lonecoyotefarm

unplug

OUR BIRDS LIVE LIKE YOUR DOCTOR WISHES YOU WOULD.

They eat lots of greens and fiber, exercise daily, get plenty of fresh air, water and sunshine, plus they live with minimal stress. As a result our chickens are not only really happy, they are also vigorous and healthy. They naturally have less fat and cholesterol than confined chickens. Their meat is cleaner and higher in essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, contain higher levels of vitamin E and Beta Carotene, plus pastured meats are the best source of tumor reducing good fats (conjugated linoleic acids).  They need no antibiotics because they are raised in a clean, natural and healthy environment that does not invite disease.

In short, our pastured birds are not only much fresher and taste way better, they are nutritionally superior to their confined, grain fed , extremely unfortunate, factory raised, grocery store cousins.  Nutritionally deficient or worse, straight up detrimental food raised on factory farms may do the job of filling up your belly, however it leaves the rest of your body and its immune defenses starving for something good.

We love and respect our birds. In exchange for the gift of life energy they give to us and our community, we are happily committed to providing them a good home with kind and attentive care every single day of their lives.   I am filled with pride at how happy they are the three times a day and nights like tonight I go out to care for our birds and make sure they are comfortable. The big guys may need a tarp over the field pen to keep the cool night air out, and a bedtime tuck in is in order for the 150 day old chicks that are settling into their new comfy nursery. Wow, that’s a 150 bed time stories and 150 pecks on the forehead! I’d better get started!

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Occupy This

 I was going to post a picture of a wallet, but this better represents my true feelings these days. If you are offended, welcome to the club, I’m downright disgusted.

I’ve been keeping to myself a lot lately, understanding better where hermits come from, once normal people just like us only unable to stomach the bull shit, cheap talk anymore.   Most people I know don’t want the greedy corporate monsters to eat up the little guys, who also happen to be their friends and neighbors, but continue to feed its insatiable appetite at every turn.  I don’t have to remove my shoes to count the number of “friends and family” who showed up to support my hard work. Not charity, fair trade and compensation for hard work.  As I sit poised to sell two thirds of my dream to survive, big boxes continue to grow and thrive. You win, go watch the sunset from a WalMart parking lot.

I am NOT part of the 99%, that is of course the 99% who talk a good game but don’t have the nuts to follow through.  The beast will die when you stop feeding it. Standing outside of it’s cage holding signs saying you wish it would die, somehow, but here’s breakfast in the mean time, is stupid and ineffective.  Get off of the street. Occupy your wallet, occupy your heart, and occupy your mind.

That is my rant. I will recover. I will come out into the world again, just not for a little while.  My heart is broken for what I need to give up and I need some time to heal.

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Alone

I am lucky enough to have within a short walk, complete isolation. This place invites me night after night to come into the darkness for a quick respite. I’m tired,  already having walked lots today, a quick walk across the pasture, behind the pond to close the horses in for the night at around eleven was my only plan. But like so many other nights, the call to come be alone and  still in the night is unbearable. There are no people, no dogs, no light pollution, no cars, no power lines or cell phones,  nothing man  made in my perceptible world  except the clothes I am wearing.

On the walk through the pasture I try to build my resolve to close the gate and go right in to bed.  I can’t, its too pretty. The night is cloudy and dark, no rain yet, just misty. The darkness has a way of closing off the potential for life beyond what I can see and hear and it feels as though I am completely alone in this world.

After I succumbed to the call and found the quiet spot,  I was thinking  about why I love this solitary experience so much, and I think it’s mostly because it is temporary. Long term alone may very well feel different than a temporary step out of life. This short-term serenity has the effect of recharging my social battery. Out there it is so simple, you just are. There are no comparisons, expectations, anxiety or desire. It is safe.   Lastly this intentional quest for solitude satisfies my restless need to be individual. For reasons I can’t properly verbalize, the comfortableness of the darkness and solitude leave me feeling whole, complete.

I believe that to be a healthy society we must help and depend on each other, but we can only be effective at that if we can help and depend on ourselves.   We are moving towards aspiring to be a small cog in a big machine and as a result have 500 people working in a shoe factory and not one person there knows how to make a pair of shoes.   I think this lifestyle leaves us feeling depressed and helpless. I like being an individual, and my favorite people in this world are terrible at being little cogs, but, they are  amazing, interesting,  talented individuals. I wonder if they sit outside alone in the dark?

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Coyote Totem

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” ~Albert Einstein

My life is changing again. Our lives are always changing I guess, but on this raft ride of life there are times when we are steering through relatively calm water seemingly in control of our destination, and then there are times when life travels fast, steering is futile, holding on is more prudent. There is no control, but hopefully maybe some mercy.  

This summer a coyote kept me company in an otherwise big empty field.  The first time I saw him, he was in the tall grass about 50 feet away. My very first thought was of Cory, the boy who lived over the hill, our first friend in the neighborhood, who also shares a great appreciation and passion for all things natural, including these magnificent “song dogs”.   When I turned back to work, the coyote tried to sneak up behind me, closing the distance between us by half. When I faced him he didn’t run off, but rather stood there, ears forward, sniffing the air inquisitively. Although I didn’t think he was aggressive, I did chase him off for his own good. Getting close to the wrong human could easily cost him his life, for his own safety I don’t want him to find trust in people.  Cory would have been all over this guy, trail camera and camp would be set up, and he would be teasing me about hunting him, making me a coyote skin rug, coyote steaks, knowing that’s exactly what I didn’t want.

Through all of this time working away in this field I was also working on a few contemplation issues needing solutions.  The first was realigning my goals to fit my dwindling support staff and the second was working on a name for the farm.    The dwindling support staff is a natural dilemma, not insurmountable. The kids don’t want a farm life and without them on board it doesn’t have to be as big. Getting from here to there requires a new strategy and a few left turns I wasn’t counting on, creativity needed.  The farm name was hard, names for marketing worth bothered me; Sacala Family Farm, ick.   So I decided to name it after the beautiful stream that runs through our property. I imagined Black Creek or Bull Creek Farm, but I couldn’t be so lucky. After much research, I discovered that our stream is called Marshall Brook. Seriously? Marshall Brook Farm. My farm sounds like a pedophile (no offense to any real Marshall Brooks out there). Back to the drawing board.  All the while this coyote, a naturally very stealthy animal kept showing up, wanting my attention.  On the 4th of July, my friend, Cory’s mom, stopped over for a visit. After catching up for a bit, she told me that she saw a big beautiful coyote over in my field on Cory’s birthday. Everything about this coyote made me think of Cory and him showing himself to her on that day has very special significance.  February 15th is both the anniversary of Cory’s birth and his death. I decided from that day forward to pay closer attention to my odd visitor and thoughts of him floated into the farm name.  

I first thought of Lonesome Coyote, but that wasn’t accurate. He was alone, but it was a natural state for him. There was nothing unhappy about my guy.  Then, with the help of friends, came Friendly Coyote. Much more accurate,  but I still felt like it was marketing driven and a little insincere. Lone Coyote is what he is, it’s also an accurate description of my changing life. Natural, perfect, appropriate state of being for this time period.

My coyote is a regular visitor, I miss him when he doesn’t come, he skips the really hot days. He kept me hopefully scanning the horizon until he showed, and it was comforting when he sat or laid in the grass to watch me work.  I’ve seen him come in and out of the wetlands often, perhaps to hunt, maybe he lives in there. Coyotes have multiple songs, his long, low,  solitary howl at sunset announcing his awakening is a far different call than the high-pitched yelps he and his buddies fill the night with. These yelps indicate an exuberance in their hunt that can really give you the creeps.  When I hear those hunting yelps nearly every night, it’s hard to imagine my coyote relishing in the terror of another animal like that. Eat it yes, but do you have to carry on so? It’s unnerving to the rest of us trying to enjoy not getting hunted tonight.

There is special significance of a coyote visitor or totem. It is said when a coyote comes to you expect Murphy’s Law to enter you life with a vengeance. It’s all about learning around the coyote, about Karma or our own teachings. His purpose is to teach the balance of wisdom and folly, to teach us to  laugh at the ironies of life and to learn from our mistakes. Their energy is tied to simplicity and trust, as in childlike wisdom. They are believed to be God’s dogs among native american tribes, the ultimate creature of unconditional devotion and companionship. The coyote’s howl touches our soul, connecting us to our true primal nature.  A coyote totem, like any totem, is a gift, but this one is not an easy one to accept, not that you really get a choice.   It’s not that his presence creates all of this chaos, he is here to help, his presence explains and makes usable sense out of it all. The chaos is not a choice, it comes without invitation and it comes with a purpose.  I am learning, but to be honest, not laughing yet,  but it will come.  The coyote in my life says it is so.

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Turn away from despair

I can’t watch all of this 9/11 heart wrenching rehashing. As a matter of fact I’ve been making a conscious effort to avoid it. Nearly impossible by the way, as it invades every media outlet, public building and many private residences. Signs everywhere say “Never Forget”.  How is this helpful? 

On this day I struggle with my own funk.  Life is hard sometimes and I am in a sometimes period right now. Burned out and overwhelmed, faced with tough decisions, it’s hard not to wallow and welcome other sad feelings back into my life.  The sadness of my own losses, the heartbreak of friends who have lost in unimaginable ways, and of failures and disappointments. 

Most of my day is spent doing work that allows me to be lost in thought. I find this to be a natural state that is helpful, albeit painful at times.  Once when I offered to help a painter friend of mine, he warned me to bring some music, avoid “being inside your own head all day, it can make you crazy.”  I love being in my own head, although it may in fact make me crazy…  I need to explore how I feel about things and then use that to guide my life, even when I feel bad. Especially when I feel bad. 

A lyric from an Indigo Girls Song goes “…darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and brightness has a voice that’s hard to hear…”  In this dark time of sacrifice and loss I pull in like a black hole the loss of my mother, now almost four years ago; the kids who found a place in my heart right next to my own children lost nearly three years ago; friends, relatives and lost loves.  These are my losses, my “Never Forgets”.  I, fortunately, did not lose anyone I knew in the tradegy that was 9/11, but I have obviously suffered loss through other equally sad tragedies.  The “never forget” for me is in my memories of the life, not the date of the loss experience with these lovely people.  It is this fact that I can’t share specifically with the people affected by this event, I have no memories of those lost to hold onto, to not forget; and I have enough heart ache of my own to hold on to. We all have enough.

Someone told me a story a long time ago when I was of the perception that my load of loss was unfairly burdened. It’s an old tale that I may not be telling exactly right, but the jist is there.

There was once a woman who lost her only child, a toddler son, suddenly and tragically.  She of course was full of despair and as all mother’s would,  prayed for the return of her son.  She was bitter for the women who had several children and lost none, for all of the happiness other’s had in their lives when now she didn’t have any.  She prayed day and night for relief of this unbearable pain in her heart until finally her prayers were answered.  A simple sacrifice was to be performed to bring her son back and end the suffering in her heart.  The only stipulation was that this sacrifice must be performed in a house in which no suffering or loss had already occurred.

With great hope and joy this woman went house to house in her city looking for her perfect sacrificial spot, but instead met family after family who had suffered in some way.  In each house she was told a different, heart breaking  story descibing the loss of a grandparent,  a parent, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters and  of the anguish of each loss. She never did find a home that was free from suffering, she did however find some relief in her heart, for in every home she gave comfort to those she met as she assured them that they did not suffer alone, nor did she.

This is a sad anniversary for thousands of people, so is tomorrow and the day after that, and every other day on the calendar.  My heart is with all hearts broken.

My funks never last long.   Examining despair has it’s benefits for growth, but it is important to turn away once those have been uncovered and get back to the business of living.

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After Irene

Some damage, but relative to what’s going on around me, insignificant. 

My sunflower patch is a pretty accurate reflection of Irene’s toll on us. For most of them, it simply wasn’t their turn to bear it. They were standing in the right place at the right time and are completely unaffected.  There are many battered, burdened but not beyond survival.  And there are some that are heartbreaking to look at, for they have lost it all.

There is hope everywhere though. Check out the man down in front, who dispite his dire situation, twists his face up towards the sun, desperately trying to survive.

My day through the hurricane was actually delightful, and for that I am grateful.  I pray for strength, hope and peace for those who have lost so much.

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Be the beaver

I am hoping that the “after” hurricane Irene picture of the sunflowers,  matches the “before” picture taken last night.  I can’t see the field from the house, there is no point checking now, the answer is not going to change over night. If you know the story, you know that the sunflowers were the only survivors of my long summer labor.  The pumpkins, my long spring labor, will probably do OK because they are low to the ground. All of this rain won’t help the powdery mildew problem I’ve been battling for the last week, but at least there I get an opportunity to fight for it. It is not the end of the world if the flowers didn’t survive, they have become a relatively small part of the financial picture, but they were what made me believe that all that time and hard work out there wasn’t for nothing, and losing them will require yet more pressure to come up with ways of recouping loss. Not the end of the world no, big fat pain in the butt, yes.

One of the things I like most about business, any business, is the need to find creative answers, solve problems, work around potential roadblocks. Adapt, adapt, adapt. I do it well. What is most difficult about this situation for me is the amount of effort I threw at this and the emotional assumption that really hard work and extra ordinary effort will be rewarded. There are no such guarantees 

There is on our farm a beautiful protected wetlands area that I walk along almost every day twice a day with the dogs.  It is rich with wildlife, one of my favorite spots on the farm because of the diversity and amount of action. Last spring a beaver moved into these wetlands and began to build a dam.  What an incredible opportunity to watch this amazing little animal work, it was facinating.  Every day I could watch his progress as he would first take good sized trees down, and then once on the ground, starting from the top of the tree and working down, he would remove the smaller branches. Once he took all of the branches small enough for him to carry over land and then in the water, he would start on the next tree. 

The first thing that impressed me was the determination he had at getting the tree down. I take alot of trees down with a chainsaw, it takes minutes to drop it and maybe and hour or two to cut it up. Hard work, but not a lot of determination required. This little creature just worked at it for hours on end, day after day until the tree came down.

The second great impression was that he seemed completely undaunted by the size of his task.  He was going to change a stream into a lake and then build a home in one summer. The stream into a lake wasn’t easy. He would pull a branch across the stream which had little effect. Then another, the water still rushes over and around. Then another and another and another, and hey look the water is starting to hold back and pool up. But a check the next morning to see if it is still holding shows it didn’t work, yet.  He again seems unfazed and is right back to work.  On and on he goes day after day until he did it. Made himself a sweet pond to call his own and a nice home.  I was delighted and loved both of his works of art.

As I said, these wetlands are protected, so nature gets to do what it does and we humans are not allowed to tamper with this delicate ecosystem. Like it or not, I now had another pond, OK with me.  Then the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) stopped by the house.  “You have a beaver in your wetlands.” Yes I know, look what he did! Isn’t it cool? No they didn’t think it was cool at all, because his pond would cause seasonal flooding on the highway, perhaps endangering motorists. The beaver and the dam are being removed.  My demeanor went from cheerful to complete shock. ” Oh please don’t do this to him, mark the highway for potential danger, please don’t do this.” I thought I might cry. He assured me that the beaver wouldn’t be harmed and would be set free somewhere he can build without being bothered.  “It’s not just his safety, it’s all his hard work.”  It just doesn’t seem fair.  

“That beaver will wake up tomorrow morning and be a beaver. He will find the stream he needs and will  start taking down trees tomorrow. He won’t skip a beat” the officer assured me “He won’t once worry about what is gone,  he will only be thinking about what he needs to get done. “

Wow. That’s inspirational.  I must remember to be the beaver and as the case may be, use the crying time for building instead

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Do nothing

My love affair with the farm was not quite love at first sight, but almost.  We saw it for the first time late in the fall, a grey day, the dead guy’s pants still hanging on the clothes line out back, the lawn was waist high, and the barns falling in on themselves.  The house was peeling on the outside and covered with frequent  sooty furnace burps on the inside.  You’ve got to be kidding was my first thought. Then we went for a walk. That was it, I was smitten and never looked back.  Recalling it now, it was the time of year when she had the very least to offer in the way of natural splendor,  and still, she was amazingly beautiful. 

Over the past eight years, countless people have come by to share their story of how they used to come to this farm as a child or young adult to play in the woods, take walks, hunt,  write poetry, picnic on the hill, fish in the pond and help out old Bill.  There are so many people I’ve  met who have said they came here nearly everyday that I think the place must have been constantly crawling with people. Everyone agrees there is something welcoming and quite magical about this place.  Bill and Hazel were the last occupants before us and although they had no children of their own, it seems as though they we the Aunt and Uncle to everyone in this community.  Bill was a dairy farmer and poet, this land and the farming lifestyle were an inspiration to him. They both loved this farm as I do.

With the very best of intentions, and committed to a partnership with the land, I’ve been trying to “create” something here to share, and I have to admit there has always been a little uneasy feeling about the public coming to the farm, without thinking too much  I assumed this was selfishness (my farm, my birds, my sunsets, my horses, my coyote, my quiet place to walk and think and pray and create…), but  I  did want to share for two reasons.  One, I need to make a living and I want that living to be made here. This is the first time in the history of this farm that it has not supported itself, I want to know it can.  And two, I want people to understand and appreciate small farms, their importance to a vibrant economy and the contribution they make to healthy bodies and minds. It was these genuinely noble agendas that I started to plan my future, oops, I mean our future.  Maybe that was the problem, it was becoming more about me and all of you, than it was about her.  

After pumpkins, the next job was to create some farm experiences to share, you know corn mazes, hay rides, etc. Ok, here is a confession. We don’t do that stuff on farms.  This is what has been eating at me all along, it’s canned “farm fun” designed to entertain you to the tune of a few bucks. Sure you get fresh air and good family memories, but it isn’t even close to being authentic.  Whatever, give the people what they want and after they leave I can go back to the place I love.  Nope, she wasn’t having it, and so began the battle.

“What do you want me to do?” was the question I asked of her.  After several delerious days in the sun (vision quest!) the answer began to unfold.  I became lost in memories of friends, family and even strangers stopping by over the years and the many ways we have been entertained by this place.  I have seen pure joy and serenity in the faces of children, teenagers and old farts like me at the sight of the moon rise, shooting stars, wildlife and the natural beauty that abounds here.

And so this is what she finally said.  “Stop trying to dress me up, I’m beautiful just as I am.  Stop trying to make me something I’m not, you can’t improve me. I have alot to offer, and I know what I am doing.  People may tell you what they want, but I know what they need. Trust me.”

You got it Mom.  Um, could you help me make a living now….?

Opening September 1st.  Wednesday-Sunday, 11am til sunset. (I still need two days alone!)  Pumpkins, popcorn and other natural treats, natural gifts,  and beauty everywhere.   See you at the farm!

744 State Route 372, Greenwich, NY 12834

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What are you doing out there? Part two

The only thing that can inspire me to try harder more than someone saying “you can’t do it”, is someone saying “I believe in you”.   It is with that motivation to not disappoint that I started almost immediately breaking the promises I made to the land. 

My plan was to plant a pumpkin patch and a maze.  The maze consisting of sweet corn, popcorn, broom corn, holly hocks and sunflowers.  Going into this I felt a little guilty about the corn, but popcorn is my thing and the sweet corn makes econimic sense to offer grilled, broom makes a great fall display… and as tired as this field was I need to make some money to keep going,  I promise I’ll do it in a nice way… I won’t rototill, instead I’ll take down the vegatation, supress regrowth with mulch and drill the seeds in by hand and I’ll keep the tractor off of the field as much as possible.  Even the farmer I argued with earlier in the year about his overplanting corn called me on it, he caught me being a hypocrite. First promise broken.  It gets worse, I get worse. Way worse. But don’t worry, I don’t get away with it.

While I was drawing up my corn-heavy plan, mother nature was dumping rain, it seemed as though it was never going to stop.  Another not so patient week of waiting for things to dry up and now I’m really late getting started.  As soon as I could I got out there and tried to make up time by working really long hours.  All around me my neighbors were doing the same, everyone is working really hard to catch up from the rain.  The big difference is I was determined to do this by hand, long after the farmers around me had everything planted, I was still digging. 

Once the pumpkins were finally in I was so hopelessly behind schedule that I pulled out the tractor to mow.  That’s not so bad, and wow deisel power was really catching me up. That goes so well in fact that I decide to rototill with the tractor the entire maze bed for the sake of time.   Second promise broken, but I’m so far behind what can I do?

Maybe we were already fighting and  I hadn’t noticed yet, there was all that rain afterall, but this is when things really got ugly between me and our mother.  I had promised to be her partner, listen to her and not fight with her.  Give her what she needs and she will give me what I need.  Keep things fair and honorable, mutually.   She said she was sick and I went to work with the best of intentions.  

On the last pass with the mower the front tire came off, ripping  up the rim. Extensive damage, time consuming fix.  No rototilling.  Tractor is sidelined for about five weeks.    Not to be deterred, longer days and back to hand work I forge on. I couldn’t help but think mowing ok, tilling apparently not.  It is a strange problem, the wheel falling off… very odd.

In planting the maze, each type of plant requires a different amount of time to mature, the first to be planted was the popcorn, followed by the sweet corn, then broom corn,  then holly hocks and finally the sunflowers which are pretty quick to mature.  I had designed this really cool picture depicting the rolling hills of Washington County with a sun rising between,  this would all be harvested and sold as finished product (kettle corn and grilled sweet corn),  with the sunflowers and holly hocks to be left standing for the fall and winter birds.

There is always some loss in growing, some seed won’t sprout, some seed will be eaten by birds and some plants will be nibbled by animals, a 20 percent loss  on the high side is expected, the pumpkins fell within this amount.  The corn was another story.   After planting, the birds ate all of it. Not all as an exaggeration, I mean all of it.  I put out noisy wind catchers and spinning wheels for movement and planted again, they ate all of it again. I put up a scare crow and planted again, and once again they ate it all.  The only thing that would stop them from eating my seed is me not leaving the field while the birds were awake, so I tried that too, almost to my demise. This is when I started being vague about what I was doing out there when questioned.  I didn’t know what to say anymore, this was a little surreal. I had never seen this kind of loss, the pumpkins were in the same field and didn’t suffer the same fate.  I tried and tried until it was too late for corn to mature.  After weeks of trying I had made no headway.  The only thing I still had time to plant was sunflowers for the birds in the fall and winter. Ironic? I thought so. On this,  Mother and some decoy hawks  gave me a break.

I realized  I had broken nearly every promise I made, even if with the best of intentions, and I had got exactly what I had deserved. After weeks of fighting with mother, by now at least third broken promise,  I finally asked her what she wanted.  Do you want me to quit? Do you want someone else here instead? Are you trying to teach me to try harder, be more determined? or are you trying to teach me to have the sense to walk away?  What do you want me to do?  I have found that if I ask the universe a question and then meditate in nature with a mind opening task, the answer comes.  And it did.  My task was planting the sun for her birds. For days on end I meditated on the question of “what do you want me to do?”  I patiently and quietly mulled it over and listened to what was within my heart. Part three is that answer.

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What are you doing out there?

For the last 12 weeks or so I’ve been working in this field right next to the highway all day, every day, except the 3 mornings a week  for off farm work and a few pig and other situations  Its just me and this field,  there is no shade over there so the dogs can only visit in the early morning and evening. I have worked through the heat and the rain,  no lightning, that was the line I drew for missing work.  I’ve missed every picnic, art opening, social get together the summer had to offer, I just can’t was my answer every time. To say this had become an obsession is an understatement.  

Nearly every time I drove into either Cambridge or Greenwich (my farm is centered between them) people, farmers asked me what I was doing out there in that field all day.  For 12 weeks or so I wouldn’t give a straight answer. When it was 99 degrees I said I was killing myself very, very slowly (that ended up not being all that funny one afternoon), wait and see, what field?, me?, and my favorite and the only semi-truthful one - feeding the birds.   I live right smack in the middle of farm country, farmers don’t act this way. They don’t dig that many pumpkin hills with a shovel and plant seeds by hand. I get alot of time to think out there, and I’ve thought about this alot.   Maybe I’m not a farmer.

What the heck am I? And what am I doing out here?  One thing I know for sure, I love this farm but I could love any farm. More specifically I love the country because nature is my drug.  I’ve been offered an ipod to listen to music while I work, thoughtful gesture, but no thanks,  I want to hear those seed theiving birds. I’ll give them the credit they deserve, at least they sing for their supper.  Every season has something uniquely its own to share and I love it all. 

I love art.  I love to make it, I love to look at it, and I love what the creative act does for this world. It is almost as important as nature, for all of us. 

I love to grow things and be around growing things.  And I love good, hard, bull work. Alright! So here we go, this is starting to sound more like a farmer…  Agriculture should be as important as eating for everyone who does not wish to live a self sufficient lifestyle.  Whether you eat at home, fast food or a nice restaurant, agriculture must be considered.

Modern agriculture is a little dirty and tough on our environment, including the land.  I have been here for 8 years watching another farmer work this land.  We argued this spring about corn being planted for the 6th year in a row, he agrees with me that its not healthy for the soil but assures me that dumping tons of chemical fertilizer will help, but, trying to appeal to my unreasonable tree hugging - dirt worshiping disposition,  he uses a no-till method for his corn, sounds good but its accomplished using lots of chemical herbicides.  

I took back this field this year and the rest next.   My first visit to this field I felt ashamed that I had not stood up for her, this farm, sooner. There was serious erosion from soil exposure ( naturally, it would be covered in grasses and vegatation)  and compaction from heavy equipment. I made a promise to be kind to this field,  help her heal and started digging pumpkin hills by hand, one at a time for two weeks.  I just met someone who was driving by every day at all hours during this time who thought that it was a prison work release program and that I must have done something horribly wrong! Truthfully, I told this guy,  I loved almost every minute out there. 

That’s the beginning, but certainly not the end.   What a ride its been, so much I have learned, about me,  and our mother (nature) and the folly of arguing with her.  Another time, there is farm work to be done.

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