Tuning Out and Turning Off

| 10/22/2013 4:04:00 PM

Tags: Tuning, Turning, Observation, Internet, Self-Diagnosis, Worry, Gardening, Chickens, Brandon Dinsmore,

Brandon DinsmoreThere are things that we must all learn when it comes to living the country life, homesteading, getting off the grid, and so on. Many of us find that there are innumerable resources, from books to websites and everything in between, detailing the intricacies and how-to of daily life and we become overwhelmed. For a lot of us things don’t seem quite as simple as they eventually reveal themselves to be, whether it’s raising chickens or growing a garden. All of these things are easy enough but we are bogged down with information in our attempts to “get it right” and that’s where tuning out the noise comes in handy enough to be a literal lifesaver, if not for you, for your animals and plants.

When we first started out on our own the natural first step was to start raising chickens and plant a garden. It sounded fun and rewarding plus there was the added benefit of feeling like we were practicing a small bit of self-reliance. It wasn’t until we started doubting ourselves that we first ran into the trouble that plagues so many other like-minded people. This trouble all starts with the millions of questions we have about how to do things, do them right, and do them well.

Naturally, in this day and age, rather than seek out the advice of elders who know a thing or two and have done things themselves for ages, we sought out the helpful advice of the Internet and, specifically, random strangers in forums from various websites. Now, it isn’t all bad, so don’t get me wrong. If it wasn’t for the Internet I wouldn’t know a flipping thing about Paul Wheaton. Heck, if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have been able to purchase half of the baby chicks that are now a growing part of our flock.

Anyway, let’s get to the grit of the matter. We got our very first chicks at a local farm and ranch store. You know the kind; they have bins full of chicks of different varieties and you’re confronted with so much cuteness and your brain starts coming up with scenarios where you can have them all, so you naturally pick out what you feel in your gut are “simply the best” from among the bins. Then you pick up what will inevitably be the smallest and most expensive bag of starter feed, an over-priced plastic feeder and waterer, and maybe a heat lamp because, you never know, those small chicks might need something akin to the surface of the sun to keep themselves warm while you play with them inside of your heated house.

Once you have your basket full of chicks and goodies you get home and setup shop with your new family of feathered friends, but wait!One of them is moving a little slow so what do you do? You go straight to the computer and start hunting. It turns out that your chick might have Marek’s disease, worms, or some other parasite. Better isolate the little guy so he doesn’t contaminate the rest of the chicks because, as a member of the forum you are visiting mentioned, “One time I had a million chicks die instantaneously and it turned out that it was caused by ink on the cardboard box I had them in, combined with the wind direction from my ceiling fan, coupled with the negative vibrations I was putting into the environment because I drank coffee after 8pm!”

So you start researching more and more and you keep finding horrible things that might possibly be going on. You know that it has to have happened to someone else because these are chickens, after all, and humans have been raising them for years. Someone has to know the remedy!

10/24/2013 5:01:45 PM

Thanks so much for the comments NebraskaDave and Mary! Mary - that's about what we equated the chickens to at first, raising a baby as a new mom. Every little thing was something HUGE to worry about constantly. We feel the same as you, hurt, when things don't grow. You put all of that time in and when it doesn't quite work out it's kind of a shot to the heart. Thanks for the kind comments! I enjoy your blog a lot! NebraskaDave - I'm really loving not using the internet to diagnose every little problem in life now. Although I have to admit, I sometimes feel a little at odds when I spend hours upon hours writing or posting online. ;) Take care and I look forward to more from you!

10/24/2013 3:26:11 PM

Hi, Brandon! This is Mary from "Old Dog, New Tricks blog. I had to laugh at your chicken illustration. It seemed to me like how a first time mother feels when she brings her baby home, but these are just chickens!! I got your point, though. I, for one, want everything I plant to grow. At least when it comes to trees and berry bushes! I feel personally hurt if they don't! Anyway, I'm learning that not everything grows everywhere and whatever is suitable for our little farm will thrive, but otherwise struggle, may die, and not to worry. It really ISN'T personal! Relax and have fun! Good blog!

10/22/2013 5:13:54 PM

Brandon, the Internet does have a tendency to make us over analyze our situations, doesn't it. We some times forget that chickens have survived without our intervention. Granted they will do better with a little help from the resident homesteader but over all they kind of know how to survive. It pretty much that way with plants as well. I happen to grow up in farming country so being afraid to grow things was not really an issue with me. I never really had animals of my own other than pets and well with plants if that don't do well just pull them out and throw them in the compost pile. I'm glad to hear that you over come your fears and don't go to the Internet much any more. ***** Have a great Internet-less homestead day.

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