New Pioneers: The Back-To-The-Land Movement and the Search for a Sustainable Future

By Jeffrey Jacob | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The visitor who drives up the tree-lined lane that approaches Anne Schwartz's farm is assaulted by a nerve-shattering noise just before entering the homestead clearing. With the house in view the source of the noise becomes obvious. A flock of twenty-odd geese dart in and out of the shadows cast by the thirty-foot fir and spruce trees that define the boundaries of the farm's invasion of forest space. Then, as the car stops and the transient's motion becomes less threatening, the quacking, squawking chorus ebbs to occasional solos.

The geese who herald the advances on Anne's property are not of an ordinary variety. They are multipurpose animals whose contribution to homesteading only begins as gentle substitutes for the farm watchdog. These geese are Chinese weeder geese. They weed: eat the weeds in farm fields and gardens. Each morning at peak weeding times during the spring and summer Anne loads her assistants into the back of her pickup truck and heads for her five-acre organic potato patch. Upon arrival the geese scramble out of the truck, and Anne strategically places several buckets of water for the geese in the rows between the potato plants. Her charges stay close to the water as they systematically pull and eat the

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