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Jim Fry

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since Jun 08, 2014
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Recent posts by Jim Fry

"If you have any insight as to how your natural family structure can be explained..."

How we live is the result of many "factors", I guess. One is, -family that lives together, already knows each other. You've spent your whole life living together and you know each others skills, abilities, habits, faults, blessings. You know what to expect. As a result you have fewer false expectations of what might happen. In created families, you don't know what to expect. Almost always what happens is that some folks like to work really hard, and others just lay about. Some are neat, others oblivious. It gets to be a huge strain on the workers who sometimes feel taken advantage of. Another problem is diet, another is type of preferred music, another is modesty and nakedidity. Or sexual mores. Then there's the potential problem of the differences between extrovert and introvert people. Some people are "noisy", others seek quiet. (And these days in the States there's one more huge problem. The seemingly impossiblity of most Trump haters to talk with Trump lovers. We talk~they scream -right?. That's something that often stops everything dead in its tracks.) There's just lots of stuff to cause problems among folks who don't really know each other.

We have so many people that come here, I have decided it is a lot like dating. It's easy to fall in love with someone the first few dates. You just have so much in common. It's only later that you realize that you also may have so much not in common. Then you have a problem. If dating, you stop dating. If living together, then what do you do. You're potentially living with someone you don't really like. I suppose when you are trying to create a family with non-family folks, the best thing to do is to get to know as much as you can about each other as possible, and spend as much time together as possible, before committing. And then, once together, work really hard at constantly trying to learn more and try everything to continue to get along. That's often a fatal flaw in many communities. They don't practice enough communication and talking things out. They let stuff build up. And eventually things blow up. ~~That doesn't so much happen with family that is family. You've already been mad at each other at some other family time. If you continue to live together, you've hopefully got past that. But even at that, one of the most important things you can do with each other is to love each other, not aggress on each other, and try real hard to respect each others choices (unless of course they hate Trump.)



8 months ago
It sounds as if you are writing about families in the city. And it sounds like a number of your "thoughts" and assumptions are city based. My experience is quite different. We live on a multigenerational farm.

We have eight kids. The children's grandparents live next door. So do an aunt and uncle and 4 more children. Across our road is a family of 10 kids, and behind them is their aunt & uncle and another 11 children. All the children in all these families raise each other. There really isn't so much "primary" and "secondary" caregivers. There's just everybody doing whatever needs done. With lots of freeform moving here and there by the children. At any given moment they might be next door making cookies, or outside building a fire just because. Or feeding the pigs or collecting & selling eggs, or often as not giving tours of the museum we also run (the 10 year old is especially good at the tours). Or the kids watch each other when their mom is out milking, or they go do the milking themselves. The last couple days the 8 and 10 yr. old have been out hunting berries, then baking pies and tarts with them.

In addition to all this family, we have lots of wwoof'ers and others here all the time. They also tend to spend a great deal of their time "raising" the kids. Teaching them music, or to read, or clean stalls, and garden. Or just the more casual teaching of having come from distant places and talking about it. ~~Such as the Israeli guys who were here and taught the children some prayers they say before eating. Or like last week when another nine people were here for about two weeks. One lady was here with her four kids. She nursed our baby as needed, and "we" nursed her baby when he needed. It's all quite organized "chaos" that just naturally works. We've had older generations die off, and the next gen. take their place, and the family just keeps moving on. In our case it all seems to work pretty well when you're land based and like it. And like each other.

P.S. We happen to be looking for another person or two to move here, maybe long term. We like folks. With probably a preference for a single mother with younger child (They often need a bit more help than most others. And the more kids the better.)
8 months ago
I have found that if you just wait a bit you might have better results. If you cut down pretty much any bush or tree in late summer/early fall, just before the sap starts to go down for the winter, the plant won't have enough time to start anew that year, and won't have any sap stored for the next year. Then they die. But the timing is critical. You have to get it just right. No sap down, no new leaves up. If you cut the plant most any other time of year, they will often come back. As for other more herbie plants, like poison ivy, pouring on bleach works pretty good, and doesn't hurt anything long term.
8 months ago
In many decades of farming and equipment use, I have learned one first and most important lesson. Always listen to what the machine sounds like. If it starts to sound different, STOP. And figure out why it sounds different. Don't hope it is nothing. Don't expect it to "cure" itself. It sounds different because something is happening. And most times what is happening is not good. Keep using the machine and things will get worse. Stop using the machine immediately and fix whatever is causing the sound change, and the repair will almost always be cheaper. I have found it to be a very false economy to think you can just push ahead to finish whatever you need to get done. It will cost you more in the long run. Machines don't get colds and then get better. They just wear out, wear down, break down, if you don't do maintenance when it's needed.
8 months ago
"End the relationship. You have different paths to take."

~~~Advice also maybe for anyone else: Just because you think you and your spouse "have different paths" doesn't mean your children have different paths. Raising children in a broken home will have enormous effects on those children. Some possibly good, many not so much. I would tend to go slower to make sure you are doing the right thing. Especially when you are considering moving to another almost completely foreign environment. Maybe before diving in too deep, and making too many permanent changes, you might try visiting a few farms and see how they do things. It will also help you to decide if you really do like the quiet of country. It sounds like a wonderful dream. But I have known many people who find out too late that it's just not for them. Maybe also try some marriage counseling, maybe try to get your spouse to wake up to the fact that the marriage is not just about his needs, and maybe requires compromise to keep the family together. Maybe get some land closer to the town where he thinks he needs to be. Then he could at least be there on weekends. Go the extra mile, then maybe another mile, to try to keep the family together. If only for the kids. It'll end up happier for all of you, if you can work it out.
8 months ago
Many years ago, Twylah Nitsch and her Mother and Grandmother sat around their kitchen table and decided it was time to "reactivate" the Seneca Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge. In earlier times, all the Clans had teaching lodges, similar to what we call school today. Each child would choose a "school" to go to when they became age 7. Each lodge taught their lessons for one year. The Bear Clan taught about medicine. Hawk about sharing. Wolf about family. Etc. When a child had attended all 8 clan teaching lodges, the child would be 15 years old, would have been taught all they needed to know to be a well thought person, and was ready to be an adult and marry if they wish. It was a very elegant and complete education, and may have been a far superior system to most schooling today.

One of the things Twylah taught was "The Language of the Stones". It was later recorded as a book, which could be used to help interpret what the Stones were trying to tell us. What we are attracted to, the stones we pick, the stones we keep or carry with us, tell quite a lot about ourselves. I would rather not say what your stone speaks to you. That would be a bit like interpreting your dream for you. Self discovery of meaning is best.

But I maybe could mention what the stone you picked up says to me. To me it looks rather like an Aztec Bird Face. And if I had found such a wonderful Stone, I believe I would hold it up to my ear and listen to what it has to say to me. For me, I learn wonderful stories when I listen to what the Stones, and Plants, and Animal Peoples tell me. Perhaps if you listen, you might learn a good thing as well.
9 months ago
It seems to me that one of your "problems" may be that in your original post on this topic, you listed far more negatives than positives. Even your headline was a negative. Then you went on to have a rather public disagreement with someone about something that very little to do with this topic. All-in-all, it doesn't paint an overwhelmingly positive picture of why folks should come live with you. ~~That's not to say you might not be an actual delight to live with. I don't know you. Maybe your place is heaven in Missouri. I'm just commenting on the effect of what you posted, and how you posted it, and what you added to it. I think you could probably do a much more appealing presentation, and maybe have better results.
9 months ago
I wonder if we are related. Probably not, but I have heard of some of our family heading west. We here though, have been in this Township and County since Ohio became a State in 1803. ~~Actually somewhat before that. If you're ever over this way, stop by, we'll figure it out.

In any case, we here on this farm have about 15 wheelbarrows in many different configerations, and three of those type green wagons. We use them all, lots. Everyday. And it just depends on the job and the terrain. Sometimes single steel wheels are best, sometimes 4 rubber wheels. Sometimes high walled and high capacity, sometimes shallow and light. A few are plastic, most are steel. You just have to try them out and see which is best for you. ~~But one thing I have found out is that it really is best to get the right tool. You can minimize the work or you can make the work much harder. The trick is to be smart enough to do it the easy way. Unfortunately an awful lot of folks spend a great deal of their lives working "hard" to get enough experience to get that figured out.


9 months ago
You never mentioned trees. I  built our house long and narrow, with two windows facing north, and dozens of windows facing south. It adds a great deal of heat and light in the winter. Around the base of the house I planted ewe bushes. They break the winter wind before it hits the house. So we also stay warmer that way. For summers, I planted trees, lots of trees. Deciduous trees. They give great shade in the summer, so our house never really heats up. And for winter the leaves fall so we, again, get more light and solar warming. The fastest growing deciduous trees I know of are cottonwoods. They are kinda messy this time of year with dropping copious amounts of seed "cotton". But they grow fast. Then you can intermix maples or oaks or black locust (another almost as fast grower). When the "better" trees get to size for shade, you could remove the cottonwoods if you don't care for them. They are a soft wood, but they burn pretty good in the wood stove.
9 months ago