The problem is the farmer's in this area spray the grain up to 7 times with Roundup and other chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and so on. Today when I picked up the grain from the seed cleaning plant, and opened it to feed the animals, I burst into tears. My heart was heavy. I am poisoning my animals - the beautiful geese, the quirky ducks, those chickens who provide me with such wonderful free range eggs, the pretty innocent bunnies and the pigs and piggy babies. The stench of chemicals from the grain overwhelmed my senses, burned my eyes and took my breath away and I have no choice but to feed this to the animals. I want to shake the farmers up and scream at them and somehow make them understand that what they are doing in spraying GMO grains with those harmful chemicals is killing us all, including their children and themselves. Yet, they do not care and the ranting would fall on deaf ears. The grain I had been getting all summer was not sprayed, however; that farmer is not willing to sell anymore this year due to the harvest difficulties. Sad me.
The man at the seed plant was kind to listen to my heavy heart. He agreed that the farmers will not believe that the chemicals are harmful and that they can grow grain and hay without chemicals. Farmers did, even not so long ago. 100 years ago, everything was organic. In the grand scheme of time, that is really not so much in the past.
So, for the second year in a row, my dream of an organic permaculture farm is smashed to smithereens. I did find organic grain, but it is forty cents a pound and the farmer does not even feed it to his own livestock because he said he cannot afford to - me either! Small farms are doomed. I wanted to make a difference, to reach the unreachable, to help to change the world, or at least my little world, and I have failed. Now, I will continue to work on selling the animals. The pigs are the next to go and by the second week in December, there will be none left. The birds will follow. What is the point of keeping them when the government recently put a stop to government inspected processing of waterfowl in Alberta, at least for small farms who raise the birds naturally? Factory farms who keep the birds in buildings are still permitted to process their wares. And if the birds have to eat that grain that has fumes so strong it burns my eyes, what will it do the birds and in turn to my stomach when I eat the eggs or the birds themselves? See the conundrum?
This is not the place to be an organic farmer. I have learned that location does make a difference. One must be yoked with like minded people and there are few in this area who even seem to care. The fibre farm idea did not work either, because the sheep have to be fed hay for such a long period of time and it gets into the wool and contaminates it. I love my farm and I love my animals, especially my sheep and of course, the dogs. But, I admit defeat.
Now, the liquidation of some of the animals will be easier than for others. I will continue to work on the opening of the bed and breakfast and coast for the next few years as the market continues to improve. A few sheep and goats will remain on the farm- just my favourites really. This venture began in 2010, my year of retirement. It was a ten year plan and 2017 is fast approaching. The next three years will pass quickly and if the market has not improved enough to sell the farm and recoup the investment, or at least a good portion of it, the plan is to rent the houses employing a property management company and still have the opportunity to move on.
I have learned a great deal in these years, and the venture was not in vain at all. Many of my goals have been met and what I set out to achieve has been done. It is just the wrong place. I am wiser now and when I do relocate, the first thing I will do is find out the mindset of the general population prior to settling down. Possibly, I will not settle down though. I will tell you more about that in the future. Thanks for staying with me. My heart is heavy tonight.