The Brambling Bunch

I bounced and slid up RSO’s slip’n’slide driveway Tuesday morning, thankfully making it up past the turnabout without getting stuck or flinging too much mud. I approached Logan, who was there hanging with the dogs, and we talked through our plans for the day. He was going to clean up the frozen, molded hemp remaining in the lower barn and get the water running, and I was gonna pull t-posts.

However, our t-post puller is a cheap one, and the ground was just a little too frozen. I decided to cut and clean up barbed wire from the old fence instead. However, when I opened up the door to granary west, the bolt cutter was nowhere to be found. I called Polly.

“Hey, remember when you wanted me to bring the pruners into town and I brought the bolt cutters accidentally? Whatever happened to those?”

“Hmm… they might be here; let me check. I’ll let you know.”

Thus, our conversation ended, and a texting conversation ensued. No barbed wire cleaning for me today. I grabbed a wire-brush and an armful of hand tools, to continue cleaning and oiling up our tools — a task that should have been done months ago. Meanwhile, I texted with Polly.

They’re not at my house.

Where do you think they are?

Probably in the bag of tools in the greenhouse.

Is it possible they’re still in the white truck?

Oh yeah; I didn’t have a key that day, so I just left them in there.

I called Kelly, and told her to grab the cutters from the truck on her way out of town.

Just then, Danny, Ed and David, our new guy, rolled in and ambled out of Danny’s vibe. Danny stopped by my tool cleaning station to orient himself for the day. I told him of our t-post and bolt cutter situation.

“Oh… well what should we do today then?”

We opened our weekly email, as Ed walked by. “Hey Ed,” I called. “Why don’t you inventory the hoophouse stuff?”


“You know, count the purlins and everything to see if we have enough supplies for that 4th hoophouse.”

“Oh yeah!”

Ed walked away, and we looked through our written plan for the week. “Hmm… you guys could… clean the cooler? Then it says ‘do repair on – tape in granary west…’ what is that?”

“Oh yeah! Repairing the tears in the hoophouse. We can do that after we clean the cooler.”

Danny grabbed David and got started offloading cooler carrots into boxes, and I got back to wire brushing the shovels. A few moments later, Ed approached excitedly, holding a small piece of paper in his hands, and smoking tobacco out of a blue metal weed pipe.

“It’s funny, you know how I forget shit sometimes?”


“I counted this all last year! Look, it’s all right here; I just found this!”

“Sweet dude; you should share that before it gets lost again.”

“Yeah, well I don’t have any minutes on my phone right now. I’m gonna go help Logan clean up hemp.”

From the arena, I heard intermittent bursts of the John Deere turning over, barbling and gurgling for breath. It didn’t start. Logan walked up. “Hey do you have some jumper cables? We’re supposed to have some here, but I don’t know where they are.” I grabbed him the cables from my trunk, and he headed back to the arena. It still didn’t start.


I finished the shovels and started on the rakes, while Logan and Ed started the great hemp fire of 2020 – sending great billows of smoke swirling around the workshop. I had just started to catch a buzz when Kelly rolled in and brought the bolt cutters over. She started loading hoses from the east granary into her van.

“Hey, what’re you doing? I thought we were going to need those to water hoop houses when Logan gets the water running. Polly told me that most of our hoses were at the greenhouse already.”

“What? I thought she didn’t have any hoses there, and were just using Farmshed’s.”

“Hmm, well we will need at least some of those here to water hoophouses. If we need those, I’ll bring them to town tomorrow after we water.”

“Well, I came here to clean the cooler, but that’s already done, so now I’m feeling kind of useless,” she lamented, understandably. She went off to check on the status of her compost piles.

Meanwhile, Danny scoured the shelves of the west granary, where the hoophouse fixing tape was supposed to have been. Finding none, for the third time, he and David set off with our newly acquired bolt cutters, to clean up barbed wire.

I got started brushing up the wheel-hoes, as Logan brambled out of the east granary, holding a small piece of hose in his hand. “Hey man, have you seen any of this around?”

“No dude.”

“Well, I swear we had more; I just don’t know what Oren did with it. I need it to get the water going.”

“Give him a call.”

Logan continued on his trek, and I moved on to the seeders. Danny and Ed loaded up in the Vibe to head back to town for some greenhouse and compost work, and Logan left to work on a construction project. We’d get the water going tomorrow.

Then there were three. I was finishing up on the hand-seeder — the last of the tools to be cleaned – as David approached me. It was his first day of working out at the farm with us, and we hadn’t really gotten to know each other too well yet. We shot the breeze for a few minutes as I finished my job.

“Yeah man, I’m just trying to get into the habit of taking better care of our tools. That’s been one of our shortcomings around here; just leaving tools laying out and everything. It’s just not good. I’m trying to work on changing the culture a bit, you know?”

“Yeah, that makes it hard to be organized and know where everything is at then, too.”

“Yep, that’s definitely a problem for us.”

“Really?” he replied. “From what I’ve seen, you guys are one of the most organized farms I’ve ever worked on.”

Yeah, I though wryly to myself. We’ll see about that.