April 26, 2011

How to Butcher a Pig

We've had some germination issues already in the greenhouse, but after Jacob gave me a few tips (dang!) things seemed to get better. Darn science anyway.

This year, Jacob has entrusted the Prairie Heritage Farm vegetable seedlings to me. Our first year, I was little more than (sometimes) reliable help. Last year, I took on a little more responsibility, but didn't really own any aspect of the operation (mostly on account of me being all knocked up and all.)

This year though, the veggies are mine, all mine. And although Jacob tries very hard to conceal it, I know this scares the living crap out of him.

We're both control freaks in our own right, but how we freak out is totally different.

I joke sometimes that farming would be a great relationship boot camp. One half hour herding turkeys with your mate will show you every issue you'll ever encounter in your marriage.

We're still working out the kinks in how to farm together and still like each other at the end of the day. Part of that is learning how to navigate each other's approaches to running a business.

Somedays, Jacob and I couldn't be more different in this regard.

Take for example, recent conversations about my management of the greenhouse. They generally go like this:

Him: (Carefully) Can I say something and you won't take it personally?

Me: You bet! (Words say "You bet!" but tone may say otherwise.)

Him: You're making sure everything is getting enough air, right? And, nothing is dampening off? And, we're on schedule, right?

Me: Of course I am. And no. And yes, of course we are. Of course.

(I then run out to the greenhouse to make sure that I've answered all those questions accurately.)

I haven't read a single book on how to start seedlings. Jacob has read like, one hundred and fifty-five books. (To that, Jacob would say, "Really? One hundred and fifty-five?" See, numbers are generally arbitrary to me -- sometimes only to be used for emphasis. I try to make it clear, which are for emphasis and which are fact, but am not always so good at it. This drives Jacob certifiably insane. A "couple" to him means two. To me, it can mean anywhere from two to 10 -- the fun is guessing by my tone and manner where in that range the "couple" actually is.)

Seriously (and by seriously, I mean literally) this is one of at least 10 shelves filled with books on soil, scythes, greenhouses, farming, homesteading, turkeys. You name it, Jacob has a book about i it.

Jacob keeps feeding me information from the books he's read, written by professionals (pshaw), and giving me tips from years of actual experience working with seedlings.

Meanwhile, I'm working off of feel and instinct with a just little bit of experience sprinkled in.

I know this is a huge limitation on my part, so, while I don't always let him know I'm doing so, I listen to what he has to say and am actually quite often hungry for any wisdom he has to impart.

For his part, even though he doesn't always appear to be happy to hear it, I'm usually the one who tells him it's time to stop researching plans for, say, a new turkey shelter and just put hammer to nail.

Our friend Karen painted a perfect picture of us when she said a few years ago that she had this image of the two of us out on the farm, Jacob sitting on the porch with his nose in a "How to Butcher a Pig" manual and me off in the distance, crouched in the field with a hacksaw to the pig's neck.

Some days, it feels like we're not too far from that. And, maybe that's a good thing.


  1. What can I say but, well put. I laughed my way through this read.

  2. Awe Courtney who needs directions when ya can learn by doing. Probably like 100 million times of so.
    What a joy to read your blog!

  3. oh my word, this is hilarious. you might as well be describing jon and me, except i'm the book worm and he's the one out there flying by the seat of his pants. makes for good balance, right? well, sometimes... :)

  4. Jacob: http://www.musee-rodin.fr/images/imagra/S788.jpg

    Courtney: http://www.toonpool.com/cartoons/Anger%20Managment_21226

    Fits my mental image to a tee. :D



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Google Ad