Oh, to return to the mighty farm blog! How do I do this again?
Right! Acknowledge the reader, that’s always polite.
A beautiful PM to you. Last time we crossed paths I was deep in crisis, losing chickens left, right, up, down, and in multiple dimensions. It was rough. I fell, I stumbled (in that order), I built, I grew, I panicked, faced fears (though it took me a while sometimes), and eventually, triumphed!
I feel like this is it: I’m standing back up in front of you all, proudly announcing the farm, it’s farmer, and it’s livestock, have all leveled up. We pulled through, we made it out alive! We haven’t lost chickens in weeks. And everyone’s growing! Chickens are now 14 weeks old. It won’t be long before eggs start happening. Eggs, eggs, read all about them.
I’m in good spirits, can you tell?
I’d like to quickly invite you all to follow my Instagram, where I’m consistently posting photographs and videos – it’s definitely my preferred social media. Check it out @ www.instagram.com/yotumperson.
The millennial farmer: a young, beginning farmer practicing sustainable agricultural techniques for a better planet, for love of the Earth, to build and enrich local community, to acknowledging humanity’s primordial origins, and live a spiritually fulfilling life.
Questions? I read comments!
Which brings me to my next thought: how about this weather, huh? Climate change sure is something. On the one hand, I’m delighted that everything’s growing early. That means pasture will be back sooner rather than later, and I can’t wait to get the sheep back on it. On the OTHER hand, spring in February!? Trees are starting to flower. What?! Thinking about twenty years from now gives me the heebie-jeebies.
One reason I must farm: there is no way I’m gonna sit around consuming, consuming, consuming, while the planet we live on is falling apart precisely because we (as a civilization) have consumed, consumed, consumed in such an unconscious manner. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any individual human being set out to actually destroy the world, it’s just where we’ve ended up after not having (exercised) the kind of foresight that would have spared us the rough road ahead. And I certainly think we have the hindsight now to make responsible decisions. Right? Now I’m going to get political for just a sec – I don’t think it’s fair/constructive to settle for throwing blame any which way when it comes to sorting out the many loud differences of opinion here in our country (world) about who’s right, who’s wrong. At this point, the emotionally-underdeveloped people we’re allowing to run the show (politicians, left and right) have literally run with it. Yes, emotionally underdeveloped human pods that preach the gospel of a broken system (a.k.a. ‘the man’) – perpetually promising a ‘brighter future,’ keeping us all believing that if we just wait a little bit longer, this whole social experiment we call… capitalism? American “democracy?”… it’ll deliver what it’s promised. Oh, and that human beings are terrible, and we can’t trust one another, that we have to rely on government to solve our problems. WRONG! The way I see it, every part of our society is a decision, an idea that we all agree to DAILY. We’re allowed to disagree. Wasn’t this country founded on the basis of a fundamental disagreement? Does it not feel like we’re overdue for another dramatic, fundamental disagreement (Jefferson would call it a revolution)? If things ain’t working, if the majority of this country’s citizens feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick then, guess what? They are! I recommend Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America as a starting point in exploring the reasons our country, the great American experiment (though applicable to the whole of modern human civilization) has not been all that successful.
There’s a lot of fear in this country right now, and I think it’s worth noting that acting out of fear never yields positive results (unless you’re running from Freddy Kruger, or y’know, a deer running from a hunter). But, listen, our fears come from our imaginations, from a legacy of stories and myths told for thousands of years. These stories are definitely nonsense. There are no lions and tigers out to get us, it’s just us, afraid of ourselves, and of everyone else. If you’re told for long enough that life is hard and scary, and that people are bad, and it’s kill or be killed, well eventually, even if it ain’t true, after being scared so long, you’ll start acting scary, and telling the same stories to other people. What other animal kills it’s own kind so prolifically? And what other animal over-consumes to the point of wiping out it’s own ecosystem? Any time nature is thrown off balance, it has a check. One animal over-eats another? Well, it’ll run out of resource eventually, and then it’ll start dying, until resources stabilize. That’s a rule of nature us humans have decided need no longer be respected. And that’s just inviting trouble. If the rest of life here on Earth doesn’t go around inciting violence for violence sake, is it not possible for us to do the same? I’m not saying death won’t happen, nor am I suggesting death is bad (important discussion for another time, perhaps when we start taking orders for poultry), I’m just suggesting crime and other such plagues of society are exactly that, plagues of a particular style of living (a.k.a. our civilization). And it’s gonna take more than national politics to realize the change so many of us are ready for.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT WORKING WITH OTHER ANIMALS
My name, Yotum, means “innocent before God.” That’s how I’d like to die. And why I honor the other animals on this farm so dearly. Daily they live presently and without shame – they hold nothing back. It is my hope that the farm and the animals that make up its roster of residents serve as a catalyst for many others to take action in their communities, and live more bravely and authentically. When practiced daily, and with integrity and heart, it is undeniable that farming – certain types, and gardening, too – yields concrete, sustainable results for a healthier mind, body, soul, and planet. So, even if you’re not cut out for farm life, go volunteer at your local farm. Use that as a starting off point. Or go vegan. That’s how I started, and look where it got me – omnivorous farmer of livestock and more. Whatever it takes for you to take charge of the way you consume. Each dollar spent on factory farmed animals or their by-products is a vote for the factory farming industry to ‘keep it up!’ Each plastic bag used, or tossed, is another vote for ‘yes, let’s keep on keepin’ on this way.’ Each non-organic piece of produce purchased is a signal to monoculture agribusinesses that what they’re doing is okay. That’s a lot all at once, so I encourage anyone trying to make sustainable changes in their life to take baby steps. First step can be cutting plastic from your grocery shopping. Or composting your produce scraps. Or supporting your local sustainable farmer! Or building a composting toilet! Or learning to forage for mushrooms! Or cutting meat consumption to several times per month! Or dairy! Or starting a garden in your backyard, providing food for yourself and your local habitat, for the bees, and the birds, and all the other little critters that help make this planet go ’round.
As I shared earlier, I love Instagram. It’s free of the noise you’ll run into on Facebook. It’s photos, often taken with great thought (kudos to promoting creative expression), and #’s to connect you with like-minded people here, there, and everywhere. Two favorites of mine (full disclosure: these belong to friends of mine, I am biased) are:
- for living waste-free and consuming minimal amounts of animal products: @wastefreewinston
- for body-positivity, vegan/raw eating, and good vibes: @justeat.vegan
Love to all my readers. Shalom!