Certain elemental truths of the universe manifest themselves in their purest forms at the farm. I suspect this has something to do with the nature of the farm and its place at the root of all civilization. Maybe not, though.
So, here are some lessons we’ve learned from the farm…
1] Chickens exist: firstly, to feed all the predators in the woods; secondly, to defecate everywhere (bonus: garden fertilizer!); thirdly, to eat all bugs everywhere (that includes ticks!); and lastly, to lay eggs. In that order. Those things cease happening in reverse order.
2] Everything always gets tangled on everything else. This is similar to the law of entropy, which is the scientific language for Murphy’s Law. Rolled up fencing gets tangled on itself. Barbed wire snags everything. Unrolled fencing finds ways of marrying itself to various shrubs, weeds, limbs, and vines. Vines grab everything, including your face as you try to deftly toss them onto the burn pile. If anything can snag, poke, grab, stab, stick, twist, or tangle, it will.
3] An electric fence is an amazingly effective containment method. Except when a tree limb falls on it.
4] You’re always closer to the electric fence than you realize.
5] Farm work is the original P90X. This is why we have a pandemic of obesity in America – nobody farms anymore.
6] Manure is an invaluable resource. Except when it’s on the carpet.
7] Pigs devote their time to accomplishing three basic objectives: 1) Eat as much as possible, as fast as possible; 2) Create mud pits everywhere; 3) Destroy everything (except the electric fence, which they only touch when their masochistic side gets the better of them)
8] Everyone has the farm in their soul. Our origins lie in the farm, and our language still reflects this. For example, “All cooped up,” “Pigging out,” “Bully,” “Cocky,” and on and on. (I’m developing a future blog post devoted to this very thing)
9] The grass ALWAYS looks greener on the other side. Always.
10] God, via nature, has surrounded us with food – if only we’ll open our eyes and see it.
11] Manual labor is a prime setting for quiet (or loud) contemplation. There, one can exercise the body and mind and have productive, tangible results at day’s end.