Saturday, March 30, 2013


By Julie Rahm
     Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated hoofed animals, or ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae. Cattle are raised for meat, dairy, and as draft animals. About 10,500 years ago in southeast Turkey, eighty cattle were first domesticated resulting in an estimated 1.3 billion cattle in the world today. Here are a few quick notes on cow terminology. Thank you 4H Club!
     A cow is an adult female that has had a calf. Calves are the young cattle of either sex. When weaned, the calves become weaners. When weaners become a year old, they become feeder calves or simply feeders. After that, feeders between one and two years of age are yearlings. Heifers are females, less than three years old, without calves. Occasionally, a young female with only one calf is called a first-calf heifer. A springer is a cow or heifer close to calving. My husband, John, says he has dated a few heifers, which leads me to my next point. Castrated males are called steers. “Intact” adult males are bulls. In Australia, if called a “micky”, you are a wild, young unmarked (unbranded) bull. And, bulls are not enraged by the color red. In fact, cattle are red-green color blind. The use of red capes for bullfighting fostered the myth. It is the movement of the fabric that irritates the bull and incites it to charge. Are you still with me?
     Despite what we learned in elementary school, cattle only have one stomach with four compartments. Cattle use indigestible foods by regurgitating and re-chewing as "cud". The cud is then re-swallowed and further digested. In this way cattle can decompose cellulose and other carbohydrates into fatty acids for use as their primary fuel. This ability allows cattle to thrive on grasses and other vegetation.
     So, I tell you about cows and cattle in order to tell you this. Your thoughts are like cattle in a pasture. Your mind is the fence that keeps the cattle contained. Often, our minds are not our friends. Too often, our mind does a poor job containing our unproductive or unhealthy thoughts. The fence breaks down, the cattle escape and unhealthy thoughts start to take control. If allowed, your mind can release a stampede of unproductive thinking that can ruin your day.
     For example, I had one coaching client who was pre-disposed to misperception and misinterpretation. Her mind would allow her “cattle thoughts” to break loose and stampede out of the pasture. Sadly, her misperception created personal turmoil and artificial challenges. To further the example, if her husband was late, he might be having an affair or might be in an automobile accident! This client needed a round-up to get the cattle back in the pasture and some insight to realize her mind was doing a poor a job at controlling her negative thoughts.  My point is that insight is the key. To develop your insight, join me at 

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Rest of the Story

By Julie Rahm


For the previous two weeks I have written about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914. I received a lot of kudos and comments about his story. I confess to omitting some lesser details about the saga. Our kind editor only allows me 500 words and it was difficult to squeeze a 21-month Antarctic survival story into a 12 by 3 inch column. So, as requested, here are a few other interesting tidbits.
Yes, it is believed Shackleton placed a “help wanted ad” in the newspaper to recruit his crew for the expedition. I have placed Shackleton’s “help wanted” ad on my blog at Check it out!
Yes, most of the dog teams were paid for by donations from public school children in England and Scotland.  Shackleton named the dog teams after each school that had helped to buy them. The dogs were divided up into six teams of nine dogs each. All but two of the dog teams were shot in December 1915, before the expedition left the ice floe, so the men could eat their food. After the party set up base at Elephant Island, the last of the remaining dogs were killed and eaten by April 1916. All of the men aboard the Endurance survived thanks (largely) to the dogs. Apologies to PAWS! (Pamlico Animal Welfare Society)
Yes, there were two ships. For Shackleton to accomplish his goal of crossing Antarctica overland from west to east he needed two parties on two ships. The "Endurance", with Shackleton's party, was to sail up the Weddell Sea and then come overland, using dog sleds, near the Vahsel Bay. The supply ship "Aurora" party would come up the opposite side of Antarctica, up the Ross Sea, and arrive at McMurdo Sound. This party would then come inland planting caches of supplies for Shackleton's party. The Aurora expedition was inexperienced and struggled in the Antarctic. However, they persevered through the loss of most of their sled dogs, extreme weather, personnel disputes, illness, and the deaths of three members. Worse however, the Aurora was torn from its moorings during a severe storm and was unable to return, leaving the shore party stranded. They remained stranded until January 1917, when Aurora, which had been repaired and refitted in New Zealand, arrived to rescue them.
Yes, Shackleton had a photographer along named Frank Hurley. The photos are incredibly interesting. You can find some on my blog.
Yes, news of Shackleton was overshadowed by the war news in the British newspapers. The expedition returned home in piecemeal fashion, at a critical stage in the war, without fanfare. Shackleton’s return was barely noticed. He organized one final Antarctic expedition, which left London on 17 September 1921. Sadly, Shackleton died of a heart attack on 5 January 1922, while his ship was anchored at South Georgia Island.  He is buried there.
Yes, Shackleton was Irish. Hope your Saint Patrick’s Day was great! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tough Guy Two

By Julie Rahm

Last week, I wrote about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, got stuck and crushed by the Antarctic ice. The expedition was marooned on the ice until they managed to land themselves on Elephant Island. There, Shackleton decided to “go for help”. Twenty-two members of the expedition remained on Elephant Island while Shackleton “set off” in a 20-foot lifeboat with five others to get help. Unfortunately, the nearest help was 800 miles away, across the open and very treacherous South Atlantic Ocean. As you recall, Shackleton chose five companions for the journey: Frank Worsley, Endurance's captain, who was an excellent navigator; Tom Crean, who had "begged to go"; two strong sailors in John Vincent and Timothy McCarthy; and finally the ship’s carpenter McNish.
For fifteen days, the six explorers sailed the lifeboat through the waters of the southern ocean, at the mercy of the stormy seas, in constant peril of capsizing. On May 8th, thanks to Captain Worsley’s navigational skills, the cliffs of South Georgia Island came into sight. But, hurricane-force winds prevented any landing. The lifeboat party was forced to ride out the storm offshore, in constant danger of being dashed against the rocks. On the following day, they were finally able to land on the unoccupied southern shore. But, help was on the other side of the island! Rather than facing the sea again, to reach the whaling stations on the northern coast, Shackleton decided to attempt a land crossing of the island. Although it is likely that Norwegian whalers had previously crossed at other points on skis, no one had attempted this particular route before. Leaving McNish, Vincent and McCarthy at the landing point on South Georgia, Shackleton traveled 32 miles in 36 hours with Worsley and Crean over mountainous terrain. They reached the whaling station at Stromness on May 20th. (Of note, the next successful crossing on foot of South Georgia Island was in October 1955, by the British explorer Duncan Carse. He traveled much of the same route as Shackleton's party. In tribute to Shackleton’s achievement, he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to; three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them and a carpenter's adze".)
     Shackleton immediately sent a boat to pick up the remaining three men from the other side of South Georgia while he organized the rescue of his 22 men still marooned on Elephant Island. His first three attempts at rescue were foiled when sea ice blocked the approaches to the island. Resourcefully, he appealed to the government of Chile. Chile offered the use of a small seagoing tug from its navy. With the Chilean tug, rescue finally reached the remaining men on Elephant Island on August 30th. The men had been isolated there for four and a half months! Shackleton’s expedition is one of the greatest survival adventures in history. His mental toughness set the example for all people!
 To tune up your own mental toughness, check out!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tough Guy

By Julie Rahm

Leading the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance departed South Georgia Island for the continent of Antarctica on the 5th of December 1914. The 28 men and 70 dogs were to cross Antarctica, 1800 miles on foot! But, as the ship sailed south, it encountered ice. On the 19th of January, the Endurance became frozen fast in an ice floe.  The ship, captive in the ice, drifted slowly northward. When spring arrived, the breaking ice put extreme pressures on the ship hull.
Until this point, Shackleton hoped the ship would be released from the ice. But, on 24 October, water began pouring in. Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship. Men, dogs, provisions and equipment were transferred to camps on the ice. Sadly, the Endurance finally slipped beneath the surface on 21 November 1915.
For the next two months, Shackleton and his party camped on a large, flat ice floe, hoping it would drift toward the supplies on Paulet Island, approximately 250 miles away. By 17 March, their ice camp was within 60 miles of Paulet Island.  Unfortunately, the expedition was isolated by impassable ice and they were unable to reach their desperately needed supplies. On 9 April, their ice flow broke into two, and Shackleton ordered the crew into the lifeboats, to head for the nearest land. After five harrowing days at sea, the exhausted men landed their three lifeboats at Elephant Island, 346 miles from where the Endurance sank. This was the first time they had stood on solid ground for 497 days.
Elephant Island was an inhospitable place, far from any shipping routes. Consequently, Shackleton decided to risk an open-boat journey to the 800-nautical-mile-distant South Georgia whaling stations. Help was available there. The strongest of the tiny 20-foot lifeboats was chosen for the trip. Ship's carpenter Harry McNish made various improvements, including raising the sides, strengthening the keel, building a makeshift deck of wood and canvas, and sealing the work with oil paint and seal blood. Shackleton chose five companions for the journey: Frank Worsley, Endurance's captain, who would be responsible for navigation; Tom Crean, who had "begged to go"; two strong sailors in John Vincent and Timothy McCarthy; and finally the carpenter McNish. Shackleton had clashed with McNish during the time when the party was stranded on the ice. But, while he would not forgive the carpenter's earlier insubordination, Shackleton recognized his value for this particular job. Shackleton refused to pack supplies for more than four weeks, knowing that if they did not reach South Georgia within that time, the boat and its crew would be lost. Shackleton launched the rescue on 24 April 1916. 
So, this week I retell this story to remind us that it doesn’t really get that cold in Pamlico County! Cold is a relative experience! Read my column next week to learn the outcome of the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 and the fate of 22 men marooned on Elephant Island. And, join me at  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Knot so Funny

By Julie Rahm

As you know, a knot is a method of fastening or securing linear material. Knots are usually tied with rope by tying or interweaving. They may consist of a length of one or several segments of rope, string, webbing, twine, strap, or even chain. A knot is interwoven such that the line can bind to itself or to some other object. Knots have long been the subject of interest for their ancient origins and their common uses.
Look through any “Book of Knots” and find dozens of possibilities. Each knot has properties that make it suitable for a range of tasks. Some knots are used to attach the rope to other objects such as another rope, cleats, rings, or stakes. Decorative knots usually bind to themselves to produce attractive patterns.
Unknown to some, knots weaken the rope in which they are tied. When knotted rope is strained to its breaking point, it almost always fails at the knot. The bending, crushing, and chafing forces that hold a knot in place also unevenly stress rope fibers and ultimately lead to a reduction in strength. The exact mechanisms that cause the weakening and failure are complex and are the subject of continued study.
Relative knot strength, called knot efficiency, is the breaking strength of a knotted rope in proportion to the breaking strength of the rope without the knot. Determining a precise value for a particular knot is difficult because many factors can affect a knot efficiency test: the type of fiber, the style of rope, the size of rope, whether it is wet or dry, how the knot is dressed before loading, how rapidly it is loaded, whether the knot is repeatedly loaded, and so on. The efficiency of common knots ranges between 40 to 80-percent of the original rope strength.
In most situations forming loops and bends with conventional knots is far more practical than using rope splices, even though the latter can maintain nearly the rope's full strength. Prudent users allow for a large safety margin in the strength of rope chosen for a task due to the weakening effects of knots, aging, damage, and shock loading. The working load limit of a rope is generally specified with a significant safety factor, up to 15:1 for critical applications. And, the Ashley Book of Knots, written by Clifford W. Ashley in 1944, is generally considered the definitive book on knots. You probably have a copy on your bookshelf!
So, this week, I tell you all about knots because most of my clients come to me with knotted-up relationships. Their “relationship knot” is in the middle of their relationship rope with each pulling hard on opposite ends. In order to remove the knot, each must stop pulling. Once the tug-of-war stops and there is some slack in the rope, the relationship knot can be removed. There is simply no way to unknot a relationship without any slack! Learn more about unknotting relationships by contacting me at my website, 
Top curve