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Typical Day

Uncle Jed rises with his chickens (which he has named "dinner Tuesday," "dinner Wednesday," and so forth—named after his grandparents, ironically enough) at 5am and gets dressed, careful not to wake the little wifey. The family has a pet pig named Chops who they will also eat some day with apple sauce made from the fruit of their apple tree. Uncle Jed tends to the animals—makes sure that they have food and water and togetherness. He likes plump meat. He loves having lots of animals on the farm because they make his job easier. Why? Because they produce...fertilizer. When he runs low, he finds 3-day-old Indonesian food and he's back to full stores.

After breakfast and as soon as there is light, Jed heads out into the fields to see how the crops are doing. He checks for color, clarity, stiffness, a dozen other little things—but mainly the buds. If the plants are budding, good things will happen in the spring. Along the way, Jed has learned to fly (he had to take about 80 hours to learn to fly a crop-duster airplane and dust his crops—and his neighbors' crops…for a small fee). So now he's a pilot. And he makes the Dusting Run every 48 hours in good weather to keep away the locusts, aphids, and other Pharaoh-worthy bugs. Once he has finished throwing up from the sharp turns and smell of rotted chicken crap, he checks to make sure the irrigation wells are functioning properly, which frankly doesn't do much to quell his feeling of nausea, and then spends some time moving aluminum piping to water new parts of the field.

Ce n'est pas les pipes.

As he picks his way through the fields, he also picks bugs off his crops by hand. After having completed his Dusting Run, there is really no other way to get rid of any residual hangers-on. He can't do an aphid mating call to lure them all into a trap, and the other kind of crop dusting doesn't seem to affect them. It's tedious, unrewarding work, but it has to be done. No wonder they call these guys bugs.

Because Jed has a small farm—which he owns himself, mostly—he has only four workers, he can do some delegating, but he is hard at work all day himself as well, harvesting crops, planting new ones, and trying to figure out what the heck a "dell" is and how he can get himself one. In the early afternoon, he packs up his truck with a wealth of reaped crop and drives the 45 minutes into town, finally rumbling up to the local (in this part of the country—45 minutes away is considered local) farmer's market to peddle his wares. He likes to go himself rather than sending one of his farmhands because he has a personal relationship with the gentleman running the market, and besides, he doesn't really trust his underlings to negotiate business transactions. Yes, unloading a store of corn does indeed count as a business transaction. 

While in town, Jed stops in at the bank to speak to someone there about taking out a loan for a new sprayer. The old one has seen better days, and has lately been doing more sputtering than spraying. His bank discusses his financials with him and then advises him that they'll be in touch. Like everyone else in a 40-mile radius, the bank employees work hard, but at their own pace.

He heads back to the farmhouse for dinner around dark (mmm... dead chicken again—Jed guesses by examining the leg bone that this one was dinner Thursday)…. When he's finished licking the last bit of chicken meat from his lips, he checks the newspaper to figure out where his crop's pricing is heading. He competes with growers in Chile who grow them cheaper, but have to ship and pay import taxes. There was a big storm there earlier in the year—he thinks: "Poor guys" and "thank goodness" at the same time because it means that prices for his crop went up 20% in the interim. But he knows that, some day, that storm will hit him as well. Ever see Day of the Locust? Netflix it before you go into this field.

Dinner Time! (For the locusts, not for us.)