The good news is that…

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The good and the bad.

The garlic has been loving the mild weather and is now coming in strong.  I’d been worried about it, since I’m used to it coming up in the fall.  But last year we planted later than I have in the past and it waited till now to come up.  I love growing our own garlic.  It is easy to grow, nothing bothers it and it requires no effort to preserve it after harvesting.  And homegrown garlic is superior to the store-bought kind to boot.  Even for those who insist they have no green thumb, it’s very hard to mess up with garlic.   Just take the cloves and poke them into the soil in the fall (pointy end up).   Ideally, put a little straw over them.  Then wait till early summer of the following year (when the tops start to wither) and dig them up.  Let the bulbs dry out for a few days, then put them in pantry and you’re done.  

Unfortunately not everything brought out by the warm weather has been good for the farm.  The beaver who has taken up residence in our pond has been hard at work lately, gnawing down lots of trees.  I went to down the pond last night to have a talk with him, but he didn’t show up.

While I was waiting for him, a couple of geese flew in, honking loudly.  They didn’t notice me and flew straight in at me and did their crash landings in the water, all the while honking away.  It was really a neat thing to see and hear.  It made for a very pleasant dusk.

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Old Dog, New Tricks

At age 50, I’m trying to learn to play guitar.  I may eventually manage to learn to plunk out a few songs.  That’s my hope.  But it’s very unlikely I’ll ever learn to play very well.

For about 30 years I’ve wished I could play.  And for 30 years I never did anything to try to make that wish come true.  Why not?  Did I not have any time over the last 30 years that I could’ve spent with a guitar?

Of course the truth is that I’ve wasted countless hours during those three decades doing pointless things.  Had I invested just a tiny fraction of those hours learning to play guitar I’d be very good at it by now.

I’m about half way through earning my masters degree.  If I stick with it, I’ll have it done in a couple of years.  But why did I wait so long to start?  If I’d started ten or fifteen years ago I’d be done by now.  I might even have a Ph.D.

I reckon it’s better to start things like that late, than not to ever start them at all.  Still, here’s some advice from an old dog trying to learn some new tricks:  don’t delay.  Time can be a thief.

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Absurd

There is nothing more absurd than the millions who wish to live in luxury and idleness and yet be slender and good-looking.

Wendell Berry

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Stewardship

Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?  Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

Ezekiel 34:18-19

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A taste of spring

We’ve been having some amazing weather lately.  It’s been warm and dry at a time of year when cold and wet is the norm.  Thanks to the great weather we were able to get a jump on our early season gardening.

We planted lots of onions.  Way more than I’ve ever planted before.  We’re raising them in our raised beds this year and I’m optimistic that they are going to do very well.

We cleaned out our henhouse and spread the litter in the summer gardens.  Cleaning the henhouse is one of the hardest, nastiest jobs of the year on the farm, but the chicken litter is a principal fertilizer for us. 

We spread compost on the other gardens.  We make our own compost on the farm and it too is essential to our soil nutrition.

We got all the gardens tilled and would have been able to plant our English peas, had the rotary tiller not broken.  That brought us to a complete halt while we’re waiting for the welder to come fix it.  At any given time there is always something broken down on the farm.  That’s just part of the life.  Hopefully we’ll be back up and running soon.

We decided to bring back our strawberries, so we cleared and tilled a garden for them too.

The garlic is coming up now, and looking good.

All but one of the nannies due in February have given birth.  Sadly, we lost some kids.  I have no idea why.  But the good news is that we have a bunch of healthy happy babies frolicing in the barn pasture.

The hens know spring is coming and they’ve cranked up the egg production.  We don’t need to scrimp on eggs any more.

No doubt we’ll have at least one more winter blast before the real spring arrives.  But we’ve been enjoying our little taste of what is to come.

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The post-colonial south

Around the globe the agrarian south is coping with the effects of a long history of colonization by the industrial north.  In Africa, Latin America and South Asia, societies now free of the yoke of colonialism are trying to establish their cultural and political identities.  Because the colonial powers spent decades, or even centuries, indoctrinating the natives with the belief that their native cultures, languages and histories are inferior to those of the industrial colonizers, the societies seeking to emerge from the legacy of colonization must find a way to overcome its stifling effects.  In those parts of the world dealing with these issues, this is called the post-colonial era.

As part of the colonization process, the colonizers emphasize, exaggerate or even invent the vices of the colonized,  while ignoring or minimizing their own, or even somehow transforming them into virtues.  Colonizers insist, in both overt and subtle ways, that they are morally superior to the colonized, and manipulate their version of history to create evidence to support their claim.  They denigrate the language and popular culture of the colonized, as inferior to their own allegedly superior language and “higher” culture.  Adoption of the language and culture of the colonizer is presented as a means of lifting the ignorant colonized to the superior status of the colonizer.  Of course, the resources of the colonized agrarian societies are appropriated for the benefit of the industrial colonizers.  The colonized are told that this is for their benefit, will help them “progress” and enable them to substitue capitalism for their native economies.

As I studied post-colonialism recently, I began to wonder if we really have to look to Africa or Latin America to find it.  Might we see it a little closer to home?

Think about it.

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