It’s now the beginning of August and through this most unusual, some would say dystopian time, the seven of us farming at Indian Ridge Farm have continued to mostly shelter in place since we started the farm season in March. We’re doing this to protect ourselves, as we don’t want to introduce the Coronavirus to the farm thereby affecting our ability to produce food for you, the consumer. Especially at this point in the season. We’re in full production mode: eggs, broiler chickens, turkeys, pate, bone broth, and a garden full of nutrient-dense veggies.
A farm is certainly not a bad place to be sheltered. We’re eating amazingly nutritious and delicious food, we’re physically and mentally challenged by our endeavors on a daily basis, we get to intimately interact with nature, we’re working outside everyday, we’re watching (and eating) the fruits of our labors, we’re feeding many, many very satisfied customers, we have enough room around us to recreate, and there is open space galore — mountains, deserts, canyons, roadways, trails — to explore without making contact with other humans. Of course, the biggest struggle for all of us has been the lack of social contact with friends and family. Humans are social creatures. We need to be able to interact and commune with each other. We need hugs. We need to be touched. We need stimulating conversation. We need the arts, and gatherings of celebration at concerts and festivals with our like-minded sisters and brothers. We need to share meals together with families and friends. This is all sorely lacking at this time. And it’s tough.
Fortunately for us though, our daily activities here at the farm are mostly “normal” and haven’t been entirely uprooted by the pandemic. Or at least, as normal as farming is year-in and year-out. We’re adaptable, we’re always confronting change. That’s the essence of farming. We look for rhythms by which to live, for rituals by which to celebrate, for gratitude for all the blessings that surround us. After 20 years working the land, we have our systems down. We know our routines. We know what critical systems of the farm are needed to produce food. Pasturing livestock requires constant movement and activity. There are many moving parts, most of them interrelated in complex webs of care and reciprocity.
But we too experience the anxiety that has gripped many of us in southwestern Colorado. We’re farming under drought conditions, again, although the heavy monsoonal surge of a week ago certainly has helped on that front. Our springs showed renewed signs of life, the grasses have come back strong, and our morale has certainly improved. There’s hope that more rain in the form of monsoonal moisture can help erase the drought that is ravaging the Four Corners — and most of the southwest — with a vengeance.
We’re also anxious that the Coronavirus is not showing any signs of slowing down. Over 150,000 Americans are now dead, nearly 5,000,000 infected. It seems that a compassionate approach, one where all Americans are focused not on the politics of the pandemic but instead on the health crisis that it presents, is what is missing. Since when did wearing a mask become a political statement? This is bizarre. Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, limiting exposure to essential trips to town, reducing large, indoor sized groups of people, these are the elements of a successful containment practice. It wouldn’t take long for containment to occur if we just followed these simple practices. At least that’s what the experts tell us. And we believe the experts. Who else can you trust? Can we all just put our differences aside and come together for the common good? Is that too much to ask? Otherwise, what’s the alternative? Herd immunity? Waiting for what is surely an elusive vaccine? How many lives are we willing to sacrifice?
And, no. Rural communities are not, nor will they be, spared the dangerous consequences of the virus. This is a virus that cannot be escaped. Here in the this beautiful part of the country, we’re seeing visitors from Texas, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida. All hot spots. Second homeowners are constantly coming in and out. As a result, Covid-19 cases are rising, albeit slowly but steadily. In these remote parts of the country, where health care facilities are separated by a distance of 60 miles, it doesn’t take much to strain a very limited health care system.
A friend of ours so aptly wrote a description of what life has been like these past few months. “Since the beginning of March,” he writes, “the pendulum swing of emotions has been stark and drastic. The pandemic, economic insecurity, the historic reckoning of systemic racism and white supremacy, fear, anger, anxiety, etc; I’ve been ok at times and very not okay.”
We hope you’ve been okay. As far as we can tell, strengthening one’s immune system is probably the best way to protect oneself from the ill-effects of the virus. That is, our diets should consist of fresh foods organically grown, animal fats, bone broths, raw milk and yogurt, and fermented foods. Our bodies require lots of sunshine to take in natural amounts of Vitamin D. Adequate sleep and rest are important, as is a regular dose of exercise. As farmers, we are focused on growing the most nutrient-dense food we possibly can. That is our commitment to our customers. Together, we can all stay healthy.
For now, let’s take a break from the heaviness. We all need a break. Please sit back and enjoy the following images that capture a bit of the life on the farm the past couple months.
Stay healthy everyone. Do your part. Be safe. Take care of each other. Be kind. Be courteous. Be generous. Show gratitude. Vote.