Truth & Power
This picture summarizes necessary cooperation between life-of-the-ground and harvesters-above-the-ground. These two forces are always in dialogue about whether impact from above is too much or too little. Here it is just about perfect. Yesterday's grazing was thorough, but enough litter was left to protect the soil through the winter. If conditions are too wet, this many animals will "pug" the soil, turning it to mud, and impairing the seedbed for next year's growth. When this risk presents itself, it behooves the cows, through us, to hear the signal and amend strategy, in order to protect the soil, so cows may be properly fed next spring. If not, the soil will not perform, cows will suffer, and their power to multiply and go forth will be diminished if not extinquished. If the two forces listen to and cooperate with each other, the result is resiliant and munificent sustainability.
Our country is currently going through an awful but necessary discussion about the role of truth and power in our daily lives. We thought we had learned these lessons in eras past, but memories are short and emotions sususceptible that we find this conversation unexpectedly resurfacing, even erupting, at this point in our history.
Capitalism is a wondrous force which has generated bounteous new ideas and benefits for our country over the past 250 years. It has created both immense financial wealth but also wealth disparity, creating power for those with and powerlessness for those without. The counterpoint to the immense power has been our legal system, which insists on constraints to behavior, so power will not corrupt absolutely and so social good or justice may also be served. At the heart of justice is truth.
So, truth and power have been modulating each other though a system of checks and balances since our country was founded. That system has worked remarkably well, generating beacons of light witnessed around the world and even becoming a self-sustaining ecosystem, by some points of view. But if we consent to change this modulation and obscure truth, so power may be further enlarged for the few, then we loose our balance, and we will "pug" our democracy.
Only ill-bearing weeds will grow from such an immense mudspot and the truth of our soil will erode downstream. We will be left without organic nutrients. Truth is like carbon in the soil; it is an essential nutrient in which to grow our country. Without it, we become barren as a culture and victims of those at the top, until the whole culture collapses under the weight of greed.
We must call for truth in all matters, for it alone informs power and keeps it in balance. Truth is at the heart of trust, and trust is at the heart of love. A loving culture is based on truth and it is based on limits to behavior.
Insisting on being above-the-law or not having to tell the truth is a recipe for madness in the long run. We have all met people like that and their lives don't turn out very well. Imagine if we were to permit our leaders to behave that way. Anarchy would not be far behind. We have to choose leaders who clearly understand the importance of the balance between truth and power.
Anarchy is always courting us at the farm. It is so easy to over extend power and hurt the soil, and we pay such a high price when we do. But we need the power in order to advance, have a business, and provide a service to society. The struggle for balance between truth and power is a daily one for us. As long as the struggle is in tact, modulation solves the tension. It is when we stop struggling that we are in trouble. In some senses, this is what animal feedlots and chemical agriculture represent -- a lack of struggle between truth and power, as they have succumbed to power.
This pleasing picture of congealed wetland waters soothes the soul, which is welcome during these anxious times.
We hope Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. It is a special holiday. We ventured to eastern Pennsylvania for a rendez-vous with children and grand children. In the meantime, Bob & Beth delivered fresh and frozen turkeys to Hyde Park Square on Tuesday evening. Delivering fresh turkeys makes for a long day of threading needles, but we were able to do so, as pictured below. We also had both Broadbreasted and Heritage turkeys, for pick-up on two different dates. Keeping track of the variables was an interesting challenge, that kept an aging brain nimble.
Cooking the turkey is always the final hurdle. The challenge there is to watch for an internal temperature of around 155 degrees. One experienced cook says she doesn't use a thermometer at all, but goes for high heat of 400 degrees for two to three hours, with plenty of water in the pan. Next year, we are considering pre-cooking turkeys through the sous-vide method, and then freezing them, so they would only take an hour or so at 350 degrees to complete. But we don't know if we have the energy to pull that off.
An update on Scout is he has graduated from the training pen, where he became fast companions with 3 whethers, and is now out in the field being groomed and corrupted by Abie. Abie is a great guard dog, except for one habit -- she insists on going on sorties every other day or so. But she always returns. I found Scout at her side on the wrong side of the farm the other day, but by the afternoon, they were both back in place. So, all in all, we think Scout is learning the drill. He very friendly with people, but is seems bonded with the sheep. The real adversary is coyotes, which he is perfectly suited to confront.
Paula collected wetland seeds this morning, as she and Kathy have done for the past two months, garnerning over 60 bagsful or about 300 lbs.
Late last month, we were inspected by two discerning college students from Oberlin College -- Terra Szuhay and Ora Hammel. Terra majors in Anthropology and Ora in Environmental Studies. Terra is my niece and they took 24 hours out of a very busy senior year to drive down and interview us about our work and objectives on the farm. They were a most impressive duo whose questions only stopped for sleep. We fed them well, and were thoroughly impressed by the rigor of their interest. It was an honor and privilege to host their inquring minds and high characters. Next week we are being visited by a young lady from Athens, who found us by hook or crook.
We don't consider ouselves to be in the business of selling merchandise, but rather in the business of selling grassfed food. However, merchandise necessarily accompanies the gathering and cooking of such food, as do stories about the journey. So, if you are looking for gifts for the holidays, we have available: a grocery bag ($15), an apron ($15), and a book of stories ($29), for a total of $59. If you buy all three, it is only $50.
Beth & Bob will be at Hyde Park this Sunday and Clark and I will be in place on the 15th.
As the Chrismas Cactus now knows it is time to bloom, may we all now know it is time for truth and power to come into balance, so our culture may realize resiliant and munificent sustainability into the future.
Drausin & Susan