The Unwound Third > Jam Session


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I never felt that way, John. Of course, Iím leaving out lots of details, like my friends giving me the phone number of a neighbor who was also raising goats, in case I needed help. But she lived 10 miles away, and I wasnít up to rousting her out of bed in the middle of the night and asking her to drive in whiteout conditions.

Something else I learned during my time in that community: ranchers, farmers, their kids, and their kidsí friends see death on a regular basis, and have a different attitude toward it.

I need to be careful about making sweeping statements ó goat ranchers have different ways of relating to their animals than beef cattle ranchers, and family farmers react to animal deaths way differently from corporate farmers. But overall, reactions to losing animals in small family farm communities are very different from what most of us are accustomed to. One of many lessons I learned there.


Yep it's a different world out here on the farm. We had somewhat romantic notions before landing here. We soon found out that everything is trying to eat everything else, and/or steal their food. That includes foxes slaughtering the poultry, goats eating your herb garden, chickens eating the ducks' food, etc etc. It's frickin' endless.

You need a totally warped sense of humor, so I'm very fortunate in that respect.

This year I decided it was time to extend the short growing season up here in the NE USA so I resolved to build module #1 of a high tunnel. Then I realized there was no flat ground on our south-facing hillside where I could put it. We went ahead and built it anyway, it's been lashed to the big barn for the last two months. It's 14 ft W x 16 ft L x 11 ft H

Meanwhile I've been working on leveling a good spot for it to live. This required construction of what has become known around here as "The Great Retaining Wall of China". My retaining wall construction knowledge was zero when we started so I did a lot of research and quickly became more confused than I already was.

The wall is now almost complete, the plot will be level and the high tunnel set in two weeks or so. All earlier germinations we've been transplanting to bigger pots for easy management, a strategy I totally recommend if you're behind schedule as we gardeners often are.

I'll try to remember to post some pics when it's all set up.


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