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Muckrakers.

I despise typos. Not the typos of others…those I can stomach (though I have been known to scoff at them). But my own typos I ABHOR. I dislike any mistake I make and that includes typos, or the dreaded “unnoticed auto correct” that tosses away my “they’re” and replaces it with a “their”…or the bane of my iPhone existence: the interchanging of “gin” and “gun”. Interestingly enough I use both words frequently and though the context is usually clear enough for the reader to easily surmise which of the two I meant it bothers me that my phone would assume that I meant “gin” when I typed “gun” and vice versa. It’s just such a letdown that my phone 1) apparently doesn’t truly “get me” and 2) insists on being the one in control. Meanwhile, fatigued from the auto-correct battles and the user error typos (yes, I admit that I make many, many, MANY typographical errors that cannot be blamed on anyone or anything other than myself) there are the Tagging Battles….Anyone on Facebook knows that tagging can be easy, difficult or WAY too easy.  Add a Page account into the mix and you get a whole new front in regards to tagging. Just the other day I struggled for what seemed like hours (but in actuality was closer to about 3-1/2 minutes) to tag a farm in a post. No matter what I did the wrong farm kept popping up, sneaking through…this went on for an eternity (in this case eternity=3-1/2 minutes)..until finally I was able to actually perform the very simple task I had set out to do. I was, for a while, horrified at the thought that I might have not noticed my error and proceeded with the post and the embarrassment that would have ensued…and possible hard feelings.

The Muck Boot: Enemy No.1

The Muck Boot: Enemy No.1

All that seems pretty minor now because at least I didn’t tag the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  Or heaven forbid publicly endorse them. (Not that I would…as a matter of fact I quite often take the time to explain to folks that their support of HSUS is for a political & propaganda machine that is far more interested in ending farming, ranching, & agriculture than they are in protecting and caring for animals and that the efforts of local Humane Societies are not a result of HSUS fundraising and outreach…and I do so with civility and without vitriol). Now the presumably good folks The Original Muck Boot Company, did not have as much luck as I did in avoiding an unfortunate tag and if you would like to read a little bit on the backstory of this whole issue you can check out Ryan Goodman’s post. The whole point is that at some point someone somewhere may have confused A Humane Society with a THE Humane Society and to make matters worse someone posted something that probably shouldn’t have been on Facebook on Facebook (NOBODY I know has ever had that happen or been guilty of something so ridiculous or possibly wine induced, I am sure…) and then it happened….a full fledged assault on the makers of Muck Boots across multiple media platforms and I have heard that a permit for the burning of Muck boots is in the works. All because of a couple pics and a tag on Facebook. Or was it?

In fact the uproar wasn’t because of the posts on the Muck Boot page. The uproar was from the Muckraking that ensued. (cut me some slack-I spent so much time writing papers on muckrakers that there is NO WAY IN HELL I am going to pass up the opportunity to work it into this -I mean really, the name of the company is MUCK!!!!). The fact is that we farmers are a passionate lot. We work hard. We work an awful lot. We get really dirty, really tired, and really don’t get paid well most of the time and on top of that, we get really picked on by a lot of folks who basically get paid to pick on us. And disparage us. And attack us. And vilify us. And HSUS is one of those organizations that spends a LOT of time and a LOT of money doing all of that. Needless to say, when someone appears to be supporting the people or entity that spends most of their energy trying to destroy your life and way of life things get a little heated. And this was no exception.

I’m not someone to be trifled with. I am quite capable of getting my dander up. Feathers get ruffled. Teeth get gnashing. There have been times that a bit of frothing at the mouth occurred. BUT, I have learned that a little bit of research and a LOT of patience is usually the best course of action. When trying to find out what exactly the issue was the only results from web searches turned out to be the anger and crowd sourced Kraken that had been released overnight. Though full of very imaginative ways to dispose of Muck boots and where exactly they could be stored it didn’t really help to explain the issue at hand-quirky little Milkmaid questions like: “How much money was raised?”, “Was this a corporate wide fundraiser?”, “Why does the quality of the picture look NOTHING like the normal images the Facebook page posts?”, you know…things like that. I will admit that a few years ago I gave up my cheap, go to, readily available Yellow Tail wine when I found out they had provided a donation to HSUS. Of course I was getting a bit tired of the Aussies and was ready to start delving into the Argentinian and Chilean grapes so…I can’t really say that I made a stand as much as I made a bold palate change, and though many who know me would daresay that the loss of my wine purchases were surely felt by the company, I am confident (and keep telling myself) that I don’t drink THAT much wine. My point it that I wasn’t ready to set Muck Boots in my sights, and even though I realized around noon time that there were a pair of Muck boots in our household (I tripped over the pair that belongs to The Farmer’s Daughter and thought, “Oh. We do own a pair.”) I was in no way prepared to purge the house of them because I didn’t have the facts-like the folks who often comment and attack we farmers about our “veal houses” (we know them as hutches) or the folks who proclaim our neighbours and fellow farmers are “Monsanto shills” simply because when it comes to raising calves or the use of biotechnology they are without the facts and information. So I wait. Listen to the beat of my own drummer. Swim a bit upstream. And though I got bit dirty today in the cornfield I didn’t get down in the Muck, because the only Muck I will get down in is the Muck I know…not that which is raked up by others. No matter how passionately, honestly or well-intentioned it may be, the reality is that without all the facts and knowledge Muckraking is Muckraking and before I rake Muck over the coals I remember that it never feels good to be vilified just because someone doesn’t have the facts.

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