Friday, November 11, 2016

The other face of farming

Regular readers (hi Mom and Dad!) will appreciate that the think-tankers here at Falling Downs have long held our Amish brethren in high esteem.

When the inevitable nuclear holocaust blows away the infrastructure of modernity, our Amish neighbours won't give a fuck. What, their hydro's gonna go out?

There'll be no gasoline to power their horses?

See what I mean? It'll be business as usual for the bearded ones. That, by the way, is a great reason for cultivating working relationships with those folks. Could make the difference between starving to death and getting by on rutabagas and carrots that they otherwise were gonna plow under if the horses didn't eat them.

Then there's those other farmers, the modern ones. You drive past their places every day if you're out and about in rural Southern Ontario. It's nothing to see two or three or more green and yellow tractors parked in the barnyard. The big ones, with giant dual wheels on each corner.

Those puppies run around half a million per, and when you see a gaggle of them in one farmyard you know that farmer is tied in tight to the modern agribusiness pyramid scheme. That's where you go into shit-loads of debt to achieve the "economies of scale" that can make the payments on two million dollars worth of green and yellow.

You're only going to make those payments by buying into the latest round of Monsanto Frankensteinian cash-crop magic. It's a vicious circle surrounded by a slippery slope. One false move, one bad crop, or, God forbid, a hike in the prime rate, and you're outta there! Yup, you'll be out of the circle and down that slope quicker than you can find the nearest food bank, where, with a little luck, you might be able to find some sub-par carrots and rutabagas that will at least stave off starvation.

If you're lucky.

Then there's yet another face of farming.

Last weekend me and my old pal Kipling took a drive down to his dear daughter Amanda's place. We had an invite for breakfast.

Kipling was a prepper long before the word was invented. I recall in the great hysteria leading up to Y2K him putting five tons of potatoes in his cold room. I was there when we enjoyed the last of those potatoes in a nice potato soup around 2005 or 2006. And by the way, if you calculate your other ingredients carefully, soup is a really great way to disguise the fact that those five year old potatoes aren't all that fresh anymore.

Amanda is a hard-core organic farmer. No Monsanto shit on her one acre farm. Nope, she's got half a dozen different kinds of organic greens that she sells to the city folks at farmers' markets, and by God, she makes a living at it! Nor does she care if the prime rate goes up!

So, you can farm 2,000 acres and keep your ass in hock to the banks and the agri-chem consortiums.

Or you can grow a beard and join a cult and farm 100 acres with a team of horses.

Or you can do an acre or two of organic greens.

It's all farming, after all!

By the way, breakfast was awesome. Phil had to run over to the neighbour's to grab a dozen eggs that were so farm-fresh they were still warm from the hens sitting on them. The "pea-meal bacon" was the size of steaks.  Thanks for breakfast, Amanda and Phil!

That's the other face of farming.

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