“Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.” Thornton Wilder
Today is the day that we build and put up the gate in the barn so that the goats have access to the outdoors without us being out there monitoring. They will have more than half of the barn plus access to the run in the back of the barn. That will be a good start until we feel like they are old enough and big enough to be in a fenced area. There are too many coyote around here to think that an electric fence would keep them out, for certain, while the goats are still little.
I am looking forward to learning how to build a gate and fence. I want to learn to use the woodworking equipment without cutting my arm off and operating it without Chris. I am tired of not being able to build things myself.
I forgot to document the day that we decreased the number of bottles from 4 to 3. I believe it was on February 21st that we began the reduction. They are eating a lot of hay and grain now. Wow… what a change in how much poop is in the barn. I think that goat poop is the least stinky of all animals, but when they are eating hay and drinking milk, the smell factor is pretty high. We will continue feeding them 3 bottles for 2 more weeks and then we will go down to 2 for another month. I really enjoy feeding them their bottles, so I have a hard time thinking of weaning them. I try to remind myself that there will be more babies.
I have been thinking a lot about the upcoming garden and how much I am looking forward to eating organic produce for next to nothing compared to in the stores. As I have mentioned before. I love eating a meal that is 100% from our farm. Eggs, potatoes, onions, peppers, etc… So lovely. With that thought, we have decided to propose to our current land owners that we grow an organic garden, in the already plowed plot of land, that is across the driveway. Each time that I look out the kitchen window, as I am washing the dishes, I think about that little piece of earth’s possibilities for giving. I want more people to have access to fresh organic produce, especially those who want it but can’t afford it.
The only thing that has been getting in the way of moving forward has been asking the very simple question of the land owners. The details, that I know can easily be figured out, should not be an obstacle to helping something happen that could be really good for the surrounding community.
I see it working something like this:
The owners already plant corn and squash on their property and have volunteers come and pick at particular times during the summer. They donate all of the food to local food shelves. I think it is a wonderful start but I think there needs to be more diversity in the food that is donated and the food could be pesticide free.
I could focus on this larger piece of earth that would be for many instead of a smaller garden that would just be for my family. I believe that thinking a little bigger in this area would be a good thing for all concerned. There is no better time than the present to take action in an area that I have such passion in and I have everything that I need right in front of me. It is literally staring me in the face everyday screaming for me to get my hands dirty. The owners can continue to contribute to the cause through volunteers, equipment, funds and receive their tax deduction, and I can manage a small plot of land, feed my family and hopefully give, give , give. I know that for myself, digging in is the solution to most of my problems, and could in turn be a very real and needed solution for someone who is trying to feed their family, but doesn’t quite have enough.
I remember several times, years ago, that we did not have enough. I realized in those days that poverty is a tricky situation. The deeper one gets into it, the harder it is to find the way out. Situational poverty was hard enough, but I tried to imagine being born into generational poverty. It becomes all about taking care of only basic needs. Without real help, it can feel impossible to turn things around. To be standing at the grocery check-out and feel like such critical choices have to be made; standing there with a very finite amount of money. Do I stop caring about the earth? Do I feed my kids shit because it is so much cheaper to eat high fructose, partially hydrogenated, white floured, processed, non-food. I knew that I had people to call and ask for help if I really needed it, but many do not. I have been there, making those difficult decisions and I am no longer ashamed to admit it. There is no shame in being without enough money and I am grateful for the opportunity to understand it in a much deeper way. Anyone could be there at anytime, for multiple reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as being principled. It is not a good person, bad person, smart person dumb person thing. It just is. Those decisions should never have to be made with such a basic human need and right as food.
I do not eat organic or local food for the same reasons that I did 5 years ago. My focus several years ago was on my family’s health, and just feeling like it seemed “right”. I am now beginning to see a much bigger picture and the difference between industrial and agricultural farming. It is time for me to push up my sleeves and start taking some real action. That action will hopefully lead to more action, that begins to change something in the direction of good food being a basic human right, no matter what one’s situation is. There is no place for judgement ever, but especially when it comes the air we breathe, the love we receive, the right to quality, affordable care when sick, and the food that we eat. We all deserve those things always, period. If there is any question in anyone’s mind about that, it is because they have not walked in the shoes of those with little money or have chosen to make up stories about why it is ok for many to have to make those difficult choices everyday.