2012 SFJ Auction…

Harnesses and Saddles…or lessons in what not to do if you don’t want to lose your shirt. No waving. Don’t arrange your hair. Try not to scratch your nose. Otherwise, you could become the owner of a lovely chuckwagon or a full set of brass-fitted show harnesses. Not that I would mind having something like that, but the wallet would be screaming. (Not to mention the trouble I’d have getting it home. Me, with my little econo-car…) I did buy a lovely set of hip-drop bells that I adore. I believe they will be staying in the house, adorning my walls, however, rather than hanging out in the tack room.

One event I really enjoyed was the Washington Young Farmers Coalition roundtable discussion. Sixty-five people showed up for it, which was many more than was expected. The room was full of folks. I jotted down some of the questions and answers as far as I could. Here are some of the questions posed along with some potential ideas for answers:

  • What can we do to effect national legislation concerning farming? Monitor the farm bill and the two micro bills currently going through congress. Contact your congressional representatives and let them know your opinion.
  • How can we integrate other businesses on the farm? Choose complimentary businesses or ones that you might be able to do in the off season, such as tree-trimming, metal fabrication, farrier services, farming-related classes, distribution services, etc.
  • How can young farmers acquire land and deal with debt, especially student loans? That’s a good question…
  • Can farms be run as non-profits? Sure, just provide goods and services for underserved customers. Teaching self-sustainability classes or growing crops for low-income customers both would work.
  • What’s the best way to interject energy into the local granges? Get involved in the local community. Get to know the other farmers around you.

There were lots of other suggestions, as well:

  • Fight legislation that impedes your ability to farm.
  • Start seed swapping events with other farmers and market gardeners.
  • Engage older farmers in an inter-generational network. It’s great to learn from experienced folks and farmers love to talk about growing things.
  • Get involved in farmland preservation.
  • Combine resources across farms.
  • Crop mobs! They are great to have on your farm or to participate in one.
  • Look into IDA savings plans as a way to save for farms.

People brought up lots of others subjects as well, but my brain was so full of farming goodness by the end of the roundtable, I just couldn’t add anymore.

It was so great to be in a room full of such enthusiasm. I was impressed by the level of intelligence and knowledge of the participants and felt that, even with all the pressing issues farmers have to confront, the future of farming is in good hands.



I’ve just returned from the Small Farmers Journal Auction in Madras, Oregon. It’s a twelve-hour drive, roundtrip, from here so I loaded the Zune (no snickering!) with every Nerdist podcast I hadn’t heard yet, all 12 glorious episodes. I’ve now listened to them all and I’m out of Nerdist goodness. What’s a geek to do?

I’ll just have to wait for the next podcast to be posted, I suppose. It’s a good thing I’ve made it all the way home already or I’d have to listen to myself think the rest of the trip. Oooo, scary!

Oh, and I learned lots and lots of stuff at the auction! I’ll tell you all about it…tomorrow. Must. Sleep. Now.

Influenced by Ironing

One of my favorite childhood memories was hanging out with my mom while she was doing things around the house. When she ironed, she used to time it to do the work while watching Star Trek. (Yes, she was a fan.) We had a lot of linens. I watched a LOT of Star Trek. And I loved every minute of it.

Seeing Lt. Uhura, in a command position on the bridge of the Enterprise, working with extremely cutting-edge technology every week, was a huge influence on me. She was the lynchpin of most every episode since she controlled the ship’s connection with every lifeform they met. And she could do it with those great nails! I loved her level of confidence. When Nichelle Nichols became the spokesperson for NASA, I thought that it was the smartest thing the agency could ever do.

Thank you, thank you for showing me what I could aspire to be.

Farmer’s Tan and Washington Broadband

It’s been a lovely Easter weekend, our first to hit 70 degrees this year. I managed to plant some flowers, but that is all I’ve done to prepare for spring. I do, however, have a great start on my farmer’s tan.

In the “Who Knew?” department is this tidbit of information: The Washington State Department of Commerce has a five year program, the Washington State Broadband Office. (Yes, it was news to me, and I keep track of these things.) If you click on Mapping, you can view their interactive map which will tell you if you have broadband in your area and who the providers are. There are also tools for communities who want inital or better access to broadband for their areas, including grants for training.  They even have a Twitter feed!

If you aren’t in Washington, try looking up a “broadband office” for your state. It most likely will be part of the Commerce department.