Two weeks ago now, I wrote a second exercise for the newspaper I was published and have not heard back on it. I followed up a week later, but nothing. I am not sure why. Perhaps he felt that my summarization of the meeting agenda was plagiarism? I do not know. I certainly credited the agenda in my writing. It is okay though. I really do not care for journalistic writing. I do not like the news. I like documentary writing and story telling. I like the old ways. I hate industrialization.
So, back to the drawing board.
On seasonality: I realized something last night. I stress seasonality, yet my cows are not milked seasonally. I would like for them to not have calves or be giving milk throughout the winter, but at least one of them seems to always end up calving in the fall. Penny is due to calve any day now. Moon, if she is bred this time, will calve in November. Not a great time. Hopefully I can manage to get her pushed up to calve earlier and earlier in the year and then I can dry both of them off at least during the worst of the winter. Our bottom line will not like that, but it will be better for the cows. Our customers will not like that, but they can (and will) get their products elsewhere.
Wally and I talk a lot about the direction this farm is going, what other farms are doing, etc. It is wonderful living with someone that I trust so much that I can talk to about anything. He said this morning, if we did not keep up the standards that we do, we could both quit working and farm full-time. It’s those damned standards. Those ethics that I cannot get away from. The constant search for perfectionism. I know it is not a bad thing.
Anne Lamott wrote in Bird by Bird: “One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.” This is true of a writer and a photographer and I look at things, perhaps too closely. She also wrote that “good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.” I know who I am, I think I always knew who I was. I’ve worn many different hats throughout my life and maybe it’s taken me this long to really figure out who I really want to be. I am a farmer, I am a writer and I am a photographer and I tell the truth.
On Monday, we went on a field trip to a photography studio in Shelby. It was great! He critiqued our portfolios. Mine got good reviews except the exposure was off on some of them. He said that I had a good eye for detail, composition and form. He asked if I was relying on my camera meter (I was) and said I’d have better luck if I used a grey card or light meter. I agree with him, however, given that I was photographing animals that did not want me near them, it would have been very difficult to get a light meter reading (they would have run away); a grey card is a possibility and I will keep one in my pocket for the next time I photograph under difficult lighting conditions. He liked the image of the old dairy, but said that it might be better if I put the camera on a tripod and photographed it with more in focus (more depth of field). I can do that. He really liked the peacocks.
Tonight we go to a local camera club meeting for another critique of our work. I am able to work at home today, which is great and saves me a second trip to Hickory. I think Penny is within days of delivering and if all goes well, we are going to get eight tons of sand delivered today. We are going to work on the walkways that we travel and areas where the cows frequent to try to cut down on the mud. I love mud! Really I do, but it’s hard keeping the cows clean in it. Once it dries out enough and we are able to get the areas leveled and sand applied and packed down, we are going to try a product called cow carpet (it is a geotexile fabric). You put it down and then apply gravel over it. It is supposed to keep the gravel separate from the soil and keep mud down. Cows and mud are like cows and manure, they simply go together and it is hard to separate them, but we can try.
Next week I am on spring break and next week garden beds get planted and I work hard on my portfolio. I am limited to the times that I can photograph and get good light, namely, before 10 AM and after 3 PM (or 4 PM when the time changes). Agh, the time changes Sunday. Yuck!
I found this article earlier this week. It is wonderful. It is long. I posted it to Facebook and no one liked it, probably no one read it. It is too long. I like long, I like information. It is inspirational. It is a guy doing things differently than most and making a living at it. He is doing things right. He is doing things with Mother Nature. Healthy soil and healthy, happy animals is the way to go and it is the way to go and the way we will keep on doing things.
Hopefully after Friday, the weather will improve a bit. We have been swinging from warm to cold and wet. So far all of next week looks warm, but wet which is going to make photography difficult. Garden beds are getting planted, one way or the other.
Until later …