Woman To Shelve Belief That Gender Is Social Construct For Few Minutes While Boyfriend Changes Flat Tire On Side Of Road

From the Babylon Bee:

LOS ANGELES, CA—Local woman and self-described feminist Ruby Alexis decided to temporarily shelve her firmly held belief that gender is nothing but a social construct while her boyfriend changed her car’s flat tire on the side of the road, sources confirmed Tuesday.

[…] At publishing time, sources had further confirmed that the woman also betrays her feminist ideals and embraces traditional gender roles every garbage day, when her yard needs to be mowed, and whenever in the vicinity of a crime or possible physical altercation.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true even though the article is just satire. This self-serving contradiction is the thing that I find the most galling and offensive about feminism as a philosophy because it makes women look like illogical idiots, which we aren’t.

Feminim says:

Women are super strong and powerful and can do everything men can do, including fight in wars, plus have babies!

Also:

Women are absolutely powerless around men, are perpetual victims, and are too terrified at all times ever even to say the word no, and therefore need men to grant them (and enforce) all kinds of special physical and legal protections, plus give us money.

Mmkay, that makes no sense.  Discerning cultural commenters have to ask the hard questions here, namely:

Are feminists master-manipulators just trying to extract maximal resources from men while placing maximal constraints on them, or are they just idiots incapable of logic?

A few years ago I read a book on raising chickens and noticed the authoress had a blog and a small farm. I love reading farming blogs, so I started following her. She was single, unemployed, and a self-described feminist, and I quickly noticed a lot of grrl power BS in her posts. She wrote non-stop about being tough, scrappy, and independent, but I started noticing that her farm was in a perpetual state of crisis and chaos, and she seemed to be able to solve almost none of these problems by herself. Truck broke down? Call a man to tow it to a man in town to fix.  Pipes frozen? Call a plumber (male). Time to slaughter and butcher animals? Call in men to do it. She couldn’t even cut her own firewood, for Pete’s sake, something plenty of non-feminist women manage to do.  Yet she never had any money to pay these men and was constantly trying to bargain her way into paying a reduced fee at a later date.  I finally stopped reading her in disgust.

In no way am I saying that women can’t run farms. I’m not handy at coop-building, but I can haul feed bags, slaughter ducks, and fend off maniacal ganders, and guess what? Women have been doing this kind of stuff for all of history without a useless, helpless, illogical, contradictory philosophy like feminism, which not only doesn’t help women but actively harms them by burning through men’s good will and natural inclination to help us, the way the feminist farmer-blogger burned through the good will of men willing to fix her shit for free.

 

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Lessons learned from my first season of turkey-raising

 

Most of the blogs I read are homesteading or microfarming sites and for the past month have all had scant posts mainly consisting of “Haaaalp, there are not enough hours in the day!”  Which I can relate to.  I simply cannot get it all done between dawn and dark, no matter how hard I work. On the bright side, my chronic insomnia is at an all time low due to overwhelming exhaustion by the time I collapse into bed.

 

It’s just been one problem after another. Something ate all the blueberries; gotta net the plants.  Something is eating all the blackberries, gotta make a tree-limb-n-twine-lashing fence around them. Something died out in the woods and the dogs keep dragging home greasy bones, a pelvis here, a femur there; gotta find whatever it is and bury it.  Why are the huckleberries dying?  Not enough nitrogen says the internet; time to pee in a bucket, mix in a gallon of pond water, and use it to fertilize them (studies reliably show that human urine, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, is an excellent replacement for chemical fertilizers, and provided you aren’t sick, it’s pretty much sterile, though you might not want to use it when the plant is actively giving fruit that you are harvesting).

And on and on.  So much work, so little yield yet.  Do you realize those wild-eyed preppers are right, we’ll all die if the electric grid goes down because none of us knows how to produce our own food successfully?  I never really believed it until this summer when I’ve worked so damn hard just to keep everything from out-and-out dying, let alone yielding anything edible.

 

But let’s talk about those turkeys.

 

We started out at the end of April with two adorable Broad-Breasted Whites and two Broad-Breasted Bronzes.  We thought we’d process them at five months, right around the beginning of October, but they just grew so incredibly fast.  Earlier this month one of the bronzes went lame…

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so we took it to Munsell’s Poultry Processing; he dressed out at just shy of 15 pounds and into the freezer he went.  Bronzes have dark spots on their flesh and don’t look as lovely when roasted whole…

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Note the dark spots on his flesh

…so I was really looking forward to seeing how the Whites turned out.

 

Several days ago I loaded up the three remaining mondo-ginormous turkeys and hauled them to Munsell’s…

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…but when I went to pick them up, the girl told me that the USDA inspector had condemned two of my birds after they were opened up due to septicemia.  One white was deemed acceptable:

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I was so shocked I could hardly speak. I keep a very clean coop if I do say so myself, frequently cleaning feeders and waterers with disinfectant and letting the birds out to free range all day.  How could my birds not be healthy?  They’d looked and acted just fine.

 

The ladies who slaughtered them came out to chat with me and said it just happens sometimes. One of them told me she raises turkeys herself and sometimes the inspector condemns them.  They told me they process around 500 head of fowl per day and on average the inspector condemns about 20 birds.

 

Still, I fretted about it all evening and tried to find information online about how to prevent this from happening again, but I could not find much information aimed at the small-time backyard turkey producer. What I found was publications generated by the poultry industry, which I started to read with interest.  Last year, around 1% of turkeys were condemned after slaughter, which is significantly better than my 50% condemned rate, though it’s not really comparable since I had only four birds. But guess who has much higher rates of condemned birds?  Antibiotic-free producers!   Ahhh, that makes a lot of sense…my birds had septicemia, which is usually caused by E.Coli infection, and guess what we never, ever give any of our poultry?  Antibiotics.

 

So I’ve learned some things for next time.  To summarize:

 

  • Broad-Breasted turkeys, which are the industry standard, are specifically bred for extremely rapid growth with an excellent feed-to-meat conversion ratio.  This rapid growth stresses the birds, however, which means…

 

  • They are prone to infection.  If they are given antibiotics regularly, losses will be lessened, but…

 

  • If you are committed to raising them antibiotic-free, expect to lose significantly more birds, either due to mortality or due to being condemned at the time of slaughter.  Make sure to buy twice as many poults as you want finished turkeys.

 

So next year, maybe we’ll try a slower-growing heritage breed of turkey.  They take longer to reach a decent dressing-out weight and the feed conversion is a lot less efficient (which I don’t care about, since we only raise a few birds and we free-range them for part of their feed). We are leaning toward raising either Midget Whites, which are reported to taste very good and be easy to raise…

…or Bourbon Reds, which dress out rather larger:

In case you are planning to raise turkeys, here are the sources of information I found helpful regarding septicemia (be aware that these publications are produced by the poultry industry and have a pro-antibiotic slant to them):

Specialists explore new options for managing flock health while defending judicious antibiotic use

Antibiotic-free poultry production: Is it sustainable?

Even though we only ended up with two out of the four turkeys in the freezer, it was a good learning experience for our first attempt.  I’ll leave you with a few other tips I learned:

  1. Turkeys are friendly toward humans but somewhat aggressive toward each other and other varieties of birds.  Use Blue Kote to deal with pecking injuries. Given them half a head of cabbage suspended on a rope in the brooder so they have something to peck at while they’re little so they don’t get in the habit of pecking one another.
  2. Turkeys and chickens cannot be raised together due to the risk of the turkeys contracting Histomonas meleagridis from the chickens, which causes Blackhead disease.
  3. You MUST feed the turkeys separately if you are raising them in the same area as other poultry such as ducks and geese.  Turkeys are total pigs and will eat all their own food and then go eat the other birds’ food.  The Broad-Breasteds (BBs) will overeat if given free access to all the feed they want; we allowed ours to overeat and gain weight too quickly.  Here is a feeding chart (assuming free ranging in between feeding times):

4.Turkeys are excellent free-rangers and want to be out and about all day from an early age.  Plan for this.

5. It can be hard to find feed for turkeys. You need to start them out on 26-28% protein; we found a game bird feed that worked for this.  You can lower the protein to 20-24% later and then finish them out on 16% to get a nice layer of fat on them before slaughter.  Withhold food for at least 15 hours before slaughter so that the crop and intestines will be mostly empty.

6. They need a much larger coop than you think if you are raising BBs.  Our coop quickly grew too crowded.

7. Unbelievably, they seem to like to get in water.  Maybe ours were just imitating the ducks and geese, but they would actually get in the pond to cool off on hot days.  One saw my husband on the other side of the pond and swam all the way across to him! I wish we’d gotten a picture of that absurd sight.  Anyway, if you don’t have a pond, your jakes and jennies (but NOT poults) might appreciate access to a kiddie pool full of fresh water when it’s hot out.

Dealing with an injured goose bill

We like to let the geese free range around the fruit trees because they eat bugs and graze on weeds, but our gander, Uncle Waldo, just loves to eat the bark off our orchard saplings.   Since this kills the trees, we put some chicken wire around the saplings. This turned out to be a mistake which we have since rectified; however, we didn’t fix it before Uncle Waldo stuffed his big bill through the chickenwire in an attempt to get at that tempting bark, freaked out when he got stuck, and yanked his head up and back:

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Geese’s bills are actually rather soft and the chickenwire sliced right to the bone:

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Off to Dexter Animal Clinic we went, with Uncle Waldo in a dog crate honking dejectedly for his mate, Abigail, who was running about the yard in a tizzy, calling for Waldo, while the quacking ducks ran along behind her.

Protip: a wire dog crate is NOT the ideal way to transport a goose, as they spray poo out of their vent like a fire hose when they are scared.  Luckily we had put a plastic tarp around him.

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We weren’t sure if the vets would be familiar with treating geese, but Dr. Anna, a charming young British veterinarian, put us at ease right away with the knowledgeable way she handled Uncle Waldo.  This clearly wasn’t her first goose rodeo.

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She had Phil hold him in a towel to prevent poo spraying:

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And then proceeded to clean his bill thoroughly with a cotton ball and iodine, soothing our worried nerves by distracting us with commentary about the kind of “gayce” they have in England:

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She used a cotton swab to clean inside the sliced portion of his beak while chatting with him softly in her charming English accent, “Alright then, old man, here we go…”

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She showed us that the slice had gone down to the bone but wasn’t as bad as other damaged bills she’s seen.  She trimmed away the dead tissue with a little scalpel and then used surgical glue to fix him up:

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Uncle Waldo is about nine weeks old and weights 9.1 pounds:image

An injection of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain reliever was next; good old Uncle Waldo was such a trooper!

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Dr. Anna said the bill will not regrow but that granulation tissue will form and fill in pretty well around the injury.  Until then, Uncle Waldo must remain quarantined in the duck yard, which means the whole flock must remain there as they won’t willingly leave Uncle Waldo.

We had hoped to enter Uncle Waldo and Abigail in the Chelsea Community Fair; we thought they were a shoo-in for a ribbon given how rare Pilgrim geese are (the Livestock Conservancy lists them as critically endangered).  Alas, his days as a show goose are over before they began:

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However, he’ll still make excellent breeding stock.  We plan to breed and sell Pilgrim geese so as to do our part in saving the breed from extinction.

Uncle Waldo has a ten-day course of oral antibiotics now.  Dr. Anna explained to us how to crush the pill, dissolve it in warm water, and inject the antibiotic solution down his throat with a syringe; a goose’s windpipe is right at the back of their tongue in the center, so to give an oral medication, you must open their bill and insert the syringe down the side of their mouth a few inches into the esophagus.  I haven’t been able to get any pictures of us doing this yet, but I will try to and will add them when I can.

After we got home and Uncle Waldo had reunited with the frantic Abigail and resumed his place as Head of the Flock, I treated everyone to a big bowl of blueberries and cantaloupe, which I dumped into their little swimming pool for them to enjoy rooting out:

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It was a harrowing day but all in all Uncle Waldo is one lucky gander!

The plus side of “the decline” and hopeful signs in local agrarianism.

I am noticing more small family and cooperative farms in this area which rely on organic production methods, permaculture, and pastured livestock. Interestingly, a number of these farms in this area are explicitly Christian, which is remarkable given the liberal and secular bent of this part of the state (things tend to get more conservative and religious in Michigan as you head north and west).

I don’t know financially how they make it work; maybe they can live really frugally and earn a living from these little farms or (more likely) one or both spouses work outside the home.  In our case, even if we started turning our little homestead into a business, we’d still need outside income.  My husband would still have to keep his job although we could probably replace my job with the fruits of my home labor; my husband is strongly encouraging me to move in that direction, but I am a worrier who lacks confidence in this area, so I’l probably keep my paid job for now.

Here are three little farms not far from where I live that have caught my attention; two of the three are run by Christian families.

C & C Micro-Farm in Gregory doesn’t have a website yet, but you can find them on Facebook.

Growing By Faith Farm in Stockbridge offers classes in the sorts of skills that farm folks might have had 100 years or so ago.  Examples include things like butter-making, how to start a fire with a bow drill, raising and processesing (i.e. killing and prepping) pastured poultry, how to weave a basket out of cattails and the like.

Robin Hills Farm here in Chelsea offers classes, farm tours, and CSA shares of organic produce.

The reason I find these little farms to be a hopeful sign is because even in places like Greece that have been experiencing a fairly length financial collapse, we don’t see total mayhem. People still have basic sustenance and it is not total anarchy.  I think, barring unforseen catastrophe (EMPs, for example, or having Iran someday drop nuclear bombs on us courtesy of the Obama administration’s foolishness), what we’re really in for here is a long, protracted, economic decline in which our collective standard of living is significantly reduced over a period of time.  As that happens, people will naturally return to older methods of food production, with each family finding ways to keep small livestock (chickens, rabbits) and eke out a small garden.  It sounds scary to moderns but it was only three generations ago that this was the normal state of affairs, and it is nice to know that there are already a number of people, a small but growing minority, who are rediscovering old skills and melding them with new ideas from permaculture.

This kind of small-scale agrarianism is a hopeful sign for the immediate future.  When I look at this, I don’t mind the idea of “the decline”; in fact, I rather welcome it.  Why?  Because it is as Herrick Kimball wrote in Light in Our Dwellings ten years ago:

The plain truth, like it or not, is that, in order to succeed in this modern world, on its terms, you must sacrifice your family on the altar of Industrialism.

Yes, I know that is a harsh thing to say. Many people will disagree with me because the industrial model of family life is seen by the masses as normal and, therefore, good. But it is neither normal nor good. It is the spawn of 19th century Industrialism and a historical aberration. It weakens and destroys families. That is the truth and the truth can hurt. Believe me, I know.

The saddest aspect of this situation is that so many professing Christian families willingly buy into the materialistic hubris of our industrial culture.

…I’m convinced that if God’s people are going to be an effective witness to those in the dying industrial culture around us, we must do more than believe in a personal savior, and we must do more than proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. It is imperative that we also live our lives set apart to God. That does not mean that we can simply Christianize the ungodly industrial model and, in so doing, somehow become immune to its pernicious evils. It means we must separate ourselves and our families from the ungodly culture of industrialism.

The only way I know for Christians to effectively separate from the culture of industrialism is to embrace Christian-Agrarian life and culture. Christian-Agrarianism (sometimes called Biblical-Agrarianism) is Christianity lived within an agrarian paradigm. It is trusting God, His word, and His promises more than the false promises of materialistic industrialism in all its manifestations.

Let the decline of materialistic industrialism come, then.

When it comes to urban farming and renewal, “left” and “right” are mostly useless political terms.

Recently I attended a lunch hour talk given by Drew Philp, a young man who is a fellow University of Michigan alum, a journalist, a home renovator, a teacher, and an all-around renaissance millennial man. His talk was based on an article he wrote last year which was published on BuzzFeed entitled Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500:

After college, as my friends left Michigan for better opportunities, I was determined to help fix this broken, chaotic city by building my own home in the middle of it. I was 23 years old.

Being the young, idealistic, U of M educated sort, I’d say Mr. Philp probably considers himself fairly liberal, whereas I consider myself an orthospherian sort of reactionary. Nevertheless, I found much to admire in this young man and had a brief, interesting chat with him about urban farming after his talk. He told me that Detroiters he knows have had their goats taken away due to Michigan’s recently-passed (and signed by our Republican governor) regulations denying Right-to-Farm protections to small scale farming in urban and suburban areas (i.e. your backyard chickens are no longer protected by Right-to-Farm laws; also, see this interesting article: Right to Farm protection denied for Michigan farmer’s goats, greenhouse).

He also wrote about an incident that exemplifies something I too have noticed:

One of the [United States Social Forum] events I did see was a march staged by professional protest coordinators who had come in from California opposing Detroit’s trash incinerator, the largest in the United States. It’s located in Poletown. We have an asthma hospitalization rate three times the national average. If you would like an inside look at Detroit’s Third-World level of corruption, a good place to start is the incinerator. You can safely say there is a culture of corruption in your city when the top two politicians, including a former mayor and city council president pro tem, have been, or are currently in, prison for corruption, racketeering, and the like. One former city councilwoman allegedly requested a bribe including 17 pounds of sausages.

The protest would march down Detroit’s main thoroughfare and past the incinerator, presumably raising holy hell and sticking it to the man. They needed a place to stage the making of the props — hundreds of spray-painted sunflower pickets, miniature incinerators, signs. One of my well-meaning neighbors offered The Yes Farm, an abandoned apothecary where we occasionally staged art and music shows.

I guess no one saw the irony in cutting down real pine trees to make fake sunflowers. Or that a protest to demand clean air would use so much aerosol spray paint. But the real irony came when the Social Forum was over and it was time for the out-of-towners to leave for the next protest.

“What are you going to do with all this stuff?” we asked.

“Why don’t you just recycle it?” they said.

“Where?”

They left it all in The Yes Farm and split, leaving it for us to deal with. Now we had another pile of trash to clean up and nowhere for it to go. So while they were gallivanting off to the next good deed, that shit went into the incinerator and into our lungs.

Gee, annoying liberal white people, thanks for adding to the pollution of Detroit’s air. Image source

Our Republican governor had no problem removing Right to Farm protection from small scale urban farmers, and Democrats and other leftists have no common sense and are not only useless but actively make things worse, as Drew’s protest march anecdote demonstrates.

I don’t know the answer, but there’s got to be another way. The left and right – conservative and liberal – ideologies in this country are not serving us well. Conservatives have sold their souls to capitalism and liberals have sold their souls to debauchery and destruction, but both sides seem to love the rebellion against kith and kin that democracy always seems to bring wherever it lands.

What I admire about young men like Drew Philps is that they have become relatively apolitical; they no longer seem to trust that the government will necessarily make wise decisions, and they aren’t waiting around for government and capitalism to solve everyone’s problems. Drew told us at the talk that most of them try to stay off local government radar because it just ends up causing headaches and they just want to get stuff done. They don’t want to govern, they don’t want to march, they don’t want to protest.  They want to work, they want to build and rebuild, they want to plant and grow.