Thursday, September 25, 2014

Let me know if you have a door that needs kicking in.

When I told people I was going to quit my nice corporate high-tech advertising lifestyle to be a farmer, I got a lot of warnings.

I mean, after they asked me how long I'd been doing crack cocaine and/or whether I'd recently suffered a tragic head trauma, of course.

In some cases, I sought out these warnings and in some cases they were just offered up by the knowledgeable and completely ignorant alike.

Because it's super useful to get farming advice from people who've never even been to an unincorporated part of town without sidewalks, but WHATEVER, I was letting everyone get in their potshots.


Meanwhile, one of the warnings that I internalized and, for a good bit of time went forward completely ignoring, was doled out by my beloved Bubba who said, without delay mind you, that, "Um, baby, you know you're going to have to wear proper shoes now?"

Because the man fucking loves proper shoes.

I didn't and still don't, but after the first day of my Organic Agriculture class, during which time we were commanded by our instructor to always wear closed-toe shoes to his class because HELLO we are farming now and FYI those digging forks can slice through your bare foot like a pitchfork into compost, I relented and got some proper shoes.

Which Bubba assured me were not proper FARMING shoes, but at least they had closed toes and I had to wear socks, so for that he granted me a pass.

"Nice try" - Bubba

My instructor...well, he was less impressed with Vans as farm appropriate footwear, but because I'd wear my red rain boots more often than not, he then granted me a pass, too.

Dancing with broccoli. Because that makes red rain boots seem normal.
I'd made it - in my mind, anyway.

I got used to wearing socks (ew) and closed-toe shoes (ew again) and it wasn't the end of the world. Like, my feet didn't shrivel up and die, they just shriveled up and didn't breathe until I got home and aired them out while wearing the delightful flip-flops.

And then I went on for a few years through my horticulture degree and working in the greenhouse and working on the farm and then graduated and got a job as a grower at a farm and wore my "Proper Shoes" with my socks and, alas, my feet didn't die.

I mean, I've died a little inside every time I put on the Proper Shoes and Socks combo, but everything else was going so well that I just let it happen.

Made peace with the situation, if you will.

Until last week.

Last week I was sitting in the first of many Farm Meetings, where the growers sit around a conference room table looking awkward and annoyed and go through the never-ending list of things that need doing or following up on so that we can produce our respective crops and keep the farm...farming, and I received The Mandate.

One of the items on our farm director's checklist from a previous Farm Meeting, to which I was not privy, was to ensure that all members of the Production crew, from the growers to every single field crew member, was wearing ANKLE COVERING footwear.

This was being presented as an obvious fact and the annoyance on all growers' faces that it was coming up again because some grower had someone on their crew who was still coming to work in, like, tennis shoes or something, was extreme.

Which is when I looked at my director and pointed to my Pumas.


Thankfully, he has a decent sense of humor and also patience with idiots, so all he said was, "Certainly YOU of all people have, like, a pair of hiking boots that will cover those ankles. Wear them."

He's right. I do have a pair of hiking boots that cover my ankles. Unfortunately, they can eat my ass after the shitshow they made of my feet during our backpacking trip and I threw them sidelong into the garage when we returned from our trip and vowed never to wear them again while also giving them the finger and trying to light them on fire.

So, those boots were out.

Thankfully, I still have the Bubba-approved Proper Shoes which are actually boots and totally cover my ankles, have a steel toe, a puncture resistant sole and are totally perfect for the job EXCEPT that my fucked up feet (Hi, Crossfit, I have not forgotten you. Asshole.) kinda hate them after a day of wearing because I can't use my Old Lady I Have Crossfit Inspired Arthritis orthotics in them.

But I've been wearing them because I think, after all of this time, I know that it's the right thing to do. Even if my old lady toes are all cranky after a day of clunking around without my orthotics.

Actually, IT IS the right thing to do and if I'd embraced that fact a little sooner, perhaps I wouldn't have smashed my big toe with the hand truck after lowering it too fast when dropping off the 1HP beast water chiller in my headhouse the other day but whatever.

The beauty of the boot-wearing though, and I am hesitant to put this in writing since Bubba will be all SEE! I TOLD YOU, CRAZY WOMAN! and such, is that I actually kind of love wearing boots.

Because of the feeling like Super Woman in them and everything.

Now, yes, they're technically Proper Shoes, which I'd reject on principle in most cases, but they're also the giver of super human lady strength and make me feel invincible and like I can effectively drive the forklift to move stuff around or kick the door down if I need to or just walk around the farm without smashing one of my fucked up toes into something.

And I have learned that there are a lot of somethings on a farm into which one may smash a toe.

So, yeah, I am now in full compliance with the footwear mandate of the farm while also at risk of getting fired because I just run around kicking down doors all day.

Whatever. It all evens out.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three people will be sad. Everyone else will just be all, "Yup."

So, I kinda don't know how to say this, so I'll just come out with it.

Rocket, the famed deceptively cuddly yet certainly face-rippy and forever-living Maine Coon cat beast of our house is no more.

 Her reign is over and she can no longer stand between Jada and her dog food or Jada and the dog door or Jada and her dog bed.

Even during her final days, when she was such a rickety deranged hairball that she'd spend solid hours staring at the wall behind her food bowl without eating - not eating, just staring - she'd summon all of her two wits to make sure to inflict her dominance over the sweet patient dog at every turn.

Where am I? Hopefully in your way, dog.

And let's not forget about the ankle-slapping-until-you-gave-her-the-cereal-bowl thing.

The sweet patient dog who, no matter the encouragement by certain Mes and Bubbas, never went after the always taunting cat.

We all tried cuddling with Rocket throughout her many hundreds of years (18) of looking beautiful and fluffy and oh look how cute her fluffy feet are with the elfin toe furs and we all came away with bloody stumps.

Yes. Come closer to my toes. That's always worked out so well for you.

At one point she got a whiff of Nair (stop your judging - I was in college)(the first time I went to college - my undergrad - not the college I just went through)(just to be clear - I was young) and went on a wall shredding rampage through my college apartment during which time she broke a framed poster of pretty doors (shut up), launched herself off of the front of the fish tank which totally splashed and then finally landed, snorting like a wild hog, on the wicker chair that I eventually abandoned at Google approximately 10 years later.

OK, so that whole Life of Chair wasn't necessary, but still. The cat was fucking crazy.

You forgot we were talking about a cat, didn't you?

Anyway, yes - Rocket finally went off into the night and she didn't do so quietly (bit my hand at the vet) or gracefully (rickety as a backwoods Arkansas footbridge), but at least I finally got to pet her fuzzy elfin feet without getting my face torn off.

Which I realize makes this sort of a morbid post, but come on, you know you would have done it, too. THEY'RE SO FUZZY.

The one time I didn't come away with a flesh wound.

Bye, Punk Rocket.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I caught some fish and then didn't die of heat stroke.

Dudes, can I tell you something?

I'm over summer.

Yeah. It's happened. I finally OVER-summered after years of being all "OH I LOVE SUMMER THE MOST! Fall sucks! Don't say Fall! It's the new F word!".

And now it's been summer for, like, three years and all I want in the fucking world is some rain and then some snow and to wear my down booties in the house without Bubba being all, "Really, dude? It's 90 degrees."

I know, my love. I FUCKING KNOW.


He hates it, too. It's not right for me to get all sweary at him about it, especially since we're both pretty sure I brought this on us myself.

Perhaps the entire state has me to blame for the drought and this bloody forever-taking hot ass muther fucking summer.


Either way, I'm over it. And in a very visible LOOK AT ME MOTHER NATURE - I'M COMPLYING act, I'm setting out to bring about fall.

Like, starting today.

I went out to that yard and I gave everything its fall pruning. And I went out to the garden and took down the tomatoes and peppers. And if this state had adequate water resources to do so, I'd wash my car, but we do not so I'm only fantasizing about it while my beloved Duchess is buried under a heap of dust and bird doo.

Also, I'll probably bake some cookies. And if that doesn't turn on some fall weather, I'll start a knitting project, plant some bulbs, make chili in the crockpot and, like carve a fucking pumpkin or something.

What else is fall-like that I can do to get some NOT-SUMMER to happen, people?

It's gross out here in California, is what I'm saying. This state is dry as a popcorn fart and I have stopped enjoying it.

A week ago though, I enjoyed the piss out of it.

Can't catch the biggest cutthroat of one's life in winter, friends. That's something.
Or the biggest wild rainbow trout of one's life either.

It was approximately 100 degrees in this tent and that beer wasn't nearly large enough.

Riding this bike down the mountain in Mammoth was like descending into hell itself. But with extra sweating. 
Why, hello Eastern Sierras. I haven't seen you in five whole minutes.

So, yeah, it's hot here.

The yard work today was nearly my final act.

I had to lie down afterward is how bad it was. And then I had to have cocktails. You know, to cool off.

So, fall soon, then?