Lighthouse Letters
By Sharma Krauskopf

This is an article by Sharma Krauskopf from Michigan who fell in love with Scotland - and decided to buy a lighthouse keepers' cottage at Eshaness, a remote location in Shetland, in the far north of Scotland and live there each winter. These pages were previously part of the "Scottish Radiance e-magazine Web site which was created by Sharma.


Predators never worried me until just recently when a chain of events changed all that. The first event in the chain was not a life threatening event but very frustrating. Scottish Radiance carries a link from the eZine Database on the Table of Contents page for the readers to rate the magazine. When I first placed it there I checked it once in awhile to see if it was working. Beyond that I paid very little attention to it. Then our Scottish magazine skyrocketed to the top of the list by points with a 4.90 out of 5.00. I was thrilled that the readers thought so highly of us. I started watching it more closely maybe just to make myself feel good that all of our hard work was appreciated. Then one day about two weeks ago the ranking started to go down. Not gradually as I would have expected but .01 a day - every day. Something strange was happening so I contacted the administration of the eZine Database. It did not take too long for them to identify someone was spamming our rating. My first guess at who was doing it was someone who wanted to move up in the rating by lowering the top score. When the eZine people identified the culprit it turned out the person was not even on either of the top 100 lists. He or she is just a predator who is preying on the votes of our readers. Even after warnings from the eZine people the spamming continued. The eZine webmaster has been helpful and has put the Radiance ranking back up twice. At least in relationship to this predator someone is trying to help. The eZine system is being preyed upon as much as the Radiance ranking.

My husband and I went away last week to a family reunion. Our home is a working farm with chickens and cows. The animals are more like pets than most farm animals. When we go away we have a neighbor, Robin, come in twice a day to take care of "our family" as we call them. The day we came home a predator got into our chicken house. Robin found half the flock slaughtered and a badly mauled rooster inside the chicken house itself. These were birds we had raised from newborn chicks. Their life on our farm started in our back room in a straw lined children's plastic swimming pool with heat lamp hanging above it for warmth . Most of them were three years old when killed. We were devastated. But, there was still hope with four surviving chickens.

In Memory of
Henry VIII - The second.
The rooster, Henry VIII - the second, better known as Henry XVI, was badly wounded so we took him to our vet to have him treated. Bravely for four days he struggled to live but sometime last night he lost that battle. So now we have only three of our chickens left.

What is so ironic was I was frustrated and upset over the eZine predator but now I know it is a very petty thing in comparison to the predator which entered our chicken house last week and took the lives of all those beautiful birds. I often say there are only two kinds of problems in this world. Those that are life threatening and all the rest. The eZine spamming thank goodness is not life threatening even if it is frustrating. It lost importance when compared with the slaughter of the many lives in the chicken house.

The one lesson I have learned is how hopeless you feel being attacked by the unknown. They come totally unexpected from nowhere and strike. Whether they are people spamming web sites or animals looking for their next meal they can cause pain and frustration. When I compare the human predator who gets their thrill from cheating a well intentioned system like the eZine Database with an animal who by nature was born to hunt to survive, I find the human the most difficult to understand because they know better.

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