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Harvesting our Undies!!

20 Jul

The day finally came to harvest our Undies!!!

If you remember back about two months, the kids and I buried some tighty whities in a tall fescue field by our house. The plan was to dig them up and see how much activity was in the soil that would breakdown the underwear.

If I’m being honest, I was nervous. I mean, what if they looked like perfectly white underwear??!!! What if our soil that had been tilled just this past fall had really killed all the microbes?! What if our efforts to keep our soils healthy didn’t matter?! What if, what if, what if….

But there was nothing left to do but dig….

and dig….

and then we finally started to get a glimpse of the dirty waistband. It was an exciting moment as we pulled them out and saw that there was absolutely nothing left. Like nothing!!!!! Holy smokes!

It was a pretty fun experiment to see how much just 60 days in some healthy soil can destroy a pair of tighty whities!

This isn’t the usual way we check on the health of our soil. But it was a cool way to connect with an item that everyone is familiar with to the soil that we as farmers are familiar with.

Why I’m Supporting the Walk Out

20 Jun

The big news today from the Capital might seem bigger than normal; today all Republican Senators are nowhere to be seen.  They have walked out in a last ditch effort to stop not only an unconstitutional bill, but one that would devastate Oregonians.  I’m talking about House Bill 2020 regarding Cap & Trade.  You can read more regarding my concerns with this bill here.  And what this bill will cost you as an Oregonian here.

I testified against this bill in the very early stages of session.  Now, as the end of session is looming, the stakes, along with blood pressures, are rising, and the hope that voices are heard seems to be a pipe dream.  The lack of communication and team work around this legislation is part of why I am supporting our senators.  Not to mention, Senate Republicans standing up and saying that they won’t comply with an action that is clearly unconstitutional (trying to avoid 3/5 vote requirement) is something worth a “walk out”.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, it isn’t even the first time it’s happened this session actually.  Historically though it is interesting to note that In 2001, House Democrats, then in the minority, walked out for a partisan political issue.  While Senate Republicans today have left in an effort to protect our economy from the disastrous deal on cap and trade, in 2001, Democrats left simply to give themselves a political advantage.

The Democrat walk out in 2001 was very important however….if it weren’t for their walkout then, we very likely wouldn’t have had a walk out today.  Their walk out changed the course of our state in a way that benefited only the Democrats.  They circumvented the political process that would have allowed the House and Senate, then controlled by Republicans, to pass a redistricting plan.  Because they walked out, the Democrat Secretary of State crafted one of the most politically motivated redistricting plans possible, allowing Democrats to take control of both chambers.

Governor Kate Brown, who in 2001 was Senate Democrat Leader, called the House Democrats’ actions “very appropriate under the circumstances.” She continued, “Under certain circumstances, it’s fair to say we would use all tools available to us, and stage a similar boycott.”

Senator Mark Hass at the time said, “I don’t think standing up for fairness and protecting the constitution is something we need to hide from.”

If Democrats thought it was justified for their colleagues to walkout over a partisan political battle, surely they should support Republicans walking out to protect Oregonians from the illegal passage of the cap and trade bill that will destroy the economy of our state.

And as an Oregon farmer and business owner I am in full support of the walk out!  It may just seem like the drama just started, but believe me when I tell you that this story is longer than just today, and longer than just the 2019 session.  This bill is clearly an illegal tax-raising measure (trying to do so without a super-majority vote), Democrats have done everything possible to circumvent the process and in the process have left the hands of Republicans tied.  The only thing left to do was walk out.

Strong Family Roots

4 Apr

Roots.  As a farmer I can appreciate the strength behind these tiny little lines that connect plants into the soil.  They bring nutrients up to the green leaves, they allow for our beautiful views and our strong crops.  But while those ideas run strong in what I want to touch on today, those aren’t exactly the roots I’m talking about.  Today I wanted to tell you about my family roots, arguably they may just be the strongest I have ever known, they are what have kept me grounded, kept our family solid, and yet allowed us all to also have wings and to succeed.  These roots AND wings didn’t come from just anywhere, they came straight from Marlin and Arlene Hammond.

This is a photo of our “family tree”.  All 66 of us, starting in the middle with Marlin & Arlene

I call them grandpa and grandma, they are also often referred to as “the greats” in our house.  And this year they both celebrated their 95th birthdays, and their 75th wedding anniversary.

Which is something to be treasured, and more importantly something to celebrate!  So that’s just what we did last weekend.  Our family (all wearing matching blue t-shirts in the photos) all got together with friends from the community where Marlin and Arlene have spent their days.  Lots of catching up, eating cake, laughter over old stories, and just being thankful for our wonderful family that started with just these two love birds back in 1944.

Grandpa & Grandma on their wedding day in 1944.

Marlin and Arlene went to high school together, but never dated until after graduating. They both came from hard working families, farming families, and they continued that legacy.  Having many talents however grandpa was more of a jack of all trades.  Doing construction, selling real estate.  And grandma herself started her own fabric shop in Woodburn.  These two were as traditional as they come, and yet innovative and not afraid to work hard for what they wanted.  And they also get a kick out of life at every stage.  I think the one thing I always think of when I think of them is how they know how to laugh, boy oh boy do we laugh together!  It might help that my kids are at a general “if you’re not laughing then you’d probably be crying” stage of child management.  But I learned a lot of that from these two.  For example…this was the only photo I took on this fun celebration day….it’s horrible but it’s also hilarious…

I had the pleasure of sitting down one afternoon with my grandma to ask her about marriage and advice for married couples.  I was officiating the wedding of a good friend and my cousin and I thought who better to start them off on the right foot than grandpa and grandma who had been married (at that time) for 73 years.

So in honor of their 75th I thought I would pass it along to all of you.

So while you are both just starting this journey of marriage, and I know you will get a LOT of advice as the years go by.  But I thought it would be only fitting to ask the longest married couple in our family if they had any words of wisdom for the shortest married couple in our family.  So I sat down Marlin & Arlene, who have been married for 73 years to find out what the secret is to making marriage & love last.  I wanted advice for you as newlyweds, when you hit year 25, and then once you get to year 73! 

Their first year was a bit unorthodox, grandpa was in the war and gone basically the entire time, grandma says it still gives her chills to think about how hard that time was.  She said for the first years, don’t worry about all the nitty gritty.  Something will always cause a trouble or a problem, so you might as well make the most of it.  She also showed me a letter from a friend in 1944 that she often thought of, it says that in marriage everything is 50-50 but sometimes things can get 60-40 or worse, but they can be righted always.

So what about at 25 years into marriage?  They said that they hit a time where they got to really enjoy life again, to reconnect, new careers and dreams were able to get started again.  At the end of 25 years, they realized that marriage is full of seasons, and you have to keep your commitment strong so you can both enjoy the dividends of that lifelong investment in love.

And finally after 73 year down the path of marriage…when I asked what that is like, grandma just said, “To take care of each other, to have created such a happy home, to have someone to talk with, reminisce with and share all those memories.  It’s just marvelous!”  When you get there, you get to spend your whole life with your person, it’s completely worth all of it.  I want to also add that grandpa and grandma were friends for years before they ever dated, which I think means you two are also off to very similar and very good start.

These two have created a legacy that will extent well beyond their lives, my life and as we know for now at least into the 5th generation.  I can’t imagine all that they have seen in their lifetime.  I can hardly believe what I have seen in only a third of that time.  But what I do know is that the roots and the wings that we have all gotten from them will prove timeless, even as the years pass by.Here are two articles with a few great stories:
Hammonds Celebrate 75 Years Together
Engagements: Marlin & Arlene Hammond

**A special thanks to cousin Brock for all the awesome photos that I borrowed.  To Kristen for all the work on the graphic designs for T-shirts.  And for everyone in the fam for all the help organizing, cutting cake, setting up and taking down!  Family efforts for sure!

 

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