I am continuing to read and reflect on The Farming Ladder.
…convered a couple of acres, with old rotten straw, dumps of thatch, old implements, thistles and other rubbish. This is still far too common on many farms indicating that the farmers have more land than they deserve; they ought to be able to put it to better use than as a site for the rotting down of good straw, which should have been long since returned to the land…
SO. Yeah. I have a several places that are covered with rotting refrigerators and discarded equipment. Apparently, in George Henderson’s estimation, I have more land than I deserve.
Way to put the spurs to me, George.
“You don’t deserve that….” A saying only a socialist would love….lol. Whenever I hear someone say or even hints at what someone else “deserves” I immediately reply with “and what do you ‘deserve’ and who should decide?” People blame “greed” for all the ailments of mankind. Bogus, envy is far more destructive. Unless you stole it or it was acquired through fraud. You deserves everything you have and more. Just as long as you’re willing to work for it.
Yup. But the land will still be here when I am not. So I’m going to clean it up. If for no other reason to protect my livestock from hardware disease and vermin and to protect my children from the thousands of wasps that live there.
I believe you are taking a hit for the sins of the fathers – and uncles, who have lived on the farm before you. Yes, you and I need to clean up our farms, but let’s give ourselves a little slack and just do the best we can.
Charles got me thinking of the meaning and roots of the word “deserve.” “De”- is a prefex meaning to remove to take away. “Serve” is from French meaning to serve. So deserve is to take away service.
Seems to me your service shouldn’t be taken away, but maybe your efforts need to have more land added as you “serve” the land well.
Right on. But the real accusation is coming from within, not without. Am I putting that land to its best and highest use? Or do I believe I am rich enough that I don’t have to? Or, more simply, would I rather have a cow or a pile of rusty metal?
Hmm a Friday Pop quiz . . . I would think you want to be rid of the pile of rusty metal AND have a cow graze and fertilize that area to put the land to its best purpose. No Or. No shame in wanting it all – at least I tell myself that all the time! 😉
George also says in his Preface “One note of warning. There is a ‘farming ladder’ for all who can make use of it , but remember that it is a ladder and not an escalator; it must be climbed step by step and one must be prepared to take the full weight on each rung. The two feet must be placed firmly on the good earth, or it may be a danger to yourself and to others, and although it may enable you to achieve the heights, you may never reach the top.” You are a great Steward and do deserve your land – think of all the steps you have already taken since taking over your farm. Acknowledging this future need for improvement and having the desire to clean it up shows just what a great steward you are. I am more certain that you will get yours cleaned up before I ever get to the piles in every bush (x 12 ish) I adopted on my farm 😦 .
Isn’t that a great book? I ordered it on Kindle then ordered two physical copies and a copy of George’s other book. I find myself reading little bits at a time here and there and am discussing it with Julie constantly.
What is the norm in your area for farmers and garbage? On the Cdn Prairies all towns have dumps which many farmers do not use and instead have a designated area(s) on their farm to dump their burning barrel remains and old vehicles, appliances, farm equipment, etc. Over the last few decades scrap metal prices and farm auctions have tamed a few of these somewhat – of the valuable pieces only – in most cases.
As a Cdn euphemism the dump is called a “Nuisance Grounds” and a nuisance is exactly what these are when you adopt a lot of them when you buy a farm. I try to pace myself with these, I cleaned up the yard and home pastures first – lots of disintegrated metal buckets of nails, belts, etc behind the old shop that took weeks with a magnet and shovel, an area where an old shop burned down leaving behind lots of nails, buried page wire fence, cultivator shovels and tractor pieces in all the areas that equipment used to be parked in at various spots throughout the farm and fields seemingly as what would have been their current equip lineup row, with random spots where an equipment death occurred and never moved since, or others retired to a bush spot by past owners. Seems every spring the snow melts and some other buried treasure trove appears in the yard and I never get to the big piles in the back 40 – sigh . . .
There has been a homestead on my land for 110 yrs this yr and it seems I am the only person ever to be “taking the garbage out”! It is one of my duties as steward of my 160 acres. It is a labour of love – of my land and animals – and your blog has inspired me to start on another pile for it’s 110th anniversary – thanks! Historically how have farmers dealt with their garbage in your area?
Pretty much the same. Something gets parked, broken or otherwise, and after a time a tree will grow through it. Nails and appliances are no big deal. I hate finding plastic and glass.
For ourselves, we were down to two bags of trash every 6 weeks until Julie started her decluttering series. Now we are back on the regular trash cycle. The trash company allows us to set out one large bin each week. We burn everything that will burn, compost everything that will compost and recycle everything that will recycle. So our trash is old window shades, cleaning supplies, plastic containers, and tyvec mineral bags…and whatever glass we find in the pasture after a rain.
If you ever think you have cleaned things up, turn a pig out in your pasture and watch him dig up treasures!
I hear you on the glass – the original 2-story nearly 100 yr old, wood heated homestead on my farm burned to the ground – 2 owners before me. Insurance cleaned it up hauling all the debris away (vs burying thank goodness) and bringing in new fill and topsoil. Due to the heat of the fire though, it seems that things exploded in the kitchen as I am forever finding bits of glass and porcelain from dishes everywhere outside the perimeter that was cleaned. It is such a chore digging out sharp little pieces of these, as you know. Makes me appreciate my magnet for aid in metal cleanup all that much more!
Pigs rooting up treasures – you have commented before what a great tool pigs are on the farm and when I saw your rubbish row picture I first thought of your pigs. A big part of this task, on my farm at least, is separating the items from the vegetation – grasses, shrubbery and trees that weave themselves in. I wondered if this was a job for the pigs baiting the pile perimeter with corn. I don’t have pigs so don’t know if this is doable, but wonder how susceptible they are to hardware disease. They seem very intelligent so I would like to think they would not eat hardware and they could go in and prep the area loosening it all up for easier removal? I would someday love to read a Blog of your Pigs Curriculum Vitae – of their research and dvlpmt work, awards and honors, etc in the course of their tenure on your farm.
Finally in the Case of Henderson versus HFS – this court investigation has found that HFS does not add to the rubbish piles on his farm. Instead he responsibly recycles, composts, disposes of waste off the farm and time permitting makes an effort to clean up the historic rubbish piles on his land. The Defendant HFS is found NOT guilty of having more land than he deserves – Case Closed and Court Adjourned! Lol