I am really proud to say that our entire family shoots well.  Josh, age 9, is completely relaxed as he aims for the target and pulls the trigger.  Blair and Andy are great shots, as is Mark.  I am a good shot, too, although I take a while to get my aim just right.  I think I can cut down that time with more practice.  

Thanks to a friend from church, we have joined a gun club, and the older kids and maybe Mark are going to start competing in contests that combine speed and accuracy.  On our farm, we had a .22 rifle for varmints.  We never used it to kill anything, although if I had seen that fox that killed my beloved rooster, The Baron, and our two favorite hens, Mrs. Priddy and Lady Peckinstraw, I would have taken a shot.  

Instead, we went to the shooting range, and also put up targets on trees around the farm and just plinked.  It is only recently that we have started target shooting with smaller guns — heck, I’m going to say it, that dreaded word — handguns. “Ze gun of ze hand,” as the Amish patriarch, Eli Lapp, who believed guns are evil, cautioned Harrison Ford in “Witness.”  I don’t think guns are evil.  

In fact, the people at the gun club and at shooting ranges are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Unfailingly polite, respectful, and totally obsessed with safety.

Two friends, both shooting instructors, spent three and a half hours with us last week, helping us shoot better.  The entire three and a half hours was also one relentless course in safety.  They drilled it into us, as they always do.  Layer on layer of redundant safety procedures, so if you forget one thing, you’ve got two or three more safeguards in place.

These are not the people who need to have their guns taken away.  Instead, these are your best bet for someone to save your butt if you are ever, God forbid, in a situation where someone starts shooting in public.

I would much rather have my kids learn about guns from guys like these than to keep them in misguided ignorance and have them accidentally get shot or shoot someone else because they didn’t know what they were doing.  In fact, I think everybody should take a gun safety course, even if you’re Amish, even if you’re the most fervent gun control advocate there could ever be.


Because guns happen. If you take them away from the people who are law-abiding and safety conscious, then only the people you really don’t want to have guns will have them.  Having just the fear of guns, without the practical knowledge of how to disarm one, is kind of useless, and it promotes the wrong kind of fear — like in Harry Potter, where people actually give Voldemort more power because they are afraid even to say his name.  Instead, he’s “you know who,” or “he who must not be named,” and he has a lot more power than he deserves.  I’m sorry that in our culture, this is even a controversial position.

This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.

Mr. Chilly looks a lot better nowNew to Arizona, we put him out on the porch last winter and did not realize that even in cold weather, things can fade in the sun. Mr. Chilly was looking washed out and sad…

But no more! All it took was two coats with a Sharpie. Now he’s Mr. Chilly yet Vibrant!


This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.

This is the farmhouse house in Virginia before we bought it.  I know it’s before we bought it because the owner cut down the flagpole when he left, leaving us a stump of PVC pipe.

We bought the house for the land:  Rolling hills, the Blue Ridge mountains in the background, the willows along the driveway, the woods off to the right and up ahead.


This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.

Seems there was a treasure ship on its way back to port.  About
halfway there, it was approached by a pirate, skull and crossbones waving
in the breeze!

“Captain, captain, what do we do?” asked the first mate.

“First mate,” said the captain, “go to my cabin, open my sea
chest, and bring me my red shirt.”  The first mate did so.

Wearing his bright red shirt, the captain exhorted his crew to
fight.  So inspiring was he, in fact, that the pirate ship was repelled
without casualties.

A few days later, the ship was again approached, this time by two
pirate sloops!

“Captain, captain, what should we do?”

“First mate, bring me my red shirt!”

The crew, emboldened by their fearless captain, fought heroically, and
managed to defeat both boarding parties, though they took many
casualties.  That night, the survivors had a great celebration.  The
first mate asked the captain the secret of his bright red shirt.

“It’s simple, first mate.  If I am wounded, the blood does not
show, and the crew continues to fight without fear.”

A week passed, and they were nearing their home port, when
suddenly the lookout cried that ten ships of the enemy’s armada were

“Captain, captain, we’re in terrible trouble, what do we do?”
The first mate looked expectantly at the miracle worker.

Pale with fear, the captain commanded, “First mate…. bring me my
brown pants!”

This is my second-favorite joke.  My first-favorite doesn’t really apply to this inaugural blog, so I’ll save it for another time.  I’m starting a blog!  Bring me the brown pants!

A bit about me:  I’m a wife and mom.  My husband, Mark, and I have three kids, Blair, Andy, and Josh, ages 19, 16, and 9.  We have dogs and horses.  We used to have sheep, chickens, and a llama, but now we’re down to a career low of just the four animals.

Mark is a doctor, a gastroenterologist, and I am a health writer, former magazine editor, and former essayist on national public radio. For the last 19 years, I have worked from home, writing health books and writing publications for Johns Hopkins, so I could be with our kids.  I homeschooled Blair and Andy for five years, and may be homeschooling Josh when he hits middle school in two years.

I hope to have chickens again, and maybe another llama, although there was only one Nelson, who was a Katrina victim and a rescued llama.  We love to knit, love books, and adore our Labrador Retrievers.  We live in a small town in the mountains in Arizona.  That’s about it for now.


This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.