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  • My long-deceased great-uncle Al, one of the last of the old-time western U.S. horse traders (mostly for barter, seldom for money) had a magpie trap built as a lean-to against one of his farm's outbuildings, usually baited with a goat's skinned hindquarter. Wings and tails of captured and dispatched birds were bartered at a nearby Indian reservation. His half-feral blue heeler lived in a den excavated beneath a pile of lumber.

    June 16, 2010