Saturday, July 26, 2014

Several years ago H and I found a bobcat den, a hole in the ground covered loosely by leaves. Sitting in front of this front door was an upturned leaf carefully filled with urine. If this sounds as fantastical as it looked, I promise y'all the smell was unmistakably real, a smell no one could ever forget.

This morning Daisy came in from her customary dawn outing with a mouthful of the urine of a wild animal---but I don't think its bobcat. This, she dribbled on the arm of the chair where I am sitting. Which, I think, was done on purpose. She's never done such a thing before. I think she intends a very clear message and possibly a directive: "This animal is here. No use barking about it. But you better do something." What I'm going to do is get up and wash my hands, my arm, and this chair. And spend the rest of the day wondering what kind of animal? Coyote is likely, or fox. Bear? There was certainly a strong enough tang of ass in the mix. But it seems to me bears have a sickly sweetness in their smell? Oh, the things humans no longer know. We've grown so small its sad, in ways.

I have a friend down the road who learned about a kind of net used a long time go to help support the vulvas of livestock prone to vaginal prolapse in late pregnancy. The net is woven in such a way as to support what needs supporting, without falling apart, and yet allow the baby to be born right through the middle. Unfortunately, no one remembers exactly how they were made. Imagine what kinds of information humans have lost along the way. We don't even remember things we invented a couple hundred years ago.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unschooling considerations: Video gaming, Minecraft

And neuroscience: Crosswords Don't Make you Smarter
In which the author, N. Spitzer, does this amazing thing. He gives an actual curriculum for growing smarter. Remember my curriculum? I said love, diet, and age appropriate access to the world. Mr. Spitzer says, "diet, exercise, and social interaction." There ya go, out of the mouth of a neuro-scientist. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

 The one and only buck on this farm,
 a very sweet little fellow.
Newly arrived this week from a farm just down the road. He is a Lamancha/Nigerian cross and an F2 mini. My does are also F2 minis so they should make beautiful small sized dairy goats for next year.

All he needs now is a name. ???

The longer I parent the less distinction I feel between my kids and all kids. Its not that I feel all kids need me, specifically. I guess its just a One Love kind of thing.

Anyhow, I lifted these selfies from my daughter's blog. 

Love you girls! <3

Thursday, July 17, 2014

There are about 20 houses in my neighborhood. We have the smallest property at just under one acre. The whole neighborhood probably has about 60 acres. Almost none of this land is in use for anything other than holding houses, driveways, and cars.

I work really hard on my job at the dairy farm. Its an industrial farm and the work is industrial scale and very serious. Yesterday was especially challenging for no reason other than luck. I was kicked in the face (but not hurt) by a cow. I was shocked twice by a broken handle. I had to wrestle a pig and clean up lots of maggots. And I got covered to sopping in whey. All of that is in addition to the actual job, to give you some idea of the time and trouble that goes on over there. And my shift is only 5 hours. I guess they pull in, on average, about 200 gallons of milk a day while also producing a lot of pork and maybe a half dozen eggs. No one over there is interested in chickens.

I don't work hard on the farm at my house. My farm is very tiny and I set it up so that I don't have to work at it very hard. On average, when things are well managed, I can pull nearly a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs off this land every day---easily. Plus figs, flowers, herbs, and any random vegetables I am willing to tend. Of these, due to the lay of our land, the vegetables are least productive. But remember, I'm not willing to try very hard, either. I could double the milk and eggs plus add meat birds without blinking. They can double production without blinking.

It occurred to me this morning that our little neighborhood could become almost entirely self sufficient in terms of food without all that much effort. Each household would have to spend, likely, a similar amount of time, energy, and money for set up as has my family. (Remembering that I'm not even trying very hard and most other families would be smarter about the whole thing.) It would not take all that much time, trouble, or money to create a self sufficient food economy with a very large diversity, given the amount of land we're talking about.

I just can't understand why more folks don't want to produce their own food. The animals do all the work! They do it happily, they improve the land as they do it, and the food is far FAR superior to what's available in the store. All that, plus you get to have baby animals and the luscious sensuality of good life happening around you, as opposed to what's available in terms of sensuality and goodness at, say, Food Lion or Harris Teeter.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ernest Hemingway

Chapter 5
A False Spring

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiter of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

In the spring mornings I would work early while my wife still slept. The windows were open wide and the cobbles of the street were drying after the rain. The sun was drying the wet faces of the houses that faced the window. The shops were still shuttered. The goatherd came up the street blowing his pipes and a woman who lived on the floor above us came out onto the sidewalk with a big pot. The goatherd chose one of the heavy-bagged, black milk-goats and milked her into the pot while his dog pushed the others onto the sidewalk. The goats looked around, turning their necks like sight-seers. The goatherd took the money from the woman and thanked her and went on up the street piping and the dog herded the goats on ahead, their horns bobbing. I went back to writing and the woman came up the stairs with the goat milk. She wore her felt-soled cleaning shoes and I only heard her breathing as she stopped on the stairs outside our door and then the shutting of her door. She was the only customer for goat milk in our building.
Strolling around Asheville was a drum beat feast of music, crowded characters, and art.