Herds

francescalvesinfield

Frances, in the back looking at the camera.  Her own calf, in the foreground looking at the camera.  And a few of the other calves, hanging out.

We have total of ten bull calves at the moment, although only seven are out in the field with Frances.

They are her herd.  She’s Boss Cow. She loves it.  She does not want to be a mother after the first hour or so, but she loves, loves, loves having her boys later on when they are weaned.

It’s an instinct. She can’t help it.

Cattle are prey animals. They tend to herd up because there is safety in numbers.

Predators pick off the weak and vulnerable members of the herd.  They go after whoever is lagging behind, or whoever is older or younger and can’t keep up.  There is safety in staying in the middle, with the pack.

But you know what?  That’s not just a tiny herd of cattle in that photo. Those are all individuals.  Frances is obvious.  Her calf is obvious to me because I know what he looks like. He and all the others have ear tags. On those tags is information that tells us who they are (actually, who their dam is) so that when they go to the dairy, their papers can be properly filled out (these are all registered Jerseys).

Furthermore, each one of them has a personality.  Frances’ calf is friendlier, and we have to sort of shun him at this point because you don’t want a Jersey bull calf to be friendly.  He’ll start considering himself a human and that’s how farmers get killed.

There’s one little guy out there we call Houdini.  He managed to get out of his pen and into the paddock with the bigger calves one day. He had a wonderful time, but scared the shit out of us when we couldn’t find him.  He’s curious as hell and a total pain in the ass.

Those calves are all individuals.

And so are “trolls.”

All the critics, every single one, are individuals with different levels of interest in various things, with different experiences.

If you made a set of all the people who have ever criticized the Naugler parents, it would contain a whole lot of people.  Hundreds and hundreds of people.

Then you have the set of all the people who the Nauglers have pissed off, wronged, insulted, cheated or otherwise alienated, and that’s another huge set of people.

Some of those people criticized them once or twice online, failed for some reason to catch Nicole or Joe’s eye, and moved on about 18 months ago, having never looked at the story again.

Others fell in the rabbit hole and have never climbed back out. (I’m raising my hand here.)

Probably most people in that set fall someplace in the middle.

Some have had personal experience at the hands of either Joe or Nicole, personal negative experience, and have come by their enmity that way. Others have interacted with them online and been put off by that. And still others just find the whole debacle interesting as hell and can’t look away.

Nicole and Joe lump us all together. I know I’ve said this often, but I get very tired of it.  I am not a Siamese twin to Lisa.  I am not Al’s puppet.  None of us agree all the time about anything.

Some of the “trolls” are liberals, like me. Some are very conservative. Some have never said what they think about politics so I have no idea. Some are religious. Others are not.  Some are vehemently critical and like to rant and rave about it (often a bit too much from my point of view).  Still others are way more generous (often a bit too much from where I’m sitting).

Some of the “trolls” are very active. Others sit back quietly and watch. Most are in-between.

Nicole and Joe claim that somehow “the trolls” encompass one monolithic group that moves like a school of fish.  One group, with one purpose, moving in sync.

It’s not like that, of course. Life is never like that.

But we’re sort of a herd, in a way. A community has built up around this subject, something like the community that has built up around the subject of, say, cloth diapers, or making ukuleles.  You can find an online group or groups encompassing any subject you can imagine.  I bet everyone reading this has made friends online because of all sorts of different things, from music to knitting to political activism.

We’re a herd in the way that those calves are a herd. Notice in the photo that they aren’t in any particular position. They are facing every which way.  Some are looking at the camera. Others are ignoring it. And there are two calves who were someplace else when the photograph was taken.  What they have in common is that they are all Jersey bull calves (except Frances who is a cow).

Nobody tells anyone else what to write. Nobody dictates which pages do what, or even what page exists or how it’s run or anything even remotely resembling that. I’ve made it abundantly clear that I object to much of what occurs on Facebook and that’s why I don’t participate there.  But that doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to me or react to what I say, and they don’t.

What we have in common, and the only thing we have in common, is that for one reason or another, we’re following the Naugler saga, the one the Naugler parents have chosen to advertise and promulgate online widely and publicly.  Period.

We band together, disparate though we are, in very large part because prey animals have an instinct to do that.  There is safety in numbers, and there are predators out there.

30 thoughts on “Herds”

  1. Very well said. Joe and Nicole popped up on my newsfeed almost two years ago. I read some articles and wondered who in the hell they thought they were fooling. I’m still down the rabbit hole because they are the gift that keeps on giving. You just can’t look away.

    If reading this blog and thinking that the Nauglers are their own worst enemy makes me a “troll”, so be it. I now know more about cows and composting than I ever thought possible. Thank you, Sally.

  2. Still thinking about this instead of making dinner, so I would like to add the following. Joe and Nicole, I don’t like bullies, blowhards, or hypocrites. I don’t like parents who refuse their children an education because “muh rights”. I don’t like people who go through life refusing to take responsibility for their actions. I don’t like people who don’t try to help themselves, and expect others to come their aid. Over. And Over. And Over Again. And I really, really don’t like people who don’t pay child support. This is why I am here.

    Now, to dinner.

  3. I’m atheist, a very infrequent commenter, non-partisan (I vote left or right based on my stance on individual issues, which doesn’t put me into a political category), and I don’t know a single person involved in this mess, in real life or online but I guess I would be considered a part of the same troll group by NN because I do think her parenting is neglectful. I got drawn into this mess because I made one comment about an article posted by a naugler site, respectfully and politely disagreeing with their conclusions. Immediately, my hometown and a friend was referenced in the reply to my comment, proving that they had trolled my page, and were trying to intimidate me by showing me they could findmy personal information, contact my friends, etc. Since then, I just lurk and hope that karma will catch up with them.

  4. Thank you, Alexandra, for that comment. You are typical of so many. One negative comment is all it takes if it happens to hit Joe or Nicole wrong, or at the wrong time, or if they see you as an easy mark or something.

  5. Isn’t it a beautiful thing! Just as America is a melting pot, so are the Naugler critics. Every one is unique, in their own special way. It’s unrealistic to imagine a collective, all encompassing, monolithic group of trolls. If anyone has ever attempted to organize a group of people with like interest in an issue or whatever, for a collective call to action. And to have these people, all individually and voluntarily, to all do some specific call to action. It would be a formidable feat.

    To name everyone that is critical, as a troll, well that’s just profiling. And profiling is not cool, Nicole and Joe. Why, you’ve even fought the profiling. Maybe that is why you added the “quasi” to the list of descriptive on the BLH page. Because you are different from the average off the grid, homesteading, and what not.

    Let’s turn the table. What if every follower was profiled as a supporter? As in putting their money where their support lies. Let me ponder that.

    Oh, and many times I learn of other critics, by Nicole. She leads me to them. I am frequently amused, discovering how large the “herd” is or has been all along.

  6. Unfortunately the Nauglers will lump all critics into one mob. I had known the Nauglers some years before and saw them as an implosion in progress even then. When they became internationally news worthy I naturally became interested. I viewed many sites that urged caution in supporting the Nauglers and watched the absolutely cruel and predatory vitriol heaped upon those who thought the Nauglers brought their misfortune on themselves or were living more akin to homelessness than homesteading. There were other sites and blogs where the counter-Naugler vitriol was pretty intense. This blog is the only one I will comment on because it protects my privacy and identity and the blog author remains objective and substantive. It is unfortunate that the Nauglers advertise their folly in such detail because it does invite unflattering commentary. Most people learn to avoid airing their dirty laundry. The Nauglers have not and, predictably, blame others for the unflattering commentary.

  7. grind some Himalayan Pink Sea Salt on that

    Only if it’s the organic, non-GMO kind with no chemicals. 🙂

  8. I don’t recall how the Naugler situation first came to my attention, but my goodness it did catch my eye. It was so over the top. They had to be wrongly persecuted.

    They weren’t. They still aren’t.

    When I commented on Facebook regarding my opinion and why I had come to that conclusion, I must have hit a nerve. Imagine my surprise to discover that I was not only a Troll ™, I didn’t exist at all! I was a “sock”. I had never heard the term. Then I learned all about “doxxing”. They were again frustrated in their attempt to do so.

    Didn’t stop them from naming me to their infamous list.

    Joe, Nicole – please cast your eyes over the following link. Yes, it epitomizes you both. In addition I wish to bang on an old maxim. One with which you should be acquainted. If not, I fervently hope it will be driven home to you. “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

    http://www.aija.org.au/Mental%20Health%202010/Papers/Lester%20PPT.pdf

  9. I have no doubt that karma will catch up with the Nauglers. Hell, if “karma” doesn’t, “stupid” certainly will.

    Their misery will be 100% self inflicted.

    There are no plans to end baby production. Will it end in “Home-death” for mom, baby, or both? No one knows. Would is surprise anyone? Not remotely. But I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, so I hope like hell they continue to be insanely lucky in that regard.

    The perfect fitting punishment in my mind…for Nicole and Joe’s crimes against their children and the community….is inevitable, and is already coming to pass.

    There comes that moment in almost every parent’s life, when your adult children leave home. When your adult children turn out to have different ideas, preferences, beliefs. When your adult children look you in the eye and say…..you know, I really love you Mom and Dad….but, in case you’re wondering….these are some examples of exactly how you failed me. I was there for every fuck up you ever made….and you hurt me.

    There is nothing on Earth more excruciating than being criticized and having your faults exposed by the people who arguably known you better than you know yourself…because they are yours….and they’ve sat as witnesses of you their whole lives.

    Maybe it will be in response to why the inlaws get more holidays, or why the inlaws are asked to babysit while Joe and Nicole are politely overlooked. Maybe it will be the different beliefs sons and daughter in laws bring into their adult kid’s lives…..but it’s coming. The chickens will come to roost for decades of trainwreck parenting, selfish decisions, abject poverty and education neglect.

    How many years until Joe and Nicole hear…

    “I can’t hold a job because Dad never did, because you never sent me to school and I always felt inferior and different, because I learned to smoke pot and live like this….from you.”

    How many will be at risk for relationship issues driven by years of living out of step with society? How many spouses will have patience with these learned behaviors? How many will divorce and struggle with visitation rights and depression?

    How many will have fights with spouses about money and the police and homeschooling the kids?

    How many will simply adapt to their spouse’s philosophies? Even if they’re in complete conflict with Joe and Nicole’s?

    Have to admit, it would tickle me greatly….if one of the kids married someone in law enforcement, education, health or human services. LOL. Can you imagine?

    On the other extreme, how many will carry on their parent’s beliefs and end up with a self inflicted medical injury to themselves of a grandchild, or find themselves in trouble with CPS and the law?

    Sometimes I think about Nicole’s mom. The tough time she’s had with Nicole’s extremism, with being rejected by her daughter and excluded from her grandchildren’s lives.

    Makes me think about that whole….”I hope you have a child just like you” thing.

    Worse than the rest….I fear that teaching children their whole lives to defy the police could have unforeseen tragic consequences. Teaching them to pick up guns to defend their “rights”. What a recipe for disaster.

    Someday, I truly believe the Nauglers will have regrets for their choices that have nothing at all to do with their critics…and everything to do with themselves.

    I know that day is coming.

    That in mind? It’s pretty easy to let it all go. Just let it go and let that fruit ripen until it rots.

    Also, I don’t know if ya’ll have noticed this, but without negative attention? Nicole pushes the envelop harder and harder. She gives social services more and more damning evidence…when she’s desperate for that negative reaction she craves because she can feel victimized it by and play victim to it.

    I think the best thing to do is to leave her alone and let her get so desperate for a negative reaction…that she ups the ante and posts something so damning that she hangs herself.

    Leaving the bitch completely alone and forgetting her dumb ass…probably bothers her more than anything in the world we could say or do.

  10. For years, I followed a woman’s blog that chronicled her life with her husband and ever expanding family as they chiseled away on a piece of raw land, living in a very small trailer, struggling to get well water pumped into their trailer, keeping the generator going until they could get on grid for power, and explaining their meticulous efforts at humanure composting. At times, their neighbors were not always easy to get along with but in spite of the not-so-easy-going-neighbors, she and her husband always won them over. She pointed me to the rabbit hole that was the story of the Naugs, and after reading the news and looking at all those horrible pictures, I found them on FB and later started reading their blog. BTW, their journey was nothing like the other family who struggled to improve the land they bought in much the same way the Naugs bought their land. She homeschooled her children and I believe all her older children are now in college and are making very good grades and one has excelled above the others in her composition course.

    I, too, made the mistake to try to correct the Naug’s errors; in particular, I tried to provide links about composting human crap and was met with such hateful comments, I immediately put my FB on lockdown. I wanted to go straight to Joe’s FB page and unload on him, but, instead, I found this blog and began reading and reading. I think the first few days, all I did was read. I slowly entered the so called herd and have not once looked back.

    I know that Freud discussed at length mob behavior and mentality in terms of herd behavior, so when others refer to us as mobs of haters or herds of stalkers, I wonder how in the hell they can see us in those terms. I consider all those who comment and those who lurk members of a community. I suppose some may see our community as a herd of like-minded people, but I’ve watched herds and when one is spooked, they usually all run, but members of this community are able to distinguish between what angers them, what is funny, what is interesting, and what they want more of of and when one bolts, the rest of us stay.

    Sally started the community, and I try to play by her rules. I don’t always comment on all the post because so many times others say what I am thinking and say it so much better. I also don’t always agree with Sally or some of the members, and I try not to be contentious and if I am reproached, I try to bite my tongue. That’s how members of a community behave. If this were a herd, none of us would ever disagree nor would any of us ever be warned we might be venturing too close to a line that we know we shouldn’t cross…that certainly isn’t herd like behavior.

    So, true to the atheists that I am, let me share a nice little illustration that has some value towards demonstrating what’s right under the AR sun. Someone ran over an armadillo, and it was dead and in front of my house. One thing is for sure in AR, whether you are driving on a highway, a dirt road, or even through town, road kill is a for sure and 9 out of 10 times, that road kill will be an armadillo. I had my son take the poor dead armadillo to bury in the field way behind our garden, but my son decided to leave it for the coyotes and didn’t tell me. Also in AR, if you live near a wooded area, you will see your fair share of coyotes, deer, wild turkeys, wild pigs, and wild dogs. A “herd” of vultures began swarming overhead over the next day or so, and I didn’t know that my son had not buried the armadillo; I was afraid that a poor stray that had been dumped had died (I am putting out food for the dog and am trying to catch it so I can take her to the vet and get her some medical care). I headed off with the grandkids’ wagon just in case the dog was alive but unable to walk, and I saw those damn buzzards brutally attacking something. At first, couldn’t see what they were tearing apart or I would have left them to their beneficial eating. But, I just couldn’t let them eat the stray dog that could have still been alive so I started yelling and throwing rocks and sticks at the damn buzzards. All but one flew up into a tree. The one that didn’t fly away held tight to the carcass of the armadillo and even gave me the stink eye. I see each of our members in much the same way I saw the buzzard that held strong to the dead armadillo’s carcass, we may not feel passion over each and every blog posting or responses, but we do hold on because we know someone is going to say something that will earn a “can I hear an amen?” I know this isn’t an exact metaphor for who we are, but it does illustrate the individuality of the buzzards. I think of each member of our group as being the lone survivor, but instead of picking the body apart, we deconstruct the stories that the Naug’s post. I think sometimes we appear to be beating a dead horse, but, for the most part, we are after the truth and are not bullies. I guess what I have to say is that here on Sally’s blog, there are no sheep and there damn sure aren’t any wolves. We enter the portals of this blog freely and we practice free speech and free will and if any one disputes the status of the members, all he or she really needs to do is look through the comments and he or she will realize that we are not one voice but many voices. I think it is important to say that we do all have very good and active lives and are not just hanging out because we are losers with no life like some who shall remain anonymous.

  11. I never was a Naug ‘supporter’. The first news story I read about them had a photo of the children lying in the dirt with the goats and vomiting because they ate ‘bad pancakes’.

    That picture still haunts me. Her cavalier ‘true campers’ blog post made my blood run cold.

    I don’t have kids but whenever one of my dogs gets sick I rush them to the vet. It’s very upsetting! I certainly don’t take pictures of them and write stupid Facebook posts about them, trying to minimize their suffering.

    I’m interested in the Nauglers as an innocent bystander who just can’t look away. I feel for anyone who has had to deal with them, in person or online.

  12. Became deeply interested in psychology in the 90’s while taking a few classes at the local college; it was my minor. Enough so that I read books on the subject for enjoyment. I’ll just drop this here in case anyone else enjoys the same. I am sure you can see some similarities 🙂
    Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia

  13. grind some Himalayan Pink Sea Salt on that and call it done…

    Don’t forget – it’s not just Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. It’s MAGICAL Himalayan Pink Sea Salt!

  14. This is a great group of people and we are all so different. I’m conservative, baptized LDS and work as a probation officer ooh evil LE. On her Personal Facebook page I was called a troll for calling her out on her anti police propaganda and hate. Losing one police officer is too many in my book so her vialness was too much for me. Our department took a hit a couple years ago when some creep killed one of ours and a fellow brother from another county. It was a crazy multi jurisdictional search and was truly a dark day for us as a county and LE family. So her lumping all LE as bad is crap in my book. Yes there are some bad but most of us are great honest people doing a tough job. She wanted nothing to do with open and honest conversation and just posted bs stuff with her stupid memes. I also called her out on her Blessed Facebook page for her poor parenting and unsafe living environment. I was called a stalker and troll for that and banned. They even tried to post my Facebook stuff but I’m smart and have my page LOCKED down. Guess she thought I was scared oooh nope.

  15. I too will only comment here. I have talked with Nicole , I first was suckered in because I have property in Irvington, not far from the Nauglers and thought it would be nice to know someone from the area. So I visited the BLH blog and saw the pictures of the kids sick , laying in the dirt with the animals all around, that did it for me.

  16. A “herd” of vultures began swarming overhead over the next day or so,

    Did you just refer to all of us as buzzards? LOL Nicole will probably adopt that one.

  17. Anytime I come across stories of cps im intrigued. 90% of the time im reading what the parents neglected to do and wonder , who would deny their kids things? Why cant you provide and if you cant why aren’t you accepting help? There is no shame in asking for help..none what so ever. There is shame in repeatitve behavior of not providing medical care, SHOES, clean clothes, WARM HEALTHY MEALS, A warm home, A BED, CLEAN WATER , and education. Those are rights. I would go without before i would let my kin go without. That’s what i felt like when i first read this story. Selfish parents. There is no excuse, NONE.

  18. I am a conservative, religious person but don’t preach about it because this blog has been (for the most part) about the family. The blog is informative, honest and well written. I found it really frustrating that even after many of the FB pages had been deleted or dropped last week and things were relatively quiet,,that Nicole herself just kept stirring the pot..She just keeps shooting herself in the damn foot…on a side note, last week as I was driving down a country road with my teenager, I spotted many cows. I decided to educate her on GHEE..she listened but wasn’t as impressed with the process as I was…thanks Sally

  19. I smiled reading this as it is so true.
    I got drawn into this rabbit hole after seeing the story in a newspaper. I read the BLH facebook page and then started to see that things were not as they seemed and gradually started reading other pages too. I have been an observer until very recently when I made a comment on fb …. within 12 hours of commenting I had to confirm my facebook account as it had been reported. (Probably because it was locked down so nothing could be shared!…. thankfully!) I will now only comment on your blog. It’s just not worth the repercussions on facebook.
    I don’t comment a great deal on here but I do check it out most days to see what is new. I love reading about Frances too!

    Happy to be a member of this diverse and interesting herd 🙂

  20. ” Frances’ calf is friendlier, and we have to sort of shun him at this point because you don’t want a Jersey bull calf to be friendly. He’ll start considering himself a human and that’s how farmers get killed.” aww…you have to shun the friendly bull calf? Why is it that a friendly one is a danger to farmers? (serious question) It’s okay to laugh b/c I know that I know nothing of which I speak. My knowledge of cows has come exclusively from your blog. Thank you.

  21. When this blog and several FB pages/blogs about the Nauglers went dark recently, I watched to see how Nicole would react. I think she thrives on the attention, on playing up the victim role, and on pure drama. She claims to want to be left alone, but she goes in search of any comments she deems negative to her and Joe’s choices and actions, and then she posts about how mean all the “trolls” are for picking on those choices and actions.

    She went on a picture and video posting spree, showing a poor goat chained up (what is it with Joe and his inability to build a proper enclosure for any sort of animal?), a couple of barefoot boys all covered in mud and muck, one little boy who has an old plastic chair and a couple of pieces of cast off plywood as a “fort,” and so on. I think those remaining supporters have invested so heavily in being on her side, that they cannot allow themselves to see the reality of the situation. Perhaps it’s an ego thing – they’ve been defending her so long, they can’t admit they were wrong for doing so. Or maybe they are equally bad at life as the Nauglers, so they see her and Joe as vindicating their own craptastic lifestyle. Who knows?

    I only post here, because I don’t want to be hassled by the Nauglers or any of their socks. Besides, it’s nice to know that in certain circumstances, people from all walks of life and all belief systems, can come together and peaceably participate in various discussions.

  22. Why is it that a friendly one is a danger to farmers?

    A little bull Jersey calf is about the cutest thing on the planet, only exceeded by a little heifer calf. They are just adorable. And they love to play. “Playing” involves butting heads (instinctive practice for the day when they would have horns – if we didn’t remove them – and joust with other bulls for the right to breed a cow.)

    IF we allow them to “play” with us, they get the idea that we are also calves. These are not the brightest creatures on earth. The worst case is the lone bull calf who is handled by humans and has no other calves to bond with. We avoid that if we possibly can and get a bull calf a little brother as soon as possible.

    We are not mean to them. We’re kind, but we’re pretty distant. For instance, unless there is some specific reason we want a calf to come to us, we never call them over. When they are very, very young and in the little pens, we do pet them and make over them because we are their only contact with another living being for that three week period. But then they graduate and become part of a little “herd.” Right now, we have three like that in the barn. They are a little band of brothers. We are simply their keepers.

    At around 9 months or so, they mature sexually. This is just about where our boys are out in the field – seven of them. When that happens, we start to see more and more sexual play (one bull mounts another bull – it looks ridiculous but it’s how they practice). And they become more and more dangerous to us.

    Right now, all of ours are docile. They are still quite young. At some point, they will go to the dairy. They’ll be evaluated and the best ones kept for breeding. The others will be sold. If we’ve done our job right, the chosen few will live at the dairy for several years breeding the youngest heifers. They prefer to breed those virgin heifers naturally. It’s very hard to “catch” a heifer who is just starting to cycle.

    IF a bull thinks of his humans as other bulls, he will see them as rivals. Put that bull in a pasture with a cow or cows in heat and let the farmer walk into the field and it’s a recipe for disaster. The bull will challenge him for the right to breed those cows and kill him if necessary.

    Farmers have been killed when they turned their back on a bull they raised from infancy – because the bull suddenly decided that the farmer was in his way and a rival.

    If the same bull challenged another bull, nobody would die. Farmers die because they weigh less than 200 pounds and the bull might well weigh 1400 pounds or more. He butts the farmer good, breaks his back or neck with one swift movement and it’s all over.

    And oddly enough, Jerseys are the worst about this. They go from the sweet innocent looking fellow in the banner photo above to a mean, cranky SOB. It often happens at about 3 years or so old. The dairy sends them for hamburger at that point, and I totally concur. It’s weird because there is no gentler animal on a farm than a Jersey cow, and none more dangerous than a Jersey bull.

  23. Did you just refer to all of us as buzzards? LOL Nicole will probably adopt that one.

    Actually, that wasn’t my intent; however, when you think about buzzards clearing out the trash, seems a favorable comparison. LOL

  24. Angel H-my email was locking me out because someone kept trying the password, you know how it locks down after 3 tries. Every mother f-ing day for over a month! I said one thing! One! AND it was a neutral comment, I thought, but it wasn’t ass kissing so apparently they decided to lock up my email every day. She has absolutely no ability to handle criticism and argues relentlessly over the stupidest shit. Then one of the socks made a little shoot out to me on his personal page, but we all know that’s the naugs anyways. Those sock accounts is what will get us in the end, we can’t “prove” they harass us because the socks are the accounts that actually do it.

  25. When the herd goes away then the vulnerable have no support. That’s how predators thrive.

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