Farming in the Dark

One of the advantages of living on a farm (and in this context I’m defining advantage as curse) is that farming often happens in the dark. Such as 4 in the morning, when the harvest prep crew fires up their machines about two hundred feet away from my bedroom window. Which is what happened last night.

EAT MORE BROCCOLI

A field of broccoli is thriving away on the south side of the house. Green, sturdy, healthy–just waiting to be cut, boxed, cooled and shipped off to a Costco near you. But that means time for harvest. And I’m not always at my cheeriest when woken up at 4 in the morning, startled awake by the rumble of a John Deere. At least, this time, the crew considerately did not turn on their ranchito music as well.

I threw on a jacket, glasses and boots, went outside to have a terse word with the crew, but then thought better of it. Perhaps I was calmed by the beauty of the night sky. And it certainly was beautiful, with the moon low down over our roof. I stopped to marvel and take a photo. Of both the moon and the machines. I said nothing to the crew. They probably would’ve been bewildered by me. Everyone on a farm gets up early, they would’ve been thinking. 4 am really isn’t that early.

Just think of all the work you could get done if you got up at 4am every day.

COMPETENCE

A long time ago, I spent some time working in Thailand. One of my housemates was a Thai fellow who got by on three or four hours every night. He told me he’d lived like that for years. Very cheerful, energetic fellow. Seemed to be in good health, as far as I could tell. His eyes didn’t twitch. No tremors. Not that I’m a doctor, but I can usually detect when someone is criminally insane, has broken limbs, or has a sucking chest wound,  so I’m somewhat competent medically.

24-4 is 20. 20 hours of productivity. Think of all the broccoli I could pick in 20 hours. Think of all the broccoli you could pick in 20 hours.

Winchells Open All Night

So Winchell’s is open all night. That’s twenty-four hours a day, each and every day of the year. For those of you who don’t know, Winchell’s is a doughnut chain in the United States. It’s all over California, but I’m not sure about the other states.

At any rate, my interest in Winchell’s, other than their glazed blueberry, is the fact that a Winchell’s  would make a decent place to run to if you were being chased by zombies at one in the morning. It’s always going to be open–right?–so you could make for those bright yellow lights with equanimity that the door will swing open as you sprint through.

I have it from an excellent source (yes, better than the New York Times) that zombies are allergic to chocolate-glazed old fashioneds. There are decent odds that you’ll always find a good supply of those in the racks. That and a good pitching arm should keep you safe.

No need to thank me.

Speaking of silly things that complicate our lives, some genius in Bloomberg just wrote a piece titled “Inflation Stings Most If You Earn Less Than 300k. Here’s How To Deal.” I’m torn over this one. Should I laugh or yell? I’ll do both. I think an excellent tonic for idiocy is a return barrage of laughter, but some yells volley well enough too.

I’ll take one for the team and give you a quick run-down of the so-called Bloomberg piece. Doomberg, Bloomberg–is there a difference? It begins with an acknowledgement of inflation and how it is affecting gas and food, etc etc yawn. We’re all painfully aware of that. But then Professor Teresa Ghilarducci then goes on to explain how those in lower income brackets can soften the blow. Spoiler alert: here’s where it goes down the rabbit hole to Alice in Wonderinsaneland.

Professor Ghilarducci, an economist at the New School of Social Research (where is that and what steps should I take to make sure my kids don’t go there?), says that people should control your budget. That is nothing short of revolutionary, of course, right up there with making sure your zipper is hoisted high after application of pants.

She then goes on to encourage all of us to take more public transport. I suppose that advice is decent for those of you in urban settings. Doesn’t really work out here in farming country. “Excuse me, Mr. Bus Driver, can you take the dirt road on the right after Mr. McIntry’s wheat crop on the lower forty before the old windmill, and then just down three miles and a hard left, but watch out for the brown bull in the pasture there, as he often gets out.”

And then, ha! the good professor descends into culinary advice. Such as steer away from pricey meats and try meat substitutes like beans and lentils. Beans and lentils? For the humble folk, you say? At this point, she gives some rather mysterious advice which I will quote in its poetic entirety: “Plan to cut out the middle creature and consume plants directly.”

Hmm.

Images come to mind of cropping the grass. Cropping it directly, with the fresh dew on it. That’ll be breakfast. A quick nibble of the office potted plants for lunch, the ficus is particularly delicious, and then home for dinner with a plate of succulents, which are, er…succulent, high in fiber and an excellent source of water. As Grandmother is fond of gifting you succulents every Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Jr Day, I’m sure you’ll be in good supply.

At this point, Professor Ghilarducci’s worthy list of advice, almost as inspiring as Ben Franklin’s better treatises, veers into truly noteworthy territory. She remarks that many people acquired pets during the pandemic (that whole loneliness and isolation thing, right?). Regretfully, she points out that pets sometimes necessitate expensive medical treatments, so you might consider skipping chemo for Fido.

Ship Fido off to the glue factory as part of your inflation therapy. We have a call in to Fido to inquire about his perspective, but he’s probably too busy hunting up Ghilarducci’s address on Google to respond.

And they wonder why more and more people are growing skeptical of higher education as a choice.

Real heroes

Today is the anniversary of D-Day, seventy-four years ago.

Traditional epic fantasy always revolves around the character of the hero, whether it be Bilbo Baggins, Frodo, Taran, Ged, or even my more humble Jute. But all those heroes, regardless of the truth in them and what the choices they made, exist in the realm of the imagination.

War in our world often uncovers heroes, willing or not. If you could use some remembrance of a not-so-distant time past, peopled by such heroes, please take a few moments and read this account of Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Lie of the Land album

The Lie of the Land is an album I recorded back around 2007 in response to the general plan update battle in Monterey County (that’s my county). Things got heated. I figured music might be a good way to get people thinking. It didn’t work, as far as I could tell. Anyway, feel free to download the music files and pass them around.

ticket to kansas

get your hands off this town

love song for an environmentalist

view-shed ted

move to nome

poor louie’s bull

mr. environmental saviour

lie of the land