I've decided to turn my attention to the latest picture from Knucklebump Farm and giggle at the sweet faces of Taylor Blake and her emu, auspiciously named Emmanuel Todd Lopez.
Knucklebump Farm is a small "hobby farm", located in sizzling south Florida, "where animals wreak havoc on their caretakers and revolt against education".
They specialize in miniature cattle but there are emus like ETL who loves to peck on Taylor's iPhone while she's trying to teach a class, a deer who just loves the taste of human flesh, and a black swan who chooses violence "faster than Tristan Thompson chooses a new baby mama."
Lately, Taylor and her fiance, Kristian, have taken in an old dog, a cow herder, who was starved and emaciated with large open sores on his haunches, is crippled by arthritis, and was abandoned on the side of the road. They named him Old George, gave him food and a bed and toys and lots and lots of love - oh, and treatment by a Vet - and well, by gosh, Old George is walking and living his best life.
Sometimes, they even put a blanket down on the grass for him so he can visit with the cattle that look very much like the cows he's herded most of his life.
They've also taken in Axel, a teeny-tiny newborn German Shepherd pup who, for some unknown reason, was bitten by his mother and had his skull crushed in the process.
Axel has also gotten expert Vet care and, for a while, we didn't think he'd make it but he's doing okay now - walking a little wobbly, and his head tilts to the side but looks like Axel gonna make it, after all.
The sad news the other day was that Tiny Norman, a Berkshire pig who was born about 3/4 of the weight he was supposed to, and after a really strong rally and after Taylor spent 6 hours at the Vet on only 2 hours of sleep, lost his battle and died.
We almost lost Emmanuel just 5 months ago when a strain of Avian Flu came to Knucklebump Farm and killed off hundreds of their chicks, hens, and roosters.
Taylor spent four months sleeping in the barn with this emu, nursing him round the clock back to health. For a while there, he couldn't walk and couldn't lift his head to feed himself, but all of that is just past history now.
You may have seen clips of Taylor and Emmanuel on Twitter or Instagram or FaceBook (search: eco sister). The setup is that Taylor is broadcasting a lesson on one of the farm animals on her iPhone and Emmanual comes by, at first very curious about the iPhone and then, not at all happy that this ... thing... is getting more of Taylor's attention than he is.
The video is hilarious documentation of Taylor saying, "Emmanuel Todd Lopez, don't do it. Don't. Do. It. EMMANUEL TODD LOPEZ! Don't. Do. It!! Do NOT choose violence today."
All the while, ETL is pecking away and then, the iPhone topples over and Taylor expresses her distress while ETL looks down at the iPhone and we get an up-close and personal "inside look" at the nostrils on Emmanuel's beak.
Emmanuel has sisters, Ellen and Regina, who also disrupt the videos, but not with the same frequency as Emmanuel.
Here, you can watch this clip and get all caught up on their antics:
Personally? I think this is a brilliant (if not Great) Litany to start Lent. It's the story of the Garden of Eden. All of God's creatures are cursed and blessed with curiosity. We're all tempted. We all fall short of the mark. It's in our nature.
I think, "Emmanuel Don't Do It" has a much nicer sound than the stiffly British refrain of "Spare us, Good Lord."
But, that's just me. I'm sure many of my devoted Anglo-Catholic brothers (and, it's mostly the brothers) are holding their heads in both hands and sighing deeply.
It's okay. We differ on this every year, but we still love one another.
Tomorrow, also in my branch of Christianity (Jesus said he is the vine, we are the branches John 15), we will be reading the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness right after his baptism in the Jordan by John. (Mt 4:1-11). The passage ends with "Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him."
I take great hope in the fact that even after we have endured the tedious, outdated solemn antiquity of The Great Litany, we will be ministered to by an angel or two, sent to wait on us and revive us.
So, I join Taylor in wishing you a wonderful Saturday, filled with hope and love and promise and good deeds done well.
And, as my people in Portugal, the Azores, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal, & São Tomé and Príncipe are of't wont to say. . . .
"Bom dia, meus amigos!"