I Moved, Christmas Music, and Philosophical Questions

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October sunset.

Blogging, oh blogging. Why have I neglected you for so long? 

Actually, I can answer that pretty easily: I moved.

For a little while, I lived in a town north of here, and it took 15 minutes to get to the farm. That doesn’t sound like much for any other job commute, but for the way I like to work, it was a lot of driving. I’d go to chores, go home, eat breakfast, go work on the farm again, go home. Most days, I’d just pack up everything I needed and worked online at my parents’ house. (I stayed disconnected at my old house.)

But then, a house opened up close to my family and the farm, so I moved back down here.

And I got Internet.

I’ve been here for nearly two months, and the front rooms are now mostly organized, so I’m now back to the point where I can have a more consistent schedule in blogging and writing

Here’s what’s happened since I last wrote:

  • I celebrated one year of being home
  • The chickens molted.
  • The chickens started laying eggs again.
  • My cousins opened a Christmas tree farm in our small town.
  • The farrier trimmed the horses’ hooves.
  • One filly developed a cow kick (kicking to the side and front instead of to the back). This means walking with her is difficult sometimes, especially if she is impatient to reach her food.
  • It snowed!

I like snow.

I’ve also been enjoying Christmas music. This is a nice time of year, and it’s nice to listen to melodic music.

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Hay bales in golden sunlight.

Here are some questions I’ve been pondering lately:

  • What do readers look for in a good book?
  • With the constant work flow of farming, why does this occupation often require that farmers still find second or third incomes? I just finished The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen and am currently reading The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks. Both books take place in England. They both discuss how farmers throughout the centuries have had to seek second incomes to make ends meet, whether that was working in the coal mines, knitting socks, or hiring out as sheep shearers. The same thing happens in the U.S.
  • How do we as farmers share with customers the economics of farming, show that a large farm can still care for animals and the soil, and demonstrate that the ideal of a small farm may not work sometimes?
  • What is the “paradox of plenty” and how can it be beaten in impoverished rural areas? (I’ve especially been thinking about this in the context of a podcast with Chris Hayes and Eliza Griswold about rural life amidst fracking in Pennsylvania. One of the most interesting pieces in the conversation discussed the history of why there is a divide between urban and rural areas. She also mentions briefly the second income of farmers.) I’ve been working on my Wendell Berry posts, and all of this ties in.

These are questions that would require books to explore fully, it seems. Internet articles would not do these subjects justice.

On farmers and income: there are many different ways to farm, and a lot of the factors of needing a second job have to do with economics, the type of farm, and the way the business is run. I know full-time farmers with large operations, and I know full-time farmers that manage small operations. It’s possible to make it work. Lately, I’ve been trying to think of professions where a second job is needed to make ends meet, and I’ve come up with farmers and teachers. What others?

What are your thoughts on these?

Enjoy the snow! And the chickens say hello.

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Australorp chickens at evening roost.

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