Where will my free writing take me? To reading, there’s where

I could talk about my making soaps like a crazy woman. Tiz the season for the fall festivals (my favorites). Trekking to the festivals, setting up my tent, displaying my newest goat milk skin care products, and talking with my customers are among my favorite things. But people watching will always be my most coveted sport. We are an amazing species, interesting in so many ways and so vastly different.

Think about it, our interests shape who we are and what we look like, don’t they. For instance, some folks are more athletic than others; this is probably the easiest interest to spot. I, for one, am not athletic so naturally I look like it. I am a bit more plump than runners, or soccer players. I walk slower and ache in spots that I didn’t know existed four years ago. Guess I’m making my own case for exercising more. Yoga will be my exercise of choice — whenever I get active.

Some folks are cooks while others are feeders (you know this one; the thin ones who serves everyone else food until they gorge.) Sometime you just have to say “no thank you” then walk away. Being polite does have its costs; but come to think of it, why should I be polite to someone who is enabling my plumpness? Hummm … . As a child mother always told me to eat everything on my plate. So I did. Now that ‘s not such a good idea. Did you hear about the starving children in China, too? China is doing very well on their own thank you very much. Sigh… .

Other folks are readers while others are non-readers. I was a non-reader for several years (yes years) because I didn’t think I had time to read. Guilt permeated my very existence while my ears burned all the way down to the back of my neck radiating down to the bottom of my spine and I couldn’t sit still. Every time I sat down to read a book chores screamed at me saying, “you forgot me”, “this is due”, “I’m dirty”, “my head is caught”, “quick let me out”. I’m sure you’ve heard this voice too.

For so long, I felt (not thought but felt) that reading for pleasure was a waste of time. Good grief, no I don’t know why — it was a feeling; my mind isn’t always my friend, especially when it feels threatened. Maybe it was because I had read so many text books that guilt set in because I experienced pleasure when reading instead of experiencing internalized facts, text, and content. Explain that, please.

Admitting that I read for pleasure was like admitting that I liked education. That’s wrong. Actually I crave education. If I’m not learning something new almost every day, then I feel as though I’m becoming stagnant. Learning is my passion in life. That’s what I was put here to do. I know this because I’m obsessed with learning new things – all the time. With learning being an internalized experience how do I give back to the community? I’m not sure but I look around the ranch and I see healthy goats, plump chickens, shiny coated cats and dogs; I see an exploding garden, bee hives overflowing with bees and honey, and I see a lot of weeds but the weeds are the easiest/hardest part.

I was raised in the city and knew absolutely nothing about rural living when we first moved here. Everything at the ranch had and has a spike for a learning curve (that nasty old spikeful curve); the Master Gardening course, the beekeeping course, learning how to care for goats and chickens and horses — all required reading and a great deal of it, too. Oh my, I almost forgot about cheese making and soap making; learning how to handle milk and deal with udders and deworming and testing poop. We have a mini lab out here where we do our own McMaster fecal testing on our goats and horses so I had to learn about parasitology.

Did I mention pasture management? (Reading back … no I didn’t.) Pasture management is critical to keeping the animals healthy and worm free, especially when we have too many animals for our pasture size. The manure load is not good. So, to counter that we feed hay, rotate paddocks, clean barns frequently, deworm as needed, and sell an occasional goat or two. (Excuse me, we don’t sell goats; we place them in good homes.) The FAMACHA program is extremely important in managing the goat and horse parasite loads. Speaking of poop, we have what I call Poop Mountain where goat and horse waste ages for years until it turns into black golden compost. The plants and worms love it but then again, so do the weeds. Then there’s the vermicompost and the compost tea … I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Doing all of these things and doing them well, requires a great deal of reading. I have read several books, magazine articles, and internet newsletters so that I might scientifically observe behaviors and changes. Observation and notation is critical when it comes time to communicate with our veterinarians and extensions agents. Conveying accurate information with the appropriate terminology helps these professionals understand what my problem. With an accurate understanding they can offer positive solutions to whatever is going on with our critters or plants.

The good news with all of this is that my husband and I are learning these things together. He’s a reader too. Being an architect he writes technical manuals and reads volumes during the week. On weekends, after he expends some physical energy by mending fences or completing a long overdue project, he’ll sit with me and we’ll read together. Replacing the television noise with background music, we’ll get our cups of tea then read for hours.

Rainy days are our favorite days now. We’ll be looking forward to winter so we can read. Come October we’ll increase the goat and horse feed so they’ll be fat enough to get through the wet winter days and night. Then we’ll read.

Maybe I’ll free write more often. It’s taken me on a journey of exploration this time where I discovered how much I enjoy reading. Free writing is where you take pencil or keyboard in hand then write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t be concerned with punctuation or spelling because it will slow down your thought process. Just write.

You’ll be amazed at the thoughts that flow through your mind and the discoveries that surface. To read more about free writing go to Google.com then search ‘free writing’. You’ll be amazed at the options for learning that become available to you.

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