Working on the farm, for the first time since I was eighteen, was a success. I didn’t die. The hours are long and the pay is on par with wages of non pirates in Somalia. But I do it for the experience and the bitches.
Day one, I sprayed herbicide all over the place. The spray rig drives itself via GPS and some sort of wizardry I’ve narrowed down to either magic beans or prayer circles. Farming has become a highly technological field and in the process has stopped using slave labor. Who knew?
The amount of skill required to do farm work would shock the average city dweller. Most urban jobs are one or two skill intensive. Sales? Talk people into buying burden. Computer Tech? Fix glitches caused by people who spit in the face of NSFW. Chef? Make other peoples recipes and feel like a rebel when you go heavy on the cumin. Of course I’ve downplayed the work of others to boost my case for farmers.
Farmers fix every goddamn thing because all of it will break and break hard. Weld it, nail, glue it, duct tape it, whatever it takes to keep moving. Driving a tractor for 12 hours straight is considered downtime. Selling product to an obscure buyer who will back out at the last minute or renege on a deal in an effort to get the crop at a lower price is commonplace. Weather of all kinds can erase the past weeks work in a matter of hours. Weather will make or break you. Too much rain, you’re screwed. Too little rain, you’re broke. The rain must be spread out and time perfectly.
The first job I was stuck with, after they baited me in with the spray rig built on alien tech, was seedman. A great job if you can get it…. in the porn industry. As far as farming goes, it’s bitch work. The seedman will park his ignorant self in a pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with five pallets of seed. The pallets have roughly forty eight bags of seed each. The bags weigh fifty pounds apiece. He will open up bags and align them along the edge of the trailer in eager anticipation of the tractor drivers need for fill up. He will then open up the planter boxes on the planting implement, swiftly fill each box while trying not to spill seed or fall to his knees while screaming to whatever deity he wronged to deserve this lot in life. The temperature hovers around a hundred. Air conditioning isn’t part of the benefits package either.
The next step after shooing the driver away is to burn the empty bags of seed. Starting fires while sweating your tits off makes for pleasant feelings. After the bags have been burned and no pasture has caught fire (it happened twice), he’ll take a fifteen minute break, of which he’ll spend eight cussing and seven hoping the tractor blows up. The day will average out at 14 hours.
Here are a few pictures of my misery and it’s tools.
On occasion I’d have to go do a menial chore such as picking up parts from John Deere. I’d live for those. I’d get to drive a truck with A/C. I’d leg wrestle a high functioning leper to get the chance at cool air. I felt like the one person who got away from the villain in a horror movie. I’d laugh manically and think about all the things I’d do with my new lease on life. Such as learn how to use Twitter, pen a letter to Robin Thicke asking if he understood wrapping girls in plastic makes you sketchy but kudos on turning the final steps of a well thought out murder sexy, form a drug addiction and blame it on my time farming, play one on one with a little person, ride topless in the sidecar of a motorcycle driven by a burly biker and stare down EVERYONE, and lastly I’d sleep until my depression healed itself. The feeling was short lived. For prides sake, I’d return and submit myself to the torture normally reserved for ones with low education or questionable citizenship. I had to complete it. Quitting is for people with better things to do.
I stayed on as seedman for about ten days. The Farmer eventually moved me to tractor driver ,which was a horrible decision on his part. He immediately regretted his talent evaluation skills after watching me drive like Amy Winehouse on a sad day. I got scolded. It was uncomfortable. He apologized after he realized that the tractor was improperly weighted. I was embarrassed and pissed off. We moved passed it. I only worked a few days after that. Hell, maybe we didn’t move past it. I wasn’t fired but planting season was coming to an end, and my bitch skills weren’t needed.
I learned more about farming than I ever thought possible and I left with a gratitude for the amount of work it takes to bring raw materials to the masses. If you ever have the chance to work on a farm, do it. You”ll regret it and be glad about the experience all the same.
P.S. Side story
One day, we were blessed with a land owner spending the whole day watching and evaluating. He was in the medical field so his expertise on farming was astounding. I snapped a picture of him. I was about ninety percent sure he was gonna pass away right in front of my eyes. His breathing was labored, and bending over took the effort of running a 16K on horse tranquilizers while wearing a bee keepers outfit.
I feel a bit mean by posting that but I can’t stand meddling with an air of superiority. He was nice in his own way. He also thought he was greater than the people working. He shouldn’t have done that.