Gobble, Gobble!

While on a break at work I received a message from Julia: “Coordinating pick up of six turkeys, raised with non-GMO feed.” Lo and behold, we’ve got Turkeys!

One fine bunch of toms!

One fine bunch of toms!

You all must know that I truly adore my wife! While many years back she was hesitant to adopt the idea of getting land this early in our lives, she is now fully on board! Julia has been the catalyst in the acquisition of all of our animals here on the farmstead and I can’t express to you how amazing it feels when I see that excitement burning in her eyes upon realizing the potential for further animal diversity. We both know that it means a deeper variety of fertility for our land, an opportunity to further our knowledge in animal care, and, in this case, the daunting task and learning experience of processing an animal by our own hands. Yes, that’s right. These birds are destined for the table (but first, the freezer).

I am definitely not a man of bloodlust. I do not look forward to “harvesting” these turkeys, but I do feel deeply that if I am to eat meat, and I do, then I should be responsible for the animal’s death, or at least be as intimately involved with the process as possible (knowing and visiting your farmer on a regular basis or even volunteering on processing day at farms that offer such an opportunity). There are many objections to this idea, and I’m not saying that this is for everyone. It is just something that is extremely important to me considering the condition of our current food system (a topic that I will explore in many future posts).

For now, we are just enjoying these amazing creatures, watching their natural behaviors, interacting with them, and learning from their presence. We have 4 toms and 2 lady birds. The females make a high pitch, single-note chirp, while the boys, of course, do their famous “gobble, gobble.” The most entertaining part is that no tom gobbles alone. They all call in unison, like a flock of birds moving as one, darting about the sky as a dynamic avian cloud.

A very handsome tom! You can tell he was ready for his close up.

A very handsome tom! You can tell he was ready for his close up.

Little lady bird.

Little lady bird.

These birds, however, are far from dynamic. The man who sold them to us said that they dressed out at 40 lbs! Jeez! I can corroborate, too, considering I had to lift them in and out of their crate in the back of our pick up. They are monsters! but very gentle though, for how enormous they have become.

They're almost as big as the boy!

They’re almost as big as the boy!

So, we have six new members in the Beacon Farmstead family (although, their stay here will not be a long one). It seems that I wake up every day with new tasks to accomplish (and new animal friends to entertain), and while life can seem a bit crazy at times, we’re all having a lot of fun (especially Judah)! If anyone is a bit stressed, all it takes is a nice forage walk with Judah and the goats, and everything seems right as rain again.

 

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Be well, folks. Talk to you soon.

Happy New Year!

They say that somewhere between 80-99% of New Year’s resolutions result in failure. This happens for many reasons ranging from unrealistic goals to the actual physiological inability of the prefrontal cortex to process new goals while managing the status quo. Our family has been quite successful in accomplishing our resolutions over the last few years and after some thought on the matter I now believe that I know why.
The first reason our family has been successful with our resolutions is that we utilize a very powerful gift that many people in our culture possess: procrastination! I mean come on! Who in their right mind is going to shackle themselves to new diet and exercise routines on the heals of 30+ days of holiday binging? It’s just poor form. We never start our new year’s resolutions on New Year’s Day. EVER. Like last year, my wife (Julia) and I are once again doing the paleo-based Whole30, which is a sort of cleanse for us in order to re-awaken our nutritional goals and refocus our view on what we are putting into our bodies and why. The premise of the Whole30 is quite simple:

Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed…do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial…do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking… no tobacco products of any sort… do not eat grains…do not eat legumes…do not eat dairy… do not eat white potatoes…do not eat carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites…and no paleo-fying baked goods, desserts, or junk food (whole30.com).

Just eat real, whole foods. For us to achieve this resolution we prepare ourselves all through the month of January. We “eat down” the sweets and treats and forbidden foods that we don’t want in the house during our cleanse, we plan out every meal of the 30 days, and we start shopping for the many healthful foods we do want around, so we are empowered and prepared for success.
The other main justification for our having done so well with our resolutions is our knowledge of what I call the Rule of the Fortnight. Many studies have revealed that it takes approximately 3-6 weeks for most people to establish a new routine within their lives. I believe, from many years of personal experience, that once one reaches the 2 week marker of practicing a new habit, there is a particular level of mastery that is absorbed into one’s psyche. The “muscle memory” becomes quite strong at this point and what would have been a great temptation a week earlier seems paltry in passing from the plateau of the fortnight. Knowing that the excruciating torture of change will be heavily mitigated in just two weeks is a very empowering concept.
Furthermore, Julia and I are not doing the Whole365–we’re doing the Whole30! So many people have already reneged on their resolutions by mid-January due to the daunting thought of maintaining new habits for an entire year. I cannot blame them. Our family’s New Year’s resolutions are bite sized. We enter into our 30 days knowing full well that at the end we will be stronger for it, and as a result, more likely to continue on with that fortitude into the next 30 days. Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Who could disagree? So too, the journey can only continue with a 34th step, and a 238th step, and so on. Preparing one’s self for each step along the way is the way.
So, my friend: if you’ve already given up, already fallen short of your resolve, have no fear–it’s still January! Dig your heels in (or just get comfy on the couch), grab a notebook, and write yourself a plan of action. Whether you’re trying to drop a vice, or you’re attempting to incorporate new, healthful habits in your life, try seeing the trees for the forest this time. Take it one moment at a time. Breathe. And be present in each moment. Humans are habitual beings, and making change is monumental. Summon your strength and your patience, for February is on it’s way. But worry not, my friend. We must only make it through a fortnight. I’ll see you on the other side.

Josh.

Welcome!

I’ve been flirting with the idea of starting a blog for years, but it just never seemed like the right time. It wasn’t so much a matter of being too busy or not having a story to tell–for some reason I just felt like I needed to wait it out…and now I know why.
With this blog we intend to unveil our lives out here on the farmstead so that others may join in on our joys, accompany us in our accomplishments, and share with us our struggles as we assemble a beacon of regenerative agriculture in the woods of Mineral, Virginia. We will post secret gluten-free and paleo family recipes, personal poetry, art, ideas in home education, thoughts on parenting, lessons in permaculture, tips on natural health, 1001 ways to use a Vitamix, and so much more. Each week you will be reading posts from me (Josh) or my lovely wife (Julia). We might have some guest contributors as well, considering that we have many friends who have a great wealth of knowledge!
However you might have found us, be it a google search or by word of mouth, you are here and we would like to welcome you to our journey here at Beacon Farmstead!