Hello again, my friends! Welcome back to my kitchen! *Yes, I sit and type my blogs in the kitchen* Today I wanted to talk with you about some thoughts I have on caring for our livestock, pets, and …… US! Fair warning, this is a rather long, and fairly (hopefully) thought-provoking post.
There is so much information out there! Have you ever noticed that you can get the definitive guide on how to do or treat something and then get told in another place that the method you just learned is totally wrong and this is the right solution? And then you talk to your friend about it and she/he says “Oh no, I heard that was terrible! Here is what you should do….” Have you ever been there? Did all the solutions niggle at the back of your mind, like something wasn’t quite right, but you felt you should listen to at least one of them because… well…. someone must know what they are talking about… right? Well, I have. I have weeded through so much information, both good and bad, and that did or didn’t fit with my needs, all while being told from all around that everything I tried wasn’t the “right” way (unless it worked, of course, but then there would surly be a better method “next time it happens”). That is how I have felt with the issue of health care of living things on our homestead.
On the one hand, you have the people that believe the world is out to get you, Mother Nature is the only way, and how could you do anything else. On the other hand, there is a group that says all the natural junkies are foolish, blind hypocrites that just haven’t hit rock bottom yet, but when they do they will go totally conventional. This group calls you names and claims you are abusing those in your care if you don’t do what government, doctors and scientists tell you to do and if it doesn’t work then your just out of luck. And here I am. I stand between these two worlds, pulled in two directions as the sides fight for my devotion. Only…. I can’t give in to just one way! I find so much gray in this world, and so many individuals. To my thinking, it seems that there is no one size to fit everyone.
Of course, this is like pulling you another direction, but I am not. It is my opinion that we need to think before we jump. We need to evaluate the information, take what we feel will work, and then form our own solutions. After all, my homestead in eastern North Carolina is vastly different than one on a tropical island or the middle of the desert. My homestead on one side of our local county is vastly different than the homestead we had on the other side even! So how can anyone tell us exactly how we need to do things? They CAN’T! I can give you all my recipes, all my information, a day-by-day, month-by-month schedule of what I do and when and you can copy it and everything will fall apart. You are just not me, your animals and needs and family are not mine, your land is not mine. To homestead you either have to have a feel for it or you have to be able to research and come to conclusions of your own to succeed.
Having stated all of that, I want to mention that in this world not much remains the same day to day, year to year. Medicines and products made for purchase may not be there tomorrow, you may be unable to afford them, or they may prove to be useless. I don’t care for putting all my eggs in one basket. Something that has remained fairly stable for thousands of years is ecology. It has proven effective considering there is still life on this planet that isn’t green. Somehow we survived, as did animals, through parasites, disease, natural disasters, and even the flubs we have made in medicine and food. That tells me there is some strong stuff out there in the natural world, and I have yet to see it duplicated as perfectly as it exists in nature. The problem is, we don’t live with nature most times. Our lifestyle of taking a plot of land and putting on it what we want and usually in excess of what it can support has made it difficult for most to live without conventional solutions.
Conventional solutions, such as medicines and supermarkets and grain and dewormers for livestock, were created to help us deal with the choices we make in our life-styles. Thus, it is very hard to go to one end or another because each end still exists. To go completely to conventional living creates sickness in itself. Living things cannot survive with any quality of life for long on totally man-made living such as crops that require heavy processing or that have been genetically altered, constant medicine, completely filtered air and artificial light. We can do well for a while, but eventually we cease to thrive. We also cannot go completely natural unless we are willing to truly go all the way, something not many can. Most of us are not willing to go through the process of loss to weed out the weak, and that is what nature does. The survival of the fittest is true in nature. So, if you can’t go to either end, where do you go? You find a spot in the middle ground, which is quite large, where you can meet what you are willing and able to do. For me, that is were we try to go as natural as possible, but will judiciously use conventional things like grain with our livestock, chemical de-wormers if herbs are not doing enough, medicines if we or our livestock are sick and reach a point nothing natural is helping. We play a daily judgement game in which we weigh the risks of loss on each side and determine if one outweighs the other. We won’t do the same thing every time because we may decide, in that instance, another solution holds more value than loss. And, while living this game, in the back of my mind I know that eventually nature will take over and only the fittest and adaptable will survive. I want to be one of those that live.