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Friday, October 23, 2009

Bicycle article in Slate

It is raining this morning. My tractor and drill is parked in a very muddy field. It was my first major custom job. I may have bid a little low. I was waiting for a little rain for a sprout but I think I missed it all by one day.
You see, I was on my way to the field, but the Phillip the interesting older farmer that still works like a maniac even though he just got a new kidney, wanted me to plant 50 acres of wheat in the same area as my field. When I finished the 50 acres he had another 150 acre field to do and I went and did it, then another fellow had another 50 acres with no fertilizer and I did that because it was a fast job, then the dairy fellow need his pasture redone and I had to switch to grass anyway. Then it rained, I planted in the dark and did not check my seed rate. Apparently half a drill tank of triticale changes the seeding rate for fescue. Then the other neighbor wanted me to do a four acre corner, but he didn't want triticale so I cleaned out the drill, then I broke my seat arm rest which kills my back. I then discovered I was missing a no-till coulter, so I had to go find that. Then the fellow's whose field I worked decided to go to Tillamook but he said the field was dry. I didn't go look at the field because the gates were up and I didn't want to walk through cow poop. Then I had to load the drill myself and carry the seed bags out of the barn. 20 fifty pound bags get heavy after a while.
Then it didn't work...
There was a lot of trash in the field. I worked it and smoothed it all out. When I put the drill in the ground everything was just wet enough to cause problems. The front coulters would not cut through roots of the weeds and it all just balled up around the edges of the coulters. The v-openers wouldn't really go in because the press wheels had two inches of mud on them. I did find that enough mud flew around at 6.5 mph that I could get the grass seed in about 1/4 inch and covered by loose soil. It should work. I did 20 acres but at dusk it got so sticky the mud started jamming up the drive wheels on the drill. I quit.  Fellow is planting 40% prennial ryegrass 30% fescue, 28% orchard grass, 2% clover. Or something like that. I think there is also some brome. It is the nastiest stuff I've ever planed. Rat turds 5%, floor sweepings 10%, bits of plastic, old bags, cracked seeds. Looks kind of like screenings. I didn't say anything. I don't want to unload 20 bags out of that drill... I would not plant that combo. I think it is all going to get ready too early and it will be hard to get good quality hay. I kept my opinion to myself.
After I did 20 acres he showed up. The field long and narrow, like a 1/2 mile long and runs north to south. I farmed it the long way. He wanted it farmed East to West and said he told me that earlier. This is kind of funny. It was so foriegn to me to have someone want to cut hay on a field the short way that I just assumed I was doing it the right direction. I never even looked at the N arrow on the GPS screen. Fortunatly is too late to worry about it now...
But that is not what I planned to talk about this morning.
When I opened my browser this morning there was a link to an article about bicyclists in Slate magazine. I was interested as I find bicyclists to be both annoying and interesting.
I read the book, "Breaking Away" in grade school. I saved my money and bought a racing 10" speed. This was silly living out here on crappy roads. I had a lot of fun with it. Should have just bought one of those BMX bikes, would have had more fun. But, I digress.
Modern bicyclists are activists. They all wear the uniform, the stretchy pants, the bright helment, they all have the conviction that they are so cutting edge, so green, so very enviormentally responsible. They are fit and they are atheletes and they are free thinkers.
Thus there are conflicts.
It is called the undeniable virtue of the oppressed.
I read the article in Slate. Click on the link to read it.
I have no idea of my readership save for the four subscribers. I see the hit counter change but I really don't have any clue who would be interested enough in no-till planting and odd-ball social commentary to say what anyone wants to read.
I care about bicyclists because I live and work on one of the popular routes for bicycle riders. Every year Cycle Oregon disrupts a day of my life. Hordes of bicyclists with seemingly nothing better to do than block traffic roll down the back roads. They like to see the local color, farmers in the fields, oh-and wineries, they like the wineries. There is even a bicycle wine tour. Drunk bicyclist, oh boy!
But, again I digress... I'm revealing my personal bias.
The article discusses the different view points of bicyclists. Those who favor traffic laws and those who are opposed to the automobile.
The point is brought up several times that if you didn't have cars you wouldn't need stop signs. I think this one statement defines the argument.
If you have everyone riding bicycles then you would need some sort of traffic control system.
Now you have the tight pants wearing maniacs, zipping through traffic, proud of their ability to go the wrong way down one way streets, dependent up the fact that cars and truck now have really good brakes.
Put those some single minded maniacs with three-wheel bicycle carts, kids, old ladies, non-english speaking, old bikes with no brakes, dogs, and other sacred cows and you would have a crash. Perhaps more than one.
The problem with bicyclists is that they are proving a point. They are a movement, They are trying to affect social change. They are missionairies, they KNOW MORE THAN YOU....!
That fact is, if there is an agreed set of rules and you put yourself outside the rules or above the rules, you get benefits. Running stoplights, stealing candy for babies, raiding the Goodwill collection bins, whatever. You depend on everyone else to follow the rules. Essentially, everyone else is giving you a free ride.
Popular opinion sides on the part of the Bicyclists as they are vulnerable and a Mack truck is not. So even if the idiot pulls out in front of the truck by running a stop sign and is killed, this is not labeled as "natural selection," no it is those big trucks are dangerous.
What is so important about this whole bicycle argument is that it has wider implications.
This is the attitude of a whole class or should we say generation of people.
We are (insert your cause here), we have a better idea, your stupid "classist" rules don't apply to us. We are oppressed because, (insert blame group here. hint, use a large group that is in charge and can't defend themselves without sounding like whiners) we are not understood, because Christians are horrible people, because white europeans put us down, because of big corporations.
Thus we have the right to be above your stupid rules. Rules are for the fools. We are individualists and you can tell because we all dress alike and we have tatoos!
You know I really have to go to work, I kind of lost my train of thought.
I close with the profound words of the bunny...
whatever....

And I'm not going to check my spelling because I am an individual. I have my way of spelling and who are you to tell me how to spell correctly. You can't put your sexist, classist, ethnocentric, rules on me you running dog of capitalist imperialism.

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