“…the riverboat pilot is the most unfettered independent human on the earth.”

Mark Twain


We watched Ken Burns  PBS special on Mark Twain this week.  I told my wife of 37 years she reminded me of Livy (Mark Twain’s wife of 34 years.)

Mark Twain (whose real name was Samuel Clemens) said of her:

She is the best girl, and the sweetest, and gentlest, and the daintiest, and she is the most perfect gem of womankind.”

A few of you have met Mrs DM in person, what do you think? 😉

Wife proceeded to tell me, I reminded her of Twain… my sometimes biting humor, my independent, non-conformist streak, and my Midwestern farm boy roots.

I was having similar thoughts  myself as we watched the biography but would never have voiced it out loud had she not said it first. 😉

Twain was many things during his formative years, including doing a  stint as a river boat captain.

I myself have regularly thought  life is like trying to pilot a barge on a big river.  Especially when it comes to looking ahead, trying to anticipate what’s around the next bend.

river boat steam boat

When I heard that statement : “the riverboat pilot is the most unfettered independent human on the earth.”

I instantly connected with it, for  you see,  I am one of the most unfettered independent human I know, and have felt that way for years.  I think being self employed and making a living with my hands feeds into it.

Here is a snap shot of  my past 24 hours:

Got off work at noon yesterday because we finished installing metal on the cattle shed we were working on and it was too windy to start on the roof.  I love spontaneous time off 😉

When I got home, I called the Newhall locker that was processing  1/2 of an organic grass-fed beef I’d found on-line compliments of a buy sell or trade page on Facebook.  Just so happened it was ready to be picked up.  Total cost of the meat  averaged out to be $3.09 a pound…that included the steaks, roasts, brisket, hamburger,  butchering, everything…$3.09 a pound!!!

As a reference point, hamburger is currently bringing $4.00 a pound in the local grocery store.

Last night I baked an apple/ wild black raspberry pie with a lattice crust.  The berries grow wild out behind the barn, and the apples..well, you probably know where I got them.  There were some extra berries and apples that wouldn’t fit into the pie shell so I finished them off.

I was up this morning at 2:30 making  sour dough bread.   I took a lot of liberty with the recipe and it turned out to be some of the most interesting, tasty home-made bread I’ve ever had.

So, how about you?  What life metaphor(s) describe how you view the world?

(If you are a long time reader of my farm blog, then you may remember this one)


4 thoughts on “Unfettered

  1. I have the book “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. To a youth it might read like a story about a boy and a tree – to me it’s about unconditional love and the giving that comes with it. I hope it’s the metaphor that comes to mind when my family thinks about me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfettered reminds me how every time I hop on my bike someone invariably says how free that must feel. By the time I have my gear on they could have hopped in a car and been somewhere. Then the farm building began. “It must be wonderful to be so self sufficient.” Again it seems lost on most people that it is entirely reliant on other people to buy the produce to pay taxes and keep the lights on. I then explain that we are creating a community, a group of people interested in our outcome and how it can reshape what is on their table. Our produce and meat should connect people if we do it right. We fetter ourselves to the land, nourish the soil and hope to leave it better for our husbandry.

    Liked by 2 people

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