I wanted to thank all those who helped over 50 kids experience the joy of our goats on campus.  Here are some photos from the event.  Thanks Ms. Tubbs for the photos!




Sometimes this word gets thrown around with so much academic and haughty baggage is seems unethical to debate a word in such a way.  Can we define it as simple as "doing what is right, even when no one is looking." It might not hit on all that the word means but it gives a great place to start.  Sometimes I think we debate too much on what is ethical rather than just doing what is right.  We make too much of what is right and wrong with little regard to common sense.  Religion aside. Politics aside. In fact, put it all aside and determine whether your course of action will have a positive or negative effect on those involved, including the inanimate and unvoiced. Sometimes our delay in discussing ethics prevents ethical action. Maybe it is childish naivety that I will grow out of, but it seems more simple than scholars portray. I've probably said too much.




Maybe it is his own self, his own family, selling to a local restaurant but his livelihood and his own life are wrapped in the reality that animals are indeed "grown."  It might seem insensitive to put a living cow on the same level of a dusty potato. This farmer invests thousands in what will bring him thousands.  To me, it is a equal and respectable trade. Read more in Farm Life.




I was driving home from this week's field trip when we noticed a classic small town letter sign.  It read something like, "Come to our world famous annual chicken mull, Saturday 9-4. $7 a plate." I'll be honest, I haven't the foggiest clue what a chicken mull is.  So I looked it up. Its a glossary right? Come to find out, Chicken mull really is famous and originated in Northern Georgia. From the New Georgia Encyclopedia (http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-3394), "The dish known in northeast Georgia as chicken mull is a stew of chicken meat (ground or cut into bite-sized or smaller pieces), broth, milk, butter, vegetables, and seasonings, thickened with crumbs of soda crackers. It is also called chicken stew, chicken soup (rarely), and in south Georgia, chicken jallop. Because grinding, cutting, and lengthy cooking can tenderize tough meat, chicken mull may have originated as a way to make tough old roosters and spent hens palatable." Looks like I might have to swing by the place to experience this Georgian delicacy.
Enjoyed a field trip to a local Watkinsville farm. The greatest takeaway from the afternoon was the awesome twist of words that might offend some.  According to his words, the farmer "grows" turkeys or cows or chickens.  For me, this is a complete understood worldview.  The man works on a daily basis providing grass, water, vitamins, healthcare to those animals for the pure undivided purpose to feed!

Maybe it is his own self, his own family, selling to a local restaurant but his livelihood and his own life are wrapped in the reality that animals are indeed "grown."  It might seem insensitive to put a living cow on the same level of a dusty potato. This farmer invests thousands in what will bring him thousands.  To me, it is a equal and respectable trade.  A life for a life, sustenance for sustenance. His operation is the epitome of humane.  He provides opportunity for life to come onto his vegetated fields, and he determines the time for it to be removed.

In my own worldview, the creator always has the right to reclaim his creation.  With the power of creation, one is responsible to be a creator and not a killer.  Enter ethics. Enter sustainability. Enter purpose.




Misunderstood. The thorn in my belly.  Why do I like the stuff so much.  I've had an interesting year when it comes to food knowledge. Thanks to Netflix, I watched some interesting documentaries on food production, Food Inc. and King Corn.  Both were eyeopening to the realities of food production on a massive scale.  I don't even offer up ethical viewpoints when it comes to our food situation because I don't think food producers want to do it this way. They simply understand that food economics in its current supply and demand curve demands it.  After watching these films I talked with a friend who works in online brokering of food products, cotton, soybeans, and grain.  Everyday chatter with the Tyson's and Cargills of the world.  His point rings clear with what the realists preach, if society demands hormone free, fair trade, organic and ethically grown and processed meats then that is what the producers will supply.  The big question, are you willing to pay for it.  




When I was at Mississippi State, we always got ribbed for having an animal husbandry building in the heart of campus. I've never understood it so I've taken the time to do a bit of digging. The science of animal husbandry is based around a pretty simple and time honored task, make sure animals get it on. What use to be ranching has been industrialized and streamlined with fun things like artificial insemination and embryo selection/transfer. Animal husbandry is more than sex, it really defines anyone who cares for domesticated animals.  When understood, it is more appreciated.  It's uncomfortable honoring a profession whose rap is built on latex gloves reaching your armpit with a handful of semen ready to impregnate a cow.  But when you think of all the men and women who care for the animals and create sustainable supplies of food and animal related products, I must tip my hat to those hard working citizens.  Our society is lucky to have food in continuous supply and it is these dedicated scientists, farmhands, and veterinarians that make that a reality.  
I've been studying companionship in a marriage book Sarah and I are reading for our church's small group.  It has been a wonderful reminder to the linked story we have as husband and wife.  It got me to thinking about other powerful companions.  With the continued series of droughts and all our work in stormwater management, the relationship between rain and rivers has intrigued me most.  Some days when I drive by the Oconnee, I can't help but be amazed the river is still flowing.  It is a testament to the everlasting fight rivers and water have waged and continue to win even with our continued onslaughts to dry every bed.  I've learned rivers are more than their channels, the extend for miles in underground aquifers and water tables.  The rain comes but a few times, but the rivers are always ready to reach out and capture all it has to offer.  Rains upstream offer aid miles downstream.  Rivers carry the water to lakes and oceans who breed storms to reach the rain.  It is true companionship, one existing for the other. 




As fall has settled in for another reliable year, I have enjoyed for the first time collecting and appreciating leaves.  They are amazing structures even without the seasonal color.  Each unique from stem to stem and species to species. Some serrated, some smooth.  Some thick, some paper thin.  Some have veins a plenty, others stark and solid.  Leaves bear the burden of the tree, maybe not the structural load, but the burden.  They reliably appear each spring and produce food to sustain life.  They do so quietly and calmly, giving only to drought or severe wind. I appreciate their steadfastness.  Then every fall, the magic and splendor begins.  I find it ironic that the showy color is the first sign of death for the leaf, its nod to coming winter.  It is it flag of surrender, knowing its role and bowing out gracefully to wait for another spring.  The colors are an exercise in seeing.  I catch myself picking them up and taking a moment to really look.  Gold, orange, read, and yellow are all expected, but really look and yes, purple, black, and blue.  I hope in my lifetime I will show splendor in my later years, understanding my purpose has come to an end.  I hope a select few will appreciate all my colors, even my black and blues.




Companionship with selfishness. Lust on the other hand is when closeness and attraction is based in selfish desire with little to no reciprocation or compassion for the partner's needs.  Lust is steeped in sexual matters, porn stars, celebrities, and that secret Victoria is keeping, but I see it in other environments.  I see it in food, where the person eats not knowing the root of his food nor cares for how it was produced or processed. I see it in land use where an owner or developer joins with the land for a single purpose but asks not what the land needs or wants.  I see it in plant selection where a gardener forces a plant into an environment not suitable for its inherent needs. In all these situations, a union is formed but an unbalanced and self-serving one.