Report from the Field (homecoming guest post)

22 04 2008

I flew into Portland for a high school buddy’s wedding… it all went down at McMenamins – Edgefield outside of Portland. It was really great, lots of black and super casual. I ate a mushrom spinach canneloni the size of a loaf of bread. If you haven’t been to any McMenamins in Oregon you must check them out. This one in particular used to be a sanitarium and was converted into this resort type grounds… they make wine there, garden, have a whiskey distillery, brew pub… everything. Oh yes, a nine-hole golf course also. What a blast they must have had getting their hops to climb up the old water tower and showing old movies in what looks like the old lecture hall. It’s inspiring how they’ve transformed this place into a lush, green, lush, vibrant, lush compound of happiness and giving back to the earth.

Inspiring for us where we are now:

In case Gabrielle hasn’t gotten this across in previous posts… the list here never ends. I mean… as an outside witness… it never ever ends. What was that Bush Admin. quote? From their press secretary… ‘It doesn’t matter, because while you’re reporting on these realities, we’re making decisions that create new realities…’ It is like that here… except, ya know, we’re farming. One thing done and another thing creates a new reality.

Each day there are five projects (or more) going on, and then because the way the land is laid out you try to make yourself the most efficient for each one. You start to work on a greenhouse door, the battery for the power tool you need runs out but the new one is re-charging back at the house. So you run up there, and while your there you clean off the old deck and power wash it… then water gets on the automatic safety shut-off so it stops the power washer and the sun comes out so since your up at the little house you pull some weeds in the Landscape Gone Wild of a front lawn and stack some firewood in-between downpours. Remember that greenhouse door? Back down there with charged battery… only to find out that you can make a semi-finished cut with the ‘power’ saw until it quits. You finish with a handsaw and you’re starting to get tired.

But you think you’re wiped out now? You put your door to the greenhouse up and it’s totally FUBAR. Improvisation is a must, yet the more people that get around you with ideas, the more tired you are. You send faithful helpers along to finish other tasks and start dinner… and then it’s you and the door. And you have it figured out… and it weighs a ton… and you screw it all together, the plastic is on the wrong side, get the damn hinges put in for the third time, dig a trench so you can move it along the un-even ground and then… yes… the door is up… and you have crossed off, more or less, one thing from your list.

You eat dinner, and as the light goes down you check in on the PA Primary… and decide to power-wash some buckets so you can get a white-wash mixture made and some chicken nesting tubs prepped so they can get out of your damn dining room.

It is like this every day from 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night. In case you haven’t read this article, check it out… ‘Why Bother?’ it’s called.

Pretty much sums up why people want to do what Gabe and Chad are doing. And Kirby and Lee. And me. And why not you? Start small, because the list is really long people, but when you are doing things like this because you know it’s what makes us humans… and deep down, for me at least, it feels oh, so good.

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2 responses

23 04 2008
mom

ben?is that you?what a magnificent writer you are!!!keep writing on here-you bring it to life.i have a request from a selfish mom…can you work on the chicken coop so the chickens can move? this will be great for gabrielle and chad and everyone. can it make the top of the lists? thank you for all of your help.i hope i will be able to help out a lot too when i am there. i am adding for the record that i am NOT being pushy (just pleading).cheers for everyone!!!

2 05 2008
Ben

We totally got the coop itself fixed up… it is super swanky! And thankfully the dining room is macroscopically chicken refuse free. I think Chad’s dad and Gabrielle finished the little run area real nicely… so the chickens are exploring the out of doors even more. They are so cute. Growing in leaps and bounds, even the week I was there.

p.s. did Gabe tell you I’m coming out in June now? The weekend after you 😉 See you on the FARM!

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