Monday, 3 February 2014

Wanted: A Farmer

The real world of job ads.  Seeking the following:

- Must have investment skills to know when to buy or sell a winner or loser.

- Must be able to operate twelve pieces of farm equipment, with six attachments each, in inclement weather (to include drought, heat-waves, wind-storms, and the fury of hail).

- Must have several years of veterinary practice to handle cattle situations (day and night), and be absolutely willing to put an animal down where they are in a bad state of living.

- Must be willing to haul hay in the midst of July, with 95-degree temperatures, high humidity, and suffer through hay fever episodes for days afterward.

- Must be able to note a sick cow from one thousand feet away.

- Must have mechanical skills to repair chainsaws, tractors, mowers, and trail bikes.

- Must have a carpenter background to fix or repair sheds, barns, dog-houses, or house shingles.

- Must show a proficiency in plumbing to repair pump house equipment, water lines, and septic tank episodes.

- Must show savvy in roofing.

- Must show a prowess in animal psychology, thinking or out-thinking a seven-hundred pound steer.....or a thirty-two pound border collie who thinks they are twice as smart as you.

- Must demonstrate competence in general repair of dishwashers, window air conditioners, ceiling fans, grain silos, and electric fences.

- Must have purchase skills to outwit commercial salesmen at their own game.

- Must be able to read through two hundred pages of badly worded and edited agricultural advice pamphlets put out by the state agricultural department.

- Must maintain a two-hundred-and-sixty booklet/pamphlet library on every possible facet of farm culture, life, science, and art.

- Must be willing to work from sun-up to sun-down, and sometimes until hell freezes over.

- Must be willing to deal with friendly neighbors on one day, and horrendous neighbors on the next.

- Must have an appreciation of fate.

- Must have absolute determination when faced with a fall "from grace", with bad luck running day-to-day, and the chances of drought always being a fifty-fifty opportunity.

- Must be able to walk away from a disaster with a "could-have-been-worse" view, and a perspective of a stoic man who got stung forty-four times then noting that it didn't get bad til the forty-second sting.

- Must have an over-abundance of common sense, wit, prudence, levelheadedness, practicality, and shrewdness, cleverness, gumption, sagacity, foresight, enlightenment, and perception.

- Must be able to handle a shotgun, a hammer, a chainsaw, a post-hole digger, and any farm equipment purchased without an instruction manual.

- Must accept idiot political folks telling you how to farm but never spent a day on the farm in their life.

- Must be willing to accept judgement passed down by God or some higher-source....or be willing to stand up against such judgement with the willpower of a strong mule.

- Must have great skill as a trader, merchant or salesman.

- Must have proficient knowledge on weights, measurements, estimations, dimension, density, calibration, scope, mass, volume, and thickness.

- Must demonstrate good planning skills....planning eighteen hours of work into a twelve-hour day. Should demonstrate ability to shorten processes, make shortcuts with only four minutes of analysis, and just say 'enough' when there just ain't no more sunlight.

- Should know how to market a one-thousand-dollar item for $1,400.  Should demonstrate ability to resurface and clean up a worthless item to be worth hundreds.

- Must be able to keep a balance sheet on cattle and expenses.  Should also be able to note cash flow projections, and be able to note profit/loss situations with minimal help.

- Must be able to handle toxic material, and know the right way to store deadly items.

- Should be able to know the sixty-two types of feeds for cattle, and how each has a different cost situation and different impact on cattle production for the year.

- Must have a basic working knowledge of ventilation, and the dozen cases where air flow is required.

- Must be able to work around diesel, wasps, copperhead snakes, angry bulls, fire ants, insane relatives, and heavy equipment.

- Must know all basic concepts of pouring, hand-floating, and finishing concrete.

- Must be a problem-solver, judge of character, instructor, character mentor, inventor, and part-time minister/therapist.

- Must absolutely have an overabundance of common sense, and determination to use that common sense for good (rather than evil).

- Must continually outsmart the farm border collie, day in and day out.

- Must have patience with idiots, salesmen, PhD agricultural dimwits, and poorly designed farm implements.

- Must have a sense of humor....of such that even gloomy dark days and woeful situations....are just a bump in the road.

- Must be simplistic in your view of life.  It's a fantastic journey, with lows, highs, curves.  It ought to read like a epic adventure that should have been written by Hemingway.  It ought hold you in suspense like a bold odyssey walk of life as described by William Faulkner.  It ought to read like a pilgrimage of fate and discovery described in humor by Mark Twain.  It ought ramble a bit on the expedition of a simple day starting out and some tragic bit of fate just happening at the right time, the right day, and right written by John Steinbeck.  Somewhere in the mix ought to be a curious poem with double-sided views and only Edgar Allen Poe could write.

- Must accept as a full-time vacation sick days....and occasionally a cold day in January where you can rest for a brief afternoon.

Forward your forty-four page resume and brief seventeen page cover-letter.  Free coffee, tea and spring water included as part of deal.  Ample bacon and biscuits included.  Diversity is noted in this case....are you willing to work?

(note: a fake farmer ad.  In case you were thinking this might be real)

Book Review: Crossing the Plains: Days of '57

By William Audley Maxwell

First, I should note's a free book off Kindle.

It's a pleasant read at roughly a hundred pages.  It's edited and written in a four-star fashion.  It's rich in details, which would provoke interest in the reader of the era and the people who made the cross-country trip.

So, the factual story? lays out this effort in 1857 of a wagon train that left Missouri, for Oregon.  Things go as well as you might expect.  There are some tragic elements, and a fairly difficult moment toward the last thirty pages of the book.

I would suggest....if you ever had a curious idea of what'd it take to cross the open plains, and why these people are a bit bolder on the west might want to pick up this book and examine the requirements of transiting across the nation...on foot or on a wagon.  I'd take a humble guess that less than one percent of the nation today....would be willing to take such a trip....if they knew of the potential threats along the way.

For a student of history, or curious notion of the old west.....pick up the book and enjoy the ride.