Every minute of spring is precious on a small farm, so when our neighbor Glenn asked me to stop in Idaho and pick up a tractor implement he'd found on Craigslist, while on my way to pick up a trailer base for the next best chicken barn, I was a little leary. But it's hard to say no to the kind of neighbor who wanders up on a July evening to pass a plate of barbecued ribs and a packet of cornbread over the fence while we move irrigation pipe. (And Glenn is from Lousiana, so when he says he made barbecue, you take it seriously, trust me.)
He assured me that I could make it a quick stop, didn't need too much mental energy, and that if the envelope of cash he handed me wasn't enough to convince the seller, then I could just continue on my way. Of course it ended up a little differently than that, and not just because the old rancher I found turned out to be selling most of his place, "keeping the house and a couple of mountains, but selling off the rest."
The moment we guided the old s-tine cultivator off the tractor tines, dropping it into the truckbed with a thunk, I knew I was sunk. I wasn't sure what Glenn had been planning to use it for, but it was exactly what I wanted to try for cultivating beds of broccoli, squash, cabbage, and kale, this season. The whole drive home I fretted and schemed, wondering how I could convince Glenn to let us buy this tool instead of him. From a rest stop, I texted Mary "I've been scheming."
Coffee is pretty much my go-to tool for convincing anyone of anything, so I asked Glenn to join us in the yurt the next morning for a cup. A little nervous, not wanting to offend or outbid him, but knowing Mary is a tough negotiator and had my back, we chatted about all sorts of neighborly things for a while before going to check out the tools. I showed him our "quacker" first, a burly iron clawed tool built by our friend Leon, and informed him I'd drop it as his place later, for him to use whenever he wanted. By the time we had perused the assortment of trailers I've collected, talked a little more about alfalfa and seeding, he was pretty easy to convince to sell the cultivator to us for exactly what he paid for it. All he wanted was to take a quick look at "the implement I just bought and sold" in our truckbed.
We hope that hauling season is winding down, but as we get closer to planting season it seems that the season of wheeling and dealing may just be ramping up. Which reminds me, we are still signing people up for our farm "feed bag" memberships. Whether you reserve one for yourself, or convince your neighbor to get one and then hustle if off of them, it's all good for us! We have about half our membership slots filled, and hope to have the rest reserved as soon as possible. If you know you are ready to join, you can jump right to the online registration form here. Or read details of this years membership here.
In the finale of wheeling and dealing, we could also use your help finding our final team member for the season. Glenn doesn't have any employees we can steal, he's done some fabrication for us, and we already hijacked the youngest daughter of some of our closest local friends, so we need you to help spread that word that we are hiring one half-time employee for the full growing season (early April through mid-November). If you or anyone you know is interestedin a season with this scrappy farm team, have them email us for an application.