Monday, September 14, 2009

Collections, Corn, The Universe and Other Ups and Downs

At the cross roads. Yesterday, suddenly, my phone rang. A girlfriend had to make an unexpected trip to her family for the day. Her brother needed some support and my friend Tricia asked me if I would join her. We had the most amazing day that covered the gamut of emotions! Road trip! Family needed some support in a difficult situation...and at a crossroads for a major life decision. We were on a mission from god!

Tricia and I had a pretty cool conversation about how the approaches to farming, agriculture and the environment have changed since the years we were kids. A lot of people wonder what my deal with farming versus other economies is all about...but I've lived on a farm. My family worked farms and a cattle ranch at one point. The experience hugely informed me becoming a vegetarian and researching for my entire adult life how we get food around the world. How that individual process of how we get food affects how we we live...and how we make a living. Both Tricias and my parents were in situations where the environment wasn't the priority...back in the was how to make money. And now it's only about how to make profit. Did you know that many of the fertilizers and chemicals farmers use to grow your food cause them lifelong illnesses? They have chemical burns and most farmers left the "business" by poverty. They were shut down by totalitarian agricultural corporations. Tricia and I talked a lot about how to communicate about food and how to grow food changed within our families as we were growing up. A lot of that had to do with teen rebelion. The kids of farmers had the exposure to different views about environment than their ancestors. It made for major coping skills or major fallout at times. We learned it's not easy to tell parents about change.

I love me a bonfire. To me this is just so beautiful. We walked around my friends family farm for a lovely tour. Many delightful surprises!

I learned how to drive on a truck very much like this one. And on a more modern truck on my family's ranch in Alberta. In Alberta a kid can learn to drive at 14 because the laws want to help farm families have as much use of family labour as possible. I smashed up one of the head lights but slowly got the hang of driving. This truck brought back many memories. While my friend was offering her support to her brother in need...her parents gave me a tour of their place and we had a beautiful afternoon visit. We talked for about three hours straight. It was such a treat to meet such wonderful folks and see where my friend came from and to tell her parents they raised an amazing woman! We talked about tractors, life commitments, art, work, the environment, faith, so many different topics. What a lovely conversation!

My friends dad has this amazing "hobby". Hobby isn't a good enough word. He has a passion and a calling. He has been reclaiming and overhauling these Massy-Harris tractors for decades. Did you know that Massy-Harris is originally a Canadian tractor company? Aren't they absolutely lovely?

Tricia's brother, former marine, calls these bottles of beer. "grenades" which I thought was so cool and so funny. I placed it next to a half litre bottle of water so you could see the scale.

This coincidently is an entirely different collection at a different house.

Hi Pony, it's Mark Wahlberg. Say hi to your mum for me.

We looked at property for sale.

Build it and they will come. The truth is out there. I want to believe. Don't ever show up in my emergency room, buddy!

I know you don't want to hear it, but it takes a half gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn.

We got to hang out for a bit at a real live opening season game party for the first Bears vs. Packers game. I loved this beer fridge made up to be like a glass of beer! The snacks were so great. One of the most interesting things about traveling between individual states in the U.S. is that every state has it's own unique foods and trends and traditions. I had never heard of "Bucky Badger Cheese With Port" before. It's a nippy sharp cheddar with wine swirled into it. We had a dip that was cream cheese on the bottom of the dip bowl then smothered with shrimps inside cocktail sauce. The dip was remarkably delicious. Our hosts had beer set up, incredible "shots'. These weren't jello shots, but baileys in whipped cream shots that you licked out of the shot glass. Outstanding! I had never been to a home hosted NFL party in the States before and it was so much fun. Dare I say much fun as watching a hockey game at your friends party. I used to play in bar NFL pools when working in Canada but never been to a house party before. I hope to go to a tailgating party someday.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a wonderfully relaxing day. I'm glad. (are you Shirley or Laverne? or am I?}

Peace out.

Beej said...

Tht was from me candy. i dont know how i goofed up but obviously i did!

Candy Minx said...

Great question...I don't know? You're so stylish I think maybe you are Laverne.


Gardenia said...

Sounds like such a wonderful trip. The tractors are awesome! I didn't know that about your background - Chuck is also from a farm background, his uncle still is farming in Iowa. I want to go see them before, it too, is gone and they are gone. I loved living in Iowa - in farm country. They are mostly gone now, bought out by huge corporations, the charming small towns - gone, the schools all consolidated necessitating long rides in the dark for country kids, the achingly beautiful farmhouses falling down - - -

LOL, I can't even "farm" in "Farm Town" and grow corn virtually without a guilty conscience!

I miss what once was - I'm glad you got to sort of "step back" a while and really enjoy this trip!

Beej said...

you would love a tailgate party, Candy.

The Bumbles said...

I agree with Beej - a tailgating party has Candy written all over it.

Sheila said...

I love me a bonfire too!
Your pictures of trucks and tractors are great and had Kendal Carson's 'I Like Trucks' humming in my head....

SeƱor Steve said...

I did not know that Massey-Harris was a Canadian company. They were popular machines on neighboring farms in my youth.

You touch on so many interesting subjects relating to small farms. I vividly remember in the 1950's my father fumigating the entire farm with DDT. Of course the Baltimore Orioles disappeared, but that seemed a small price to pay then for winning the war against insects that could ravage an entire crop nearly over night. We simply did not know that the full price was much higher than that.

Candy Minx said...

Gardenia, interesting time in history we have been able to witness.

People think I'm nuts when I suggest farmers are treated like slaves. They are cut off from seeing who buys their foods. Now we want them to grow food and also be "organic"...without realizing the changes are connected to everything. I truly believe to study a culture or see what their relationship to food is...and you will know how that group of people thinks. There are hundreds of other ways "to make a living"...but we have romanticised the idea of farms.

Hopefully...we will have communities in the urban centers who grow their own food. I realize we may not be able to feed all the people in the world if we return to huntiing-getherering economies...but I believe we need to study their economy in order to survive. We can have vertical farms in the cities...where food will be fresher, organic and not use petroleum for transport or fertilizer.

The Bumbles, and Beej,I better put tailgating on my "to do list". Of course...I realized that I have bene to a tailgating party before. The Grateful Dead concerts all had people in the parking lots having parties and selling or sharing food and merchandise and out of their vehicles. It's occurred to me that that might be where tailgating originated? I wonder? But I really want to go to an NFL tailgating party!

Steve, well Rachel Carson's seminal book "Silent Spring" wasn't written until 1962. Her book opened dialogue on how we we effect the area around us. There were envoronmentalists and naturalists before her...but her book showed us how to talk about these issues and how to investigate these issues.

There are infinite ways we can conflict resolve so many challenges in life. Due to the romantic belief systems like "the argicultural revolution" we think...we HAVE to live this way. We believe it's a sign of "progress". In fact, the turn to growing and controlling food was a desperate attempt to survive resource shortages. It wasn't a was a last resort for the groups such as the Fertile Crescent and dwindling resources of formally vibrant alternate economies.

We need to study our relationship with food in order to survive and resolve conflicts among humans. Period.


pjazzypar said...

Candy let me just say about the last photo "Milwaukee's Best" it ain't :-P