Saturday, November 29, 2014
What is enough reality for you?
I read an article by a blogger who also farms stating that perhaps farmers should be showing more of the nitty gritty of farming in their posts. She was seeing a lot of beautiful images of farms and animals and wondered out loud if this was a disservice to upcoming farmers or those that dream of having a farm someday. She encouraged farmers who blog [not that many 'real' farmers blogging, I must say] should also be showing images of the not so pretty. Her article had pretty tame photos though-a rooster with a bloody comb [happens all the time], a pile of compost, and a lamb coming out of the birth canal [all by her and beautiful images]. She did make the point that because urban farming is a hot trend, wouldn't it be better to show more of a balance.
Having been blogging now for - wait for it, today is the NINTH ANNIVERSARY OF THIS BLOG!!!!!!-
There was an uproar in the barnyard!
Let me refocus....
After years of blogging, I know that some readers come here for the soothing and calm-words and images. I've always made my goal of this blog to be first, before anything else, a safe place to write and document my time here, for me, and then share for whoever might come upon it. That is all I owe anyone, my honest feelings and words no matter if I'm writing a short story or posting images. I do know that once a person like myself develops even a small following, one can fall into "posting what you think they will like" trap, especially if one is selling art, books or whatever their product is.
While I do post the nitty gritty, I think I do it with taste and a boundary that I choose to set. When an animal is sick, the reader is let in on it, but I don't feel posting graphic images is always necessary to convey a story. I remember when the day old lamb was dying and due to the weather, I brought the lamb into my studio to be near the fire. A natural scene unfolded before me that was so beautiful, and so captured the way animals deal with death, that I grabbed my camera. But I paused first, "Is this right?" I had done all I could for the lamb in the last two days, and my artist soul took over. I don't regret it.
I have nothing against others posting birth scenes or bloodied roosters. I guess I don't think that is very wild and gory at all. But I'm not going to post images of some of the many graphic things I've scene here. I don't think it is going to help any new or young farmer, nor is it going to necessarily help me share a story better. I do know there are things I can see and handle now that I could not have 10 years ago. I'm not jaded, just more experienced seeing certain things.
The fact is, if emergency situations arise in the barnyard, or a goat's abscess burst on me [I happen to love lancing abscesses] or I have diarrhea all over my legs after helping a sick ewe, the last thing I'm thinking is-"Let me grab my camera". I made a comment on the woman's article because I did feel I wanted to share that with her-that when I'm in the barnyard, my first and always foremost priority is to the animals, the farm and doing what comes first for both-not documenting. I felt that carrying my camera around when I know a ewe is giving birth-that becomes an art/journalistic project for me. Nothing wrong with that, but that is not my personal priority as a farmer.
I do understand what the author/farmer of the article was saying though. You hear it all the time here and elsewhere. People fall in love with a life through images and story, but they don't experience the day to day mud, falls, cut hands [man, do I get a lot of cuts]. I am never clean. My nails are split, the fence patches of hay twine are rampant, no matter how you try there is duck poop everywhere a duck goes. I don't hide it, but I decide the boundary that is right for me and the farm-and my readers.