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Things are looking up down on the farm. Not that they were so bad before, but still.

Finally, after nearly a year and four catastrophic chicken massacres by our resident psychopuppy Cooper, the hens have decided to lay. They’re only a week or two late, according to the experts, and it might be that all of that early trauma put them off track for a while, but we now have hen fruits galore, saving us a few dollars at some as-yet-unknown cost to our cholesterol levels.

And this piece of news also leverages more good news. Egg sales can commence, funding the farm account, which is currently earmarked for sheep, which will make Cooper happy by giving him an outlet for his herding obsession (cats will not perform correctly no matter how he tries), which might keep him away from the chickens, allowing them to continue to lay and funding more sheep so that ... The farm economy is a complicated one.

Actually, things have been looking up for some time with the gradual socialization of Cooper, the current Chez Davis pet problem child.

Cooper is a border collie, a breed of dog trained to herd sheep in all weathers, for hours and hours and miles upon miles every day.

His current employment, weighing down the non-corgi end of the couch, does nothing whatsoever to contain the boundless energy that is his genetic inheritance.

Added to the basic nonworking farm/working dog conflict is Cooper’s early upbringing by very loving owners who believe that to train a dog is to curb his natural spirit (and no, they are not hippies).

Cooper came to us knowing exactly zero commands, only partially leash-trained and with a philosophy on life so simple and carefree I’m thinking of writing a self-help book about it, which can be summed up in two short words: Eat it.

Yes, America, if it vexes you, eat it. Angry, annoying boss? Nothing a little soy sauce can’t cure. Pot-smoking kids failing out of school? Chow down!

It needs a little work, but I think I’m well on my way to writing the next “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” My working title is “Gnaw your way to the top!”

Cooper has calmed down considerably since those early days, when we ended up owing the library a good few bucks for suspiciously ragged returned books with a distinct whiff of dog spit and were well on our way to setting a Guinness record for “most useless, mismatched shoes.”

He’s even tolerating the cats a little. Instead of obsessively following one or another of the poor kitties around, his nose mere millimeters from their delicate kitty hides, he now only reacts if they’re moving, and then only until he can tell where they’re going.

I think he’s decided that even though he can’t quite herd them into the corner of his choice, it still behooves him to keep a close eye on their whereabouts, just in case.

This more relaxed attitude has pleased Pearl, the little black terror, to no end. Pearl had a traumatic kittenhood —tossed from a car, forced to live under our house eating crickets and sowbugs until we finally spied her, nearly starved to death, and rescued her with a huge bowl of kibble — which has rendered her shy and paranoid, though with a strong affectionate streak.

Cooper’s more laid-back attitude about cat monitoring these days has provoked a renaissance in Pearl’s personality. She can jump up on our bed again and does so with relish, butting her little fuzzy head into our hands for pats at all hours of the night.

She also has taken back the downstairs at night. She used to love to romp up and down the halls all night, batting random objects around and hiding under things, but Cooper put the kibosh on that by hurrying downstairs to harass her every time she started.

Of course, now I’m the one who’s kept awake, but life is full of these little trade-offs.

Commissioners ask for volunteers for boards

Charles County is seeking county residents to fill vacancies on boards, committees and commissions, including the Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board, Area Council on Aging, Board of Electrical Examiners, newly established Charter Board, Heritage Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Library Board of Trustees, Monument Commission, newly established Neighborhood Traffic Calming Task Force, newly established School Adequate Public Facilities Program and Funding Review Committee, and the Wicomico Scenic River Commission.

There are nine vacancies on the newly established Charter Board for citizen members. The board will draft a charter — a new code for governing the county — for submission to the county commissioners and then for a referendum election by the voters of Charles County.

There are five vacancies on the newly established Neighborhood Traffic Calming Task Force. There is one vacancy for a member resident in the Charles County Development District, a resident in a rural neighborhood, a member of an HOA board, a member of the volunteer fire department and a resident in a community or neighborhood with no HOA. The task force will assist the Department of Planning & Growth Management in developing a traffic calming program.

There are seven vacancies on the newly established School Adequate Public Facilities Program and Funding Review Committee. There are two vacancies for board of education members, three vacancies for citizens or parents with a child in a county public school, and two vacancies for members in the building industry. The committee will evaluate the county’s approach to ensuring adequate public facilities for schools in the development approval process.

There is one vacancy on the Library Board of Trustees for a citizen member.

Applications and a detailed list of all current vacancies are available on the at or by contacting Carol DeSoto at 301-645-0691 or

A separate application must be submitted for each membership.

Remembering Okinawa

Join the members of Chin Hamaya Cultural Center for night of Asian food and a show at 6 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Southern Maryland Christian Academy at 9805 Faith Baptist Church Road in White Plains.

Tickets for adults are $15. For senior citizens, military and children 12 or younger, they are $12.50. The event will help to raise funds for members of Chin Hamaya Daiko to travel to Okinawa in June to train with other taiko drumming groups and have chance to perform with them.

Call 301-653-4758 or go to

Library hosts blues foundation concert

The P.D. Brown branch of the Charles County Public Library will host a concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 with the Southern Maryland members of Archie Edwards Blue Heritage Foundation at the library at 50 Village St. in Waldorf.

The concert will feature country, Delta and Chicago blues.

Performers will explain the composition and history of the blues and share stories of old local bluesmen. A barbershop style jam session will follow the concert. Musicians welcome.

Call 301-645-2864.