The bloggers’ half-marathon

I began my blog because I complained to a friend that there weren’t enough hours in the day to develop my subsistence lifestyle and to document this for a book as well. She suggested starting my blog, because I could note things down as they happened, accumulating material and in point form to jog my memory for later creativity, and if there was ever a dull moment I  could expatiate at length without worrying about whether the material would fit into my next book. In essence, my blog would be my field notebook (I’m an anthropologist by training, after all). It didn’t really occur to me that strangers could peer over my shoulder, let alone ingratiate themselves into my world and my life through this medium.

But those strangers have turned into sources of inspiration and information, a support group in times of need, advisers, my community (because I don’t actually talk over my fence to my neighbour here about my livelihood, nor does anyone in today’s world, it seems)–and now you, once strangers, are my friends. Our global separation evaporates in virtual space and we come together with our common interests, concerns and passions. I am more than 450 kilometers from the nearest stop light (let alone the nearest Tim Horton’s do-nuts, Dairy Queen, or veterinarian), so this blog has filled the vacuum of expertise around my geographical situation. Early on in all this, I wrote a post called “Conscious, conscientious decision-making” and suddenly I discovered that a fellow traveller ‘Stonehead’, somewhere in Scotland, had “pinged” me, i.e. referenced the post on his own blog.

When I needed goat advice, I got it from one of the top goat veterinarians in the United Kingdom thanks to the efforts and links of Little Ffarm Dairy; when I needed reassurance about my pregnant goats, I got it from a couple of different folks ‘somewhere’ in the United States. Moreover, nobody was patronizing or dismissive. Every response to my blog validated my experience.

As a result, I feel confident to try things; my network of virtual friends and advisers is there to support me. If something goes wrong or I need a question answered, I now have a community of people I can turn to and rely upon. For example, when I read Stonehead’s post “How to Skin a Rabbit” I was validated and informed about the messy business of slaughtering one’s own stock; I also learned about the sometimes virulent response to such declarations from the world at large. When I emulated Stonehead with my own post on how to slaughter turkeys, I was apprehensive about negative responses (death threats, even!); but I forged ahead, because I knew that this information was at that time non-existent in the virtual world, and would be useful as well. In fact, when I came to butcher my own turkeys rather than those of my mentor whom I had described in that post, I found myself resorting to my own post to refresh my memory about the procedure! I’m happy to say that my post was received with gratitude, and today it remains my most popular (my host site gives me that information, too!).

Soon afterwards, I was invited to be a regular writer for another blog Not Dabbling in Normal, one which I had admired from afar. And so it goes…

Then there’s my audience, those of you who check in to see what’s going down at Howling Duck Ranch, perhaps wanting (as a Vancouver friend put it) to live the ‘good life’ vicariously. This audience has gained in numbers steadily over the past ten months of my evolving blog. I know this because my host, WordPress, gives me detailed data. I remember being excited the first time I had a hundred ‘hits’ in  a day. I would analyse their origins, and be excited as the circle of interest expanded from North America to the world: for example, I named one of my goats after a favourite wine, the ‘Shiraz’, then learned from an Iranian that it’s the name of his home town there (I got an invitation to visit!). Now, when I hear news about strife in Iran, I’m concerned for that friend!

This may sound rather adventitious, and I suppose to a degree it is. But maybe it’s because I’m concerned with husbanding the Earth and extracting a subsistence from it that I do feel a genuine kinship with others around our small planet who are attempting to do the same. And I know that your shared interest is what has brought you to my blog.

Why am I waxing so philosophical? Well, July 2009 has yielded 5,000 hits; my biggest month to date. My host site generates all this kind of data, and it becomes quite absorbing reading! Anyway, that’s a milestone, I reckon. I don’t have a name for it–the Demi-Mille, the Blogger’s First Step, the half-Marathon Month–but I feel elated, and grateful. I look forward to expanding my virtual circle. My background is working in community development, and here I am, realizing that I am participating in developing and sustain the community of subsistence lifestylers into which I have been so warmly welcomed. As I hit “Publish” I wonder with excitement what will happen next.


Filed under Developing Community, Educational, Just for fun

9 responses to “The bloggers’ half-marathon

  1. Mitch

    its Great That your blog has made a lanmark in your history
    I too would like blogging but i find it to hard to keep up with things since so much is going on
    We had the 1st Sheep give birth today to a little boy !!
    How are you?and how are all your animals going?

    Hope those chickens are doing there job laying eggs cause my aint.

    Anyway thought i would pop by and say hello your have definitley blogged alot in the month of july and i can see by the rapid comments growth that you are becoming a very popular blog

    I hope i have supported you through your blogging days

    All is good in australia i have a few cuts and bruises though i slipped in the mud and landed on the Trailor !! OUCH haha
    But i will be fine
    Weather has been alright here but we are getting alot of rain
    seems strange that only 5 months ago we had the bushfires

    Im still pulling the money together to travel over the untied states and visit family and then travel the canadian coast

    Do you have anywhere you would reccomend i should go?

    Hope your having fun with the little goat Kids

    • Hey Mitch,

      Of course you have supported me well through my blogging days, especially by defending my butchering days when the crazy person flamed me!

      You know, what a state of irony we are now in. I’m supposed to be going to my brother’s wedding but we are engulfed in a wildfire and can’t get out of the valley! How the tables have turned eh. It is not like Aussie where there are lots of homes interfacing with the fire; mostly it is just criss-crossing the highway so no one can get out. There is after all only one road in and one road out of here.

      There are LOTS of suggestions of where to go in the USA and Canada. Do you want to do east or west? What are your interests? Give me an idea of what you are looking for and I’ll try to come up with some ideas for you. Of course, Bella Coola should be on your list!



  2. Doris

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Congratulations on the new mile stone.

    My daughter and I certainly enjoy your experiences vicariously, and you are living out my best fantasies. I am working toward it, but my DH isn’t on board and doesn’t ‘get’ my motivation and inspiration. It’s nice to know there are others on the same path. The best part for me is that as I have learned to keep my goats healthy, it has improved my own health and further enables me to avoid doctors and drugs.

  3. Hurray my Friend!!! This level of interest in your written word does not surprise me one bit. I have known you for 24 years after all….

  4. Mitch


    Thanks for the reply hoping you will be safe
    Be very careful and i hope you are well
    With the wildfires
    Its actualy talked about in the news alot in aussie
    Well my family live in North Carolina so i guessing i would be doing the east side of The US
    But in canada i would rather do the west side rather than the east as i want to do the coast

    But thats a while away now
    Im Still saving up $$$ Haha

    Im glad i have become a small part of your blogging friends and No worries with the Crazy person im butchering 4 20 week old roosters


  5. I think you’re right, part of me does read your blog (and others similar to it) so that I can live the “good life” vicariously from my urban setting. Urbanites need to remember, too, that we CAN have small slices of the simple life wherever we are, by making small changes and learning new (really “old”) skills. I myself am pickling cherries from a friend’s tree and my own carrots today, something I never would have dreamed of five years ago. (And umm, the carrots and cherries end up as two separate pickles, I’m not THAT crazy!)

  6. LittleFfarm Dairy

    Dear Friend –

    I too have found that blogging has been such an unexpected enrichment to life. I’ve made so many new friends, read thrilling accounts of others’ lives, been enriched by a wealth of new knowledge, & enthralled at the rich language, culture & heritage of so many diverse Bloggers.

    As you say, how ironic that people no longer chat ‘over the garden fence’ yet now we regularly pull up a chair & a cuppa or glass of wine to either converse via comment or email (& shortly by Skype – another great medium). And then there’s our aspiration for webcams in the kidding sheds so we can keep company when the going gets truly tough…! Thanks to the medium of technology ours is a genuine ‘global village’.

    Yet I feel a little twinge of sadness, that whilst we worry about each other across thousands of miles a neighbour in closer proximity might not pop over to check on the alarm they heard shrilling, for fear of ‘getting involved’….funny old world, eh?

    Oh & I’m still being verrrry careful, BTW (& Tony has virtually wrapped me in cotton wool since getting home!) – but anxiously ask that you too keep yourself safe; don’t like the sound of those wildfires! Will have to send Tony in to rescue you guys (he is a Knight, after all…!) – & I know he wouldn’t go anywhere without also rescuing the Three Tenors & co….!

    BTW have you come across that great Canadian C&W band, the Sons of Maxwell? They must have formulated the most original complaint for damaged luggage ever submitted to an airline – hilarious. Search for “United Breaks Guitars” on YouTube, you won’t regret it.

    Meanwhile I hope you get to your brother’s wedding….just keep safe, matie.

    J, T + menagerie xx

  7. Hi Kristeva,
    Just saw in the news that the road to Bella Coola is closed due to forest fires and there have been some evacuations. Hoping you and yours are safe and well stocked. Take care and keep us posted please!

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