Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Farm Hand Profile: Michael W "Birch" Birchler

I thought I'd try to make this whole blog thing more interesting by stopping a little bit the talking about myself, and instead introducing some of my trusted, weathered farm hands that I've mentioned here or there and along the way. I intend to make this "Farm Hand Profile" into a series.

First up (appearing in chronological order as to when I actually got some physical labor and sweat units out of the them on the farm) is Michael W "Birch" Birchler. Oddly enough, I met Mike 2,200 miles away in coastal Oregon at a another best friend's wedding, whose sister just so happened to live in Lakewood, who Mike eventually married. ?

Mike's hankered down in some really crappy weather throughout this Winter and Spring. There was this time in February when the snow was a foot deep, and we had met up for a beer. Subee-1 was weighted down with several hundred pounds of coffee grinds, and I was griping about needing to get those out of the car. And no sooner had I said "I just need to go dump them on the farm," than we were off at one o'clock in the morning in that foot of snow to the farm in order to christen the grounds with the first of many formerly caffeinated amendments.

Throughout the Spring, we've gone on leaf humus runs. These "runs" tended to correspond to weekdays that we were both off, and it was raining. Our best day, we totaled 18 32-gallon garbage cans of humus. In terms of weather, it was one of the worst: a balmy 58 degrees with either drizzle, fog, rain, storms, or an in between stage. Shoveling humus in the rain is sludgingly heavy and literally brown staining. It gets on everything. And when you finally get in the car, the car immediately fogs up from the aerobic activity of the humus and the dankness of the air. Good times.

Besides these laborious duties, Mike has also contributed with other fun tasks like rock/foundation digging, sulfur spreading, trenching, mowing, and the always risky watering.

As you're starting to see, Birch is quite the asset. His up for anything personality and his zen-like in the moment-ness has allowed the farm to move forward despite the weather and regulatory hurdles. And for that I thank him. In the meantime, I'm trying to get as much sweat and backache as possible out of Mike. 'Cause come August when all those psychedelic tomatoes are coming in and needing picked, Mike is instead going to be busying himself with his very first newborn, which I guess is a fairly valid excuse to not help out on the farm for a while. Now if you ever wanted to help Mike this father-to-be, I know he'd be glad to sell you an iPhone. Just get in touch.

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