Two dead Chickens

Its not that I expected it to happen, but I am not surprised. Two chickens were taken last night, probably something as small as a mongoose. It must have slipped under the frame of the chicken tractor. We have re-enforced the pen now, by adding a trim of chicken wire that I believe a mongoose may not be clever enough to dig under.

I suppose the other way to have gone about this would have been to have built an absolutely impenetrable concrete and brickwork fortress for the chickens. Something that would have taken a year and something that could withstand any attack including hurricane and leopard. But I don’t think that’s the approach that I care to take. What I am trying to get right at the farm is efficiency in design. The question I continuously ask myself is: What is the appropriate response?

I suppose this is what I am trying to get right in my life. Because I can be cautious but it may stop me ever setting a foot out the door. Or I could be reckless and risk hurting those that depend on me. Too much caution is bad. Too much recklessness it bad. But what I am doing with the chickens and what I am doing on the farm generally, is observing. Taking and action and observing the response of the farm.

Through the action of introducing the chicken tractor, I have been able to observe that I have a mongoose challenge. I can now prepare a measured, sensible response to the mongoose challenge. I can respond with design. The kind of design that does not destroy habitat. The kind of design that is the gentlest possible intervention to address the challenge.

Do you see how this is different to the approach of conventional agriculture, conventional medicine or conventional city building.? In conventional agriculture where we find we have insect challenge we introduce insecticides and destroy all insects, good bad or indifferent. We do not take the time to observe and develop a measured response. In medicine we respond to microbial infections with antibiotics. We do not take the time to observe. We annihilate all bacteria, good bad or indifferent. In city building we act against variety, where one noisy business upsets one complaining resident, we abolish all mixed use suburbs and replace them with a monoculture of residential, a monoculture of offices and a monoculture of factories. We act in this way perhaps because we are afraid of things going wrong. We are afraid to make mistakes. We are afraid perhaps of the ridicule or the mockery, So we become cautious. We make very safe decisions that cant possibly go wrong. We get life cover, medial aid and short term insurance. We get cars with a “motor plan”.We get safe jobs that promise a pension to look after us so we don’t embarrass ourselves by being a burden by making the mistake of running out of money before we die.

But of course in all this cautiousness our dreams are postponed and the richness of what could have been our lives becomes displaced with a life of slavery to those that offer the promise of comfort and security. This life my friends, is not for me. And yes there will be some blood and guts along this path.

But this is the path that I am committed to walk.

Author: Tim Hewitt-Coleman

The World can be a better place.... But how? Taking the debate beyond the political, beyond the theoretical into the real economy, into the physical and spatial dimension where cities, landscapes and livelihoods take form.

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