Three weeks of being a farm-hand, and I’ve already got an opinion!

Three weeks of being a farm-hand, and I’ve already got an opinion!

Well, I’m leaving northern California. I didn’t make it as far north as I had planned, and that’s fine. I’ve had a good time, and have seen and done tons of stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise. I helped to kill and slaughter two pigs, for example. I eat pigs. I’ve eaten bits and parts of thousands of pigs my whole life. Who knows how many deaths of pigs I am responsible for? Bacon, pork chops, pork ribs, rillettes, pâté de campagne, all kinds of dry sausages (saucisson) from so many regions of France, Spain, and Italy and other places… I can’t name all the different kinds of meals I’ve had which have included some kind of product that comes from pigs. And yet, I have never helped to kill a pig, nor ever seen it happen until just a couple of weeks ago. I think we often forget that our meat “products” come from living beautiful beings. Some of them are quite intelligent and charming. They all have personalities. And we eat them. I eat them. There is such a detachment, in this country in particular, about our food and how it is produced. The milk that millions of kids drink every morning came from the udders of millions of cows. Those cows must give birth once per year to continue to produce milk, and then usually are killed after about three to four years to be sold as beef. One cow can produces around 2 to 6 gallons of milk per day. That’s a lot of cows, folks. Think about that next time you’re at the supermarket standing...
Hit the road, son

Hit the road, son

So I’m still at the farm. This is my third full week! I can’t believe I’ve lasted this long. When I’m not shoveling wet shit or slate or wet straw mixed in mud and shit, or turning the ground around fruit trees to mulch them, or doing any other number of activities around the farm, I am either trying to recover from the back breaking work, or working on a couple of writing projects. I’m developing a novella that I want to write this year. Instead of just diving into the writing as I usually do, I’m developing the story and the characters before I start writing the text. It’s so much damn work. Why do I do this? I don’t rightly know. Except when the book is done and I’m holding it in my hands, and reading from it in public, it’s really gratifying. Nothing like it. (I won’t share any of this book with you until I have at least a first draft done, so don’t ask. Just keep reading my blog, and you’ll be the first one to know about it when it comes out.) My other project is I’m writing 20 prose and verse poems. I try to have a working / shareable draft every few days. Right now I have three rough drafts. Once I get 20 acceptable rough drafts ready, I will print them out, and rewrite them about a thousand time each before publication. These poems will become a chapbook that will be available hopefully by the end of this year. Here’s what I’ve been working on the last couple of days....
50 bales of hay & a few pigs

50 bales of hay & a few pigs

If you aren’t signed up to my Newsletter, you’re missing out. Newsletter#2 is going out this weekend. Don’t miss out! You will find exclusive content there, such as an exclusive work-in-progress poem, as well as pictures that you will not see anywhere else. So sign up! Follow My Adventure! I drove to Woodland with farmer Pattie to pick up 50 bales of mixed grains the other day. Holy shit, that’s a lot of work. We loaded the trailer in Woodland–MySistersFarm only uses organic hay, that’s why we drive so far–and got back to the farm around 5:45pm. No clouds and no rain planned for the next day, thank goodness, so we left the trailer hooked up and the hay uncovered for the night. The next day, I unloaded the 50 bales by myself. At approximately 120+ pounds each, it’s a hell of a work out. And it’s rained so much, we cannot park the trailer close to the barn. I drop them one at a time on a tarp, and drag it down a hill to the barn, where I stack it underneath the awning to protect it from the rain. Took me four hours this time. When I unloaded the 50 bales of alfalfa the other day, it took me 3 hours. But these were even heavier and I had to drag them a longer distance, and stack them 4 high. It’s hard work. It’s all about leverage and gravity. Don’t use your back, use your knees, and try not to do any lifting at all. There are two large metal hooks that are basically extension of your...
First Day on the Farm

First Day on the Farm

Yesterday was my first day on the farm. You know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Well, this is probably going to kill me, however if it doesn’t, then I’ll have one hell of tale to tell… and maybe I’ll be stronger. I cannot remember the last time I’ve worked this hard. It’s cold and rainy. There’s massive snow just a few miles away up in the Sierras, and it’s storming everywhere. Farm life is not going to be easy. I knew that, of course, but I didn’t know that as well as I do now. I shoveled, or I should say, forked one of the cows’ barnyard. It was full of cow shit, mud, and wet hay. I had to get it all out so that we could replace it with fresh dry hay. That barn might look small from the outside, but it can hold plenty of cow shit and mud. Then I cleaned out wet hay and alfalfa from outside the main barn, where the cows are milked one at a time every single day, and where they keep the young ones. You cannot mix the dry hay & alfalfa with the wet stuff. The wetness will spread and mold will grow. I took all the remaining dry hay inside the main barn. Then next I went to the chicken coup which also houses ducks, geese, and a couple of turkeys, and started forking the wet hay and top soil to drag it in the wheelbarrow and spread it on what is to become the potato garden. When that’s done, we’ll have...