A Moo Point

August 13, 2010

The obscure dirt road with no street sign signaled the end to our search and the beginning of a lavender-themed, all-natural, from-ground-to-table dinner experience that has been the object of our anticipation for many previous weeks.

The dinner began with thirty minutes of discovery of the raw realism of living on and operating a farm—the planting, maintaining, uprooting and renewal of crops, interacting with and caring for the sheep, goats, cows, chickens that inhabit the land; add to that the constant sweat and strain of the hot summer days, and my hunch was confirmed—that my dream of living in the country would most likely always remain just that: a dream.

Ticks, mosquitoes, insect bites, sweat, cultivation of land, milking goats, butchering lambs, cooling down with the help of a fan instead of an air conditioner—these may be welcome realities for some, beatable obstacles to others, tortuous nightmares for yet others.

While I have dreamed about being a country convert for most of my life, when I ponder what is really involved, my feelings become much less pleasant.

Up till yesterday, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between a goat and a sheep or a kid and a lamb. But after last night, I can not only tell you the difference but can also proudly proclaim that a true, working farm is a wonderful place to visit but my hair can’t sustain more than a yearly jaunt.

I’m strong enough to own that.

Returning to my story, after tooling through the town of Depew, which took all of thirty seconds, we found our unmarked street. After losing our way and growing increasingly confounded by the amount of absent street signs, seeing cars at the end of the correct road brought sighs of relief to everyone in the car.

The modest country home and squawking hens welcomed us to The Living Kitchen farm: a humble establishment boasting four employees—the owner: professional farmer and chef, a part-time helper and marketer, with two interns pulling up the rear and undoubtedly carrying their bulk of the work.

The farm is home to goats, for cheese and milk, lambs, for healthy, non-hormone injected meat, and chickens, for eggs. Add to that a number of cows that roam unseen and unheard until they ramble through the woods, arriving home for dinner, leaping, exuberant dogs for companionship, and the many snakes and other critters nesting in the woods, and Owner Lisa Becklund has more than a full house.

Becklund came to Oklahoma five years ago from Seattle. Born and raised in Washington by parents in the food industry, Becklund’s career choice was obvious. She eventually owned and operated a successful restaurant in Seattle and served as head chef for many years. However, she commented, while she knew how to cook food, she knew nothing about food.

Then, when an opportunity for a complete lifestyle turnaround came up in Oklahoma, she felt the move would be just right for her.

As listeners of her story, most of us would probably share the same wonderment as to her decision to leave Seattle. I know I did.

And then I turned around.

Check back on Tuesday to read the rest of the story.


relative entitlement

June 23, 2010

The woman said she didn’t “want to throw around numbers” before confiding in us that her car cost more than $90,000.

And all I could think about was how much it costs her to get her oil changed.

Now, if you’re willing to spend the same amount of money on your vehicle as you would on a small house, you can probably afford routine maintenance on your car. At least, let’s hope you can, because those bills could otherwise leave you with quite a tummy ache.

It’s not for me to say how much an individual should spend on anything. We all make money and can spend it how we please.

But could the flaunting, rich people please keep their upturned noses and heavily-perfumed, entitled bodies turned in the opposite direction of me?

Entitlement doesn’t have to be bad. We all have things that we feel we deserve. We all have things that we may grow up having. But there’s a very fine and definite line between having and deserving that the rich do not always comprehend. Need we discuss the countless monarchies, past and present, who would rather watch their people go hungry than give up their frivolous luxuries in order to feed them? Or the many Wall Street executives who continue to bank outrageous bonuses while their clients lose everything they have.

That’s not to say that the less-fortunate people don’t feel entitled as well. Using the system, loop-holing the Man, pumping out child after sad, unfortunate child just to have their fellow Americans support them.

Pride in a day’s work is long gone. It went out the window with trust, decency, humanity, compassion, to name a few.

I read an inspiring quote the other day that said to “look for the humanity in every person you meet.”

Well, I’m trying, but I gotta tell ya, I think I need a new assignment.

Humanity seems to have disappeared with the advent of the Internet. And what replaced it is violence, pornography, self-obsession and deceit. The key elements to a truly successful society. A glance at the world scene surely reveals how far our society has advanced and how much closer we are to world peace and harmony than ever before. At least, that’s what our warring nations would have us believe.

Roughing It

November 28, 2009

To expand on my coffee shop comments, I’d like to now discuss sleeves.

If anyone hasn’t noticed: sleeves have become an indispensable staple of daily human life. (Sleeves being the detachable cardboard heat insulator around a cup.)

Have you ever tried to withhold a sleeve from someone drinking a latte? Try it. See what happens.

Apparently, human hands can no longer come in contact with heat of any kind.

If humans are constantly in a stage of adaptation, as many people believe, then that means our bodies are actually changing and molding themselves to a new, dare I say, lazier life of ease.

We have moved from a society built on hard working, outdoorsmen who would much sooner grab their shotgun to kill the rattlesnake in their bathroom than they would turn on their tv to check the stock quotes for the day.

Luxury items are great, don’t get me wrong. I would much rather stay in a nice hotel with all the amenities than the local motel whose vacant sign is always flashing and whose idea of a continental breakfast is a three-day old bagel and orange juice in a box. But the very idea of “roughing it” appears to have moved to the belief of going without a Starbucks for a day.

Another disclaimer I will note here is that I must admit that my idea of “roughing it” and living without the luxuries is far different from, say, my grandparents. Which even more proves the point that we have continued to move farther and farther away from the ideals and lifestyles that made us exceptional, diverse, well-rounded individuals.

What will we be like in 50 years? What will our technological children be like?

And if we all have to have sleeves, can’t we at least reuse them?