The Farm Art of Jens ‘Art’ Morrison

Jens 'Art' Morrison, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was a practitioner of 'farm art'. Or, as he put it, he was a 'farmicist'. He mostly worked in ceramics and was most active during the 1970s and '80s.

By 'farm art' he meant that a) farm animals were a recurring theme throughout his work, and b) there was a heavy emphasis on quirky, folk humor in his work, as well as A LOT of bad puns (see 'farmicist'). So, 'farm art' was deliberately distinct from 'serious art'.

One of his creations was 'Juxtapachickens.' This was a series of fourteen-inch ceramic chickens. (The url leads to a site that consists solely of a picture of two skinned chickens in a pot. I have no idea if this was somehow inspired by or related to Morrison's work. I'm guessing not.)

Far more elaborate was his "artillogical" discovery of the "Farmounians," who he claimed were the ancient, original settlers of Iowa. As he put it:

About 450 B.C. (before ceramics), the Farmounians crossed the Boaring Straits, sailed down the River Swine, and settled in the eastern basins of Iowania, to farm the fertile fields and rolling hills. The ancient glyphs and corntainers are imporktant because they depigt the lifestyles and legends of the Farmounians: the mysteries of the Corn Cult, the age of Barcornius, and the winter dwelling or Pigloo. These frelics of the daily rituals, banal activities, and peculiar characteristics make Farmounian art unique in the western world.

He created (or 'discovered') numerous artifacts of these Farmounians, such as 'corntainers' that displayed ancient-looking ceramic reliefs he called 'Pigtaglyphs'. He said he was just providing 'infarmation' about this ancient culture.

Morrison even wrote a book about the Farmounians — A History of Farmounia. He described it as a 'Historical Gehography'. It's an obscure work, but there's a copy available on abebooks for $33.66 (plus $34 shipping from the UK to US).

Posted By: Alex - Tue Oct 12, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Farming, Art

A Moose for Jessica

In 1987, a wild moose fell in love with what zoologists refer to as a "biologically inappropriate object". His love interest was a cow named Jessica who lived on the Vermont farm of Larry Carrara.

For over two months the moose displayed courtship behavior towards Jessica. He followed her all around, would rest his head on her back, or would push hay toward her as a food offering.

The moose and Jessica

Over 75,000 sightseers came out to Carrara's farm to witness this interspecies romance.

Finally, after 76 days, rutting season came to an end and the moose lost interest in Jessica and wandered back into the wild.

The moose

The romance between the moose and Jessica inspired the book A Moose for Jessica, written by Pat Wakefield with photographs by Larry Carrara. It's available on Amazon, or you can read it for free at

More info: wikipedia, New England Living

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 10, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Cows, Books, 1980s, Love & Romance

Gee Geronimo the Snail

I'm not aware of many famous snails. Gee Geronimo, as far as I know, may be the only one. Back in the 1970s, the Guinness Book of Records declared him to be the world's biggest snail. His owner was Christopher Hudson. Gee Geronimo died in 1976.

Christopher Hudson with Gee Geronimo
source: 1978 Guinness Book of Records

Connellsville Daily Courier - Nov 27, 1976

Hudson was apparently more in love with his snails than he was with his wife.

Honolulu Advertiser - Feb 4, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 15, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, World Records, Marriage, 1970s

The Attack-Trained Iguanas of Irenee du Pont

Irénée du Pont was president of the Du Pont Company from 1919 to 1925, and remained on its board of directors until 1958.

He built a mansion named Xanadu down in Cuba, where he trained iguanas to attack and kill on his command. Details from Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Gerard Colby:

the most bizarre of Irénée's pastimes was his large collection of iguanas. Irénée spent thousands of dollars to breed, feed, and keep these crocodile-like lizards in specially constructed pens. Some of these tough, vicious lizards grew to 3 feet in length under Irénée's loving care, and more than once the old industrialist was seen marching about with one of these ugly beasts crawling next to him on a leash. Irénée derived a peculiar kind of pleasure from these lizards. By barking a command, he could make them all come out of their pens and surround him, standing at attention. He had trained them, on another command, to attack a target to kill. It was an appalling example to the Cubans of the degeneracy of the idle rich. In a moment of the bizarre captured for history, a Life photographer in 1957 recorded old Irénée feeding his iguanas papaya from a jar at a time when most of the Cuban population was suffering from malnutrition.

"Irénée du Pont, 80, bends to pat an iguana on his Cuban estate where many of these lizards wander. He feeds them papaya from jar he holds"
Life - Aug 19, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 08, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Eccentrics

Crocodile Teasing at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo

The head in mouth bit comes after the four-minute mark.

The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 26, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Death, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Asia

1965 Vogue Lingerie Feature

To see larger images of every page, go to link.

CAUTION: NSFW pop-ups might intervene!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Fashion, Underwear, Surrealism, 1960s

Madeleine Ravier’s Bicycle for Animals

Humans have invented mechanical devices, such as bicycles, that allow us to move faster by amplifying the power of our limbs. Madeleine Ravier of Paris argued that what works for people should also work for animals. So she invented and, in 1907, patented a "Cycles pour animaux," or 'bicycle for animals'.

Her patent is in French, but the automatic translation is fairly comprehensible. Here's part of it.

Man has understood the vital interest he had in developing the means to go fast, long and far; for this purpose, he enslaved animals to his use, he acquired science, in particular mechanical science, and he used it to employ at his pleasure, or almost, some of the different forms of energy , like heat, electricity, chemical affinity.

Quite recently (less than 50 years ago), understanding the imperfection of his own limbs, he endowed them with mobile mechanisms, he put cycles, devices formed of 2 or 3 wheels between the legs. and of a few light and simple organs, with which he has prodigiously increased the extent of his movements without the help of external energy.

He thus achieved 370 kilometers in 12 hours (cyclist Cadolle), and even 45,764 kilometers (record of cyclist Bouhours), while excellent athletes, on their limbs, did not achieve, at most, at the same time of 12 hours than the already very high distances of 113 kilometers (walker 5o Hibbird) or ikh kilometers (rowell runner)....

What man did for himself he can do it for animals, or at least for some of them; There is a way to increase the efficiency of their limbs by the intercalation, between these limbs and the field of motion, of mechanical devices receiving the reciprocating motion of the limbs, transforming it into continuous rotary motion, and ending in rotating parts; and the result obtained can be used to make animals move man faster and farther than has hitherto been done by using them.

Ravier imagined making bicycles for all kinds of animals including "mules, donkeys, elephants, camels, dromedaries, etc.". But she started with a bicycle for horses, as shown below.

I have no idea if she ever built and tested one of these horse bicycles. The language barrier makes researching this a challenge.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 08, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles, Inventions, 1900s

Company seeks frozen sparrows

1978: The Taiei Company of Japan contacted the U.S. State Department seeking an American company willing to provide it with frozen sparrows "at regular intervals". The company was ready to "give guidance on how to catch small birds and how to process them".

Bangor Daily News - Jan 14, 1978

According to the British Food History site, sparrows used to be a common part of the British diet.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 28, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Food, 1970s

Horse Spike

In 1899, Patent No. 636,430 was granted to Franz and Konrad Hieke of Philadelphia for what they described as "cavalry equipment". It was essentially a large spike attached to the front of a horse. From their patent:

This invention relates to cavalry equipment; and it has for its object the provision of novel means for protecting the horse from the missiles of the enemy and in the provision of a cutting projection designed to injure the enemy or cause him to evade the projection by stepping to one side where an attack by the rider would be effective.

A better view:

Argos Reflector - Feb 8, 1900

I wonder if one of these was ever actually used in combat?

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 22, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Weapons, Nineteenth Century

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