Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wood Shavings, Happy Animals and Frames of Reference

Today I got a line on free wood shavings.

While this seems like a little thing, when you have chickens, it's a big deal.  You see, it costs me between $4 and $6 for a bale of clean shavings.  Today, I picked up five 39 gallon bags of shavings to put down for my chickens, ducks and geese.  I gave the people there some free eggs to express my gratitude.  This was enough to lay down a nice carpet of wood shavings for all the birds plus lay down a nice pile for Sid. 

What's more, I'll be getting wood shavings every week.  Which means my animals will always be warm and dry.  This made me so happy because I've been trying to think of ways to cut costs but still provide a good environment for them.  Now, I have the ability. 

My husband and I got to talking about differences between places like New York City and Chicago and here.  I've been to these places and quite honestly, my world is very foreign to city dwellers.  I can't imagine spending my entire life in a city like New York, even though it is a cool place, it doesn't feel real to me. 

The rest of the world isn't like New York, but I can see how living there can give a very myopic view of the world.  The city is the environment.  Everything in NYC is man-made, from entertainment to Central Park.  Even the weather is affected by the city: the wind comes rushing around buildings because of the effect the narrowing of the "landscape" has on the airflow.  People in New York have vastly different days than I do -- they ride subways or take taxis, they eat in restaurants, and they seek their entertainment and hobbies within the city.

In comparison, I spent more than a month chasing after wild animals to fill my freezer with meat for the winter.  I'm highly entertained by my poultry and llama.  I sell eggs to neighbors to pay for my chicken feed.  And I sit near a woodstove at night and write. 

The funny thing is that I could do most of what New Yorkers do.  I could buy my meat from the supermarket, entertain myself by going to the mall (yes, we have a small one), eat in restaurants and do things city people do.  But I don't because I don't want to.  I've been there.  I grew up in suburbia.  I travel to big cities all the time.  I have my master's degree.  I just don't want to be like other people.

Today I spoke to a fellow who buys eggs from me.  He had served in Iraq, which make him pretty amazing in my book.  Instead, he was amazed at my life.  I don't know why -- I really don't consider what I do all that special.  But he seemed to think that because I hunted, had a small farm and wrote professionally made me special.  Seems odd, but there you go.

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