Farmer John Writes: Buy The Rips?
Harvest Week 5, July 21st – 27th, 2020
A technician came out to the farm recently to work on a broken cooler. His pants were in shreds. “Did you buy them like that?” I asked disconcertingly.
“Nope, I just kept wiping my dirty hands on them till they came unraveled. My daughter buys them that way. I tell her it’s an insult to us working people.”
I thought of farmers’ mud rooms from the past, faded, torn coveralls hanging on hooks over muddy work boots, muscled farmers at the dinner table, hunched over plates of farm fresh food.
Some of the workers show up here in pre-ripped clothes. I wonder if some day they will be ostracized for imitating those who earn their rips, if social media will marginalize them for imitating those whose clothes get ripped while they work—who exhibit authentic rips. It will be labelled cultural appropriation.
“Its purpose,” says Tony Glenville, creative director at London College of Fashion, “might be to do with (faux) authenticity: I think there’s a vague feeling about integrity.”
Faux authenticity. Vague feeling about integrity. Really?
I was an anomaly at Beloit College in the late 60’s, clothes tattered, stained and faded from farm work, oil, and sun. There were 1200 students and I was the only one farming. At least one professor hated my tattered look, hated that I raised hogs while I was a student. He suggested, “maybe you should study at a state school, not a prestigious college like Beloit.” In another age, the students, too, might have made me into an outsider, a misfit, but at that time, they glorified me. They flocked to my farm. They marveled as they watched me milk. They helped feed the hogs.
Here’s a line I wrote years ago about my time at Beloit: “A young woman stumbled across the clods to my plowing rig in heavy eye shadow, a Saks 5th Avenue dress and six-inch platforms and insisted on plowing.”
I am much more of an administrator and manager today than I am someone who earns rips in the field or in the farm shop. I look down at my unripped pants feeling a bit of remorse. Why do I have a life where I don’t tatter my clothes on the sharp edges of a plow or catch a shirt sleeve on a harvest knife? I feel like the farm version of a suit.
Corn’s Coming Soon
This is the first year we have not irrigated the sweet corn. The rain has come at the perfect time, then the heat, then the rain, then heat, then…A great thing about the corn this year—it’s right outside my office window. I can watch it grow while writing Farm News.
I wonder about the people who do the weather forecasts. Do they evaluate the accuracy of their forecasts? When the forecast says 80% chance of rain, does it actually rain 80% of the time this 80% chance is predicted? I once had a manager here who believed the forecasts of the weather more than the facts of the weather. If the internet said it’s raining in our locale, he would think and say it was raining at the farm, even if it wasn’t raining outside his door.
We recently had a lot of garlic curing that needed to be brought in and a lot of carrots that needed to be lifted before it rained. The weather forecast was for no rain until the afternoon of the next day–0% chance of rain. Great, I thought. I have a huge, hard-working crew. We’ll bring it all in in the morning before it rains.
The day before at about quitting time, I said to Dulce, my office assistant, “You feel that air? It’s got moisture in it. Coming east sometimes from Lake Michigan, it seems, but moreso from the South, carrying humidity. Doesn’t synch with the forecast. It’s got water in it.” Do the weather forecasters ever even notice how the air feels, I wondered. Do they ever look at the sky? Where do they get their forecasts? Though the forecast said no chance of rain, it rained hard that night—it thundered and lightninged and the rain pounded.
Maybe there is no human doing the weather forecasts; maybe it’s just a bot.
Thank You for Your Many Comments on Farm News
We are getting a lot of feedback on Farm News this season, much more than ever before. Many of the posts are about share customization. Generally, it seems that shareholders are neutral towards customization or opposed to it; of course, there are exceptions. And, of course, most shareholders don’t post—what are their feelings about customization? Or about the season so far in general?
No Farm Field Day This Summer
Due to the restrictions on public gatherings, we will not have a Farm Field Day this summer. Sorry we won’t see you soon—hopefully in the fall.
We Are Most Pleased with our New Home Delivery Program
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David Lynch Does Weather, Doesn’t Do Rips
I don’t want to disparage all weather forecasters. David Lynch watches the sky in Los Angeles. Check out David’s weather reports. Also, see how David doesn’t allow rips in his pants.