Natural born gleaner

I’m at home this afternoon, admiring the sunshine from the comfort of my bed, while a head cold (or something) does a number on my ability to get shit done. I did work for a while this morning, but no one wants baby greens that’ve been sneezed on and I was slow as hell anyway, so my boss suggested I go home. That’s the crappy thing about labour jobs: It’s not like in my computer geek days, when I could soldier on as needed, through most ill health… I couldn’t always make it to the office, but emails and IMs made my physical presence less than necessary. Which is in direct contrast to now, where my physical presence pretty much *is* the job.

I’m reminded of when I got my period during the months I was working at the construction site: Standing at the top of an 8 foot ladder in an unfinished section of the building, measuring a length of steel conduit for installation on the ceiling, as a sudden massive mentrual cramp rocked my body. I grabbed the top of the ladder and held on until the pain dulled enough for me to climb down, then dosed myself with more pain killers. I think that was the first time I missed working a desk job, where there was nothing much to fall off of save an ergonomic rolling chair, and nothing bad to land on save a dirty section of wall-to-wall carpet.

Before I felt as crummy as this, the illness was just another round of bad asthma, and I was trying to keep busy in between long bouts of laying around in bed with Oats, who has been sick as well. One of my projects has got me kinda stoked, because it might make me a bit of money for a pretty small investment of time and supplies. There’s a lot of random waste at the farm, simply due to the economics of staffing and space: Sometimes, it makes sense to plow in a field of young, under-producing rhubarb plants so that the area can be sown with higher-grossing winter root veggies. Enter the over-enthusiastic farm hand! I dug up as many of the plants as I could, and stored them on my patio in a big bin. On Friday, I went through these rhubarb roots, chopping them into smaller segments and replanting them in 1 gallon plastic pots (also free, from the farm). It made 22 new plants, and that was only 1/3 of what’s still to be done. My plan is to let them grow for a few weeks, then sell them via the local free online classifieds.

I did the same with the strawberry runners, which I had to cut and remove anyway as part of my regular strawberry bed maintenance last Thursday.

Realistically, this little gleaning project is not going to make me rich, but it sure as hell makes me feel better about some of the decisions I’ve made in the past few months. Despite my last post, I’m still uneasy with choosing farming (and sustainable energy networking) over moving up through the world of trades. In fact, I’ll probably always feel like this, because I’m a product of a capitalist system and my mind is warped.

Also warping my mind is the impending visit of my father and stepmom. I love them, and am looking forward to having them here, but every conversation I’ve had with my dad these past several *months* has been about the visit and I’m so bored by it. He oscillates between casually insulting my chosen city, and casually questioning my success as an adult human being. Really, Dad, there are *lots* of things to do here (he keeps lamenting the lack of interesting stuff around where I live), and really, you *don’t* have to rent a car (he’s free to use ours, as we’re far from car-dependent). I haven’t argued with any of his offers of grocery shopping, however, because though Oats and I have a very well-stocked pantry, we’re penny-pinchers who buy store brands in mass amounts, and rarely treat ourselves to the variety or quality of foods my parents would get.

Also, cooking will unite us… I’m even planning on getting fresh goat milk from a local dairy, so that we can make cheese together. Stuff that into squash blossoms, then fry in a cornflour tempura batter? Yes, please!

I hear parents always have trouble treating their kids as grown ups: Is this rumour true? I suppose my mom’s still pretty parental towards me, just differently than my dad, and I can handle it better. She likes to sit and read or write emails in a companionable silence, whereas my dad likes to do more talking. As well, she’s already semi-parented my three older step-brothers into their adulthood, and seems more comfortable with stepping back from her role as guardian. My dad, he’s a hoverer.

My stepmom, luckily, is not, or not with me at any rate… My younger half-sister, her daughter, bears the brunt of that. With me, my stepmom is fun and interesting. She has also been very supportive of me going into the trades, more so than other 3 folks I call parents. That’s the nicest thing about having so many of them: I can shop around for opinions, more so than my peers who have just two.

In other news, wanna know what Oats and I have been doing while sick in bed? Hmmm… Okay, aside from the obvious? We’ve been watching a certain television show about four women in a big city, because Oats had never seen it before and this fact blew my mind. Let me tell you, watching Sex and the City with a (gender)queer feminist for the first time is hilarious, especially if she’s simultanously reading the snarky episode summaries on Television Without Pity. Oh, the snark! Oh, SATC! How I love to hate thee, and even more, how I love to share my hate for thee with my lover.

Hate-ons aside, I should probably add the show to the list of things that are warping my mind, because it made me desperately crave nice hair. I haven’t had my hair cut since before I went to Australia over a year ago, and it was getting not only frizzy but boring. I recognized the teevee-induced vanity for what it was just in time, and managed to solve the problem myself with a pair of sharp scissors. One step further and I’d have dropped $80 at a salon, and that’d be all my gleaning money gone in one fell swoop. Now I’ve got asymmetrical shaggy bangs and the hair on one side of my head is much longer than on the other side, and I like it very much. Take that, New York City.


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