We Found a Miniature Jersey Calf!

This miniature Jersey calf was born about 1 week ago. She’s of course too young to take home now, but in several months time she’ll be coming to our farm. Look at that udder on momma — little milk and cheese factory. Yes, a lot has to go right and a couple years must past first, but it’s a start.

Now, what should we name her??

Pecans Cure by the Fire

cookie sheets of pecans curing by the fire
Freshly shelled pecans cure in cookie sheets near the fire

Northern California has many nut trees — walnuts, pecans, almonds. Near Chico, these trees grow old and large along the streets and in people’s yards and in farms and orchards. David has cultivated relationships with landowners who do not pick or use the nuts that fall. He brings them home in the late fall and winter, and then shells them out. Newly shelled nuts can sometimes be a little green (meaning not quite cured/mature). Placing them next to the fire like this hastens the curing process.

Running on Generator

Maybe PG&E is giving us a preview of life after they go bankrupt later this month — no power?

Or maybe the little storm we just had dumped a tree on a line somewhere.

I started this post last evening around 5:00 p.m.  Power came back on, unannounced, around 8:30 p.m.  Woke up this morning with no power again.  

This is what PG&E thinks it knows and is reporting: someone hit a power pole last night.  ETA is 8:00 a.m. this morning for restoration.

And this is all I know:  happy to have a generator, a little gasoline to fuel it, and a transfer switch at the breaker box!

When the power goes out, we all get to realize how fragile our modern, energy-dependent way of life is.  That’s always unsettling, but something worth being aware of, daily.  

I’ll add that our economic and political way of life is also fragile – a lot of energy went into creating it, it takes a lot of energy to maintain it, and it only takes one idiot or accident to do some serious damage to it.  But, if the repair team is bankrupt or shut down, who ya gonna call?

Squash in Abundance

Below is a wagon-load of winter squash and pumpkin, including butternut squash (Waltham and Pennsylvania Dutch), blue Hubbard squash, Gete-Okosomin, North Carolina candy roaster, and a couple pumpkins that don’t match their seed packets!  The largest Hubbard is about the size of a basketball.  The largest Pennsylvania Dutch butternut (crooked necks) were about 20 lbs.wagon of winter squash, including butternut (Waltham and Pennsylvannia Dutch), hubbard, pumpkin, North Carolina candy roaster

The large Pennsylvania Dutch butternut turned into three casserole dishes of cooked squash.  Great texture and taste as well.three steaming hot casserole dishes full of cubed, butternut squash just out of the oven, resting on top of the oven

Rainy, Cold, Windy Day — a good day for politics

California State Flag flies in wind by barnThe California state flag flies by the barn.

As Americans, and as Californians, we stand on the foundation of all before us, all of it, for better or worse.  Our perspectives are nurtured, informed, limited and challenged by what we see, and what we don’t see.  We try to make sense of things in our various ways, and we try to be good people.  We do value the fruits of hard work,  just laws, education, science, technology, opportunity, and a functional civic life.  On a blustery, winter’s day, after the holidays, we have the luxury of some time to read, think and write, to participate in our collective, civic life.  Here’s what came of that, today (in addition to letters to senators and representatives):

In 2018, one of the final acts of the 115th, Republican Congress in the United States was to acquiesce to their Republican President’s refusal to sign legislation to keep government workers paid and offices open.  Instead of standing strong and overriding a veto, the Republican Congress caved, and thereby became complicit – enabling their President to start harming the country and its citizens and to use this pain as a bargaining chip for money to build a great wall on the southern U.S. border.  The complicit Republicans also assumed that in 2019, they could blame Democrats in the 116th Congress for the mess.

It is amazing to me in 2018 that Republicans discarded their congressional power to override presidential vetoes.  In 2018/2019, Congress could have/can restart government any time it wants to by sending the legislation recently passed by the House and previously approved by the Senate (in 2018) to the President, and then, if vetoed, overriding that veto.  It is clear, however, that Republicans want to play a game with the strength of our government and the lives of our people – because they are not even attempting to use their veto power.  The Democrats and Independents are clearly willing and able to provide funding legislation to re-open government.  The Democrats are not the problem.  Any insistence by Republican congressional leaders or the President that the Republicans are not the problem is a dog not hunting.  This is obvious to nearly everyone.

Immigration, unrest in Central America, pressure on our southern border – these are very real challenges.  We have fences and walls in places people are most likely to enter.  We have other means of surveillance and monitoring in places without walls and fences.  The immediate problem is not the lack of walls or fences, but that we have people fleeing their homes in Central and South America.  This displacement cannot be fixed by spending money on a wall in a remote desert where few people can survive or even want to go.  (If we want to build infrastructure, let’s do it in areas where Americans live and work).  It makes no sense to hold federal workers and government offices hostage to a bad wall idea just because the bad wall idea is the liar-president’s ill-conceived campaign promise.

Here are some additional points on this particular shutdown and president:

  1. “a long-term/everlasting shutdown would essentially dismantle the United States … Ultimately, the United States would likely dissolve and separate, as highly unequal states would vie for the country’s resources … As Dr. Lance Dodes, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical school, explains it,in a fiduciary position such as the U.S. presidency—where one is bound by duty to act for the benefit of others—that lack of empathy is fatal to the performance of the job.”  From https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/1/4/1823563/-As-Trump-vows-to-prolong-shutdown-Americans-may-find-out-what-government-by-sociopath-really-means
  2. “Since there is no rational strategy underneath it all, granting him [Trump] what he wishes was bound to cause him to deteriorate and to cause devastation to the nation—we have not yet seen the end … The overall effect is what we call “shared psychosis”: the population starts taking on the same symptoms as the person who is ill. The portion that “desires” Mr. Trump’s presidency may seem as if they are getting what they want, but the longer he stays, the more deleterious his effects will be, finally driving himself and them to destruction … A most recent example is the government shutdown over border wall funding, with Mr. Trump claiming that it will go on for “as long as it takes” until he gets the $5 billion dollars he is demanding. The real situation does not matter to him, and he will insist for erratic reasons—although “madness” has its own method—even if it hurts him … Indeed, he will become increasingly self-destructive, as well as damaging to the country, the more his condition worsens … Not to apply the correct treatment—which is containment and an urgent evaluation—is to enable the illness, and there is no good ending to this. Oversight is fine, but to believe that we can simply proceed with the normal course of investigations without responding to the medical need is irresponsible in the lack of understanding of what level of crisis we are facing. Neither is it humane to Mr. Trump at this time; criminal responsibility is important, and he has not shown any condition that would exonerate him, but we must address first things first in an emergency … His dangers are no longer probable but demonstrable: his attraction to cruel and violent policies; his effectiveness in inciting violence; his stripping of moderating forces; his pursuit of a position of power without appropriate qualifications; and his shaping of the national and international culture after his own mental state—all fit the pattern of well-known, dangerous personality structures.” From https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/yale-psych-prof-explains-trumps-pathology-hes-dangerous-ever/

And back on the southern immigration issue – could it work to strengthen and expand the work of our embassies and consulates in Central and South American countries?  Can we increase schools and service opportunities in those countries?  Increase our cultural exchanges?  Work more closely with the United Nations to monitor and enforce basic human rights in those countries?

On our borders (Northern and Southern), we’ve been doing a great job of detecting attempted unlawful entries and reducing unlawful entries.  We are having this success without building a solid barrier the length of the entire border.  Undetected and detected, unlawful entries have significantly decreased (93% and 69%, respectively) between 2006 and 2016.  Successful, unlawful entries decreased 83% from 2000 to 2016 — https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/BSMR_OIS_2016.pdf.

Congress, the Republican parts of it, are harming the TSA, the IRS, the NPS (among many others) and our own, hard-working citizens by enabling their president’s wallmania shutdown.

So, this is my message to Republicans in Congress:  Be done with your wallmania shutdown.  It’s yours and you can’t stick it on Democrats.  Do your job and use your veto power to re-open all of our government offices and services. Then stop trying to fly your tired canard about Democrats being weak on border security.  Nearly all want secure borders.  Most Americans also want those secure borders to be functional.  Read your own DHS border metrics – see how well we are doing without a wall – look for ways to improve and leverage what we are already doing and also look for ways to mitigate unlawful entry attempts before they start by increasing humanitarian outreach and services in countries south of the border.

Happy New Year!

While at the national level, people argue about walls and fences, here on the farm, we just build ’em.

Happy to announce that we were able to use this holiday season to finish the livestock fence around the upper pasture.  Now we can introduce the dogs and the goats to a whole, new world.  None too soon — the grass pastures are dormant now and the goats have been pushing boundaries and showing up in places where there should not be goats … and eating things goats should not eat.

We posted about this fence once when we started this project in March last year.

The picture here is a woven-wire fence with a little snow on it … no snow here on our fence today,  but this old photo seemed appropriate in the middle of Winter … snow on fence