Tying Things On

I’ve never liked wearing any jewelry.

I never wore a wrist watch or my class ring.  And certainly no bracelets, necklaces or earrings.

After Cherie and I got married I’d wear my wedding band to the office, but take it off and put it in a desk drawer when I got there.  Then I’d put it back on to go home.  I didn’t want her to think that I didn’t want to wear it, but I hated the feel of it on my finger.  Finally I fessed up to her, telling her that I’d tattoo my marital status on my forehead if necessary, but that I just couldn’t stand wearing a ring.  Turns out that it didn’t matter to her whether I wore the ring or not.  So it hasn’t been on my finger for over 25 years not.

So with my long-time dislike of jewelry I was a very unlikely candidate to take up bracelet-wearing.

There was a peace labyrinth at the 2012 Wild Goose festival.  As I remember it, there were stations within it, with things like photos of the consequences of violence, war and peacemaking, a sculpture of guns being hammered into farm tools, and the like.  At the final station there were pieces of colored string that had been woven into bracelets by kids as part of the children’s activities.  I had Cherie tie one onto my wrist.

And then I left it there.

I wore that bracelet for over a year, until it disappeared last week.  By then it was just hanging on by a thread (literally).  I knew its days were numbered, but assumed I’d notice when it broke.  Instead, I just discovered one evening that it was gone.

Wearing a multicolored string bracelet for a year may not sound like a big deal to most people, but it was a pretty major step outside of the box for me.  I noticed that lots of people’s eyes were drawn to it, but no one ever asked me what it was or why I was wearing it.

Now I’m bracelet-free once again.  But I’m not without jewelry (if that is the right word).

Last year I cut a cross-shaped piece of wood out of a tobacco stick, drilled a hole in it, ran a piece of string through it and tied it around my neck.  At age 53, it’s my first-ever necklace.

I’ve been thinking about how a simple act like tying something around my wrist or neck is reflective of some very significant changes in my life.   Life is funny like that.

And in case anyone is wondering, there will be no earring.



Don’t let her gray face fool you.

Ginny may have a few years behind her, but she isn’t afraid to chase off a pack of coyotes, as she’s done twice in the last week.

Back in my travelling days she got in the habit of sleeping in the house at night.  But even while inside she pays attention to what’s going on outside.  Twice in the last week she’s awakened us, alerting us to the presence of coyotes near the barn.  In both cases we let her out and her barking moved them along.

When a coyote was attacking our chickens in the daylight a year or so ago, Ginny took it on, chasing it into the woods and away from the chickens.

She’s learned which animals are allowed on the farm and which are not.  She never bothers the chickens, but when she spotted a wild turkey stealing food from their coop she ran it off with zeal.  She takes on raccoons, possums, and groundhogs whenever the opportunity presents itself.

She’s a loyal and noble animal.


Over 94% of the soybeans grown in America have been genetically modified to make them resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.  Monsanto makes the glyphosate (which it sells under the trade name “Roundup”) and Monsanto sells the GMO soybeans.  Using the GMO seed, industrial farms can plant huge fields of corn or soybeans, then douse the fields with glyphosate, killing every living thing in the fields except the genetically modified seed.  With no competition from other plants, the yields increase.  Of course this means the farmland is repeatedly soaked in poison and the corn and soybeans have bacteria genes artificially inserted into their DNA, but that’s the trade-off for the increased yields.

Nature prefers diversity to monocultures and has a way to overcome this kind of manipulation.  Thus the weeds intended to be killed by the glyposate are increasingly developing their own resistance, resulting in the rise of “superweeds” impervious to herbicides.  I’ve blogged about this unintended consequence before.

As recently as a few decades ago, few American farmers would have even known what soybeans were.  Now over 75 million acres of American farmland are devoted to growing soybeans, second only to corn.

Why?  Because soybeans (being legumes) were found to be a good choice for rotation behind corn and because GMO soybeans are permitted and GMO wheat is not.  Even though the industrial farmers must pay Monsanto for their GMO soybean seed every year, whereas they could just save some of their wheat for replanting, this extra cost is compensated for by the increased yields and high prices paid for GMO soy.

Over 70% of the processed food eaten in the U.S. contains GMO soy, corn or both.  GMO soy is a common ingredient in salad dressings and mayonnaise.

But the vast majority of GMO soy and corn is fed to farm animals.  98% of soybean meal is eaten by pigs, cows or fish.

Scientists published a study a couple of months ago showing that pigs that are fed GMO grains suffer from health problems not found in pigs with a GMO-free diet.

For those who go to the trouble and expense of keeping GMO soy out of their diet, it would make sense to try to avoid eating meat from animals that have been fed GMO feed.

By eating only organic food a person can avoid consuming genetically modified soybeans. But it takes care and attention to avoid eating animals that have themselves been fattened on genetically modified soy.

Our pigs and chickens free range and get much of their nutrition from foraging.  We also supplement their natural diets with GMO-free feed.   Our chickenfeed is also soy-free.  This feed is more expensive and more difficult to source, but we want to be able to offer folks the option of getting meat from animals that have not only been raised humanely, but that also have been spared a diet of genetically modified organisms.

If you’d rather not eat animals fattened on GMO grains and if you’d rather not contribute to the profits of Monsanto, make sure your eggs, chicken and pork come from a completely GMO-free farm.

Wild Goose Bloggers

It occurred to me that having a list of blog posts about this year’s Wild Goose Festival collected in one place would be helpful to folks who, like me, enjoy reading them.

So here’s a beginning.  I’m sure there are many others I’ve missed.  If you know of any, pass along the links and I’ll update this list.

http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c643129286992014da73edc82&id=bcf3e70bce&e=2a71dc76ac (Phillip Yancey)

http://katelefranc.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/wild-geese-and-other-strange-communities/ (Kate LeFranc)

http://toyblog.typepad.com/lemon/2013/08/wild-goose-2013.html (The Lingering Lemon of Death)

http://julieclawson.com/2013/08/13/closer-to-fine-wild-goose-2013/ (Julie Clawson)

http://www.revangelicalblog.com/blog1/2013/8/13/wild-goose-festival-the-family-reunion-of-theological-misfit.html (Revangelical Blog)

http://tiredtattooedmom.blogspot.com/2013/08/jesus-hangs-out-in-port-jon-at-wild.html (Tattooed Mom)

http://ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/wildgoose-festival-takes-flight-hot-springs-nc (John Dear)

http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/home-from-wild-goose.html (Brian McClaren)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankschaeffer/2013/08/oo-la-la-wild-goose-festival-turns-a-big-media-corner/ (Frank Schaeffer)

http://beckyheel.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-wildness-of-goose.html (Becky Heel)

http://sunburststreet.blogspot.com/2013/08/i-saw-light-at-port-potties.html (Michelle McConnell)

http://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/holy-health-takes-wing/ (Melanie Lynn Griffin)

http://urbanabbeyaz.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/the-wild-goose-has-flown/ (Abbey Normal)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2013/08/sex-slam-smoked-oysters-saintly-neighbors-wild-goose-2013/ (Kimberly Knight)

http://insideouted.blogspot.com/2013/08/goose-sanctuary.html (Katie Mulligan)

http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/08/united-methodists-have-presence-at-wild-goose-festival/  (United Methodist Reporter)

http://janariess.religionnews.com/2013/08/12/5-favorites-from-this-years-wild-goose-festival/  (Jana Reiss)

http://culturedove.blogspot.com/2013/08/our-new-testament-best.html (Culture Dove)

http://www.abpnews.com/blog/health/worship-for-the-wounded-2013-08-23/ (Chris Robertson)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2013/08/itchy-intentions-for-a-messy-world-a-tale-of-two-festivals/ (Deborah Arca)

http://thinkchristian.net/my-first-wild-goose-festival (John Thompson)

http://contemplatingspace.com/not-a-christian-refugee/ (Contemplating Space)

http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/08/19/why-wild-goose-matters (Christian Piatt)

http://revcooper.com/2013/08/17/the-goose-moves-as-she-will-pt-1-the-place/ (Learning to Sail)

http://www.danjbrennan.com/2013/08/my-wild-goose-2013-highlights.html# (Dan Brennan)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2013/08/wild-goose-day-one-notes-on-pilgrimage/  (Eric Smith)

http://jerichobooks.com/wild-goose-2013-recap-part-1/ (Jericho Books)

http://www.teresabpasquale.org/2013/08/wild-goose-parables-part-2-read-up-on.html  (Teresa Pasquale)

http://www.soullikeaspider.com/2013/08/16/reflections-on-wild-goose-music/ (Deanna Ogle)

http://www.rmnblog.org/2013/08/indigo-redemption.html (RNM Blog)

http://blog.briankaylor.com/2013/08/wild-goose-communion.html (Brian Kaylor)

http://lovefiercely.blogspot.com/2013/09/ive-been-goosed-wildly-so-take-gander.html (Love Fiercely)

http://jerichobooks.com/goosebumps-at-wild-goose.html  (Wendy Grisham)

Different Point of View

We spent too much of yesterday dealing with a broken hot water heater, resulting in the third visit from a repairman this week and generating a lot of grumbling from us about planned obsolescence. We’ve been mindful lately of the words of the great philosopher Tyler Durden:  “The things you own, end up owning you.”

So when I went to check on the animals, it was refreshing to see the pigs enjoying themselves, wholly unconcerned with such things.