart.

Thanks to those many good people who write to tell me they are much older than I am and ride their bikes every day.

Wayne Dyer wrote that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I think that can be profound. As I see this business of riding a bike differently, it will just be different. I’ve learned that lesson over and over.

We can’t always meet one another, but we can inspire each other.

In our confused world, there are many people eager and willing to tell you what to do and what you can’t do. But there are many more encouraging you will do what you and need to do, what you can do as well as what you can’t do..

Many of you had done that for me when I needed it. I guess this was one of those times, thanks. But when all is said and done, it’s up to me to imagine what I want and then go after it.

21 April

Morning Light

by Jon Katz

Maria is a life-giver, she nourishes and nourishes.

In the morning, when I get up, it was lovely to see her spraying my Zinnia seeds, as the windowsill gallery above her hosted a graceful plant leaf, something only she might appreciate for its beauty and grace.

She placed the leaf in my window, where it thrives.

She has awakened me to nature and the beauty of small things.

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