Saturday, August 8, 2009

Livin' With the Earth...Kinda...

...when my brother was applying to med. school, I went over his application essay...including a sentence that began growing up on a farm,...I commented in the margin are you sure you grew up on a farm and not two and a half acres in the outer suburbs with a father who raised some goats and chickens as a hobby?...he changed it to small farm...

...in college years was what you might call an eco-hippie...raised money for Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network...recycled before everybody started doing it...spent an awful lot of time getting high in the woods...

Yes it’s good, livin’ on a farm, oh so good, livin’ on a farm...
Jefferson Airplane

...one dream shared by just about every eco hippie is of one day having a farm...living and working directly with the earth...in tune with the natural order...flowing with the eternal cycles of life and death...just like agrarian people have for thousands of years...

...as it turned out, I was the one exception to that...in my crowd, at least...then, I was also the only one who’d ever had to shovel shit out of a barn...

...mom was never really into the farm thing, either...nowadays, the pasture gets mowed once or twice a year, and my brother keeps up the garden, but the animals are gone...though not without a bit of trouble...out of twelve chickens, it turned out there were only four hens...and finding homes for eight roosters ain’t, as it turns out, easy...after ads offering them for free at local feed stores went unanswered, I suggested leaving the henhouse door open at night...letting nature take its course...mom didn’t like that idea at all....

...outsider art is cool...generally created by people with little education or training in art...like Henry Darger, whose work would have been a lot less interesting if he’d ever read Freud or Jung....alas, it’s kinda difficult to be an outsider artist with a PhD...nonetheless, despite a fancy digital camera and familiarity with the celebrated work of Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Annie Leibowitz, Edward Curtis, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Earth to Holly, I’m trying to be as outside as possible with this photography thing...and an almost complete lack of technical knowledge helps...like, so far, I’ve figured out that light is everything...but haven't the foggiest idea what to do with that knowledge...

...walking around the old homestead a weekend ago, looking at old things breaking down...memories and all those memories carry with them crumbling to earth...tend to find it depressing...so, started taking pictures...trying to maybe save something...but not happy about how most of them came out...mostly because the light wasn’t right...ending up thinking the ones that came out best were the ones that came out worst...so, messed ‘em up even worse and put ‘em here...

I heard the old, old men say,
'Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.'
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'
William Butler Yeats

11 comments:

markstoneman said...

Chicken manure was the worst, followed by pig and then horse manure. Horse manure wasn't so bad in summer, but in the early spring, when what had frozen started to melt. . . . Yeah, I didn't enjoy that part of having animals.

earthtoholly said...

Oh, how sweet and waaay too kind of you, drjay---funny, too! Really, thank you so much. I, too, lack that technical knowledge as I've yet to buckle down and read up. Thank goodness these digital things almost run themselves. Still there's the pesky light thing.

Those are wonderful colors in your first photo and I find it a little sad...the worn, broken fence and mossy roof...reminds me of my own parents' place as it's a little too much for them to manage nowadays as they'd like. Still, yours looks like a beautiful place.

I spent my first few years on a farm (small, but very rustic), so I kinda understand the reality of the self-sustaining thing and admire those who commit and make it work.

Keep snappin'...it's interesting to see the world of drjay.

p.s. On your last few photos I thought you may have done a drive by on your bike...hee-hee!

the walking man said...

Decades ago when I was doing my personal On The Road thing, I stopped at a farm in PA to ask if I could crash for the night in their barn because a storm was coming. I offered a few hours labor for the privilege.

That day I learned that hog shit smells worse than cow shit. I didn't really mind the shoveling I only would have preferred the doing of it before dinner and not before sleep. That night I learned that a good strong rain makes a great shower in the summer.

koe whitton-williams said...

Dr. Jay - I loved the link (and placement) to Holly's blog! That line. . . 'the ones that came out best, were the ones that came out worst. . .' is fantastic.

Eco Yogini said...

you know- I like these pictures, they are honest, and "real" in the sense that often people only post "beautiful" or perfect pictures. Nature and life aren't perfect or always "beautiful" in the traditional sense.
I was usually the only person who grew up running in the woods, making camp fires, making mud pies (did that for real!) and going hunting with my dad. That comes from living in the city and attending University with children of "white collar" people, the only "blue collar" progeny around made it a little strange.

Ruby Isabella said...

I too really like the photos. I recommend NOT learning how to take photos. Because you run the risk of having photos that look like everyone elses if you do. Enjoy the complete mystery of light.

Bird said...

Never worked a farm but years ago I did labouring work at a plant nursery - I'd regularly have to shift half a ton of rotting horse shit from the place the tipper truck dumped it, up onto a drey for transportation to other parts of the site. I'd be cycling home with horse shit in my navel, in my eyebrows... I must have looked and smelled like pig pen from Charlie Brown. But I've never been stronger and you couldn't buy a body like I had even if you went to the gym twice a day.

And messed up photos are often the most interesting IMHO.

Punch said...

buy a cheaper camera. stop looking at masters. Outsider pictures are really quite easy.
"All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the Waters"

RB said...

Beautiful pictures. Want to come live on a Hungarian Taoist farm in the middle of nowhere with me? Please?

Melinda said...

Hey Jay--I really enjoyed these photos--as I have been enjoying the heat of summer and spending a lot of time outside myself.

I'm not much of one for gardening--in fact, I have pretty much a black thumb and have killed more than my share of both outdoor and indoor plants. My apprection of naturer has always been a little less 'hands on.'

I head up to Maine again this week--where I will spend a week hiking up in Acadia National Forrest. Summer is definitely my time for communing with nature (in my own way) anyway.

Take care,

Melinda

Lydia said...

As I was reading this post I stopped longer than usual at the photos, really feeling good about them...feeling good in them. Reading further, discovering they are yours was sheer delight.