Spinning Straw Into Gold

laughing at adversity, it's all good,

Anne Anderson Wikimedia Commons

Annoyances seem to come with lessons built in, at least around here.

I trundle down the basement steps clutching piles of wet jeans so I can hang them close to our wood burning furnace, saving a bit of propane our clothes dryer might have used.  That seems like a farce when we discover a fitting on the propane tank has been leaking, letting hundreds of dollars worth of gas drift away in an ecologically irresponsible manner.

We have fresh milk, butter, and cheese thanks to our cow Isabelle. We avoid calculating if we’re actually saving money this way, but it’s obvious when it costs us. Like now, when we couldn’t harvest a single bale of hay last summer due to flooded fields. These days we have to buy each mouthful of hay she eats in exchange for the food she provides us.

What I can’t grow and preserve myself, I like to get in bulk from a natural foods co-op. It helps us afford organic food. But not when I find grain moths in my 25 pound container of buckwheat groats. Guess the chickens get buckwheat added to their diets and my kids won’t have to complain about pancakes the color of wet cardboard.

Sometimes I’m tempted to indulge in a Rumpelstiltskin-like tantrum. I don’t want to hear about the money we need to fix a tractor. I don’t want to clean a pile of dog puke or stay up late to meet another deadline or deal with unspeakably stinky laundry. I’d like the straw of everyday annoyances to turn into gold.

But then I pay attention.

Right now two of my sons are sitting by the fireplace talking and laughing with their father. My daughter is coming in from the barn, snow melting on her hair and on the bucket of eggs she’s carrying. The small dogs are wrestling at my feet while our old German shepherd rolls over to avoid watching such unruliness. It’s all perfect — exactly as it is. My socks still have holes, the window molding is unfinished, there are muddy footprints by the door. But none of that matters.

This is golden.

A 2012 throwback post from our farm site

I Live in Dichotomy House

bull steer

I’m standing at the kitchen counter rolling out crust to make an entrée my son wants for his birthday. Beef pies. They won’t be filled with just any beef, but the tender flesh of a two-year-old steer named Clovis who spent his whole life on our little farm. It’s hard to reconcile my feelings with the facts. Right now I’m dicing the brisket, a place where Clovis liked to be scratched.

Years ago my daughter made an excellent case for raising a dairy cow as a learning experience for her and homegrown way for us to procure healthy grassfed milk we could turn into yogurt, kefir, and cheese. On her birthday we gave her a red halter and soon after we got a lovely Guernsey. Isabelle changed her life. All our lives

The spring that Isabelle gave birth to her first bull calf was another game-changer. Initially I tried to delude myself that little Dobby  could be trained to work as an ox or that we could find him a place in some farm animal sanctuary. Delusions they were indeed. Our only option was to raise him for a year or two, knowing all our hand-fed carrots and apples couldn’t forestall his eventual fate.

When he was small my daughter halter-trained him, leading him out the pasture gate to fresh grass. Even later, at 1,600 pounds, he followed her just as future steers would do. Long before they had to leave, she wisely insured they’d be calm and unafraid for the day they’d be led to the truck taking them away.

It’s a hard truth indeed to realize that calves who love to be brushed, calves who cavort in exultation when the gate to a fresh pasture is opened, calves who are clearly attached to the mother who birthed them and continues to care for them, cannot live out their natural lifespans. We consoled ourselves knowing that at least here our steers lived every day of their lives with their mother, grazing and nursing in peace until the last day they breathed. And that Isabelle could live out her natural lifespan, more than three times longer than dairy cows are typically permitted in the U.S. This is rare, almost unheard of, on today’s farms.

But I veer from my point. (This veering is a chronic problem of mine.)

My scruples once ruled. My children were raised on vegetarian food made from scratch. I used to be pretty darn strident about this. Heck, I used to be pretty strident about all sorts of things, from education to politics. My scruples haven’t changed, at least I think they haven’t, but my ability to live with dichotomy has.

Maybe it was precipitated by that not-so-great dinner of bean patties with buckwheat groats and mushroom gravy, but at this point three out of four of my offspring now include meat in their diets. (Yes friends, it’s true, our dictates don’t inform our kids’ choices. ) My husband once ate meat only at restaurants and other people’s houses because I couldn’t bear to have the flesh of once-living creatures in our home. Then he became a hunter. People dear to me quite happily flourish on the opposite end of the political spectrum and I do my (sometimes faltering) best to establish common ground, because really, every one of us wants the same things —-among them the freedom to live in safety, do what enhances our lives, and find meaning in our everyday activities. People dear to me also raise their children very differently than I’ve chosen, from sleep training to stringently academic schooling to tough love.

Every year I’ve learned more about accepting, even embracing, differing viewpoints. It’s not easy. There’s plenty of kvetching, from me and surely from the people who do their best to put up with me. This is a very big deal. It’s the foundation of peace, the only possible way forward for our species.

I slice up the very flesh I once lavished with rubs and scratches,  then I roll out dough (yes, with whole grain flour) because my son hopes I’ll try the Cornish Pasty recipe he showed me. (For vegetarian family members, I make spinach pies that are refreshingly free of contradictions.)

I have no philosophy that fully explains this contradiction. But I try to stay awake and aware as I make food for someone I love out of the flesh of an animal I once loved. I reflect sorrowfully that, since last spring, we have no cattle at all on our back pasture. I’m sure I miss those mindful beings far less than my daughter must.

I wash the wooden cutting board, wipe the counters, and consider how complicated and paradoxical life is. We live on life, pass from life, and life goes on. I don’t know what to make of it except to rationalize a second glass of wine.

Growing Up Sarcastic & Self-Sufficient On The Farm

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Isabelle the cow. (Image: Claire Weldon)

“Come here Slug Weasel,” my daughter commands. Obediently her youngest brother does as she bids, helping her carry 50 pound bags of chicken feed to the barn on our little farm. They chat pleasantly on the way.

By pleasantly I mean he doesn’t just point out that her flip-flop clad feet are dirty. He says that they are festering toxic bacteria unknown to science and should be classified as biological weapons.

She doesn’t just notice he’s squinting, she pretends to worry about his sudden exposure to sunlight and insists that swiveling in a computer chair probably doesn’t afford him the musculature to carry more than the weight of his own hair. They laugh and talk all the way to the barn.  I smile in adoration.

I was raised to be quiet and deferential to others. (Fist-shake at outdated values.) Perhaps as a direct result, I wanted to insure that my own children felt free to be themselves. Homeschooling has given us that freedom. Natural learning and all sorts of friends serves as an antidote to cultural factors relentlessly trying to pressure young people into sameness.

There’s not much sameness going on here. My four offspring can fix old tractors, diagnose a chicken in respiratory distress, compose a bagpipe tune, design custom air cooling systems for computers, discuss the chytrid fungus currently decimating amphibian populations, randomly quote from old Futurama episodes, weld sculptures, and roast fantastically spicy potatoes. They get science on everything. They don’t, however, pay attention to fashion trends or celebrity gossip.

We’re all still in headlong pursuit of our interests. But now that everyone is older I’m left with wonderful memories of early learning, the kind that shifted easily between relaxation and adventure. We read for hours together sprawled on couches, managing to get out of pajamas and into clothes before lunch if we had places to go. My kids launched into ambitious projects, from building a trebuchet that propelled pumpkins across the pond to entering a national science contest that landed them prizes including a visit with an astronaut. Other equally ambitious ideas, like making a hovercraft, were more notable for their humorous failures. We gave homemade gifts that stemmed from woodworking, sewing and soldering projects. Other gifts, like a handmade theremin, were not as well received. We called exploding experiments “science,” invited everyone we knew for large-scale projects, threw strangely amusing parties, jaunted all over for concerts and plays, maxed out our library cards each week, hosted an international guest for six summers, and whenever possible learned directly from people who thrived on work they loved.

It’s not all in the realm of memory. My grown and nearly grown kids seek each other out for hours long discussions as well as weeks long backpacking trips. Conversation around the dinner table is a gallery of fervent opinions, esoteric interests, and very dry wit. I’m still smiling in adoration. Well, I’m also smiling because someone else carries all that chicken feed.

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Fowl demonstrating free ranging. (Image: Claire Weldon)

This post originally appeared on Radio Free School

Global Village Construction Set

It’s possible to plant 50 trees in one afternoon.

To press 5,000 bricks from the dirt beneath your feet in one day.

To build an affordable tractor in six days.

It’s possible thanks to the members of Open Source Ecology (OSE). They aren’t armchair visionaries. These engineers, farmers, and developers are dedicated to making communities sustainable and self-reliant. They’re taking on scarcity and inequality with open source enthusiasm

OSE got its start when Marcin Jakubowski’s tractor broke.  Well, lets back up a little. After Jakubowski earned a PhD in the physics of fusion energy, he bought a farm in Missouri where he grew fruit trees and raised goats. One day his tractor broke. He didn’t have the hands-on experience to fix it himself. But he hauled out some can-do attitude along with his welder and torch. He realized a tractor is simply a box with wheels, each powered by hydraulic motors.  So he bolted together square steel tubing to make one from scratch. It worked.

This inspired him to look beyond pricey, commercially made machines. He began to come up with versions that were hardy, low-cost, and constructed out of locally sourced or repurposed materials. His posted designs generated lots of enthusiasm and input. Participants began showing up to help build prototypes on project days, becoming OSE collaborators.

The idea evolved. They considered what it takes to build independent, sustainable communities that support farming, construction, small manufacturing,  and power generation. They came up with a list of the 50 machines most important for modern life including a hay baler, bakery oven, laser cutter, drill press, solar concentrator, and truck.  Low cost, industrial strength, DIY versions of these machines became known as the Global Village Construction Set.  The motors, parts, and other fittings of these machines are designed to be interchangeable. All the 3D designs, schematics, and instructional videos are posted on the OSE Wiki.

On average, constructing these machines costs about eight times less than comparable machines made by industrial manufacturers. As Jakubowski explained in his recent TED talk, “Our goal is a repository of published design so clear, so complete, that a single burned DVD is effectively a civilization starter kit. ..The implications are significant: a greater distribution of the means of production, environmentally sound supply chains, and a newly relevant DIY Maker culture can hope to transcend artificial scarcity.”

So often hope seems abstract.  This is tangible hope, made of steel. It puts independence and equality in reach for people in both the developed and developing world.  Welding never seemed so inspiring.

Originally published at Wired.com

What’s Up On The Farm

It’s quiet on our little farm. Spring hasn’t really arrived in Ohio. Although I’m starting heritage tomato seeds, they’re waiting to spout in front of a window that still frosts over most nights. And it’s quiet on our farm website too. So this week I’m sharing a few posts from our farm site. It’s like a hello from my life to yours.

Great Things Aren’t Always So Great explains why our house nearly fell apart.

Idleness Isn’t Always the Devil’s Workshop outs me as a mom who isn’t always the best example.

Trying to Grow Potatoes Instead of Magic Mushrooms describes my first attempt to grow potatoes and the method I’ve since adopted.

Hopefully some useful advice is offered in Why Kids Belong in the Kitchen and 12 Ways to Raise Happy Healthy Eaters.

And yes, plenty of barely disguised ranting is noticeable in Small Town Values Bitch-Slap the Economic CrisisGreenwashing the Gates Foundation Way, and Cow Powered Treadmills, Really?

Eager to hear a hello from your life to mine.

Thanks To Mom, We Tried Turkey Farming

I offered to host Thanksgiving year after year. My mother turned me down each time. She liked hosting the family get-together even though her kids and grandkids lived close enough to visit weekly. She preferred her wedding china and linens to my mismatched dishes and homespun tablecloth. Mostly she wanted to ensure that the meal featured homemade white crescent rolls and a large Butterball turkey filled with her own stuffing recipe. She was afraid that her annoyingly whole foods vegetarian daughter might prepare something horribly non-traditional, like nutloaf with chestnut wild rice dressing instead of turkey. Valid point.

But her health kept declining. I took to coming over early on Thanksgiving Day to stuff the turkey with her and hoist it in the oven. We all came back a few hours later with side dishes. I always brought homemade crescent rolls that looked suspiciously brown and healthy. Our meals continued to be lively events and we worked hard to make sure my mother didn’t notice how much we all helped out.

I knew she’d reached a new low in her energy level when she offered to let me host Thanksgiving a few years ago. She said I had to agree to one condition. I had to make a real turkey (not a Tofurky, she hastened to add) and stuff it with her stuffing recipe. I had to promise. I wanted to cry, knowing that she was much sicker than she let on. I promised.

But there was no way I was going to cook a typical grocery store turkey. I know these birds spend their short lives in tightly confined spaces, eating foods that aren’t natural to them. We raise pastured livestock on our little farm, so we drove nearly an hour to buy a similarly pastured turkey directly from the farmer. I felt particularly solemn as I prepared that first Thanksgiving meal at our house, knowing it was difficult enough for my mother to get from the car to the house so she could spend the day with us. At least the turkey was a hit. According to the meat-eaters in the bunch, it was the best they’d ever had. It was also so juicy that it overflowed the pan. That’s something grocery store birds don’t do, even though they’re injected with a “7% solution containing water, salt, modified food starch, sodium phosphate and natural flavors.”

But that pastured turkey was astonishingly expensive. We thought we might be able to raise a flock of our own more cheaply. We were wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nearby farmers gently told us that we were foolhardy. They warned us to keep turkeys “on wire,” indoors, and away from what they said were the disease-carrying dangers of grass. They said our plan to avoid feed pumped up with medications and synthetic vitamins would leave us with a dying flock. Online articles repeated these woeful predictions.

Still, the next spring we bought turkey chicks. They were raised in the warmth of an Amish kitchen until they were old enough to live outdoors.

On our place they lived in what’s called a “tractor.” This is a moveable coop, allowing the birds access to fresh areas to forage. My husband and oldest son built it with roosts and feeders. We soon learned turkeys toss food from feeders and don’t like to roost. Out came both of those modifications. Then to forestall problems with predators we added a moveable electric fence.

How much our rapidly growing chicks ate surprised us. In addition to the roots, grasses, leaves, and bugs they scratched up on their own we provided them with a locally grown and ground mix of seeds and grain. And we gave them fresh organic produce from the garden each day. They had strong preferences. One day they might eagerly eat cucumbers and squash, the next day they refused to eat those veggies but enjoyed tomatoes. They turned up their beaks at plenty of other treats, like broccoli and rutabagas.

We found turkeys quite interesting. When they’re young they peep and squawk. Then the gobble develops, something we found relentlessly amusing. Hens don’t gobble. They chirp and cluck in their own quiet manner while the toms are prone to showy displays of exaggerated feather fluffing. The toms gobbled at any noisy airborne attraction including Canada geese, crows, and helicopters. When annoyed, their heads turned iridescent blue and sometimes they engaged in snood-grabbing jousts. Our dogs were fascinated by the turkeys, but the turkeys showed little interest in creatures beyond their own genus.

All day, every day the flock had a visitor. A little brown hen moseyed up from the back of our property to visit her fowl friends. She stayed close. She pecked at grass and bugs, sometimes a few feet away and sometimes a few inches away. When we gave the turkeys a treat from the garden like a monster zucchini she’d cluck at me, waiting for her own piece. Quite often the turkeys, in their zucchini-enhanced exuberance, tossed flecks of what they were eating almost as if to share. Their friend the hen was right there waiting for those offerings. I never saw the turkeys peck at her.

What we learned about turkeys wasn’t entirely charming. Full grown turkeys are huge. Some of ours were over 80 pounds. Their poo, I’m sorry to say, was also huge. I never realized just how foul it was until I slipped and fell in it. And despite the overall health and vitality of our flock, once we factored in all the expenses there wasn’t any profit at all. Plus, after feeding and chatting with them for six months, it felt like a horrible betrayal to take them to the butcher.

This year we let the turkey farming venture go. We’re gratefully buying a pastured turkey, knowing that it’s worth the cost. It’ll be cooked with my mother’s stuffing recipe. I’ll also be using my mother’s china and linens. We’ll sit here at a table filled with friends and family, fully aware that our blessings include those made of memory.

I’ll smile this Thanksgiving at all who are here with me. I’ll leave the sob in my throat, choosing instead to share fond and funny stories of my parents who I miss every day. I realize now why every generation goes on celebrating even after the elders who made the traditions meaningful have gone. Holidays are a sort of bridge between past and future, a way of steadying ourselves with the idea that some things stay the same. When the time comes for me to pass along the honor of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll try passing along my mother’s stuffing recipe too.

honoring memories at Thanksgiving, how to raise pastured turkeys, small farm turkey story, missing mom at Thanksgiving,

Image: Karuntribs

 

 

Hay Now

soil health, grassfed, pastured, sustainability, family farm, ethical land use,

This summer’s first cutting of hay is stacked in the barn. Seventeen acres of grasses transformed into golden squares, storing sun and soil’s energy for the winter ahead.

The unsung miracle of grass is a beautiful illustration of nature’s wisdom. Cows eating only grass flourish, turning these coarse blades, inedible to humans, into rich high-protein milk. This benefits the environment as well as the health of people drinking the milk of grassfed cows. To me, fields devoted to hay and pasture make sense while factory farms make no sense at all.

Hay isn’t a fancy crop.

It doesn’t bring much in the way of money. Some years we scramble because there’s too much rain and not enough time to harvest. But this perennial doesn’t just nourish a few of our favorite ruminants. It helps preserve topsoil.

The loss of soil to water erosion, called sedimentation, is measured in tons of soil loss per acre per year. This runaway soil clogs waterways, smothering aquatic life and affecting navigation. The denuded land left behind is robbed of fertility.

The importance of topsoil can’t be underestimated. According to Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil, the decline and fall of civilizations are based on soil fertility.

Nearly everything we eat relies on healthy soil, yet it takes 500 years for nature to produce an inch of topsoil. Current farming techniques increase soil erosion 10 to 40 percent greater than the rate nature can replace it. We’re running out of the very dirt our lives depend on.

The living skin of our Earth is thin, wildly complex and more interconnected than we might imagine. That’s why, when I look out over the woodlands on our land, the pastures our cattle graze on, the hayfields—I am reassured. The continuous ground cover of pasture or forest protects the soil. Perennial hay fields, pastures and woodlands allow organic matter to build naturally.

I have just a beginning grasp of the vital interplay between amoebae, fungi, bacteria, arthropods and plant roots in soil, enough to sense those bags of “sterilized potting mix” found in every big box store are a mockery of the lessons to be found in nature. I do grasp that we survive, in large part, through the life-giving nutrients of what has died. Organic material of all kinds decays into humus and that makes soil a story of resurrection, writ large.

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books worth reading

Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan

Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners by James B. Nardi

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

The Secret Life of Plants by Christopher Bird and Peter Tompkins

Edible Knowledge

cherrytomatoes Living on a farm we can’t help but be connected to the food on our table. We’re by no means perfect when it comes to eating locally. We’ll never come close unless chocolate and coffee start sprouting up in Ohio.

While more of us are paying attention to adopting better habits for our own health and planetary health, it’s easy to overlook the vital and wondrous learning that is directly related to food. For my family, those lessons often have to do with shared experiences.

~Many years we head out to pick apples together on a bright fall day. After an indulgent week of eating and baking with as many apples as possible, we devote a day to applesauce. We cook the remaining bushels of fruit down, cranking Grandma’s Victorio strainer that pushes with sauce out one side and pulp out the other (pulp eagerly eaten by the chickens), then can jars of applesauce to eat all winter long.

~We have encouraged each child to choose his or her own “crop” to plant and tend in the vegetable garden. Harvesting and sharing the bounty of one’s own fresh green beans teaches the satisfaction of work right along with lessons in botany and soil health.

~We try recipes from around the world, not only while learning about other cultures, but also because we freely trade garden bounty with friends, and have to do something with unfamiliar herbs, roots and fruits.

~We visit nearby farms. Observation and conversations with those who live on the land have been instructive, teaching us practices we want to emulate and those we hope to avoid.

~We eat meals together every day. Cooking frugally by choice as well as necessity has brought us myriad conversations about health, trends, politics and defining worth for ourselves. Of course our meals also precipitate family humor related to home ground grains that result in breads darker than wet cardboard and yes, we’ve had one or two loaded spatula chases around the kitchen. Oh wait, that didn’t involve the kids, just me thinking it might be funny to fling frosting at my husband.

~Unintentionally we learn by making plenty of mistakes. Ordering 25 pounds of organic buckwheat from the food co-op before knowing if anyone would eat it, raising our first flock of turkeys on faith more than fact, repeatedly attempting to make cheddar cheese although we can’t maintain the temperature needed to age it, well, this list could go on.

10 Things We Should Teach Every Kid About Food, recently posted on Every Kitchen Table, offers a handy list of important food-related categories to explore with our children.  The ideas are important and too often overlooked, such as the precepts of the industrial food system and the insidious effect of food advertising.

Here are some related resources:

Improve School Lunches With Locally Grown Food This article offers information plus strategies to bring positive change to your school district, whether you have children in school or not.

Don’t Buy It A non-profit site with learning games to help kids evaluate and analyze media messages.

I Buy Different A website sponsored by New Dream and World Wildlife Fund with tools to help tweens and teens be, live, and buy differently to make a difference.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children

I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature

What are some ways that learning, growing and eating work best in your family?100_5960

Learning from Wisdom of Elder Farmers

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The sight of Ron’s farm is like a quiet blessing. I wait for my first glimpse of it over the rise of a hill each time I take the dogs for a walk down our street. The house and several outbuildings are in shambles, but that’s because Ron puts his energy into keeping his small dairy farm going.

His herd of around fifty Ayrshire, Holstein, Guernsey and Brown Swiss graze on pasture so lush that the grasses sway in the wind. Many of the old fence posts surrounding the fields are wire-wrapped osage orange and hickory trunks, since farmers a few generations ago knew these durable woods would serve while alive and long after.

Ron puts his cows out on pasture each spring by a calculation that remains a mystery to me, something to do with phases of the moon. He adheres to other timeworn methods that aren’t fancy enough to be termed eco-friendly or green. For example, Ron drives his old car back to the hayfield before it’s time to cut. He walks through the field handpicking weeds that aren’t good for his cows. He doesn’t confine his cows year round, dose them with production-boosting hormones or follow any other agricultural trends.

Ron’s back is bent; his face is weathered and creased into a permanent smile. Already he looks like his father, Herb, who died a few years ago, probably already in his nineties. We asked Herb’s advice back when we first started farming. Herb told us he’d walked over to see our cows a few times, meaning he’d hiked through fields and woods to reassure himself that all was well.

How many of us can still benefit from the benevolent instinct of a neighboring farmer? How many are lucky enough to learn from examples of those who are deeply rooted, as Lisa Hamilton’s wonderful new book Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness is aptly named?

Dairy farms all over the country are selling cows, selling land and going out of business. The price they are being paid is about the same as it was in the 1970’s, although feed and fuel is much higher.  Government aid under consideration for small farms is steered to prompt farmers into selling cows, meaning even more milk will come from huge confinement agricultural operations. Losing small farms also means that the wisdom of farmers like Ron will be left behind at an ever faster pace. This includes specific wisdom about the land and wider wisdom about ways to live.

True connection to the land is so easily crushed beneath the weight of society’s pressing demand for immediate gratification and quick profits. But then, much is lost. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “This palpable world, which we are used to treating with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association, is a holy place.”

Perhaps most obviously, common sense is lost. Small farms are actually more efficient. The Institute for Food and Development Policy amassed available data from every country to compare productivity of smaller farms versus larger farms (total output of agricultural products per unit area — per acre or hectare.)  Their research showed that smaller farms are anywhere from 200 to 1,000 percent more productive.

Ron’s son-in-law and grandson help on the farm, but his family talks to him about getting out of the business. They know he’s losing money. Ron says that he watched his father go through hard times and he learned that the way you stay farming is to hang on. So he’s hanging on.

Ron’s rootedness to his farm and his land is part of who he is, like the farmer Gene Logsdon describes in a recent blog post “…he is a last member of an ancient tribe—the genuine traditional farmers who committed themselves lovingly to a piece of land and husbanded it from generation to generation, carrying in their memories a lifetime of their own experiences and that of their fathers and grandfathers on that land.”

So today I will walk in his direction, grateful for Ron’s farm. I’ll pay attention to the sight of cows resting in tall grass and the sound of a slack board on the house creaking in the breeze, hoping perhaps each thing we look upon with love somehow is more likely to endure.