It’s a Race!

A number of communications companies are working to provide true broadband service to more rural places. Here’s what I’m hearing:

Wild Blue, using a ViaSat satellite, is currently available. However, it doesn’t support VoIP, according to their website, and it has a 17,000 Mb limit per month, which is still better than Hughesnet’s 300 Mb per day limit. Both companies are now touting their new satellites to be launched by the end of the year, saying that they will have VoIP. Both are priced around $70 per month.

There is some cellphone, and wireless aircard, service that actually reaches here, but again, there are speed and download limits. None provide VoIP capabilities, which are crucial to my job. Their prices run between $60 to $120 per month.

Frontier Communications just bought all of Verizon’s rural communications land lines, hoping to provide DSL service to the countryside. They are saying that DSL should be here by Christmas. Their price is around $20 and there is no daily or monthly limit.

So, we’re still waiting to see what will happen. I’m tired of holding my breath.

What NOT to Do in the Country: A Farmer’s Rant

We have visitors to the farm. Unfortunately, they weren’t invited. For some reason, people feel free to dump their domestic animals on any open land they find, namely farms. We currently have feral cats we can’t catch and one poor little bunny that we finally were able to help. The reason we can catch her now is because she has gotten sick and has stopped running away from us. That’s not a good thing.

I am now faced with the reality of becoming responsible for these animals or watching them suffer from sickness, winter cold, and starvation as they try to survive in a wild environment. If I don’t take this little rabbit to the vet, pay for her care, and find her a permanent home, she will die over the winter and it won’t be pleasant. I’m really forced to pay for her. I don’t, in good conscience, have a choice.

Because there are so many skunks and racoons here, we can’t capture the feral cats in a standard trap and I’m afraid we may never be able to. More is the sadness for them and the songbirds they sometimes feed on. Dumping, also, can turn into a dangerous situation. I have a rancher friend who has to protect his herds from packs of feral dogs who roam freely across his land, without fear of humans. They are tough to catch and, especially around kids, can be extremely hazardous.

The neighbor had a really good idea. Anyone who dumps an animal, abdicating their proper responsibility, should themselves be dumped on some strange urban street somewhere and forced to survive a homeless existance for a couple of months. Then maybe they would understand. There are so many no-kill shelters and re-homing services for people who need to give up an animal, that there is absolutely no excuse for dumping. It’s just laziness and cowardice.