Friday, January 9, 2009

Harder but easier

Yesterday I took a trip cross island to go check out an old International combine that we have the opportunity to use if we can actually pull off a grain crop. As it turns out and as expected, it's a bigger restoration project than I am capable or willing to take on. But The good thing is I finally got to meet Mr. Thurman Bond. He and his brother Joe who unfortunately is now deceased came to Orcas Island in 1946. We had a nice chat talking of the similarities and differences between now and then. In those days Joe and Thurman were mostly substinence farmers. They ran a few dairy cows, sheep and about 300 laying hens. Just enough to get by on. Back then going to town was a bigger ordeal than it is now. The easier way to get their eggs and cream to market was put them on the mail boat that went to Friday Harbor. They could also get sundries and medicene sent over on the return trip as there was no drug store on island then. Pretty simple actually and a whole lot more isolated but more tightly knit hamlets. People depended more on each other than we do today. Most people had some type of farm operation happening.

Today, Some parts of our lives are easier and some parts are overly complicated. Farming has all but vanished and most pople could'nt survive a month on their own if the shit really hit the fan. Situations change and things have recently made a dramatic change. Lot's of people losing their jobs and everyday the news seems to get worse. Farming seems like not such a bad idea. People whom used to think I was crazy are now asking me for jobs. As Thurman Bond said to me yesterday "at least with farming if everything goes to hell in a handbasket you won't starve." Yeah maybe... until the bank shows up to take the whole thing away because you can't make the payment. There are two weak links my system. First is expenses are too high and return is too low and secondly I'm just one hearbeat away from the whole thing collapsing. That's the way it's always been I suppose and I reckon it's the same for most folks. Life is tenuous. I try not to worry too much about it.

Anyway, we going to grow more food this year than we ever have. We need farmers and farmers need eaters. I hope they come to the plate. (pun intended)

Take care all,

Farmer John


B Wolf said...

Goddamn right john. Maybe the more folks we get into farming, the more farming will seep into the greater social agenda. Btw, I have some questions regarding how to go about breaking ground for a new garden plot... this one is in a city (I'm on the island until spring). be in touch.

Anonymous said...

What a great blog Farmer John.

I've been following for a little while and thought I had it bad when I lost 5,100 organically grown garlic plants last April to hail storms. It pales in comparison to the tremendous losses that others are facing.

I agree that more people should farm... even if only in their backyards! See

So as the old song goes(was it written for farmers and their crop losses?)... I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again".

Farmer Mike
Jack County Gourmet Garlic, Texas