All posts by Michael Patrick McCarty

Michael Patrick McCarty earned a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. He has worked in a variety of capacities relating to fisheries and wildlife biology, water and environmental quality, and outdoor recreation. A lifelong shooter, bowhunter and outdoorsman, he has hunted and fished throughout North America. A used and rare book dealer for more than 25 years, he offers a catalog of fine titles in the fields of natural history, angling, the shooting sports, farming, and agriculture.“I have a passion for old books, slow food, pigeons, the pursuit of bugling elk, fish and game cookery, heritage poultry breeds, personal freedom, and the Rocky Mountains, to name just a few, and not necessarily in that order. I consider the White River National Forest of Western Colorado as part of my backyard”.Mike writes about an assortment of outdoor and food related topics. “I am particularly interested in the nexus between the desire to provide one’s own food, and the withering array of local, state, and federal laws and regulations which often stand in the way. It is the manner in which they all relate to the cornerstone issues of personal freedom and liberty that concerns me. For me, it’s where the rubber meets the road”.

Just What Is a Utility Pigeon?

 

french mondain(mealie) utility squabbing pigeon
Ready and Willing to Work

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

Most people are quite familiar with the image of a pigeon, a bird commonly seen in the courtyards and barnyards across the globe. But just what exactly is a “utility pigeon”?

A good place to begin an investigation is with the origin of the word pigeon. It is “pijon” in old french, meaning “young dove”, and “pipio” in Latin, or “young chirping bird”. Another clue can be found in the definition of utility, which means useful, beneficial, or profitable. Our good friend the pigeon is all of that, and more, and can certainly meet those basic requirements.

Utility Pigeon is a general term that is broadly applied to describe any breed of domestic pigeon that is kept primarily for the production of meat. Sometimes referred to as “working birds”, they are capable of producing an adequate number of young, or squabs, of suitable weight and quality to justify their production costs.

By their nature, some breeds of pigeons are more productive, and profitable, than others. Pigeons in general have been intensively and selectively bred for many centuries, with many breeds falling in and out of favor along with the whims of the times and other developments.

The standards today include the King Pigeon of various colors, the Red Carneau, and the French and Swiss Mondaines, to name just a few. All can make excellent squabbing pigeons, though the White King seems to be preferred by many commercial breeders.

In fact, careful and judicial breeding with productivity in mind is the story of the Utility Pigeon. Notice that the very origin of the word pigeon emphasizes the young bird, or squab, which gives us some true insight into what the originators were thinking all along. Utility pigeons produce squabs, lots and lots of squabs, to our everlasting epicurean delight. They are the steady workhorses of the pigeon world. They work to live, and live to work. It’s what they do, without apology, nor complaint.

They are indeed a most useful and utilitarian bird.

The Mit Ghamar Dovecoters of Egypt tower above the city where pigeon and squab raising is king
Now That’s A Place Of Pigeons – The Mit Ghamr Dovecotes

 

Food Freedom – Raise A Squab Today!

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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The Time For Direct, Unregulated Farm Sales is Now!

Reclaiming Our Traditional Foodways

For the majority of this country’s history, unregulated farmer-to-consumer direct commerce was the norm in most of the United States. Consumers could even purchase meat, a food heavily regulated today, from farmers that were not inspected by the government.1It was only in the 20th century that farmers became ensnared in a regulatory system created due to problems that were not of their own making. This development, along with other factors, caused the decline of the family farm and community self-sufficiency in food production. In recent years there has been a move mainly at the state level towards restoring the tradition of unregulated sales direct from farms and home kitchens to the consumer; the trend is continuing in 2017 with bills filed in several state legislatures allowing for unregulated direct sales.

Bills have been introduced in Virginia and North Dakota so far this legislative session to allow the unregulated sale of nearly all foods produced by farms and home kitchens direct to the consumer; similar legislation will be introduced shortly in other states, as well. Under these bills the only foods that would still require regulation would be meat and food products with meat ingredients due to restrictions placed on those products by the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

Wyoming has been the trailblazer for this type of legislation with the passage of the 2015 Food Freedom Act. Reports are that the act has been a great success with significant increases in the number of farmers markets in the state along with more consumers purchasing locally produced food direct from the source. If there is any evidence of illness caused by the consumption of food produced by an unregulated farm, ranch, or home kitchen, neither the Wyoming Department of Health or county departments of health have provided it. The record in Wyoming and elsewhere is that unregulated locally produced food generally has an excellent track record for food safety. There is a transparency and traceability with local food that the industrial food system can’t match.

The Wyoming success has spurred state legislators elsewhere to become interested in pursuing similar legislation. Unregulated local producer direct-to-consumer sales are no longer a radical idea but rather a way to make more quality food available, build community, and connect to our past agricultural heritage where the government left these kind of transactions alone.

These heritage food bills, restoring an American tradition, are a needed counterweight to federal attempts to increase control over intrastate food commerce through laws such as the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, laws that consolidate market share in the industrial food system and reduce consumer food choice. With the promise of deregulation from the new administration, now is the time to move forward reestablishing the rights Americans once had to obtain the foods of our choice from the source of our choice whether or not that source is regulated.

This website will post updates on any progress made in state food freedom legislation.

Footnotes

1 David Berg. Journal of Food Law & Policy. “Food Choice is a Fundamental Liberty Right.” 2013; 9: 173,190.

See the Original Article from Farm to Consumer Legal defense Fund Here.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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In The Eyes Of A Pigeon

a turkey vulture soaring against a blue sky looking for a meal
Always Watching
a pigeon with head up and eyes on alert for predators
It’s All In The Eyes

 

 

 

 

A willing and observant person can gather some extraordinary insights about the natural world in the most unlikely places. It can happen in the short time that it takes to blink an eye, no matter if that eye belongs to you, or to something else. Nature abounds with beneficial lessons and the teachers of true meaning are everywhere. I just happen to gain some of my clues from the clear-eyed and attentive stares of my backyard pigeon flock. You can learn a lot from an otherwise ordinary and common creature.

I spend a fair amount of time with this captive audience of one hundred in their outdoor aviary. I am their provider, and their lifeline from the outside lands. I supply them with their daily ration of grains and clean water, regardless of the weather or the many other duties or time constraints I may have. I fill their pickpots with grit and minerals. I break ice from their bowls in the winter, and suffer the same stinging snows and biting winds of the day. I clean their flypen and pigeon-house, and keep a sharp eye out for the telltale signs of distress or disease. I study them closely, and through it all, they watch me too.

a pigeon with a twig in it's beak flying to build a nest

 

 

I am a constant in their lives, and a spoke in their wheel of life. I have come to know of them and their world just a little bit, and they of me. It could be said that they would rather prefer that I was not involved at all, but I am a necessary intrusion they must tolerate, at least for a brief time.

Yet, they wait for me each morning and afternoon, the anticipation building as I drive up to the entrance doors. They mill about excitedly as I approach, ready to perform just for me. I touch the door handle, and they begin their wild jig, dancing like ecstatic puppets on hidden strings. They hop about and swirl their wings like crazed whirligigs, or slap their wingtips smartly as they launch from their perch for a short flight across the pen.

They chant their pigeon talk and coo even louder as I step in through the inner doors, to become completely surrounded by frantic birds, eager to fill their crops before the other’s. They push and shoulder for each speck of grain as if their life depended on it. Perhaps they bicker and fight to establish or maintain some imperceptible pigeon pecking order, or maybe just to remind themselves that life can be a struggle. You would think that they would know by now that their will be enough food for all comers, but it is a wild ritual that they simply must abide for reasons known only to the pigeon.

We have repeated this madcap scene a few thousand times and more, the pigeons and I. It has become routine, with little deviation from the usual suspects. That is until yesterday, when our normal interaction abruptly and inexplicably changed.

It was immediately obvious when I pulled up in my truck. The absence of sound or flashing wings struck me first, and what pigeon heads I could see sat on top of outstretched necks, alert, with searching eyes. They crouched in the classic manner of all prey, with feet tucked under their bodies, coiled and ready to spring out and away from impending danger.

The birds stood frozen and paid me little mind as I entered and searched the ground for an animal intruder. I investigated the pigeon houses and the nest boxes and found nothing. I checked every nook and cranny of their limited world and came up empty. I paused to scratch my head, and ponder this puzzling circumstance.

Hand on chin, I stared at the closest pigeon and wondered, determined to discover just why he would not fly. And then he cocked his head, and I saw his eye focus on something high as he grounded himself more tightly to his perch. At that moment I spied a wide, dark shadow moving across the dirt floor, and smiled. I knew exactly what belonged in that kind of shadow, as did my fine feathered friends. All I had to do was look up, to see just exactly what it was that had struck such all-consuming fear in their hearts.

I had no doubt that the shadow maker was an eater of birds, but there were several possibilities in this category. A red-tailed hawk maybe, or a gleaming eagle from the nearby river. In this case the black shadow belonged to an animal of equal color, with a distinctively naked neck. It was not what I expected to see.

The Turkey Vulture, or Buzzard as it is sometimes called, is quite common to the American West and many parts of North America. A six-foot wingspan casts a long shadow across the land, and he covers a lot of it as he travels. That great red and bald head is immediately recognizable from afar, and known by all. His sentinel like posture and hovering demeanor create and perpetuate his iconic image. It is a form often associated with death, and it is a meaning not entirely lost on my domesticated, but anxious, pigeon flock.

The Vulture is classified as a bird of prey, after all, even though he finds most of his meals by smell after they are already dead. I suppose that it is a distinction utterly lost on the brain of a pigeon.

Continue reading In The Eyes Of A Pigeon

A Book of Home – And Life

“…We have not only regarded home itself as an institution of nature, but in the treatment of almost every subject we have tried to involve the exposition of some related natural law, because every relation of the home life is the outgrowth of some law of our nature and our surroundings. It has been our aim to make this book a scientific treatise on the various phases of the home, and in this respect, so far as we know, it stands alone.” – From The Preface

 

Front Cover Our Home Or, The Key To A Nobler Life. By C. E. Sargent
Come On In

 

Here Offered:

Our Home Or, The Key To A Nobler Life. By C. E. Sargent. Published by King, Richardson, & Co., Springfield, Massachusetts and Des Moines, Iowa, 1889. About 6″ x 8″, with 432 pages and several full page illustrations.

With chapters on the nature of the home, influences, childhood, home training, rewards and punishments, amusements for the home, education of our girls, and boys, books for the home, self culture, resolutions and individual rules of life, manners, family secrets, duties, economy of home, courage to meet life’s duties, leaving home, the widow’s home, the old-fashioned home, and much more.

Bound in decorated cloth. In Very good condition, with some general rubbing and cover wear.

$50 plus $4 shipping U.S. 

 

Front cover decorations Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.
A Nobler Life

 

Illustration Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.; The First Botony Lesson
The First Botany Lesson

 

Illustration Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.; In the Library
In The Library

 

Illustration Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.; The Shaded Retreat
The Shaded Retreat

 

Books Spoken Here – and Writing Too!

See our Catalog of 7,000 Used, Collectable, and Rare Books Here

You can search by author, title, or keyword, and more.

View  the complete list Here.

Still can’t find it? Please let us know. We may have it, in the backroom.

Michael Patrick McCarty, Bookseller

huntbook1@gmail.com
Paypal or Personal Checks accepted.

Hopefully Standing, Is Sometimes Enough

sheriffclarke1

Today, much to my surprise, I saw Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., of  Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, in my favorite Colorado breakfast spot. I even surprised myself when I took that opportunity to stand up and cross the room to say hello, and shake his hand.

For those that don’t know, Sheriff Clarke has been Sheriff of Milwaukee County since 2002 and is a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. He is a staunch proponent of self-defense and Second Amendment rights, and a champion of law enforcement done the right way. In 2013, Clarke was awarded the Sheriff of the Year Award by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, for “demonstrating true leadership and courage…staying true to his oath, true to his badge, and true to the people he has promised to serve and protect.”

He is a Hero to me, with a capital “H”, and I told him just that. Sheriff Clarke and I had never met before, and probably will not meet again. He had no idea who I was, nor had any reason to know. Not, in the end, that it really matters.

But I know a patriot and an ally when I see one. I have listened closely to the words of Sheriff Clarke whenever I could, and have found his message to ring true. My gut tells me that he is a good man, and real. Our meeting, chance and inconsequential as it was, has only reinforced that belief.

My only real intention, if there was one, was uncomplicated, and unplanned. Perhaps I looked quite foolish, standing there, in a somewhat awkward and deferential position, while the rest of the restaurant crowd looked on.

But I wanted him to know that I, for one, knew who he was, and that I appreciated what he stood for, and what he did, everyday,  for me, and for others. As you might imagine, that is usually more difficult than it sounds.

In my opinion, “We The People”, have much more to worry about than the common criminals and predatory intruders of the backyard and home. Those more obvious threats I can handle, for as the saying goes, “I don’t call 911”. In that scenario I fully intend to be the last man standing, and I will call, if and when whatever happens, happens.

What troubles me most is more insidious, and dangerous.  I wish that it was not so glaringly obvious that our constitutional rights and personal liberties are being attacked from every imaginable angle. I wish that I did not feel the need to point out that things seem to be escalating, daily. More than likely, you have already figured that out for yourself.

It is people like Sheriff Clarke that also protect us from the other bad things that slither and slather in the night, whether we know it or not. He is part of that largely unseen group of people standing on the front lines, working to preserve our rights to do what we wish to do in our home, and our backyard. They are the last line of defense before we have to take matters in our own hands. He knows, and we know, that we will do that if we need to, though we all pray that it won’t come to that.

Pray that it does not come to that.

I wish that I had done more than stand and say thank you to Sheriff Clarke today. I wish that I had an opportunity to say more than  I did. But I did stand, and that is much better than not.

Men, and women, like Sheriff Clarke, need our steadfast support. They need to know that we are paying attention to the things done by an over reaching government without our consent, and that our patience is wearing precariously thin. Our quiet, though measured resolve to preserve the best parts of our way of life should never be mistaken for weakness. No doubt he knows that, much more than most.

We have your back Sir, of that you can be sure.

I am proud that I stood, today. I stood, hesitantly, but…hopefully. Hopeful, that things in the world are not going to go the way I am afraid that they cannot help but go. Hopeful, that people like Sheriff Clarke will continue to stand, for me, and for us, and that others will also rise.

One way or the other, I will be counted. Perhaps today, the simple act of standing, and giving thanks, meant something. Perhaps a heartfelt effort from a common man, however small, was just enough. Just enough to help turn the tide of a country heading in the wrong direction. Just enough to help steel the hearts of heroes like Sheriff Clarke, and others, and the heroes in all of us.

I salute you, Sheriff Clark, …again.

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Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

Read More About Sheriff Clarke HERE