Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thanks for your patience; in my absence there were several comments about farmers and vacations; basically, if you're starting a business, why design one that has a lifestyle that sucks?  My farm is in the flood plain, and during the winter I'm on 4 hour flood/dike call, from November to February.  That means that if I do want to get away I have to do that in the summer.  Why should the working condition of someone who farms be worse than any other profession?
The grand canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and having the opportunity to row a boat down the length of it, and look up at this for most of 3 weeks is something that I really  treasure.  Doesn't mean I'm less dedicated to my animals -- I lined up folks to cover for me while I was gone, and traded favors with other farmers, and worked like a dog for a month to make sure that everything was ok. 
So I'm going to stop being defensive.  Yea, I took a vacation.  Sue me. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Typically the farm falls apart when the farmer leaves, because the substitute doesn't know or care to run the farm properly. This can result in injury or death to the animals - as you well know.

Of course, if the farm runs better in the hands of the substitute farmer, that's probably a sign that one really suck at running a farm, or that the other guy is really good.

What sort of otherwise avoidable morbidity or mortality or theft (that you care to report) hapepened while you were gone?

Bruce King said...

I can't argue that you always feel that your farm would be better off in your own hands, but in this case I've got family and friends that did a great job.

Yes, I lost some animals that I might not have lost if I hadn't taken the time off. I'm guessing 30 turkeys (moving the poults resulted in some losses, probably due to cold), 15 piglets and probably stuff I don't know about yet.

I've started and run several businesses; having the view that you are irreplaceable, even at your own operation, is silly. Next year I'll have stuff in place to limit the losses further.

It's that masochistic farmer ethos, coming out again.

Across The Creek Farm said...

well put bruce. everyone wants sustainability, and having a sane farmer is part of that. we've taken up the same viewpoint as you, giving up the farmers market strategy for a variety of reasons, but the biggest is so I can take my wife out on a date on Friday, and spend time with my sons. Plus I actually get time to work on the property.

Glad to here you guys got to unwind and have a good time.

shane said...

taking off tomorrow for 10 days of backpacking myself. i think it's essential to get away from the farm a few times a year.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for taking a vacation! You deserve it for working hard all year long!

Tamera said...

We missed you but glad that you were able to get away for awhile. We just spent 9 days in Cabo. The animals we left in capable hands.
A much deserved break for us as well.

dinkleberries said...

I agree the Grand Canyon is fab!
I do farm sitting for some gals in eastern Or and Wa and when they come back their animals are well fed, water buckets clean and full, grain bins topped up and stalls cleaned. I like to try to leave the place at least as good as I found it if not better. They had no piglets or turkey poults, so no dead animals. They have lots of goats so lots of milking. . . . All for a lousy $20 bucks a day. Anyways the idea is to do unto them as I would have done unto me. I'm cheap and don't want to pay much either. They have me back, so I must be doing a good job. I was shocked to hear the poor performance of your help last year, especially considering how well you paid him. Glad to hear your results were much improved this year. That's always my thought, next year will be better yet.

Anonymous said...

If your on 4 hour flood/dike call, what about the other 20 hours in a day? Whose holding the fort?

Bruce King said...

If the dike breaks it takes 8-10 hours for the island to fill with water. The danger of this is greatest during the flood season, from november-february. During those four months, I have to be ready to respond 24 hours a day to a dike break.

When I say I have to be on 4 hour notice, I mean that I cannot be doing anything that prevents me from responding to a potential flood emergency, and that's 24 hours a day, on call.

That's in addition to the normal farm chores and issues.

Does that answer your question?

Anonymous said...

Yes, that does. If there is an emergency,how long does it take to gather up the animals and take them to higher ground?

Mike said...

You sure have a lot of hecklers these days bruce. Im glad you had a nice vacation

Anonymous said...

How am I a heckler? These are legitimate questions. If Bruce doesn't want people to ask questions than don't blog.

dinkleberries said...

I agree with Mike.

Anon: If you read what Bruce already wrote you would realize that your redundant questions were already answered. But then again . . . . So, who's holding the fort for you????

Anonymous said...

I agree with dinkleberries. Anons questions are not legitimate and they don't know anything about farming. Most pigs can swim pretty good anyhow.