I’m in Rooster Hell

I admit it.

When I imagined working on an organic farm, I pictured myself in my wide-brow sun hat, carefully considering our friend, the radish, as I weeded mindfully, feeling the groovy connection of all living things, our oneness with food, circle of life, etc., and possibly a Lion King-inspired sound track accompanying this golden moment.

I did not picture myself being dragged behind a horny 250 lb. sheep named Ramses down a mud-slick hill, hoping that I did not slide under him and become either A) crushed or B) the new object of his affection. If B) were to come true, see A).

Expectations are funny. I always want life to work out a certain way, and when it doesn’t, life is always wrong, not me. Life is wrong to send me here, to give me this challenge, to expect too much from me while giving me so little. I could do better with this life, I really could, without all these damn hindrances: illness, aging, deaths of people I love, the housing market, things that keep me awake at night. Should I tear down my garage and build a new one, or hire a contractor to straighten it out? Who even cares? I never wanted to be the guy struggling over goddamn garage decisions.

I am also discovering that it’s dangerous to abstract how roosters work in the real world based on the cartoon equivalent. But in my childhood history (and other more current references validated on Save By the Bell:   the Farm Show), farm roosters do their ‘cock-a-doodle-do’ as the sun pokes up, and everyone wakes up cheerfully, happy to be honest laborers toiling under the sun.

That ain’t how it works.

Roosters start earlier than sunrise – while it’s still damn dark, quite frankly. They don’t do a cute cock-a-doodle, no thank you. They make this extended, “Rrrrk, rrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh,” that could be mistaken for the sound a hen makes while the rooster is murdering her. On the other side of the farm, some other damn rooster gets the message and says to his buddy across the farm, “Rrrrrk rrrrrrrhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrhhhhhrrrrhhh!”

His buddy answers, as does another buddy, all of them bragging to each other how they totally scored with an egg last night. Really, it’s poultry equivalent of “Wasssszzzzzzzuuuuuuuup?”



This continues until about 4:00 p.m.

I’m enjoying/not enjoying having my expectations smashed to bits. Sure, part of me finds it gratifying to know I can be so wrong, so lost on important life details. Another part of me hates being constantly wrong, feeling the fear/anger emotional twang of stupidity and getting so lost on important life details. Do I tear down the garage or straighten it? Am I doing the right thing with my life? Was working on a farm a mistake? (A question contemplated last night as Moon, the farm dog, barked at coyotes outside my bedroom window until roughly an hour before the roosters began their important dialog.)

I listened to Eckhart Tolle on the drive across the United States. He talks about the beauty of this exact moment, the right now. If we truly believe that we are eternal beings comprised of divine love, then we are living brilliance right now, no matter the circumstances. Whether doing laundry, preparing a PowerPoint presentation or getting lectured by a high school girl on how I shouldn’t be afraid to go right ahead and give that teat A GOOD SQUEEZE, the bliss can be right now. I sometimes feel these moments of bliss, and sometimes they are connected to moments in time when I am not paying attention.

Earlier today I lay spread eagle in the back of a flatbed truck, spent from tossing packing pallets from one area of the farm to another (for reasons too complicated to explain. Short version:   involves goats). As the old truck bounced heavily in the mud ruts across the field, my limp body got tossed around in back, and I stared up at the sky, the trees, grinning stupidly at the distant mountains in this pine-soaked landscape. I was physically exhausted from a full morning’s worth of dragging heavy chicken pens, letting out goats, milking goats, feeding animals, spreading coffee grinds over blueberry plants, hauling, tossing, crouching, crawling, and a few other -ing words that really kicked my ass.

Feeling the sweat drying cold against my skin, I wondered if tonight I could sleep through Moon’s howling at coyote, and suddenly felt that connection, the greater love. There was no Lion King soundtrack. I wasn’t dressed the right way, and my arms were way too sore to feel universal love. But maybe I can let my expectations get smashed yet another day and find more connection.

Of course, the moment shriveled away seconds later, when across the farm, I heard nature’s response to my intention to love.


Fucking roosters.

7 Responses to “I’m in Rooster Hell”

  1. Alesia Says:

    Oh man! The flies would have been enough to send me running for the hills! You are a good man for sticking it out another day. Keep the updates coming. It’s great to hear about your grand adventure.

  2. Eric Weinstein Says:


    Good stuff — as usual. The DC MKP community holds its trainings at an “intentional community” on a property called Claymont Court, in WV. And the roosters out here are no different. The other thing I’ve observed is that there is no discernable “pecking order” — just occasonally frantic activity for no apparent reason — which makes me wonder about the validity of that expression. Wait, wait — there is a parallel to corporate life after all.
    Thanks for brightening my day.

  3. Edmond Says:

    Thanks for the comments, folks! This definitely does not feel like Green Acres. Where’s the hilarious Eva Gabor?

  4. Nina Says:

    Can’t wait for your book! Wondering if digging an apocalyptic tunnel is rather appealing at the moment?

    Thanks for the lift in my day.

  5. Jennifer Miller Says:


    Oh, how I love you. This is hilarious. Yeah, exactly what is WRONG with the WORLD when it doesn’t meet MY expectations (said with great indignity!)

    Give all the roaster a kiss from Aunt Jenny!

  6. Jenna Says:

    Dear Edmond,



    No, really, seriously, Andy is hanging out with me and he and Woodrow and I are enjoying your adventures tremendously. You’re not alone! We love you and we’re laughing with you, not at you! Just stay away from Ramses, for the love of God. And stick it out. You can do it.

    If you provide an address, we will send earplugs.

    Love, Jenna. PS, Shattered expectations (and when, really, are they ever not shattered?) make MUCH better stories.

  7. Edmond Says:

    Whassssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup yourself, you east coast bastards, laughing at my farm misery.

    Glad you and Andy got a laugh out of it.

    And thanks, “Aunt Jenny” for the lovely sentiment. But roosters get no kisses. No Sir.

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