Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Sunday, November 05, 2006


There's a twelve foot high metal cube out in the front yard right now, and I can't figure out what to do with it.
I need to disassemble it, pack it into my van, and drive it to Texas. I just can't figure out how to do that.
The cube is a tree containment device, and it is of my own design. I've been years cooking this thing up, addressing challenges we have selling Christmas trees in Texas, and the structure out in the yard right now is my prototype. I've gotta build ten more when I get to Austin.
I need the prototype - it contains all the intelligence: measurements, hole diameters, pole lengths, etc. It's the model from which the others will be built. I just gotta fot it into a Toyota van.
The Christmas tree selling thing ends up being a bunch of people rolling into town and selling trees on a vacant lot somewhere. We get a huge circus temt erected for us, park a trailor next to it, build a few display stands for various stuff, and hang out a shingle. We store extra trees outside the tent in a sort of tree corral: wood posts sunk into the ground, connected by 2x4s, trees leaned against them.
That was all well and good until we started setting up on pavement, and on sites that had been graded for construction and had earth pack down to such a degree that no shovel or jack hammer could penetrate it.
I came up with a temporary solution a few years ago, a free standing structure built of wood that kinda looked like a huge swing set.It was time to upgrade to something permanent, something metal.
The cube was one of those things that came to me all at once. I had it sketched out in less than an hour, and a few days leter had the bugs worked out. It's just what we need: free standing and self-supporting, disassemle-able, reusuable. It's a giant step forward and will end up saving us lots of time and money, if only I can get it halfway across the country on four cylinders.
The seats are out of the van, and most of the poles fit in, kinda diagonally and wedged up against the passenger door, but they fit in. A few other poles fit in straight lengthwise - not too much clearance above the gear shift, but, well, I think it will be alright. The rest will have to go on the roof rack, and should be fine given copious amounts of duct tape, but still I harbor the fear they will go scattering all over the highway, perhaps in heavy traffic in Nashville or as I cross the Mississippi or somewhere in North Texas, just me and the Herefords.
But I might just get there.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free Bird

You don't really know how many people listen to NPR until you start walking around with a pink flamingo hanging from your neck.
That's what I did, anyway, Tuesday evening, for reasons of my own.
It turns out that there was a story just that day on All Things Considered about the pink flamingo factory, and how it was closing. And in the great game of free association that life often becomes, I became a trigger for the memory of that story for many people, and through the evening, they felt impelled to relate it to me.
My own relationship with pink flamingos started when I bought the farm. I signed a covenent with the folks I bought it from, an interesting little document where I agreed to not log, not hunt, not build a trailor park, etc. But before I set my quill to paper, I insisted upon one more inclusion: no pink flamingos. (It's there, you can go to the Madison County courthouse and look it up.)
Years ago, Van Halen famously put a clause in their touring contract: There was to be a bowl of M&Ms backstage, and all the red M&Ms were to be removed. It was their way of seeing if the venue had actually read the contract or not.
I, like most organic farmers, am hugely influenced by Van Halen, and did the pink flamingo thing just to see if the lawyers were actually reading the thing. And because I thought it was funny.
The other thought I have about pink flamingos was what an artist/activist friend once said. She lived in Georgia in a trailor near a defense contractor (that's all I can tell you.) She worked on her art, and monitored the comings and goings inside the plant (that's all I can tell you.) And she had pink flamingos everywhere.
"Who decided they're tacky? Who's the culture police?" she'd ask in Georgia drawl.
Oh, and about me and why I choose to hang this burden around my neck.
I was wearing rubber boots and an old rain slicker. And a bird around my neck. I was the Ancient Mariner.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
-Sam Coleridge

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