Stolen meme

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people who don’t think their ideas through to the logical outcomes. For a long time now, I’ve felt unsure about discussing politics in public forums, mostly because I am never entirely sure if I am right. However, I do spend a significant amount of time reading about history and philosophy, and while I do not think I am the greatest at remembering specific timelines or finding words to make the connections – I do understand context. I also feel very confident that my actions are typically aligned with my beliefs, and so are my philosophical beliefs. So, I can honestly say I agree with the above cartoon. Libertarianism is really motherfucking dumb.

New hens! As yet unnamed.

Which is not to say that we shouldn’t be oriented towards liberation. It’s just to say that I firmly believe my personal liberation is fundamentally bound to the liberation of all. I also believe every action has a consequence, and while I am not a fan of strategy games I do know that it’s important to consider all possible outcomes before committing myself to action. On a micro level, it’s why I’ve spent all weekend doing “chicken math,” and trying to figure out how to configure my poultry situation so everyone is happy. On a macro level, I have been thinking a lot about consensual accountability within groups. I feel like strong social bonds and meaningful relationships that are built on a framework of limiting or eliminating interpersonal harm is what SHOULD separate radicals from reactionaries.

Can you believe I fucking live here? I’m really enjoying my first full autumn in New England

It’s definitely a lot to think about. I’m very much an introvert and an extreme loner, but damnit if I don’t freaking NEED other people. And, because I need people, and I have a need for peace of mind, I don’t want an offhand or unconsidered action to hurt someone. And if it does, I want that someone (or someone who witnessed) to let me know, so I can avoid doing it again. It’s kind of that simple.

My morning ritual with my roosterful flock.

With this in mind, it’s really interesting to observe how chickens flock together. Prior to today, my flock consisted of 9 birds. Four of them are bantam, five are standard sized, all are cochins. I chose cochins because they are docile and friendly birds, usually. I was hoping to have at least one friendly rooster, and I ended up with at least 4…probably 5…POSSIBLY 6 out of 9 roosters.

Check out Aranea’s RIDICULOUS leg feathers.

One of the roosters is clearly the dominant roo. He is the one who wakes me up in the morning with constant crowing beginning at 6 AM. He’s a sweet bird, and he follows me around like a dog. However, he was partial to the two little bantam hens to a torturous degree that was difficult to watch. For awhile, it was sweet that those bantam ladies, along with one of the bantam roos (NOT Aranea – who is the other bantam roo and is a bit of a loner) would fly up onto my head and shoulders every morning to get their fair share of mealy worms without drama or trauma.

Another shot of little Aranea

Knowing I was going to have to split up the flock anyway, I set up a separate pen, assembled a prefabricated coop, and created a cozy little threesome with Nellie and Joy (the two little splash bantam hens) and Charlotte (their sweet rooster.) It’s been really nice to see them able to relax and act like normal chickens, rather than constantly running in terror from the giant cockerel. Charlotte seems to treat them well, even though he’s become kind of aggressive towards people. I may be adding some older hens to the flock to see if they will help me keep his ass in line.

I baked bread for the first time in a LONG time, and it wasn’t half bad!

I guess what I’m getting at here is there are always consequences to actions. The “chicken math” is about finding the best possible combination of variables to provide everyone involved with the best possible outcome. Today, I added 6 lovely cochin pullets (young hens) to the flock. They are super sweet and docile, and I kind of don’t even want to introduce a rooster to their whole situation. So it’s back to chicken math, trying to figure out what combinations will provide the best outcomes. Since we have a meat-eater in the house, it’s not out of the question that one of the roosters will end up in the freezer, but I would prefer to find a creative solution to my overabundance of roosters, and maybe learn a little bit about how to balance the needs of a flock in the meantime. Maybe a chicken version of The Bachelor (which is a show I have never watched, but I imagine it suits the scenario? Or maybe the bachelorette?)

Now Reading…

I’ve also been trying to read more. That zine above called Colonization and Decolonization is what I’m working on now. It has me thinking a LOT about how propagandized our high school history classes are. I wonder if the reason I was not interested in history for so long was because it felt so much like lies. When I discovered REAL history that is not tempered with patriotism and nationalism, I became more interested in it. Because when making choices about politics, I feel it’s pretty damn important to understand things contextually. At any rate, that particular zine is a very well-sourced and PERFECTLY edited concise history of colonization, and even though I know a lot of that history – it’s eye-opening to see it condensed into zine format in a thoughtful and thought-provoking way.

One of my few vivid memories of high school places me in my sociology class. I was listening to a lot of punk rock, which is where I learned a lot of the historical references that inform my thought today. The teacher was giving us “a quiz” – asking various questions that were meant to spark a discussion about politics. One of the questions he posed was “My country, right or wrong.” Do you believe this is how it should be?

My beautiful yard.

I was shocked to discover I was in the minority of people in my class who thought this was a harmful statement. I probably should have been more shocked that this was the first time I was able to discern the political/philosophical leanings of my classmates, as many of them were aggressively displeased that I disagreed with them. There were other questions of this ilk, for which the answers of my classmates were disturbingly nationalistic. I have spent a long time thinking about this, and continue to this day. When thinking about folks who support politicians or policies that I feel are harmful, I remember that classroom, and that teacher, who – though he was careful not to reveal what he thought was the “right” or “wrong” answer – I felt was firmly in my corner.

More fall beauty

I’m not sure I have a point here, except that I’ve been thinking about this. How people form opinions, particularly harmful ones. And also how deeply we are propagandized in our public schools. Our history textbooks normalize genocide in the interest of maintaining an illusion of “exceptionalism.” But the reality is that descendents of colonizers all have blood an our hands, and the VERY LEAST we can do is learn about history so we can vigilantly guard against repeating before we even have a chance to attempt to repair the damage we have done as a society and culture.

So, that’s just a peek into my thoughts this week…accompanied by some pics of my lovely situation here in Maine. ❤ Now I need to go to sleep!