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3/16/10

Ain't Nobody Here But Us CHICKUNZ...

Meet Flock 2.0.

I was honored to be invited by the Center For Rural Culture to teach two classes this weekend to farmers. 

Oh no, not about farming, honeychile, they asked me to talk about how to connect farmers with people online like you or I so that they can continue to preserve rural heritage, landscape and local cultures while reaching out to their nearby cities and customers, online, to sell their wares so their natural, small scale farming is successful, for more generations.

Here are some of the beautiful people in my first class!!!!


In between the two classes, I had a two hour break, so what's a gal to do? 
*I* was going to spend those hours working...
and had brought work with me... 'cause that's how I roll on a Saturday...


UNTIL I walked out into the hallway and there, draped across a chair like the DILETTANTE he is, elegantly lounged my bad-friend-since-I-was-in-my-teens-whom-my-momma-never-liked-because-he-always-spelled-trouble, THAT boy, Tony.

Completely against my will, my bad friend Tony kidnapped me and *forced* me to head out to beautiful Eden Farms to appraise some pullets.

I sought my revenge when, once my four chicks were in the box, we were informed that Virginia law dictates you must buy SIX chicks... I steadily glared back... at which point Tony offered to take two and I sent him packing with a ROOSTER.

BACK we raced to the college where I was teaching, and I discreetly tucked the box in a corner of the classroom...

The computer lab forbids food and drinks, but they never said anything about livestock...



After a long and exciting day, I drove home, thinking of so many things...
Each time I come out to Goochland it is so hard, it stirs up so many fresh, not-dealt-with-yet issues... But I am coming out for a great reason, for the Center For Rural Culture, and LOVE the friends I have there and the cause I support, which is preservation of our craftsmen, our tradesmen, our farmers, our national treasure of rural culture.

But you have to know: You have NO IDEA how hard it is for me to go out to Goochland.
Each time I make that drive, it's losing the farm again, and heck, I've already lost it thrice.
I never said goodbye, I will never go back.
I remember every inch of the multi-level rooms in the old house, the double balconies, the steamboat gothic woodwork along the edges, the cannons on the front porch, the antlers in the halls, the steep kitchen staircase,  the musty old wood smell of the rooms, the wild roses climbing up the columns, the EVERYTHING of the old Rotherwood that my cousins never knew.

Then the fire, which destroyed the house, and the rebuilding.
Then the dementia of my grandfather, and Rotherwood was lost again. Finally, divorce divided the family further. It is now divided between two of three siblings. I am happy for them. I will never go back. For kicks, I considered storming my own farm between classes. I'm grateful one of my oldest and baddest friends showed up.

And you know what? I'm thinking that maybe that drive is getting easier each time I'm forced to do it. And guess what? I'm noticing all the farms I've passed by in a lifetime, are now proudly varnished with new coats of paint, new barn roofs, new fences... I am seeing good things.

Besides:


If Rotherwood hadn't been lost, we never would have bought The Land.
If we hadn't have bought The Land, I never would have kidnapped bazillionaire architects to found Green Modern Kits, Green Cottage Kits, Green Cabin Kits so we could have gorgeous, super energy-efficient, affordable, passive solar house kits for the rest of us.


Wow. Think of it: If Rotherwood were still a family farm... none of this, any of this,  would exist.
Instead, I'd be listening to the peepers emerge from winter along the pond, spending my weekends cleaning up from the winter flooding in the fields (boats tend to wrap themselves around the tops of trees down by the quarry / flood plain), reinforcing the dock, sealing the leaks in the canoes, and by now?  I'd be fixing that twenty stall stable back to where it was... fixing the fences... because I'm ready for that next step for my children.

One thing I have also learned in this journey: We were never part of our local community. I don't recall anyone local, just those we imported from the city, really spending time with us at Rotherwood. Which is starkly different from our many friends near The Land, and now, in Goochland.

Back in Richmond, we eagerly loosed the chicks... and now have to keep a keen eye on our dogs.

Flock 2.0

Flock 2.0, #2

And yes, to answer your question: This does mean that for the next few weeks, when we head out for a weekend of work on the off grid net zero prefab house kit, we will not only have the car packed with tools, things to haul out there, dogs and two children buckled in but will also have a bin full o' baby chicks stashed between the car seats.

Hey, look! Here we come in our car loaded up with children, dogs and chicks!!!


Let's talk about Eden Farms for a moment. 


It's always a pleasure to see how other family businesses are created, and incorporate children. My children also love to see what other people do - in particular, the Amish children, who had a stand selling vegetables, relishes, bread, cookies... with whom my children have grown up visiting.

Returning home, our children would take empty cardboard boxes and make "stands" and "sell" anything they could put their hands on to anyone who would pass...


Visiting Eden Farms was an opportunity to leap forward a few years and appreciate what these children, now in their  teens and twenties, have done: they carved out fruitful gardens, started 4-H projects which turned into businesses - with rabbits, chickens, and more...and even create and sell art.

I asked them to share some photos with you, and they obliged; I hope you enjoy them as much as I have:






If you are coming through Goochland, I would highly recommend you seek them out for coops, hutches, poultry, and more! They have a *gorgeous* garden and sell many plants as well, I know you will enjoy your visit!

And speaking of visiting... 
We will be busy the next weekends getting ready for the prefab green home OPEN HOUSE!

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