it being about movement
So in living on and “managing” a farm one knows, that is one is aware for the longest time before one takes any action at all, that the goat herd sire needs to be traded off, a new one procured, the cows need to be bred, and all the rest. And things accumulate – you get a phone number for someone who owns a Jersey bull locally and post it on your refrigerator, the person who you usually get the new herd sires from has one ready for you, things like that.
Then suddenly something totally unrelated happens. In this case it was the death of a friend. Now, remember, I said this death was totally unrelated, and it was. Totally. This guy was not a part of any of this, but the new herd sire came to his funeral with his old mom and came home with his new dad. At the same time the Jersey guy contacted us. Turns out he has some goats too and is interested in our old herd sire. Old billy exchanged for transportation and exposure to bull for three+ months for old cow. Also updated vaccinations on all bovines since old cow will be visiting that bull and his herd.
At the same time, the peaches are ripe and the very last of the blackberries are fermenting in the back of the fridge (alcoholic jelly is some of the best) and, well, more stuff that I can even think about in the garden that all needs to be eaten first and preserved second.
Which, one of the huge lessons of homesteading is never preserve first and eat second. Always eat first. Always always always. If you do not eat it fresh, it will not be valuable to you preserved. Plus there is that if you grew it, you deserve it at its very best, which is fresh. Eat first.
Another lesson is this: the monoculture agribusiness model is always inferior. The cow guy was amazed at how good our cows look, much better than his he said, and ours are just out there, cowing around. The baby goat (new herd sire) got here in pretty pitiful shape (pot bellied, shaggy coated, bad feet, small). The strongest, most direct evidence, however, is the paddocks of newly planted grass at the work barn. Plowed, disked, fertilized and seeded following exactly the agribusiness model, every speck of that planted grass is now dead and the only things growing there are spiny amaranth and jimson weed. The field next to it, however, is green. It doesn’t have much food value, true, but it does have some, and at least the ground is covered. I know why people plant agribusiness fescue but I pretty much never think it is a good idea. Meanwhile, on this farm, the baby goat is already looking better in less than a week, and he hasn’t even been turned loose yet which is when he will really thrive.
When new cow came here, she came from a small dairy where she had access to plenty of grass and was fed while being milked. And she was skinny. When we picked her up, my boss asked if she wasn’t thin but the truth is, that’s how dairy animals often look. And when she got here, she looked so much smaller than old cow. She doesn’t look smaller anymore. I think it has to do with the fact that here she has a broader choice of what to eat, and a less stressful, more cowful life. In other words, a real homestead, free, life is flat out better for animals, pastures, mankind. We look better, are healthier, happier, last longer.
Now, concerning movement. I follow, for years at a time, people who I find to be good examples as well as horrible warnings. The guy who died, for example, was a horrible warning of how not to turn out to be. The difference between the good examples and the horrible warnings is movement. The horrible warnings do the same things over and over. Oh, most times they think they are doing different things, but when you look at their lives it is like they burn supper on the stove one day and burn it in the oven the next day. It is the same thing with a different color hair. They have the same epiphanies over and over, essentially go around the same circle again and again.
The good examples have a direction. They move not randomly but with purpose. The movement may be somewhat butterfly-ish in that the purposefulness may not be immediately evident but monarchs do wind up on milkweed and cabbage moths do inevitably find some plant in the cole-ish family. People will say of the good examples, they are exactly the same people they were when I met them years ago and yet, a look at their lives reveals that they have moved, have refined, have advanced, are flat out further along. They don’t flounder a whole lot. They build. Good examples don’t hide, don’t bully, don’t perform for the audience.
They do, however, fry fresh peach pies, which is what I’m going off to do right now.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
it being about movement