Full Life Farm Ethnographic Diary Week 5 Ending 7 February 2014

This week at Full Life Farm began with cut logs already mounted to the concrete floor posts.  The work continues before and after I arrive.  It’s a working farm.  While there are not enough hours in the day, and I would like to be present more often, I realize that life happens, and I have other commitments.  I have learned and I continue to learn.  The learning happens in it’s own time.

This structure is being built to protect newly cut logs and timber from damaging elements, mostly the rains that occasionally happen in this part of Georgia.  It’s not an overly “permanent” structure, but it is something that is built to last a while. It is obviously and certainly not like a finished building that would take time to erect, to live in.  It is more like an open garage. It is essentially an open storage wood shed.

I seem to learn a new element of information each day at Full Life Farm. To secure the wood together and to increase stability, tenons are cut into the corner roof planks and placed into the mortises of the logs at each of the four corners.  As Paul, the owner Full Life explained, each tree is different, posing different challenges based upon the knots in the wood, the age of the tree, and the quality of the tools and skills.  Once the tenons and mortices (essentially terms for tongue and groove cut woods) have been cut and fit using solar-powered electrical tools as well as hand tools to finish, the corner roof foundations are raised to tentatively secure the standing logs in place (NB:  I was not present for this aspect of completion.) with a roofing frame.

Friday began with most of the above roofing frame completed while I was away.  The only thing that remained was the overhang on the opposite side.   Tenons needed to be sawed, cut, chiseled, raised, and secured.  Since there are already one Woofer named Paul on staff and another intern, also named Paul, it wasn’t necessarily productive for all of us to remain working at this for the benefit of the farm.  So I was called away to clean eggs for presentation at the local Carrollton farmers’ market (while the official market is closed until late April, a few farmers continue selling to local residents unofficially to make a little money to thrive over the winter.

The interesting thing about eggs that I learned a few weeks ago is that eggs, when they are hatched they already have a protective layer.  This is obviously to protect the eggs and help them survive through to the hatching process.  But it is also to preserve the eggs for later consumption by those that eat eggs.  The reason that store-purchased eggs are refrigerated is that they have been washed to preserve the aesthetically artificially appearance of cleanliness.  Washing local farm eggs perpetuates this illusion and increases the chance that the local eggs will be sold as more beautiful aesthetically (never mind how this concept perpetuates the artificial concept of beauty perpetuated by the media.

I did not realize the full extent of this need for “cleanliness” until Terra (one of the farmers at Full Life Farm) explained later in the afternoon after I returned to from continuing to work on the completion of the temporary woodshed.  After accidentally nearly toppling the wood shed by leaning on a portion of the shed, it was necessary to mount cross-framed beams to prevent the logs from leaning again. And after the difficulties I had hammering the beams into the logs, I realized that I need to be more active, or at least establish a better yoga and exercise regimen to bulk up my body definition and increase my body strength to be better prepared to perform the necessary activities that the farm requires.

The eggs were not cleaned enough and I had missed a few hairline-cracked eggs.  Veiny-looking lines are the beginning of cracks which I did not realize until I was shown a few examples.  Additionally, the eggs have to be washed with a rag to decrease the staining from the chicken excrement that sometimes remains.  I washed without a rag.  As a result, a few eggs were not suitable for market.

As I have mentioned before, this is as much an evolutionary learning process as graduate school in general, and I learn a little each day.  Each day I assess what I am learning regarding farming and animal husbandry against my vegan activism and my vegan diet, especially the usefulness of compost and fertilizer

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