Our schooling teaches us to be mindful.

And it is a good thing, because the devil lies in details. If we don't tend to them, we trip and fall. The mind is usually at the heart of good judgement, as it examines alternate scenarios, by which to chose the way forward. It distills complex realities into digestible conclusions. It unravels central questions and highlights potential problems. The ability to analyze stems from a disciplined and trained mind, gleaned from formal and informal schooling. It is frequently under-employed and occasionally over-employed.

Understanding all the forces at work on a farm is a tremendous intellectual challenge. Thomas Jefferson mastered the challenge, but few match his intellect, either on or off the farm. The rest of us strive to assess the deep concepts behind so much we encounter on a daily basis: biology of livestock, chemistry of soil, physics of construction and of mechanics, meteorology of weather, economics of markets, science of marketing, technology of computers, logic of accounting, skill of communication, trajectory of spouse, and, last but not least, technique of cooking... This is a hatful of hard information to wrap minds around, keeping students of farming fully and humbly engaged. One cannot manage a farm without the will to learn as much of the science as possible, which certainly strengthens the mind. 

Isn't this true of every walk of life? Committing the intellect to the venture at hand usually generates positive results. But one of the curious aspects of the intellect is how incomplete it is, how it generates better results when working in tandem with its partners - heart, body, soul, and spirit. These are the five strands of life that weave the web of successful living. They are the iron horsemen with whom we forge the way forward.

In the picture below, one can't help being taken by the intense mindfulness of the tree-trimmer. I observed him lower to the ground a towering, massive maple tree over the course of eight hours, limb by limb. He skillfully interacted with a roaring chain-saw and tumbling limbs throughout the day, each 12 inches from his face, while steadfastly moving from one perilous position to the next. His mind had to be fully engaged, at every minute, for him to succeed, so as not to succumb to danger lurking so close by. While this process would not be considered intellectual, he certainly demonstrated relentless ability to concentrate and make good decisions. He demonstrated strength of mind of a seasoned warrior - the kind of person one wants on one's team. This man did not learn these skills in a classroom, but on the job through keen and persistent observation. His body was no doubt sore at the end of the day for its athleticism, but it was his display of disciplined mindfulness that was remarkably outstanding.

Landis Weaver and brother, Caleb, recently demonstrated both strength of mind and of heart by erecting this barn, square-and-plum, on the coldest day of the year. 

Above on the left are: pork shoulder, baked apples, rice and spinach, and a soft-boiled pastured egg. It took us three attempts to discover it takes 11 hours at 200 degrees to cook pork shoulder successfully. And then it melts in the mouth!

Bacon chunks display hearty and luscious constitution on the right. These flavored Coque au Vin several weekends ago.  

We look forward to seeing you this Sunday the 31st at Clark Montessori from 10-1.

On-line ordering is available at: http://grassrootsfoods.biz/on-line-purchasing
for delivery Wednesday Feb 3 at 4:00 to East Hyde Park. This ordering window closes Sunday evening.

From the treetops,

Drausin & Susan