In the country, right at the Idaho border, in Eastern Washington, on the hobby farm, lives my mom. Across coastal mountains, fields, Palouse hills, rivers, and farmlands, to where the salt air can no longer be tasted on the lips, I traveled to see my mom.
Starved for all things maternal: being stuffed with home cooking, sleeping in peace like a baby, being shown the wonders of the natural world, and hugs and massages galore. Some of the hugs and massages were from animals. Animals: two dogs, two cats, about 20 chickens, and 10 goats.
The goats are my favourite. The genetically modified chickens are my least favourite.
You can see these healthy one- month old chickens.
And then these are the "cornish cross" quick growing meat chickens, which have been genetically engineered to be killed and eaten at 6 weeks. They are the same age as the chickens in the above pics.
Never again, my mom says. What are you going to do with them? I ask. Oh, we'll eat them, she responds.
She generally wants to do things in a luddite fashion, for the sake of health. Although she hates wasting. While we were on a walk she mentioned that there really should be crop rotations where goats are included as a part of the weeding process, like they used to be, before combines and chemicals.
Earlier today she mentioned how much effort it takes to make her jam, which she sells for 5$ a jar, hardly worth the effort. I asked her if the lack of profit bothers her, and she said, no. So she does the jam, honey, homemade crackers, and heirloom vegetables (at the farmer's market) for another reason, besides a way of making money.
On our walk, we talked about jam, honey, heirloom potatoes and tomatoes, neighborliness, and Mennonites. If you would like to read more about my mom's life on the farm, go to www.bumblingbeekeepers.blogspot.com.