My "list of work to accomplish" is getting longer as the season starts to change for us at the farm. New workshops, hostel guests, monthly food events, and on-going planning for the vision of this multi-faceted project are only a few of the pieces occupying our work time.
I made yogurt yesterday from milk we purchased from Robie Farm--leftover from our Farm Feast Breakfast. Later I'll work on a yogurt cheese with herbs. Sometimes I think it might be nice to have our own milking cow here, but I wonder if the land is best suited for a grazing animal. It takes a while for this forest land to become successful pasture. There is an unlimited amount of forethought that goes into farming. We double or even triple that forethought by being an educational organization--an experiment that models sustainability. An experiment that anyone is welcome to watch along with us.
And so, what is this work toward sustainability? Reducing fossil fuel consumption; growing vegetables, herbs, flowers? Flowers! For medicine and to attract insects and bees, birds too. Growing fuel, making cloth, living with others in community? But not just as neighbors, as folks to eat with, cook with, work and play with, struggle with through philosophical dilemmas like why maple syrup isn't on the table in February (even though one can purchase it in the store). Folks who will sit around a table for four hours in order to make key decisions about living together now, so that others will have a "piece of our pie" in the future. Folks who are willing to compromise. This action of compromising stems from the care we have for our selves and for the other, and is deeply embedded with two great virtues: patience and humbleness.
Imagine what could happen if we all agreed that patience and humbleness were a means to the radical subversion of corruption, oppression, misdirection, and miscommunication. Could a demeanor of compromise be an answer to power struggles? And how do we get there?
Lately I've been feeling like I haven't been doing enough work--I could be doing more. I could be working my mind and my body harder: read more books, carry more logs, split more kindling, knead the dough one more minute longer, spend more time with the chickens, the pigs, the oxen.
Today I worked with Neil to clean out all the chicken poop that has been accumulating these couple of months. It was a chore. It was lower back work--hauling and forking, scraping and shoveling. The moment we threw down those freshly chipped pine branches, I was glad I had done this work. For the feathery folks that live in this community--the chickens. Though some of them may be eaten in a couple of months, today, I shoveled their frozen mountains of shit.
I'd like to think we've made some kind of cosmic agreement with each other, some kind of compromise that allows us to cohabitate together.
Tomorrow, I will likely do some more work. I'm putting work first, because it's not a so called busy schedule that I'm looking forward to, it's the breakdown of all things conventional.
Because maybe some early morning, I will wake up to milk the cow out in the pasture.