June 12, 2008

This morning’s thought of the day is, "no kidding". I’m paraphrasing my reading the paper before starting work…."fires break out all over the valley from high winds"…..no kidding. "Winds are hammering the region’s farms and ranches"…….no kidding. You get the idea.

Yesterday I picked the first of the new crookneck squashes. The winds have battered the plants so hard that some of the main stems are half cracked (not generally considered to be a good thing). No problem thinning the fruit trees, the wind has shaken all the extras onto the ground. The birds are irritated. The people are irritated. Tomorrow there is supposed to be less wind but it will be 100 degrees instead. All that can really be done is to smile and say "welcome to farming". Somehow most of the flowers have survived the onslaught, although the sunflowers have been blown to a 60 degree angle. The good news is, the next wind is supposed to come from the south so maybe they’ll get blown back in the other direction.

Work seems to be picking up–we travelled to Yuba City last week to buy bulk seed for corn, many fall crops, and lots of watermelons. We’re planning on a late crop, because as usual, we broke new ground and are planting 6 weeks later than is ideal. We’ve also been busy with some new endeavors, everything from bottling lavendar distillate to maybe starting some new corn growing projects with a local grist mill. My bad Spanish continues to improve at a rapid pace. Every week I learn several new words and phrases so as to enhance my ability to be misunderstood. I really feel sorry for the ladies who work with me. They listen all day long, patiently, to a stream of what is probably mostly unintelligible jibberish. We practice English too, but I probably have an unfair advantage since I was lucky enough to learn other languages in a formal setting. This is the first time I’ve learned a new language "on the fly", with only a sort-of book and trips to the computer for rapid translation. Spanish interests me from one perspective–many of their words are the same as English words that are associated with a much more advanced level of education. For example, "easy" is "facil". "Facile" is another way to express "easy" in English, but not too many people on the street talk about what a facile experience they just had with their new ATM card. I like those words, because they stick in my mind instantly. Where I seem to trip up over and over is the numbers. "Catorce" is fourteen, "cuarente" is forty, and for whatever reason I cannot recall "catorce" without some moments of hard thinking. I also routinely mix up "five" and "fifteen".  But, 3 months ago I wasn’t past one through ten, so I guess it’s all progress. It’s one way to pass the time while sorting all those strawberries…….and, the language comes in pretty handy at farmer’s markets. Many people come who speak no English, so without the ability to transact a sale in Spanish, the dinero goes somewhere else.

Well, I have 21 items on my day’s list, time to get going!

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