Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Important news bulletin

Not to distract us from the task at hand, but I am pleased to announce that we've just had our first Ameraucana egg from the young ladies in Chicken House #2. It's a pale bluish-green one. So beautiful! Now, I don't know if the girls are taking requests, but I'd like to see someone lay olive green, if at all possible...


Sir Albert Howard, in 1940:

Mother earth never attempts to farm without livestock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves from disease.

I find this quote profoundly interesting. It's from An Agricultural Testament, one of the foundational writings of the organic movement. Yet during the 16 years that I spent as a vegetarian, not a single person ever said to me, "But, Jamie, isn't it impossible to farm in a truly sustainable manner without animal inputs?"

Isn't it?

And isn't the implication that, while vegetarianism is an honorable and morally consistent position (indeed, I would say the only honorable and morally consistent position) for people who cannot stomach the idea of killing animals for food, vegetarian evangelism is unwarranted? Shouldn't humankind as a whole aspire to eat a smaller quantity of meat, raised humanely, rather than to eat no meat at all?

After all, if animals were raised only for milk and eggs and to provide on-farm fertility, what would happen to those animals when they grew too old to produce? Surely it's not economically feasible to keep cows solely for their cowpies?

I will admit that finding inconsistencies in arguments has never been my strongest suit. So help me out here. Is there any way that truly organic (i.e., sustainable) agriculture can exist in the absence of meat production?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


The other day I drove into the next town to go to the print shop. As I left our little village, I noted a police cruiser driving in the other direction. Then, a mile or two down the road, I was startled to see the same cruiser in my rear view mirror.

I looked at my speedometer: Not bad. 57 in a 55 zone. Should be no problem. I slowed to 55 as a formality.

The cruiser followed me for another half mile, then turned on its lights and pulled me over.

A beefy, freckly young officer approached my window. I kept my hands on the steering wheel and tried to look harmless. (I watch a lot of crimefighting shows on TV.)

"Ma'am, do you have your driver's license on you?" he asked.

"Sure, just a second." I rummaged in my purse's credit card pocket until I found it, then handed it to him. He read it slowly, thoroughly.

Then he handed it back to me and assumed a cheerful demeanor.

"You're not in any trouble, Miz ______," he said. I experienced two emotions: First, relief; second, astonishment that he'd pronounced my last name correctly. It's not the sort of last name people have around here, and most locals mangle it or fade into embarrassed silence when they try to decipher it.

He continued: "The reason I turned around is that we have a warrant out on a woman who bears a striking resemblance to you. I just had to check to make sure you weren't her. Have a nice day." He waved and smiled, then returned to his car.

I edged my battered Camry back out onto the road and continued on my way. As I drove, my mind raced: a person who looks like me! And ooh, is she ever in trouble! I wonder what she did? (I told you, I watch a lot of crimefighting shows on TV.)

At the print shop, I told the story to the front desk lady and to the Better Hometown Manager, who happened to be waiting for a fax to go through. Neither of them knew anyone else in the county who looked like me. Very mysterious indeed.

Now I keep my eyes peeled for the Bad Jamie. Is she a Britney-style flouter of traffic laws? Does she deal meth? Did she hire someone to go after her ex-husband with an aluminum baseball bat? We may never know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I get knocked down, but I get up again

So I've been laid out flat for nearly two days straight, thanks to a stomach bug or food poisoning or something of that stripe. (All I know is, I'm going to be off hot and sour soup for a very long time. But that might have been too much information.)

However, I'm definitely on the mend. This afternoon I managed to concentrate long enough to write a post for the Eat Local Challenge blog. Have a look, and regular programming will resume here soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's still no excuse for being blog-delinquent this long

Guess what the s.o. and I did a week and a half ago, while we were in Las Vegas for business?

If you were going to guess "saw the Ronnie James Dio incarnation of Black Sabbath perform at the Palms, and from really good seats, too" that answer is also correct, but it's not what I'm trying to get at.

Life is, indeed, sweet.