Tag Archives: CA agriculture

I’ve just got to get out of this place: A Memoir

Have you ever wondered what life before the day of your birth was like?
Well I experienced it once and it’s all coming back to me now. My beginning started in a cave and I was cared for by my mother who was very attentive to my every need and what comes to mind was how safe and secure I felt. My new apartment was located in my mother’s womb and at first it was very spacious except that I was tethered to her by a piece of rope which was rather annoying, as any self respecting cowboy to be knows it should have been tied around my neck with a Bowline knot. That way you can’t choke but my mother had other plans and she stuck the dammed thing to my belly which was quite humiliating for a cowboy to be. My tie rope was pretty long and from time to time I would get tangled up but with a few twists and turns I learned that I could free myself quite easily so it was a solvable problem. My real issue was fast becoming wiggle room and as each week came and went my once spacious digs got more uncomfortable and it became self evident that I would soon have to find new quarters. I was growing like a weed and by the ninth month I had used up every last inch of space and I was beginning to feel a bit claustrophobic (it’s probably why I don’t like to ride in elevators today). I told my mother that I had had enough and I was getting out of this overcrowded dump. I started kicking and that’s when I felt something break which started a lifetime of “dam it you broke my favorite vase”, “how could you be so careless you broke my 2nd favorite vase”, “you’re like a bull in a china closet” and “now you’ve really done it, my third favorite vase is gone”.  My mother sure had a lot of vases. Anyway back to that breaking noise I heard, well at the same time there appeared before me a tunnel. I didn’t see any exit sign on it and the opening looked awfully small but I was desperate to get out of this place and much to my surprise, I felt my first case of rejection as my mother told my father that she wanted me out of her house, the sooner the better. Well the next hour was pretty scary as my father was trying to go as fast on the land as the airplanes he flew in the sky. I was bumping around inside my cage like a cork on white water when my mother started to yell four letter words which I didn’t expect to come from a proper English lady. Well we made it to the San Luis Obispo, California General Hospital in time to hurry up and wait. I had grown up to be a big walloper over nine pounds and at seeing the opening in front of me I thought, “This is not possible”! But mom was determined. She wanted me out of her nest right now. So she started pushing and shoving and it seemed to me the polite thing to do was to help out. Well it was slicker than Goose Grease in here and there was no place that I could get traction so I wasn’t much help.
About that time a new guy arrived on the scene and he started yelling “push!” and my mother would push then would yell out new four letter words and I would scoot a little farther up the tunnel. Then it happened. There appeared a light from above. When I was just beginning to see the light, that fellow that kept yelling push, well he grabbed me by the head and started tugging and out I came goose grease and all.
Now that’s not the end of this story. He then proceeds to grab me by the ankles and hang me upside-down and give me a whack across my back, made me cry, well he still wasn’t satisfied that I had made him get up in the middle of night so he asked a big lady standing next to him if she had any scissors and sure enough she did. Well this guy grabs those scissors and in the blink of an eye he cut off my tie rope and then he had the nerve to doll up my dinger and didn’t even ask my permission which I thought was real rude of him. By now I was getting real tired but we still had paperwork to do. First they tagged me then they foot printed me, then more paperwork which humans can’t seem to live without. But out of it all I got a certificate that said I entered this world on September 7,1935. This is how I remember it so don’t confuse me with facts.
See Ya
Jack
P.S.
I’m back and I can’t blame my iPad for my blog site going blank. But several months ago I came down with a case of “The Best of Intentions” because my “resolve” kept getting mired in a mud puddle of laziness. Well I’ve washed off the laziness and I am now committed with a new SPIRIT to start blogging again about anything and everything. I guess what ever happens to bubble to the surface of the old brain!

Visualizing What Can’t Be Seen

“Seeing is believing” is a time honored quote that has a lot of wisdom attached to it. However, in agriculture this saying can hold back change.

I have become more and more aware of the importance of feeding the soil before anything else, which can no longer be just a nice thought but a mandatory practice.  Feeding the soil is an ongoing process that is 75% visualizing what’s going on as you can’t see beneath the soil surface.  “Seeing is believing” is the other 25%.  The 25% proof is healthily growing things all around that you can see and touch.  The soil that we all stand on everyday has more life in the top one foot than all the life from the surface of our planet to the stratosphere.  Most of that life is microscopic, so to feed these critters you need a real small spoon.  That real small spoon is called a Compost Tea Brewer.  It takes compost and washes all the microscopic life leaving it suspended in water, which can then be distributed over the soil.

For most of us, me included, we have much more faith in “seeing is believing ” than in what can’t be seen.  But that is exactly what we must do.  We must put the same amount of faith into the the unseen:  the microscopic world of bacteria, fungi, nematodes and many more critters that make up soil microbiology.  This then becomes the Achilles heel of feeding the soil first.  This method that requires a certain amount of faith matched against “seeing is believing” has a tough row to hoe.

We have weeds, so we buy a herbicide;  in short order that weed is dead. We have bugs eating our crops, so we buy a pesticide; those bugs that came to put me out of business soon lay dead upon the ground.  Our crop has a somewhat sickly look, we bring a sack of Nitrogen fertilizer to the rescue and in a matter of days a healthy green look returns.  Why would anyone in their right mind want to change a system that gives off so much instant gratification?

For many years I drank the Kool-Aid with the rest, but I can no longer turn a deaf ear to all of the disturbing events that present themselves almost on a daily basis.  The chemical industry has produced some 80,000 new chemicals, which do not exist in nature.  What disturbs me is the fact that not all these chemicals are user friendly to us or the environment.  I know that the whole world is one big chemical factory, but Mother Nature has her chemical factory in perfect balance.  I’m not so sure our man made factory is as well balanced.  In fact I’m sure it’s not.  So I’m going to cast my lot first with the microscopic world knowing that Mother Nature doesn’t deceive.  Then I’ll add some patience and I’m sure that happy green growing stuff will sure enough surround me.
See Ya
Jack

Documenting Stupidity

I don’t quite know what it is about the county fairgrounds of San Luis Obispo and Amador counties that provide the facilities for our junior and high school rodeos.  But it must be that either the fair board or the fair manager are germaphobes, probably both.  Last year at the SLO fairgrounds signs appeared that said touching a horse or a cow or any livestock could be hazardous to your health.  They warned that each time you touched  livestock your life could be in jeopardy.  To quell this threat you should go immediately to a bathroom of the correct gender, but beware there might be some dirt loving cowboy or cowgirl hiding in a bathroom stall waiting to cast a little “Cow Pie Dust” over an unsuspecting germaphobe that will probably rekindle his or her immune system to normality.  I wonder if they understand healthy?

The instructions are quite explicit as to how to wash your hands.  You must wash not just the palms of your hands but between your fingers and under your finger nails with vigorous scrubbing while singing the Happy Birthday song twice.  You must use a germicide soap that some corporation has spent millions of dollars in advertising to keep this scam alive.  Never mind that there is some evidence that this practice could be creating a super bug that renders this antibiotic worthless just when, we the people, might really need it.  While all this hand washing and mental hand wringing
is going on, a line is beginning to form outside our public.  It takes a lot of time to wash under 10 fingernails and 20 sides to 10 fingers. As the line grows I can see anxiety growing on the faces of the old and those with small bladders.  When finally one old guy can’t stand it any longer, a stream of pee runs down his leg and splatters to the ground.  In the bathroom there remains one intrepid soul that has followed the hand washing instructions to his anal best finally leaves the bathroom only to be greeted by a clap of thunder announcing a newly arrived thunderstorm that promptly lets loose a lightning bolt that lights the sky then strikes our poor germaphobe dead as he exits the bathroom.  As I perused the line of folks with wet pants who could hold it no longer and this poor fellow dead, I over heard one person say to his friend “I think dirty hands is a better option.”
See Ya
Jack