Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Power of the Wheelchair

I had to abandon my new seedlings and my nascent garden two week ago as we drove south to pick up The DogFather and take him to Washington DC. He had never been, and at 95...well, what are you waiting for?

"You've got to be okay with a wheelchair, Dad," Big Dog discussed the trip with him late last year. "DC's difficult in a car and there's too much walking."
The DogFather does not want to look disabled, but has slowed down considerably so the only way we would be able to do this trip with him was if he agreed to be pushed around everywhere. Big Dog was not asking. This was an ultimatum.

Little did any of us know about The Power of the Wheelchair.

It opens doors, gets you to the head of the line, parts crowds like the Red Sea. You're the first to enter, the first to board, you get a special line for security clearance, priority everything, VIP treatment everywhere...

This is like having our Own Private Moses, I thought.
"Wow. Maybe we can hire you out like this." Big Dog was impressed. "A hundred dollars a day?"
"No way! He's worth double that. After this, it'll be hard for us to go anywhere without your dad in the wheelchair."
Spring in DC!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Central Coast Grown

As if I didn't have enough to do -- and you can tell by how bad I've been at updating this blog! -- I have started volunteering for the Central Coast Ag Network's renewed website with photos and articles.

Here's the first one about Windrose Farm, a beautiful farm in Creston run by Barbara and Bill, a former studio musician and her husband. 

When I arrived to see their operation and interview them, Bill was making bread while a tiny baby lamb wobbled around the kitchen. What a precious moment! (On a bit of a tangent: why are baby animals so much cuter than baby humans? Or is that just me?)

For the last several decades, almost all of my professional writing has been for the Japanese press. It's great to be able to do this in English, again. And unlike this blog, because there is a specific length to these articles, I must be a better editor, too. Which is difficult because there was so much more I wanted to include in the article! Like, how in order to supply restaurants, they need to make sure the veggies are super clean. Or the somewhat discouraging politics and hierarchy of farmers' markets.  How real farmers are not just people who grow food but are healers, providing us with "medicine" for the body and soul. How they are also activists fighting under the banner of food sufficiency and independence. As well as philanthropists because you have to have love -- for the community and humankind -- to be doing this to begin with. How Bill is also a philosopher and Barbara is an artist -- you can tell by the artistic way she plants things!

Tomorrow, I go out to Pozo to see Juanell of Nick Ranch, a multi-generational cattle ranch. It should be another highly educational visit.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 01, 2013

Spring Fever

I am a plotting, digging, planting fool this April Fool's Day.

We got back to the ranch while the daffodils and peach/nectarine blossoms were in full bloom and I have been a busy beaver, getting my summer garden set up.

I am trying to do it right this year. With Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living and John Jeavons' How to Grow More Vegetables as my guides, I started with soil prep. Seeds have been planted in flats. I am trying to be better at labeling.
And while we wait, there are always sprouts to be had...
There are always obstacles. The gophers are still here, along with an ever increasing population of ground squirrels. Big guys, too, fattened up over a winter of acorns. (No, I have not started eating them. At least not yet.) And now with the chickens gone, there is an explosion of lizards who keep munching down my seedlings. All my radishes have been munched down to their tiny stalks. I am going to have to cover things if I want them to survive.

Now that we have horses on the ranch again, we also have lots of horse poop. K, bless her, has shoveled it all into a nice tidy pile in one corner of the pasture so all I have to do is scoop and haul. Meanwhile, Big Dog is dragging me into another Sisyphean kick (he gets these every season!) -- raking up the oak leaves and taking them into the pasture. There are hundreds of oaks and the leaves are as thick as Minnesota snow. He claims that the oak seedlings hidden underneath will turn into Big Adult Oaks. I say, let 'em, but once Big Dog gets something in his head, he can be a Rottweiler, so there's no talking him out of this endless ordeal.

But as back-breaking as all of this work is, this is still the fun part. I am dreaming of my lush summer garden and all the tasty produce I'll be getting. The air is fresh and springtime sweet. Life could not be better.

Labels: ,