The Useful Duck!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

I am pretending to be a real farmer for a steak dinner...

I am at a Wheat Grower's Workshop. I am so out of my league. There are 10 growers invited each year to this thing. My name was put in by my neighbor. I rode up here with his son.
Some of these guys farm thousands of acres. The important names from our area. I just kind of keep my mouth shut. They are real farmers, they have modern tractors, warehouses, sprayers, whatever... They know what they are doing.
I'm just the lazy farmer whose claim to fame is his off brand no-till drill. I kept quiet about no-till. The people I sat next to have a 50 foot no-till.
Other than my insecurity...It is pretty interesting. We grow soft white wheat. It is used for noodles and pastries. If I could remember anything I saw today...I think it has a higher gluten content which increases it's elasticity and it is also softer so it is easier to mill. Or perhaps I got it all backwards. My attention span is not what it once was. We saw how they use a machine to test the elasticity by stretching wheat dough and there is also a machine that blows a bubble with wheat dough. That was kind of cool. We made pita bread. To make the pita pocket thing- you roll out the dough and then put it into an over. The flat dough just blows up into a hollow bubble. It is totally amazing. Then we saw how noodles are made. My brother always said that noodles were grown in fields that were very skinny but extremely long. I think he lied to me.
They made us some top ramen out of the noodles.(spelling-can't look it up slow internet at the hotel) It was really good. Then we looked at different types of ramen noodles. The ones with soft white wheat are softer and whiter and taste better. People in Korea like them much better.
Then we went back to the meeting room to hear about wheat grading and prices and why wheat will probably not be worth much next year. I would have been kind of depressed but I kept going to sleep so I missed much of it.
After that we went to our hotel. It is very nice. The streets in real life did not match the directions on the map. I was navigating. We found it. I didn't realize we were leading the pack.
We had an amazing dinner. Chowder, steak and shrimp, and apple pie. Plus all you could drink. I myself, had five glasses of water and two cups of coffee. I am stuffed so full I can hardly walk-but yet I have the urge to jiggle. I guess it is the coffee.
Other folks tippled. I do admit the siren song of free booze did tempt me but I just said no.
We toured the grain facilities at the local Port. You all know where I live. I'm trying to avoid search terms as I would rather remain out of the limelight.) I did see a fellow I know who was waiting in line at the Port. The port facilities are located in a very unhandy location. I predict semi-trucks blocking major highways in this city this summer as there is no parking and there has been a lot of wheat planted in our area.

Update (Friday at 7:00 A.M.): I'm waiting for our free buffet breakfast. I had a nice king sized bed. The roar of traffic lulled me to sleep. I wrote some dialogue. Woop! Whoop!
We will go back to yesterday, I'm feeling a bit awkward.  The head chemist at the Oregon Wheat commission says, "so what do you farm? Are you growing a lot of wheat this year?"  I think, "um 60 acres is a lot to me...But, not to him" but I say, "oh I planted quite a bit of wheat this year-of course it was not all for me!" (thus I deflected the query away from my failure as a farmer and onto my success as a custom no-tiller)
Chemist says, "You plant for other people?" Me, "Yeah, I do custom no-till planting for people," Him, "Is no-till popular in your area"  Me, "oh there has been a  lot of wheat no-tilled in the last few years, but this fellow here, and I think those folks over there from the south valley have done a lot more.
(I gesture to a couple other real farmers to direct the attention away from myself and I use this excuse to get another cup of coffee.)
The other farmers perk up when they hear south valley and soon a group of farmers gather and a conversation is born. I sip my coffee and stand at the back of the group. Looking interested but keeping quiet. It is better that way...

1 comment:

  1. Hey, this is fun. Sounds like you're warm, dry, fed, and feeling a bit subversive.


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