A Song for Orlando

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Warning: Strong political opinions stated in the below post.   

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I was not old enough to vote in the 2016 presidential election.  If I had been old enough, I would not have voted for Trump.  To me, this means that Trump is truly not my president.  I feel like I am being falsely represented by the president of my country.  Other countries are meeting with him or hearing about what he’s doing.  What if they think that we all voted for him and that we all like what he’s doing?  I love the United States.  I love my country.   That does not mean I love my country’s president.

I wish I could let all the other countries in the world know that even though Trump is representing the US, not all of us Americans support him.  Many of us weren’t even old enough to vote in the 2016 presidential election at all, and we are the ones who are being shot.  Those school age Americans who were shot in the many school shootings since Trump’s election weren’t old enough to vote in 2016.  Trump is promoting the very weapons that are being used to shoot these kids.  They are some of the victims of his presidency.

I want the rest of the world to know that even though Trump is our representative, some of us stand separately.  Please do not think we all voted for him.  Please don’t dislike our country just because of the things our president is saying and doing.  Some of us stand separately.

So I say I feel that I’m being falsely represented.  Trump is excluding people from my country.  Trump is promoting the ownership of weapons and is not working to stop the school shootings of my fellow minors.  Trump is not defending my friends.  Trump does not care about us.

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Yesterday was the last time for me to be in the woods with the goats for two weeks as I am going to music camp tomorrow.  I wanted to post a little updates on how the forest is looking nowadays.

A lot of poison ivy has sprung up on the path as you can see in this photo which makes it rather difficult to get to the black raspberries you’ll see in the second photo.

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Below we have some self heal in the first photo and Hildegard and Morisot in the second.

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Hildegarde eating sassafras in the first photo and tickwood treefoil in the second.

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Konmari’s Magic Manga

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The great tidying genius Marie Kondo “Konmari” has another book out.  The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up gives the reader all the main points of her other books in a story format.  The main character is a 29 year old messy houser.  She has never invited a friend over to her apartment because she is embarrassed by how cluttered it is.  Spurred to action by her neighbor (a cute boy who gets a glimpse of her atrocious entryway), she signs up for Marie Kondo’s tidying lessons.  The book tells the story of how her life changes after Konmari walkes in.

The following post is revised from one previously posted in 2016.

Did you know that you wear about 20% of your clothes about 80% of the time?  This is a statistic that has been floating around the internet for years.  It means that you could get rid of four fifths of your clothes and not really notice much of a difference.  If you used the Konmari method, you would probably only notice that all the clothes in your dresser and closet were ones that you loved.  You probably wouldn’t miss most or any of the clothes that you discarded.  That seems pretty crazy.  To me though, it is totally believable.

One of the most widespread reasons that people accumulate stuff is that they do not know how much they have.  A lot of us keep stuff on hand even though we hardly use any of it just because we think it may come in handy.  Think back to the Stone Age for a moment…All you would have had would be the necessities.  One, maybe two sets of clothes- all you needed could be carried on your back.  These days, we’d be lucky if our stuff would fit in two truckloads!

By all that, I don’t mean that everyone has that much stuff, or that people who have lots of things aren’t happy.  Everyone is different.  I get by just fine with four long sleeved shirts and four pairs of shoes, but someone with a different lifestyle or different age might need only two long sleeved shirts and ten or more pairs of shoes.  It all depends on what you need and what brings you joy.

Some people love living in a rather “messy” house, while others want every surface to be bare.  You don’t need to make yourself uncomfortable.  If you are unhappy or embarrassed by how much stuff is in your house or room, then you could consider looking into the Konmari method.  If you like your house like it is and don’t like having a barer living space, then keep it the way it is.

Another great thing about tidying is that it’s easier to clean when you have less stuff.  I once asked my mom what her goals for her bedroom were, and she said “dust free,” then “less brick brack.”  I told her that once you have less brick brack, it’s easier to dust since you don’t have to pick up decorations to get at the surface.  You don’t have to dust all those decorations either.  Once you get rid of things, cleaning is much easier and faster.

Maintenance is, of course, kind of hard, but if you do a bit every day, like a ten minute pick up of your things every evening, then your surfaces stay tidy.  You also have to keep unnecessary things from coming in, like gifts.  Those are hard, but if you truly want your space to stay tidy, then it won’t be so difficult that you give up.

Goats in the Woods!

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This morning, my mom, the goats and I were all in the woods.  As I posted last month, this summer I have a job as a goatherd which involves taking our goats to a retreat center (in our hatchback) to eat invasive species in the woods.  Here are the photographs that I took of them doing their job (my job was four pages of math).

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Above, Morisot is a bit itchy, here.

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Reaching over mom for some good eats.

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Going to town on some autumn olive.

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Cinquefoil.

0604181148  The raspberry is in bloom.

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As is the multi floral rose.

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Dame’s rocket.

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Fresh bear corn.

Controlling Invasive Species with Goats

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If you were looking for me this morning, you’d have found me sitting in the woods with our goats.  Twice a week from now until October my mom and I are taking our goats to a nearby retreat center to eat invasive species in their woods.

The spot that I am taking the goats to had timber harvested about eight years ago.  As soon as the trees were cut, all the invasive species had the light and space to grow.  Since there was not a proper plan for the cleared land (such as planting more trees in tree tubes), the invasive species took off.  Now, the forest floor in that part of the forest is covered in multi-floral rose, autumn olive and raspberry–things that will take over if they are not eradicated.  Moreover, new trees cannot be established or planted until all these species are gone.

The retreat center was very against chemicals to eradicate the invasives, hence where our goats come in.  The retreat center used to have goats, but they were never put to good use, and the center doesn’t have them any more.  We live three minutes away and have three goats.  We were willing to make a test out of this forest area.  Our goal was to see how well three goats could control a couple of acres of invasive species.

We’ve taken our goats down five times now, and they just love the eating.  Since it is just a test, we don’t expect all the invasives to be gone over the course of these next five  months.  However, my hope is that once we have a fuller understanding of what goats can do to control invasive species, an appeal will be able to be made to the retreat center to have on site goats with a live in goatherd.  The goats would be able to be on the land all day every day and eat the invasive species down so that trees could be planted.  In the end, a healthy forest would be established.

I will be posting updates every few weeks with pictures to illustrate how this control of invasive species in this forest is going.  Hopefully you all will learn more about goats, plants, trees and sustainable forest management from them.

  1. Hildegarde enjoying the sun.
  2. Hildegarde again.  You can see the low, brushy invasive species in the background.
  3. May apple blossoms and leaves.  The goats don’t like them.
  4. Wild geranium.  The goats also don’t like this.

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Dreams for the World

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I believe that the safety, education and well-being of our children should be our highest priority.  Children are the ones that will carry on and work for a better world.  The children are the ones that need to be educated in peace and love.  If we want world peace, than our children should be taught to love one another and nature.  If we want our world to survive and be filled with love, then we should be giving the best of everything to our children so that they can carry out these dreams that we have for our world.

While, yes, there are millions of kids on this planet, any one of those kids killed in Texas could have been or grown up to be a future Gandhi, Lincoln or peacemaker.  To make this planet continue to exist in a way that is livable, we need to have all our children educated, happy, properly fed and alive.

Our president, Donald Trump, has the power to keep children safe.  He has the power to implement gun control laws.  He has the power to make our country safe for us all, not just children, yet he has done nothing of the sort.  He is always on Twitter, always on the internet stating some ridiculous thing, yet it appears that he knows nothing of what is actually happening to and in our country.

Since our president is doing nothing, we, as the people, should do something.  Although few of us have the power to change the entire nation in one sweeping move, we each can spread a message of love to others-adults and children alike-and in doing so, we all will change the country.  Together.

Benjamin, Our New Calf

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Last night at 9:30 my dad rushed in from the barn to tell me that Meg, our milk cow, was giving birth.  I had just taken my shower and was sitting on my bed looking at magazines with my wet hair up in a towel turban.  I leaped up and flung the towel off of my head and out I went.

The actual birth only took about ten or fifteen minutes, but we stayed out to watch the calf stand up.  I also helped Meg dry him off.  She used her tongue, and I used a towel (not the same one that had been on my head beforehand).

Today it has been very cold and rainy, but Benjamin and Meg seem to be fine.