Thursday, November 17, 2011

This Post Is Not About Seattle.

Because my pictures from Seattle are on someone else's camera who is still *in* Seattle.  And I refuse to post about how awesome it was until I have pictures to back it up (complete with a picture of French Post Doc telling me to fuck off).  It was awesome, though.  Also, my mother drugged me with something other than Xanax.
FPD on plane:  What are you taking?
Me: I thought they were Xanax, but aren't Xanax blue?  These are not Xanax. (gulp)
FPD: You're taking something and you don't know what it is?
Me: I'm very trusting.  And scared shitless of this plane.
Luckily they worked anyway.

And so I will tell you about things I am doing that I have no expertise in, besides blogging.  Remember my pictures from the farm we went to?  This one?

  This farm and I have history.  My mom worked there before and after I was born.  I have memories of toddling into their farm store to get apples.  We apple pick there almost every fall, and every year I bite into one of their apples and have the same reaction - my lips and tongue get itchy and my face swells slightly.  When you pick an apple off their trees and turn it over, there is a residue of white on the bottom from pesticides.  
  I have a strong reaction to some chemicals and metals, from a rash to problems breathing.  I always thought I was allergic to apples until I had an organic one and had no reaction to it.  So it's sad to me that every year I have to feel conflicted about getting apples from a gorgeous local farm, literally right up the road from us, that has a family running it.
  This farm has a Facebook page and were advertising the start of their apple picking season, and I commented on how I wished they integrated more organic growing practices into their farm, both for health and environment's sake.  I got a comment back that their head grower would like to speak to me, and they messaged me his cell phone #.
He probably thinks I'm some arrogant hippie who's going to try and tell him how to run his business.
I got up the nerve to call him and expressed how I hoped I didn't sound rude, and asked if we could talk about farming.  He graciously agreed and we spoke yesterday for an hour, sometimes heatedly and sometimes laughing.  His stance was that organics, more than anything, are a "marketing ploy", that the benefits haven't been proven, that they cause more outbreaks of food-borne pathogens, and that they are too time consuming and expensive.  My stance is that we NEED a local organic farm (since our farmer's market is packed with people every Sunday, and most of the produce is grown at least 20 miles away), that they sit right on the Christina Watershed and are responsible for the plant and animal life in it, that they could become a role model for other small farms, and that they make such a good income on hay rides, tours, and fall activities that even if they started with only a portion of their produce being organically produced, they could still turn a generous profit.  

*I also researched his claim about food-borne pathogens in organic produce.  While it is true that manure, used commonly to fertilize organic crops, can introduce bacteria to food; properly treated and composted manure (along with other organic matter) presents little threat to crops.  The most recent outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe were from a non-organic crop that had had manure dumped near it within the last year.  Basically, don't just throw poop on your crop and expect it to do well, there is a science and a delicate balance to this*

  He was very nice but very defensive, and he has every right to be.  Farming is a hard life and he has managed to turn a little family farm into a booming business.  Then I asked the question I had been building up for :
Me: So, do you think in the spring I could shadow you for a day while you planted?  
Him: Excuse me?
Me: I mean, I'll help out.  You can put me to work.  I would just love to get more insight into this.
Him: Umm.  You mean you want to work a day for free?  This is hard work.
Me: I know.  I just want to see this better from your point of view. 
Him: Umm, ok.
So next spring I get to spend a day working a field and observing what goes on in a day on a farm.  So effing excited.
And of course it made me lust after the Plant Science courses here.  While I was planning on holding off until both kids were in school full time, I need to start taking at least one class a semester.  I need it.  I got off the phone with this man and wanted to skip down the hallway.  This is my passion.
Also, I never really have a plan for everything, which sometimes makes me feel like an impostor of an adult.  But then Jenny Lawson on  The Bloggess said something to the effect of, she never plans anything, she just does shit and some other shit happens and some is good, and some is bad.   If you would like to cross-stitch her quote onto a pillow and send it to me I will happily pass it down to my grandchildren.  

But then I continued to try and address things I have little to no expertise in.
Like this bridge:

  Our street is right off of this one.  See the little tunnel to the right?  I ride my bike through there.  I love that when they built it they kept walkers and bikers in mind, and I love that it keep huge trucks from going down our street.  Go ahead little bridge!
  The problem is that the only care the area around it ever gets is occasionally getting mowed by a work crew in the summer.  It's weed choked and ugly and gets graffiti-ed a lot.  Kind of a downer when you have to wait your turn to make it through and are forced to stare at it.  
  Last summer I said to The Mister I wanted to volunteer to landscape it and he looked at me like I was crazy, which we all know I AM.  I thought, since Home Despot is so good at throwing out perfectly good plants, maybe I can sweet talk them into donating them (and writing them off on their taxes) instead.  Maybe I can get permission from the mayor to landscape it.  And maybe I can plant mainly native plants and herbs, and maybe even some edibles (with a sign that everyone is free to pick what they want).  

So guess what?  They said I could do it.
Yup.  Mayor of our town gave me his permission.
Now to approach Home Despot and sweetly ask to raid their plants destined for a dumpster.  And try not to scream or throw things if they try that "oh but we compost it" horse crap. (Note - they do NOT)  And I guess they will probably want to know what my plan is.  Hurry up on the cross stitched pillow so I can show it to them.

Wish me luck.


  1. Love the story about the farmer. Something to chew on.

    That bridge looks very much like one in NW Jersey near my family's home. I love those old one lane bridges.

  2. Wow, how amazing for you - both apple farm & landscaper situations! Cross stichting as we speak...
    Mrs BC


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