Monthly Archives: March 2012

Words with Friends

There are these mundane moments in life that pass so quickly you almost don’t notice them.  But if you grab one of those moments as it flits by, you hold life itself in your hand.  

I wish a photographer had been there.  This is one of those images that makes a great photo for a periodical piece on the future of farming.  (The future of America, perhaps?)  No photojournalist was there, of course, but I’ll try to recreate the scene for you.

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The egg washing machine had broken down, 89 dozen into the 300 dozen eggs that I still had to wash today.  The motor was working intermittently and was causing me all kinds of frustration.  My help decided 11:30 was a good time for lunch and said their goodbyes.  I was cold, wet, and hungry.  Very hungry. 

I quickly exhausted my electrical repair abilities and traipsed up to the house to ask Fritz to lend his expertise.  He immediately came out and we broke down the entire machine, piece by piece.  “I wish Keith were here”, he said at one point.  “Someone really needs to know how to fix this egg washer.” “Teach me”, I retorted, more than a little miffed. “I’m the one who uses this machine and Keith has a full-time job.”  Fritz seemed taken aback.  “Okay,” he answered, more cautiously. We proceeded.

A few hours later, I had to run to the hardware store for a part.  When I returned, I found Fritz in his kitchen, making himself a sandwich from leftover pot roast.  I had already scarfed a bowl of tomato soup on my errand, so I was prepared to go back to work.

“Come in and get warm for a minute,” he said.  I didn’t question it.  Tired and cold, I sat down at the table and pulled out my iPhone while he settled himself in his chair and prepared to finish the Gazette Times crossword puzzle.

There we sat at the same table: a 27 year old female beginning farmer and an 80 year old male retired farmer.  We hardly spoke.  I plugged letters into Words with Friends on my iPhone.  He ate. 

“What is a musical term for slow?” 

“Lento?”

“L-e-n-t-o.  That fits”

We both worked in silence for a while.

“Playing a crossword?”

“No. Scrabble.  With some random person on the other side of the world”

“Oh. Uh-huh.”  

Silence again.  

The machine was eventually fixed.  I finished the day even more wet, cold and hungry.  A lot of time had been wasted by the break-down.  I went home annoyed and frustrated by it all.

But sitting here at midnight, I think back to that moment in the warm kitchen and smile at the juxtaposition of new and old. 

Today was really about that, I think.   And I’m glad. 

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What’s That Got to Do With the Price of Rice in China?

A few stats to give you pause:

I go through nearly 300 pounds of chicken feed per day.  That number will probably triple/quadruple in a month or two when I have broiler chickens on pasture.  Fortunately, my feed supplier allows me to contract grain at a fixed price for a 3 month period, though the price of grain has been climbing steadily every week since I started the farm 2 years ago.

Suffice it to say, I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to pull this operation off dependency on the commodity grain market.

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Wind Swept Tresses

Image

This is for all you haters who think I don’t look like a farmer.  This is my appearance 12+ hours out of the day, fo’ realz.  

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Parted Ways

I have a whole folder of photos that make good blog fodder.  Adventures to tell you about.  Like, I learned to ski, and now I can engage enthusiastically when the Safeway cashier says, “Mt. Hood got 44 inches of powder last night!”.  And peaceful-sunsets-over-the-farm photos, that will make you wish you wish your commute was on a Honda Rancher ATV like mine.  And pictures of my .22 Ruger rifle and the target I made to practice shooting in my lower field.  These are all things I do.

But I’m sort of a lazy person and despite spending this whole weekend lounging around, those pictures and accompanying stories still aren’t on this blog.  So, there you go:  I had adventures and there are pictures to prove it.  Trust.

In current news, here’s wassup:

  • Keith is in Singapore for a week – work trip.  He gets to have all the fun. 
  • I brought my .22 rifle home from the farm. Imma shoot you in the kneecaps if you break into my house. Got that, all you opportunistic blog-reading vandals out there?
  • Ran out of coffee today, so I had to endure a pot of decaf.  My eyelid has been twitching like crazy all evening…as though I got all hopped up on 6 pots of caffienated coffee.  What the hell, people?!
  • I have had the laziest weekend in memorable history.  I have a cold and an empty house.  I’ve pretty much only left my sofa for church and chores.  Monday will be a rude awakening. 
  • Discovered the Heartless Bastards last week and that’s pretty much all I’ve been listening to since.
  • The eyelid twitching. Won’t. Stop. Oh my gosh.

 

 

 

 

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