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.


  1. Out of curiosity, why do they want your ankles covered? Are there poisonous snakes? Do they think your ankles need extra support? I mean, I can certainly see wanting the coverage when walking through a field of plants--to avoid the damp and bugs and so forth--but what's their reason for mandating it?

    1. You know, I'm not 100% sure. I think it mainly has to do with keeping your legs safe from all of the stabby equipment around here. Seriously, this place (my ranch is mostly greenhouses) is a fucking minefield of potential disasters what with the forklifts and tractors and boilers and blah de blah de blah.

      Frankly, the second I started wearing my ankle-covering boots to work, I couldn't believe I'd gone so long without them. Plus I had just run over my toe with the hand truck and the steel toe-ness of my boots is extra comforting for these woeful feet of mine.


    Nice boots.

    1. Really thought you were going to say something else right there.

  3. Your new Native American name: Dances with Broccoli

    1. I AM SO PROUD!

      Hopefully that doesn't mean I smell like broccoli because ugh.

  4. Actually KEEN makes work boots. We did not know this until I begged the guy at Gander Mountain to please, just find me a fucking pair of boots that Matt's delicate feet won't hurt and he won't ruin instantly. Turns out, $300 later, he has a swanky pair of work boots that function like hiking shoes. He's happy, I'm happy (one year guarantee!!), and we're broke.

    1. Wow. $300. I don't feel nearly as indulgent about my recent trip to Red Wing to get custom fitted boots that will take my old lady orthotics. I think those were only in the twos. Still, on a farmer's salary, it's basically the same amount of brokeness. Whatevs. Happy feet win over happy checkbook.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.