Day 10152

Hey, I'm still kicking. After a mission with the unit which took me across the country for a few weeks, I've been relatively busy with work and drill. Now that daylight savings has taken effect, I can say goodbye to after-work projects at home outside without a light-set. In the meantime, on mission, I've been doing a lot of reading and scheming. I think I've mentioned before that missions usually give me a chance to reflect and plan the next stage.

Current projects;

1. Rebuild the backhoe - this greasy, knuckle-busting project has dragged on as I procrastinate and take care of other things. I want it done before snow falls. I need new pins for the stabilizers, and will need a good amount of worn hoses remade.

2. Find land - In addition to having automated searches on Bean Group's website, I have posted a want ad on craigslist outlining my basic requirements, which has netted a few responses. I have been searching for more than a year; this process is grueling! I will hold out until I find something suitable.

Future projects (for the winter;)

1. Fix minor issues on the Case 444 (hydraulic leaks and the like)

2. Re-engine the Case 446 parts tractor, and turn it into a working machine.

3. Go from amateur chainsaw operator to journeyman chainsaw operator by working with dad on felling dead trees

The books I've been reading include Five Acres and Independence, originally published in the 1940's by M.G. Kains, as well as Folks, This Ain't Normal and now You Can Farm, both by "Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer" Joel Salatin. I thought this guy was slightly kooky before reading his book (he was the farmer casually cutting chicken's throats in Food, Inc.,) now I've confirmed that he is in fact kooky and I like him a lot!

Folks This Ain't Normal is a collection of essays and rants about the state of our society, agriculture, the environment, government regulation, social norms, and how they are all intimately related. One thing Salatin focused on was the absurdity of the food police in our current era, where a mother selling ceviche online without a license is charged a fine and has to appear to court. The same organization saying that selling un-inspected food is wrong or dangerous, the USDA, is the same organization that says it's safer to trim chicken's beaks, feed ground remains of dead cows to herbivorous cows in a factory farm, and approves of high-fructose corn syrup and genetically modified foods.

The United States has become detached from it's food production. Being a farmer isn't the noble, common, occupation it once was... it is now done by a small minority who are just eking by managing large-scale factory plots. We have become accustomed to having fruits and vegetables out of season, thanks to the petroleum burned to ship food across the planet. We take mothers to court for selling (probably delicious) food to people. I wasn't exposed to this dissonance until my family had food-related issues in the past few years; now I read the ingredients list on everything. I am inclined to believe that the majority of health issues faced by Americans are directly related to the poor quality of food we consume.

I also have a theory that the survivalist movement is a wayward return to a farming homestead. If you really break it down, a farmer is the ultimate survivalist. A farmer has everything he needs to not just survive, but to thrive on his land. There is no need to have a bug-out bag or bug-out vehicle to get to your bug-out location (which everyone else is probably headed toward anyway) when your homestead has everything you need.

Stay tuned; hopefully we'll have the backhoe up and running over Veteran's day weekend. Maybe I'll buy some land.


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