Poor dirt farmer…

So I am currently re-reading parts of the book entitled The Complete Agrarian Reader, a collection of essays by agrarians and their opinions on things. Probably the book that first introduced me to the idea. Actually, I should say, that made me realize it was not necessarily a some romantic notion that I alone had, that there were other people with similar thoughts on things.

Anyway, there is an introduction to the book by Barbara Kingsolver. In it she talks about her days in college and in the world at large where she in as many words hesitant or even almost ashamed of her background of having grown up on a Kentucky tobacco farm. Both the tobacco and the farm were considered less than desirable things to bring up in her circles of associations in a positive light so instead she stayed quiet. I have been there with her. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I would never deny, but there were times when I tried to distance myself from my own personal history.

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Weather, Technology, and Farming

I have stated elsewhere how I am a study of opposites – especially when it comes to such things as my desire to be farming and working outside, with horses versus what I actually do with technology. Normally, aside from minor record keeping with the farm tasks, there is very little overlap between the two. However, that changed the other day, interestingly enough because of the weather. And it occurred to me how often this is the case.

In general with the farm, especially growing crops and with delicate livestock like horses, weather is something that we keep an eye on. If there are winter storms, flooding, severe weather, or what have you we make changes in the daily routines and check on animals a lot more often. In some of those cases, as a winter or especially a spring storm blows in we will often put them up in the barn – often just in the nick of time.

Case in point of how this relates to my career in information technology. Every day that I see a big severe storm on the forecast I am always doing extra checking to make sure that systems are staying online, that I continue to have power to my servers, and that my multiple telecommunications connections are still online. Just this past week, we had a fairly severe storm (of a spring nature, lots of wind, lightning, rain) blow in – the severity of which caught me and apparently most forecasters by a bit of surprise. Anyway, I came out of a restaurant and everything was dark in the area. This including my server locations.

Just like I would do as a storm was coming in with the horses, I went into an emergency mode taking care of getting servers offline before the batteries died and eventually the restoration of everything once power was restored. Anyway, the point of all this, now I have twice as much reason to be the weather junky that I have typically been in the past.

Jousting, Horses, and Winter Blahs…

The following is from my blog over on MySpace (Medieval Jouster), I thought it would be good to include it over here as well, as this is the main place I intend to blog from this point forward. It is a few days old, mostly detailing things from weekend just past (11th-12th of January).

Horses in the SnowFor those that may be wondering why there is NOT much going on this blog – it is the off-season for the Northern Hemisphere as far as jousting is concerned. Especially for those of us that live more than an hour or two from the Gulf Coast in North America. Even more limiting is that in 2007 I did most of my jousting in the Northern reaches of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan and it looks as if that is where a good deal of it will be again this coming year (though I am also looking at trying to do some in the Carolina’s as well).

Anyway, the point is that jousting and preparation for jousting this time of year is about as boring and uninspiring as it gets. I spent the biggest part of my weekend tracking down and procuring hay for Jack, Angel, and the rest of the horse gang. This was no small feat given the draught we had from early summer forward this past year. Of course, once hay was found, you sure couldn’t tell anything of the draught. Since back in December, we have now been very wet and are probably catching up with some of the amount we are behind on – to the point of trying to flood some over the last week or so. Anyway, back to the hay, went to get it and nearly hung up the truck getting to where the hay was. Then of course it was spitting rain, thankful of that, as it had been raining a bit harder up until that point. And get this, starting the day the temperature had been in the upper 40’s. By the time we got out to load the hay it 40. During the 30 minutes we loaded the hay it dropped to 36 degrees.

Then came the fun of unloading it when I got it back to the barn where the horses are stabled currently. This was of course followed by then trudging the 1/4 mile with feed while hay went back on a pseudo carry-all on the tractor. But Jack and Angel were excited and glad to see me with the feed. They must have been watching – as they started getting frisky when I walked behind the barn, still a good bit to the pasture. That is what makes the winter time barely bearable with the horses.

Anyway, the point of all this is the ground is wet, muddy, and churns up way to easy. It is mostly rainy, or as it tried a bit yesterday, snowy, and if conditions are right, in this area, some kind of slushy icy mix. And the forecast for this week, may have solid ground, but that is only because it is going to be frozen with highs of around 20 degrees in the forecast I looked at last week (ice in the water troughs to be broken and removed – what fun). So, for at least another month or two not much in the way of riding or practicing – but a LOT of effort required during the short-term to keep everything ready.

Right now I am sitting here being bummed just thinking about how long it has even been since I have ridden. I knew I should have taken advantage of those last opportunities when I thought it was too cold or was just too busy as the last days of fall slipped away. I will be looking forward to early/mid March when Jack and I can hopefully slip off toward the Gulf Coast and participate in Gulf Wars – one of our favorites.