Not Quite Spring just yet

Matt and I got away for a few days down to Mexico to find some sunshine and celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Meanwhile I had scheduled a post on here to show the “one time” “rare” “usually doesn’t happen” snow and well, I may have jinxed this whole spring time showing up in Oregon. Whoopsie!

Because you see I had planned to come home from our trip, go look at fields and show pictures of how spring is now in Oregon and the crops are finally growing. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring any sunshine home with us and now we wake up this morning to this!

So I guess it turns out it’s still winter here and while growing degree days (a way that we gauge soil temperature and crop readiness) warrants a start to spring fertilizer on our grass seed crops, and while we did get a little on before we left, Mother Nature had other plans for this week and we will have to wait a little while longer to finish up our first shot of spring fertilizer to get things up and growing. However I will say I feel lucky that we aren’t measuring our snow in feet like other places right now!

So there we are, enjoying 80 degree sunny weather on a beach with a drink in our hands that may or may not be called a mojito; and all the sudden I start to get texts and calls from the school. Delays, school cancelled, delays, I looked at Matt and said, “Well maybe it’s good we left when we did, not much to do at home anyway in the ice and snow!” Now all I think is maybe we should have stayed longer!

Stay tuned….I am sure, I am certain, I am positive….the crops will start growing soon and you’ll get some crop updates, until then I’m going to drink more coffee and warm up!

Catching up on our family news…

We got some snow on the valley floor in Oregon just last week! We don’t get this “white stuff” very often around here, so even when it’s just a tiny itsy little bit…’s a giant colossal big deal to our kids. Late school start and it didn’t take long for the three of them to gear up, knock the dust off their sleds and head out for a hill to sled down.

Also another update, we moved to the home place! Which means, yes, I now live in the same house that I grew up in (no it’s not weird, don’t make it weird!). We switched houses with my parents so they live off the farm for the first time in 40 years and we are back on the farm raising the next generation.

It’s been so great to be here, through harvest and starting school again, the holidays, and getting back into the swing of the upcoming spring season. It has taken a little getting used to, like any big move, but the kids love it and I love being here and more helpful even when the kids are home.

Plus we are on a much less busy road and so we added a new family member this fall….Booker the Border collie. He’s super smart, except when he’s being super dumb, and he’s been a great companion for all of us.

Proactive Bills at the Legislature??

“My name is Brenda Frketich and I am a farmer from St. Paul, Oregon….” This is more or less how I always start off when giving legislative testimony. Sometimes I add in information about my husband, our kids, how long we’ve been on the land that we farm. But inevitably it starts something along the lines of my name and that I’m a farmer. About 90% of the time, I go on to say why I’m against a bill that is being brought before the legislature this session.  It will cost us more money, it will threaten our ability to farm or our way of life, there are no alternatives and on and on and on.

BUT this session, shockingly enough I have had the opportunity to have my voice heard on two bills (so far) that I support!  They were proactive bills, one to make some important changes to the estate tax law here in Oregon for farmers, and the other to help protect our right to fish and hunt.  You can read more about these bills here:
SB 498

But what I wanted to say here today isn’t about those in particular, more about how being on the offense, ahead of the game, felt really good.  A little background for this example; HJR 5 would move to have the voters of Oregon decide if hunting and fishing as a right should be in the Oregon constitution or not.

As I am watching the hearing a woman from the Humane Society of the United States gets on and she’s against (big surprise) HRJ 5. And then she says something very interesting, “First we must be clear; there is no actual threat to the right of Oregon to fish, hunt, or harvest wildlife.” So here I am, excited that we finally have a measure that looks ahead and the first thing this woman says, is that it’s invalid because they haven’t directly threatened it. Hey HSUS lady, as a farmer we fight bills all the time where there has been no harm, no foul, no proof, and still we have to fight it! Welcome to the club.

We have to make sure that our defense is strong but also look ahead to how we can be proactive and out in front of these threats that are coming down the line. I’m not complaining here, I truly do enjoy much of my time testifying and working through issues at the state level. It’s just another piece of the puzzle and another reason why I’m excited for the proactive bills that are coming out so far this legislative session and hopefully more in the future.

So while I know it’s easy to get discouraged when it comes to news we hear from Salem, hang in there, there are people working hard to look ahead and work towards some good bills; even for us farmers.

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