Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rollin' with the Flow

Today we disked the corn field. No photos as no one thought to take the camera with us. But, disking was much easier than last year in that there were no sods to try to break up. The plow had bobbled over where we’d hilled the corn and the potatoes last year, and there were still a few ridges, and a few corn stalks, but a pass or two with the disk took care of most of it. There will be some hand work. That is what hands are for.

There is so much to do and not all of it can get done. There is garden work, and not just the plowing and disking of course, but with plowing and disking come some extra horse chores, and it is really the time to do stream bank erosion control, and glysophate the fence lines and the pesky thistles that try to grow, and cut the trees that try to grow through the bridge, and at least a dozen other things. And my family still has to eat. Milk production is up so there was an extra batch of cheese that needed doing today, and butter. Yesterday we were so behind the household chores that we had to wash dishes to serve breakfast!

Echoing in my mind today was the comment a girl made the other day at the barn I work at. “Pick a discipline and excel at it,” she said. That was in response to me liking the equestrian sport of eventing which combines disciplines. The whole point of eventing was to demonstrate that an exceptionally fit horse was also supple and responsive in dressage, then that he has both endurance and jumping ability with roads and tracks, steeplechase and cross country, and then to demonstrate that even after such a heroic effort as that, he’s still sound enough to do a show jumping round cleanly. The horse isn’t expected to be up to Grand Prix level dressage, or Grand Prix jumping for that matter, and I know you probably don’t care at all about this but I was just thinking how she was missing the point entirely.

And I thought today about how we are the epitome of not that. If we wanted to excel at farming, for instance, we’d pretty much have to buy into an industrial model of farming which of course we do not buy into. Even horse farmers can buy into the industrial model as the Amish (and Horse Progress Days) very clearly demonstrate. If we wanted to excel at draft horses, we wouldn’t keep an aging, gimpy, half-blind draft horse either. And don’t even get me started about how homes are not for excelling at all, but places of love, creativity, and beingness.

I’ll tell you, I would love to jump on a horse and excel -- I’d love to be that good again and it is so much fun to do even if you aren’t the absolute best. But today I touched a much deeper note of satisfaction and fulfillment by taking a horse and doing something real (concrete) with him. We can take that horse, and that field, and our lives having lived here nigh on twenty years, and without any outside input at all, raise enough food to sustain our family. Knock on wood of course, anything can go wrong. But it doesn’t have to wait on anyone else. It doesn’t depend on oil or fertilize or outside input. And what anyone thinks of it, or me, or that horse, or anything else matters not one whit.

It isn’t a competition. It is our food. It is our life.

And it. is. good.


marie said...

yes, it is

dND said...

What a lovely post.

I'd rather be a 'Jack of All Trades' than 'Master of One' any day. Think how much more you will experience and how many more people you can relate to.

It is sad that society today seem to be based on competition, bigger house, bigger pool bigger salary etc. but it doesn't bring true happiness to be always wondering if someone is going to displace you at number one.

I'm aiming to be more self sufficient, I'm not a horse person but I do have an idea of getting a couple of donkeys to reduce the fuel burden.


Alecto said...

You know perfectly well I'd have to take myself behind the proverbial barn and shoot myself if I tried the Master of One strategy. I loved eventing very, very much, I think because it was (to me) all things. Like I said earlier, I don't have a pretty garden but it's going to give us lots of food and it makes me very, very happy. It's real. It's good. Wish I had a horse again, of any sort at all, but I don't think I'd like to keep him in a barn so much. Rather have him in the back yard with the chickens I'm sneaking in.

thingfish23 said...

We're getting there, too, one crop failure at a time. ;)

Bumper crop of tomatoes this year, though. Time to learn how to can/jar up the stuff. It isn't too hard, I trust.

Great posts lately.

Gotta go - I have a "workplace" to clean up, and it's 10:00PM! Long day here at the office today, but I get my CG time in when I can. Little bit of sun in an otherwise considerably un-sunny place.

sugarcreekstuff said...

I'm so thankful the heart surgeon that helped my dad picked one thing and excelled at it.
I'm not like that though, if we all were the same, doing the same things, how would it benefit society as a whole?
I am striving to be more self sufficient but gladly pay for the things I can never or don't want to do.