Mindless mandates have killed many small farms

Canes at the ready, the Old Men of the Mountain attacked the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg on the history-making date of April 29, 2014, and to many of the OFs it is still winter. Some have even put the lawn mowers away, and gassed up the snow blowers.

The OFs that had farms or grew up on farms began talking about the types of animals they raised on these farms. Most were the usual kinds — cows, horses, mules, pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, turkeys, and goats. These were the mainstay of the farm.  Some of the OFs had, not unusual, but “different” animals like guinea hens, peacocks, rabbits, or suchlike.

Growing up with these critters taught the OFs how different animals behaved. Some were quite alike and some were totally different but most had their own personalities. The OFs could tell if any of their animals were sick and required the attention of a vet.

On the other hand, if the animal was not sick but in severe distress, the OFs then knew which was which and it was time to get the gun.  Most OFs, with tears in their eyes, would painlessly put the poor animal down.

Continuing on with the farming theme, the OFs maintain that everybody is sticking their nose in the business of farming, and most of those doing the sticking have no idea of what they are doing. The OFs maintain that they should go back to washing windows, and keep their collective noses out of their business and everybody would be much better off.

“Well,” one OF said, “someone has to be looking out for the common people.”

Another OF picked up on this and said, “I am a common person.”

And the first OF replied, “You know what I mean.”

“Of course,” the other OF answered. 

The original OF said he knew some farmers would cut corners just like some contractors and even manufactures cut corners. One OG said he knew that, but that was not what he was talking about.

He opined that milk inspectors and people like that knew most of the time what was going on, and common sense was the norm between most of the routine inspectors and the farmer, but mandates like having to install bulk milk tanks, instead of using strainers and milk cans, put him out of business. This OF thought that milk cans were the cleaner way to go anyway, and he felt that, if the farmer wanted to install the bulk tanks, OK, but let the little guy still use his milk cans.

Such mandates have killed many of the small farms.  Most of these small farms are now in disrepair with barns and out buildings falling down. The once productive fields are now trees and brush.

“Yep,” another OF said, “the big money cats have persuaded the legislators to tax these same farms as building lots and the farmer can’t pay these high taxes so the developers jump in and buy the farms.  The guy in the capitol has met his commitment to the fat cat.

“We can take this little sneaky conspiracy one step further. Where does our food come from now — Chile, Brazil, Australia, Canada?   I bet,” the OF continued, “this is another commitment met, only higher up.”

End of OF rant.

Pessimists and optimists

Most of the OFs are glad to see April go, as much as the OFs were glad to see March go.

One OF said “he feels like he is wishing his life away by wanting May.”

Then another OF added, “Maybe this year, we will be glad to see May go also.”

Yet some of the OFs were talking about tomato plants and planting gardens.

Optimism and pessimism in one little conversation.

Strong concentration

The OFs had a small discussion on the phrase “lost in his work.”

One OG was picking up another OG to go to the breakfast and the OG being picked up was out working in his yard. The picker-upper drove up his driveway and the OG being picked up kept right on working.

The picker-upper OG turned around and drove back down the driveway and sat waiting for his friend who just kept right on working. The driveway was no more than 50 feet from where the OG was raking.

The picker-upper OG sat for a short while with the car running and finally blew his horn. The OG working in the yard just raised his head and waved in the general direction of the road and went right back raking.

The OG picking up this OF then really blew his horn, and, finally, the OG turned and saw the car and laid down his rake and walked to the car.

It is a good thing this scribe does not use names because, if anyone realized who this was and saw the OG working in the yard, they could drive right up his driveway, steal one of his tractors, drive it away, and the OG would never know it. That is what is known as engrossed in your work.

As one of the OFs commented, “That OG is the type of person you would want working for you — one that is not easily distracted.”

Those OFs who attended the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg (with some OFs quite removed from farming but still think they are farmers, yet are now are able to go out to breakfast and not to the barn) were: Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Dave Williams, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Harold Guest, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Karl Remmers, Dick Ogsbury, Andy Tinning, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ken Hughes, Jack Norray, Duncan Bellinger, Bill Krause, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.