This blog is about sustainability, being responsible and accountable for the resources you consume, but also living a rich and uncommon life. It's not a political blog, or a "rant" blog, or even a useful blog. It's a chronicle of how a suburban-raised, upper-middle class, over-educated, no-life-skills individual can slowly make a difference on a very small scale.
And so it goes like this. Five years ago, I got interested in horse farming. Not farming horses, farming WITH horses. You know, plows and wagons and such. I was living in Texas at the time and there were no horse farmers within 500 miles. So I flew to Vermont and took a workshop on working with horses. It was life changing.
The workshop itself was immensely education, but the real secret is that you lived with the farming family for four glorious and exhausting days. They oozed the kind of knowledge you would never find in mainstream life: how to cook fiddleheads, how to recycle EVERYTHING, how to raise animals humanely, how to diversify, how to live in clean air and not ruin everything around you.
So I got inspired, and started looking for a small farm to work with my (non-existent, but maybe someday) team of horses. I wanted to relocate to New England for various reasons, one of which is that it actually rains there, unlike drought-stricken Texas. Looking at land is depressing, because even though you feel blessed in life and rich, nothing makes you feel poor and unlucky like looking at 30 acre parcels of tillable land in New England. They simply don't exist for less than $1m because the old farms are disappearing. They have been subdivided for 300 years and never put back together. They are sold for lucrative development money. All I wanted to do was the "right thing" by these farms and I couldn't afford the price of admission.
I kept looking and finally, when the housing bubble burst, I could start to get in the door. I found a small 5.5 acre property in the heart of New Hampshire. It had not been previously farmed (in fact, it's mostly wooded), but there is a lot of potential there.
So here I am, learning to farm. It's important to set goals, so here's the big one: Within 5 years, I want to grow/raise/barter for 70% of the perishable food I consume. That's a pretty serious goal. And there's a catch. I have two pleasure horses (not work horses, the shame!) and they are not going any where, so I need to dedicate a portion of my precious soil to their upkeep. Horses don't make a lot of sense on a sustainable farm because they consume huge amounts of resources and even though they produce huge amounts of manure, all that energy they produce does nothing but make me happy. So there's the rub. I am farming my small parcel of land to ENRICH my life, not IMPOVERISH my life. The horses grant me a luxury I could not live without.
So that's the gist of it. Two adults, two horses, and 10 laying hens. It's going to be a wild ride.