Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Weird, Long Day

After a typical morning and dropping off BabyRat at school, WifeRat and I headed out to work a few hours on a farm in Shelly, MN about an hour north of us.

This came about because my Mother-in-Law, knowing that WifeRat (and I guess me too)was all into organic food and such, joined some sort of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that gives us a weekly supply of vegetables. The farm we get our stuff from isn't certified organic, but the guy runs the farm using the same techniques that certified organic farms use.

Because the wife and I both have pretty flexible schedules these days, she wrote this farmer and asked if he could use any help. We know some folks that like to put in some work at the farms they get their vegetables from and thought it was a cool idea. The guy writes back and asked us to come up on Saturday, but WifeRat had to beg off because BabyRat had a birthday party that day so we ended up going today.

The farm is a pretty small, ramshackle place but they turn out some tasty produce. This past summer we got tomatoes, potatoes, kale, arugula, carrots, parsnips, purple carrots, and a whole truck load of herbs too. Today we helped the farmer (Thor) and his farmhand (Doug) pick the last rows of potatoes. It was relatively easy work (of course I only did it for about two hours) and we got to rap with Thor about the challenges and rewards of working a small farm.

Part of what I came out for was to get out of my comfort zone. I've been living in DC for most of my adult life and I'm in a nice, comfortable little rut there. Being out here and a little closer to the land that nourishes us all is a welcome change.

Our apartment building had a field of soybeans on one side and corn on the other this Summer. That is some shit that just won't happen in Metro DC and what it allowed me to learn was that, contrary to what I had always thought about crops needing to be picked at the peak of ripeness, some crops are left out in the field to dry out depending on what they're being used for. The corn near us is being used for ethanol, so they let it get as dry as possible before they harvest it. You don't learn things like that unless you're kicking it with a farmer.

Tonight we're heading out to Swiss Family Rat's next big adventure, going to a cattle ranch in Montana. We're gonna watch election returns and let the little one fall asleep and then hit the road for a 10-12 hour drive across the plains overnight. Our destination is the ranch of my brother-in-law's (WifeRat's younger sister's husband) parents in Lewistown, MT. Strangely enough, Lewistown was mentioned in a story in the Washington Post less than a week ago.

There are even less Black people in Lewistown, than there are here in Fargo but I don't give a fuck. I'm still rockin' an Obama shirt for the drive! It's a celebration bitches!!

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