urban farming ftw.

yesterday was wild and woolly, all day long. i left the office for my lunch break, stopped by the cafe to post a flyer for my upcoming show, and ran into Bryan. a pleasant surprise. q-Staff has just bought a new building, a warehouse downtown, to house their theatre. I told Bryan “I didn’t expect to see you again at all until the remodel was done!” he said, “you probably won’t. in fact, you’re not even seeing me now!” and then invited me to swing by the new place anytime, with no expectation of having to pitch in on the work if i show up, as he wants to show it to me. I am warmed by this indication of his fondness & respect for me. makes me want to find an hour where i actually can pitch in. :) or at least drop by. that much, i will figure out.

while we’re talking, my phone goes off. Jenny & Sarah had taken Henry, our big clonking Ford work truck, to the feed store, bought feed for the next six months, loaded it up, and discovered that the truck would not start. she was in the process of trying to find somebody to jump it and called to ask if i knew any tricks about getting that hairy old truck started. i suggested the one i do know (let it charge a long time before starting and stick a screwdriver in the starter if it won’t turn over), and then i called Alan to ask if he had more information. he said, “oh, the truck was really low on gas.” whoops. i called Jenny back with the info. she switched tanks (it’s one of those) and got a jump. she decided to go home and let Alan or i deal with the gas later, in case the truck wouldn’t start again at the gas station. Her instinct proved infallible: they got as far as the on-ramp from Broadway to I-25, when the second tank ran out of gas. They were about 1.5 miles from home, and of course, the truck did not have a gas can riding around in the cab. *sigh* so, they lock up, and hike over to the nearest gas station, which is closer than home, to buy a gas can and some gas. Meanwhile, i get another call — our baby turkeys have arrived at the post office. in Rio Rancho. Why the post office cannot decide which facility to send our birds to is a mystery to me. naturally, this one is as far away from us as you can possibly get in the Abq metro area. I have no car in town. I can’t get ahold of Jenny because she’s busy hiking across the freeway, so I text everybody in our entire farm network to see about picking up the birds. Rev is also carless in town. Tristan is in the middle of clinicals for nursing school. Billy is teaching. Meggie, physically closest to the post office, is at work and can’t go do stuff like this. Alan, at work in Santa Fe, is inspired to a flurry of activity towards getting a car and getting down there. He almost has this lined up when Jenny calls me back and says that she can go get the birds by five. we straighten out a scheduleing confusion about the automatic-gate estimate-people who are or are not coming. they’re not. So she puts 2 gallons of the gas in the truck, but then the truck still won’t start. She & Sarah decide to hike home from where they are, across the river on the freeway. It’s that or go five miles out of their way to another bridge (or wade across the actual river, I suppose, and it was rather cold out for that kind of nonsense). Someone going that way stops and offers them a ride, which they take, complete with mariachi music. They get home, and head out to drop by the hardware store for a month’s worth of project shopping, and then go get the chicks. While this is going on, the post office ladies call me again to tell me that someone really must come get the birds. “we’re on our way,” I tell them. They sound skeptical, but they assent to my version of reality.

Meanwhile, there’s Henry, full of feed, parked on the side of the Broadway I-25 on-ramp. Alan and I are both nervous about this, given last weekend’s theft experience and the approaching rush hour traffic. So I ask my boss if I can leave to deal with it. She agrees. I race out and just make it to the 4pm bus, arriving home at 4:45. I change clothes, call AAA. At AAA, a jovial man answers the phone with “This is triple A, how can I improve your day?” that helped, right there! i tell him, “well, you can get my truck started,” and we set that up. I take my VW over to where Henry is parked. relief–the feed is still there! However! I have left the truck keys in the dining room. dur. So back I go (it’s a 5-minute drive, happily), fetch the truck keys, and go back to Henry again. Then i hang out for a half hour waiting for AAA to arrive. The plan is to jump it and take it home, and then Alan will get off the train and ride to the VW (Lilly) and take *her* home. Unless I can get somebody else to help me with that sooner. Meanwhile, Alan’s train home from Santa Fe is running 45 minutes late because there’s been a car crash (*not* involving a train) on the tracks and the train can’t get to the Depot, so they have to bus the passengers from the Depot to where the train is.

But when AAA arrives, the guy has a big flatbed tow truck that has a jumper-cable access/ set-up on the side of the cab, so that he would normally park alongside a stranded vehicle and jump it. Alas, he cannot do this, nor can he turn around, because the on ramp is a freaking on-ramp, and it’s only so wide –and it’s rush hour by now, and there are cars whipping past us at 65mph every couple of seconds. he can’t pull up on the other side, because there is a sheer hill dropping off steeply about two feet from Henry. We decide to tow the truck home and then jump it, me leading with Lilly.

Happily, this actually works. I call Alan and let him know he can come straight home. However, I’ve only got 2 gallons of gas in the truck, and the truck is loaded down with feed. The AAA guy drives off, and Tristan and I unload all the feed into the driveway while Henry sits there recharging (this truck has a huge initial electrical draw when it starts up, and always needs to sit a bit before you get going), instead of driving around back to unload and risking it running out of gas again. Then i head down to the gas station and fill up both tanks, take a notebook out of my purse and transform it into a gas-mileage log, noting odometer reading, gallons in the truck, and the date. This is the new System, and we will all collectively adhere to it to prevent days like this from happening to anybody anymore.

I get back and park. whew. okay. Tristan is loading bags of feed into a wheelbarrow and trundling them back to the barn. I get engaged in that task, and while we’re unloading, Jenny and Sarah return, complete with a big peeping box of baby turkeys. woo! success! the box is very noisy (which is why the post office called three times to tell me about it, no doubt), and the post office ladies have affixed a marshmallow peep to the top of it. very cute. in spite of my suspicion that peeps don’t actually compost.

All but one of the turkeys was healthy and strong. Tristan had finished installing the lids on the brooders and putting down paper for the baby birds just before I arrived the second time. We get water, dip their beaks in it, show them where the food is, and get the heat lamp turned on, set up blankets over the lids of the brooders to keep the heat in. They are all different colours–we have at least four breeds of hertiage birds in this flock! And they are noisy and fast and vigorous. Thank goodness.

That all being done, the day mellowed down into merely dinner and reading together. whew. with any luck, that’s enough crazy for the next two months!