Thursday, July 08, 2010

I could rule the world, with the right equipment

7/8/10 Thursday
Spent three hours meeting with USDA folks. Discussed what we would like to do versus what we are able to do. These are the guys who have their fingers on all the programs the government offers to help people like us. At the end there was nothing there. The advice I got was to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. That and to make friends locally. We would love to make friends locally, tried with no success. There’s all kinds of beginning farmer programs but we don’t seem to qualify, despite being beginning farmers. Lots of the programs require matching funds and previous experience. We don’t have any funds to match and no agricultural experience. So help is out there but we can’t seem to get any. Did I just miss what was being said? Or did I simply not understand it?

Been beating my head against the wall for five years now. No wonder depression is something I must fight all the time. I was asked about my physical ability to do things, it was a “what makes you think you can handle more if you’re working at your limit now” kind of question. I explained that what I do now was physical labor with few tools and that if I had the right equipment my capabilities would be expanded a hundredfold. We talked of the dream I have for the place and all agreed that it was a very possible and doable vision, wonderful was a word used. We discussed basic things like raising goats for milk, growing alfalfa, drip irrigation, water quality issues, even putting in an RV park campground. But when I said “All these things are good, but what I need is the resources to accomplish them. How can I get the resources?”. There seemed to be no answer to that. There are millions of dollars worth of resources out there but obtaining them is tough. Everyone agreed there was great opportunity sitting on our seventy five acres but no one presented a clear plan on how to tap into it. Wine grapes is a great option but it costs eleven thousand dollars an acre to develop and then it takes years before you begin to see a return on that investment. That’s just like putting in an apple orchard. You must invest in the trees and then wait five years before the investment begins to produce. “What can I do next year?” I asked several times, but got no answer. I can grow alfalfa but have no equipment and need to install irrigation.

Cherie’s frustration was evident on her face when we left. She said “I wasted half a day so I’m going back to work”. I felt really bad. She took off of work to be there by my side, to help me keep up with what was going on. It’s not done, I need to come up with a plan but it’s clear we need to find others who can partner with us. I had planned on that anyway but it’s been made more evident.

I fixed a pot of coffee. We had a hard rain while this was going on but now the sun has come out. That means it will be a muggy day. The humidity was 93% this morning. Have to fight off the depression that wants to overwhelm me. This whole thing was a disappointment. But can’t quit, that’s not in me. I have a dream damn it and it’s a good one. So I’ll keep pushing on no matter what others think. If nothing else I’ll grow some vegetables.
This seeder didn't come with the different templates designed for a variety of seed types, but I do the best I can with what I've got.

Yesterday I remembered the seeder I had bought at an estate sale a year or so ago and dug it out. Had to put tape on the holes and cut it out to make them the right size for blackeyed peas in order to make it work. It still puts two or three peas in a hole sometimes but I can do in sixty seconds what it took twenty minutes to do before. I’ll just weed out the extra plants later. It’s a simple hand pushed seeder but that illustrates the difference the right piece of equipment makes. Sixty seconds versus twenty minutes. I could rule the world with the right equipment, or at least do some serious farming.
Here's a picture of a barn swallow that built it's nest on the light in our veranda just outside the kitchen door.

Listening to a Bible study on GLC. It’s on the story of Daniel in the lions den where the king, Nebuchadnezzar, was talked into making a law that demanded death for anyone worshipping a god other than the ones of Persia. Because Daniel was caught worshipping the God of Israel the king was forced to enforce his own law. We all know how the story goes, that God prevented the lions from harming Daniel despite being in the lions den overnight. As I listen to this I realize that I shouldn’t be so demoralized by our meeting with the USDA guys today. If my vision for this farm is something God wants, it will happen no matter how many obstacles are in the way. If it’s not then I don’t want it to happen anyway. What I also know is that anything that God wants the devil will do his best to block and destroy.

This is the spiritual battle that goes on constantly, the battle of good against evil. For those who don’t have the belief in God we do, this is a laughable or even ludicrous concept. I’ve read many comments on a wide variety of news stories online where people are eager to express their disdain, or worse, of Christianity in any form. I understand this well, and at one time shared in that disbelief. I also understand well the history of the Christian church and what has been done in the name of religion over the centuries. But I know that true Christianity is about love, not the emotional type of feeling many call love but to choose for the highest good of others even at personal loss. It’s humbling yourself and swallowing pride. It’s turning the other cheek. When those who call themselves Christian act otherwise those who look for reasons to despise God are quick to latch onto it. We all mess up, no matter how good you are. I know I do all the time. That’s where forgiveness comes in and is so important.

We had a big blast of rain that blew through about an hour ago. It poured down pretty heavily. All of my rain barrels have been full for some time now. Too bad I don’t have more. Would love to build a cistern to catch the rain with. Have plans from the internet on how to construct one. It’s pretty muddy so I’m wondering if the seeder will work well. Don’t know but plan on going out and finding out now. If it doesn’t there’s plenty of other things to do and I have only two hours of daylight left so time’s awastin.

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