We brought home pumpkins and apples for us and a bunch of stuff for the flocks and the pigz. The pigz went nuts for those little "Jack Be Little" pumpkins and decorative gourds. And the hens will love them later in the winter when they are stuck in the hen house and will use some to play soccer (and eat the seeds). Its a ton of food and will provide a lot of feed for our barnyard. We are so grateful for his generosity - thanks, B!
Normally we like to give our farm products in return when we receive gifts like this, but B is the sort of person who eats a mostly plant-based diet. So aside from the honey we gave him early on, we really can't offer a big ol' slice of ham or a freshly dressed chicken. We had to come up with something to show our appreciation so we decided to get the gift of livestock thru Heifer International in his name.
Miss Duck and Nibbles, Life Changers
Does everyone know about this charity? They do incredibly good works by providing livestock to people in need here in this country and around the world. Giving a cow, a goat, or a flock of poultry can completely change the lives of folks in real poverty. The milk or eggs provide food for the family or money from selling the goods, the manure provides fertilizer for their gardens, and the off-spring continue the cycle. Its a great organization.
While we were driving there I got to thinking. Now, I don't usually have very deep thoughts - in fact, I pretty much gave them up. After working in an industry that worships its own smarty-pantsness I'm kinda glad to now be a little shallow in the "deep musings" department. However, some folks around me find this a little annoying when they want to have deep thoughts. These conversations kinda go like this:
Other: Do you think there are alternative realities out there? Wouldn't that be great?
Me: Yeah, there could be a world that's entirely made of pie and its just me and a fork!
Other: Thats is?
Me: A never ending cup of coffee would be good too.
Other: What is the meaning of life!? Why are we here!?
Me: To vigorously seek God and do good works.
Other: Thats it?
Me: Well, and eat a lot of pie.
Other: What is the best in life?
Me: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. (Chai Chai if you get this movie reference you'll be my BFF forever, for sure.)
Anyway, my point is... even being out of practice in Deep Musings I was able to come up with a few thoughts that I figured I could pass along.
I was thinking about a conversation I participated in where a self proclaimed livestock professional was saying that people who don't have enough money shouldn't have livestock. Their point was that a 'poor' person wouldn't have the money to appropriately feed, house, or provide vet care so these 'poor' people should just stay out of it and leave it to the experts.
This was the stupidest thing I'd heard in a long time.
Sure there are designer farm animals and show critters... but for heavens sakes. Farming has a long and glorious history of helping poor people. Just as Heifer International has shown, having livestock can change someone's life and improve their family's situation. To a poor woman in Africa having a cow means being able to sell the milk and send her children to school.
In these parts, having your own livestock means being able to weather hard times without too much adversity and knowing that your next meal can come out of your yard and not a dumpster. We talked about farm-o-nomics and how the goats have paid for themselves (a couple of times, by now) not only by feeding us but also by reducing our feed costs for the rest of the critters. The milk feeds the chickens, the chicken eggs feed the pigs, the pigs feed us... all in a lovely circle.
So when I hear folks loud mouthing on and on about how you have to have this much money for a farm animal, or only buying a "quality" animal, I just have to shake my head. Sometimes having "mutt" goat is good enough to get a farm going, or getting a $6 calf at the auction can eventually feed someone's family, and those chickens that you pass along to a younger family... well, there's just no telling what kind of farm wealth that could build.
I don't think he knows it but our pal, B's generosity to us is paid forward over and over. Not only will a family receive a flock of geese somewhere in the world, but not having to buy feed for a while inspires and frees us up to 'pay it forward' to others -- whether its giving some hens to a younger family that calls in tears because they lost their flock and need chickens, or trading a bucket of apples for doeling that's sure to be a good milker to a woman and her daughters, or even giving a rooster to help a broken hearted woman...these good works will go forward. B's generosity is a great reminder that we are all in this together and giving your extra to others is a good work that has great rewards.
If you have the opportunity to do good works, like our pal B, don't hesitate. You just never know who's life you might touch.
And that's the end of my Deep Musings. Now I'm gonna go and have me some pie.