Monday, December 19, 2011

Men are from Mars....

I have never read the book "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars" or is it "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? I can never keep that straight. Never mind. Regardless my point is the same. The last few years I have been trying to read everything that I can about small scale, sustainable farming. What I am seeing is an industry shift. Old styles of farming, such as row cropping and cattle lots or intensive indoor production of pigs and chickens can only be accomplished on a mega scale drawing large subsidies from the government. The new face of agriculture has a smaller footprint. More of a diversified palette. What I find interesting about this, is that even on a small sustainable blueprint, men want to raise cows,. Women want to raise sheep. A male farmer will even stand and argue that not a dollar can be had in the production of sheep while trying to keep his own head above water in what is currently, a very tough cattle market.

If by chance a woman wants a cow, it would be a milker or two, even then she is very apt to trade in her cow for a goat. Don't ask me why I find this so fascinating, but I do. Could our different desires in animal husbandry be an intrinsic part of our very natures? Do I want sheep on my little farm because I'm hardwired for sheep? My argument would be that I'm just being sensible. There is so much dollar value in a sheep... fleece, meat, better reproduction with freshening twice a year and producing twins typically each time. Sheep , like goats, can be milked if you have a mind to do so. That's just amazing to me. It will not, however, be a sufficient argument to Mac for the purchase of a couple of sheep.

Mac is hardwired for vacation. His argument is that when he retires, he wants to be able to drop everything and leave on a trip at a moments notice. You cannot do that if you are encumbered with creatures. However the other side of the coin is that if the little farm does not pay for itself, then we will never have the money to go anywhere or do anything ...... EVER! Difficult little realities and there is no way to make us change the way we feel about any of it. It is what it is, and money is what is lacking in the vast scheme of things. Doesn't that suck?! I don't know.... maybe it's time to read that damn book.


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