Monday, August 13, 2007

Back on the Chain Gang

"What do you do every day?" my mom asked me last night when I called her. She's completely mystified with the choices I've made in my life. Why would she walk out on a highly successful career? And move to the country? Eeeew. Mom shares the agri-phobia of many Tokyoites.

The Japanese language has so many derogatory words about farmers and farming and country folk -- they really ARE at the bottom of the social classes. They don't get the respect of basket weavers or sushi chefs or hot potato vendors. Fishermen get more respect. It's probably because farming in Japan is such hard, backbreaking work and maybe there's a layer of belief that if one is condemned with such hard work, one must have done something wrong in his or her past life. Mom, who is embarrassed by my choices, can't figure out the fine line between a "ranch" and a "farm" and farmers are on par with trench diggers and other manual laborers.

"We were digging trenches, again," I tell her. Am I secretly hoping to rile her even more? "It was back on the chain gang from 9:30 in the morning!"
"You know, the problem with getting property that already has infrastructure is that you don't know how things are quite laid out," I answer. My mom was with me for part of our ranch search and saw beautiful ranches with challenging arroyos, rolling hills, endless fields of dry farmed oats and shuddered at the thought of nothing -- not even water -- being on the property. "The last owner inherited the property from his mother and didn't really know much about the place so when we noticed water buildup in a part of our garden, all we could do was dig down to see where the water was coming from."
"And did you fix the problem?"
"No. We dug down to where the pipe was but it wasn't coming from there and so we had to keep following the moist ground and keep digging but still can't find the source. It's a mystery. We had to finally stop because it was getting dark."
"You worked like a convict and the problem's unresolved?? Why couldn't you hire someone else to do it?"
"Do you know how much that would cost? To hire professionals for this job?"
"Couldn't you get illegal immigrants, at least for the trenching?"
I am thinking of how we do work that illegal immigrants won't even do, but I don't tell her this.
"You know the lady that lives with us? She and her guy came home and they got roped into helping us out, it wasn't just us."

I think Big Dog's been over-watering the zone and the clay soil way down can't absorb all that water. Big Dog thinks there's a buried water line that we don't know about somewhere in the garden. Our housemate offers no opinions while her man brought up the possibility that we have a new spring, despite the ongoing drought.

I guess we'll just have to give it a few days and see.

There's water here, but it's not the source.

The trenching continues.

Turkey Family doesn't mind the mess.

Patches, the Old Man Cat, comes to investigate, too...

...and poses for the camera.


Anonymous Don Roberto de Santa Ana en Guadalajara said...

I sooooo needed five photos of each of those trenches, BD!! Believe me, this is all much funnier if you know the poster. How bout a photo of slinky Japanese death goddess with a shovel, eh?

Enjoyed the blog very much!

8:10 PM  
Blogger bad-dog said...

Thank you for the comment. Yes, you know the "old" me. This is what the new, improved, younger me is doing these days!

10:10 AM  
Blogger judy coates perez said...

it looks so beautiful where you are. I love california. i lived in rural Bodega Bay (of The Birds fame) in the 70's and spent many years in LA. Our last house was in a canyon in Glendale. As much as I loved living there i am glad we are no longer living on that tinderbox of a hillside. with the lack of rain and heat lately i would have been constantly sniffing for smoke. Now I live in the heart of Chicago with the rain pouring down at this minute. such a different life.

3:17 PM  

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