Farm Fashion

Moving to a farm changes you, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes not so subtle. Just the other day I was standing on a street corner in the city and I heard the sound of a horse talking to another horse on a distant block. I asked the coworker I was with, “What was that?” He was completely perplexed.

“What do you mean?”

“That horse.” I turned around and about a block away, there was a police horse, a draft type, actually, yelling at another horse out of view. My coworker had not even noticed and was surprised that there was a horse there, especially a big one. He was not attuned to a sound that I hear everyday.

I heard that sound tonight, as I do most nights. My little quarterhorse wanted me to let him out so he could go hang out with the drafts. We have to put him in an enclosed stable so that Meme, the draft mare, won’t steal all his food. This means that I have to let him out when he gets done and he usually lets me know exactly when that is. Regularly, it seems to be at the most inopportune times.

I have to run outside in muck boots and whatever I happen to have on. Sometimes that’s farm attire, sometimes it’s my nice work clothes, sometimes it’s the nightgown. When I lived in the city, I was fashoinable. Now that I’m in the country, things just get mish-mashed together. I’ve gone from fashion plate to more fashion relish tray.

Half my closet is full of workclothes and my nice casual attire, fit to wear to dinner. The other half contains clothes that I can get dirty, with impunity. Inevitably, though, I rationalize my ability to stay clean in my work clothes while walking into the horse paddock. I think, “I’ll just dash in, pick up the feed bucket and get out of there before I get splooged on.” Nope, that never works. Mud knows no boundries.

So, some garment from the nice side of the closet gets moved over to the farm side, and I have to go shopping. Again. I hate shopping…

The Open Internet and Rural Broadband

On April 8th, (yes, that was just this last Friday during the big budget debate) the House passed   H. J. RES. 37 concerning the openess of the internet. This is what the bill says, in its entirelty: 

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices (Report and Order FCC 10-201, adopted by the Commission on December 21, 2010), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

So, what does that mean? Here is the text of Report and Order FCC 10-201. It is concerned with the limitiations that internet service providers are allowed to place on users and content. It significantly curtails “the ability of broadband providers to favor or disfavor Internet traffic to the detriment of innovation, investment, competition, public discourse, and end users.” In other words, it keeps the internet open and accessible. H. J. RES. 37 would kill the FCC’s ability to keep the internet neutral.

The Senate version is S.J.RES.6. and has not been passed yet. Need I mention that this may indeed be the perfect time to contact your Senator to ensure that this resolution not be passed?

In other congressional news, a new bill, HR 1083 – Rural Broadband Initiative Act, introduced March 15th, amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to establish in the Department of Agriculture (USDA) the Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives. Is the USDA the right department to handle rural broadband? Truly, I don’t know, but somebody needs to ensure that broadband reaches us. Frankly, rural broadband is not going to happen if we merely encourage private enterprise to provide it. It’s going to take another act like the ones that brought electricity and telephones to every house in the country.

The bill I really like is Maria Cantwell’s S.74: Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011. It ensures net neutrality by amending the Communications Act of 1934 which regulates common carriers. Someone has to because corporations won’t.

When a Farmgeek’s Fancy Turns…

Tis spring! (At least the calendar would have me believe so, even if the weather is less than cooperative.) This means that a farmer’s fancy turns to thoughts of…planting vegies! Yes, the seed selection is well underway. Now, if it would just stop snowing…

For those of you less rural, local vegetables and fruits can be delivered right to your door. Sarah Jackson at the Everett Herald has created a primer on consumer-supported agriculture (CSA) and how it works. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Oh, and the garlic we planted last November is almost a foot high. We’ll be able to effectively repel vampires by harvest at the end of July.