Farm Work

By Potter · Apr 24, 2013 · ·
  1. Potter
    I just got back out to the vineyard this past week after a long cold winter. I love being out on the escarpment, it's the best job ever. But I swear to Satan, if one more person asks "you're picking grapes?" I'm going to loose it. Look outside, what do you see? Leaves? No. Flowers? No. Fruit of any type at all? No! When do we get fresh local grapes around here? That's right, fall. I spend my entire summer tending the plants, so they produce grapes, which are picked in all of a week or so. Grapes do not in fact pop continuously out of the ground 365 days a year, but like most food, take an incredible amount of care and labor to create. Those walnuts you are eating, they planted those trees 20 some years before they produced ANY crop at all.

    Grape trellises get repaired, the vines are tied up, pruned of buds and shoots 6-8 times through the year, pruned of flowers, pushed up into the wires that keep them up-right, pruned of fruit, prune the leaves one more time before harvest. There is a rest while they ripen, then a fury of picking, from sun-up to sun-down. Some grapes may be left till it's as cold as it's going to get for the year, well below zero, so they can be pressed while frozen and full of sugar, you don't even want to imagine what THAT is like.

    I am working on two vineyards that weren't kept up for a few years, they are in terrible condition. It will easily take 3-5 years before they are back up to production. Three to five very difficult years. There's even a chance that some of it can't be saved and will need to be replaced, trellis, plants, and all. Vegetables, every day you don't weed is crop lost, ignore them for a week and it's all over. Mix that with harvesting three times a week, not much time left at all.

    Food is born of countless hours of back-braking labor, blood, pain, low pay, and insurmountable joys of accomplishment, Each harvest is a year round endeavor, many take years, if not decades to complete. Hundreds of hours of hands on labor, sometimes in miserable conditions. Every person should be required to weed a row of beans, dig 50lbs of potatoes in a November storm, slaughter and butcher a chicken, milk and tend cows at 5am for a week, plant a greenhouse on a sunny August day, and winter prune some grapes, just so they understand exactly what goes into their meals.

    Next time you see a farmer or field worker, give them a hug, offer them a back massage or bite to eat, and say "Thanks."

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  1. aquatic
    Ahhh! My kind of woman!
  2. WoodyCA
    Hear, hear! The only pic up in my office besides my son is of great grandfather on the farm at ~1900. Backbreaking work. When I feel tired or bummed about my job or life I look at his pic and think, "I've got it made."
  3. Hippiedave82
    "Every person should be required to weed a row of beans, dig 50lbs of potatoes in a November storm, slaughter and butcher a chicken, milk and tend cows at 5am for a week, plant a greenhouse on a sunny August day, and winter prune some grapes, just so they understand exactly what goes into their meals."

    I couldnt agree more with that statement. I grew up on a ranch for 19 years, we had to work our asses off just to break even. Most times we did well enough to get by and a few times were bad...but never once did we do the things we had to do out there with the goal of getting rich on our minds. That was life though we were farmers and ranchers, our freezers were full of meat we raised slaughtered and processed on our land. The eggs we ate, had been in a nest the same morning they were cooked, our produce we grew ourselves in our garden. Thats how dad was raised so he saw that to be a proper way and did the same with his kids. I loved living in the country and in that lifestyle, but sometimes I downright hated it. It would seem so futile to work that hard and not ever gain much other than the chance to work that hard.again.

    Now that im older though, im thankful for every second out there. Work toughened us up, gave us a great work ethic, an appreciation for that tomato at the grocery store that most dont think twice about.

    My favorite memory of living out there was when I realized while helping my dad bbq chicken one day, this bird we were about to eat for dinner originated as an egg in a nest 100yds away from where we were then. I took that egg and put it the incubator, when it hatched I raised that chick into a healthy hen. And then I killed that hen and cleaned then cooked it. Later, I knew we would eat that bird. That shit rocked my world.
    Not to many people that I know now can say something like that.

    Farm work was an invaluable experience in my life. The hardships and triumphs of that life made me who I am today.

    Sorry if I rambled a bit. This blog just kinda resonated with me I guess.
  4. PillMan
    I feel bad for all farmers. I have been working on a farm for the past two years and, depending on the work, is not se easy. I do that along side working for a landscaping business and I help someone flip houses.

    On top of all that, my work is 2 hours from where I live. So I definitely appreciate all farmers and anyone working on land. Keep up the hard work.

    P.S. Where's my massage? Hehe:D
  5. Potter
    Wanted to make a comment on immigration, a big issue in my country right now.


    If you like eating food, lay off the Mexicans. They do what I talked about so you can eat. Americans will not replace them in the fields, if we push tighter controls on immigration, we WILL loose farms.
  6. beentheredonethatagain
    does growing pot count as being a farmer, if so , I know someone you can hug and massage their back,
    girls only. lol

    Potter you have made some very good points
  7. baZING
    Wait, so... you're picking grapes?

    No, I'm kidding, sorry. This is super interesting and I had no idea about a lot of it. Thanks, farmers and field workers!
  8. Booty love
    Haha! I have that same pic on facebook. The field workers are the backbone of the idustry. I never pegged you as a field worker out in the vineyards. Thank you for your hard work,:applause: and wonderful grapes come fall.
  9. Beenthere2Hippie
    No, I haven't been a farmer nor have I planted a garden, but I can only imagine it very hard and thankless work. You get what you put into things, like they say.
    Much like raising children or caring for the sick, these arts are rarely if ever truly appreciated. You have made positive out of what Nature has taught you.That is a lesson many never learn at all. Thanks for sharing. Good deeds are rewarded. Smile, Bunny, smile...
  10. MoreGutzThanGlory
    I did grow up in a farming & coal mining family.
    My grandmother had a huge chicken coop the size of a house that would have 6 rooms, 1 level all enclosed with a roof. In the spring Easter time, me and my sisters were herded out to the chicken coop to see hundreds or even 1000 beautiful bright yellow baby chicks.

    Well guess what the entire family did on labor day?(at least 50 of us) congregated to my Grandma and Grandpa's house to behead the little chicks that were now chickens. So first they were caught, there was an ax man, and then there were boiling pots of water to dunk the headless chickens in, and then of course all the cousins which where children from age 6-18 were given the job of plucking out ALL the feathers by our little hands...I cannot think of Labor Day without remembering that..

    My grandparents also has sheep, and the baby lambs that were shunned by their mama's.... me and my sisters were given the TOTAL PLEASURE of mixing milk for the lambs, and holding the lambs while they drank from a bottle with a nipple on it...of course we got attached to those sweet baby lambs...unbeknownst to my 5 year old brain, they were being bred to be slaughtered and sold for food.

    I know most of the population eats meat, but getting attached to the baby animals, and knowing they were going to grow up to be food for the world, just blows me away. My other grandparents had a mammoth size farm for milking cows, and growing crops of corn,potatoes,green beans, beets, peas, tomatoes, hay and a few other things... Of course on this farm, there were baby calves that didn't bond with their cow moms, so I got to feed the calves from a bottle..(this farm was way tooo rustic and archaeic for my prissy sisters) they didn't go to this farm with me. The highlight of the day was in the afternoon my Grandmother would put me in the middle of the field with a blanket, and sit me down with about 6 puppies to play with and watch while she plowed the field. It's no wonder I am mesmerized by all canines big and small!!! :vibes:

    I for one know exactly how hard farming is...and you are right Potter, all people do not have first hand experience with the back breaking work of farming. I just wanted to share my tid bits.
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