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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I have no friends but my dog, business truisms I've learned at Gopher Valley

I used to be a farmer. I had a farm at Gopher Valley.
It is a little pocket in the foothills of the Coast Range. You get there from a little road off of Highway 18 just outside of Sheridan, OR.
General Sheridan carried his campaign of rape and pillage from the Shenandoah Valley on to the hills of Oregon. The old guys tell of trails though the woods that Sheridan cut to haul artillery to use against the Indians.
Boycotting Phil Sheridan Days is about the only thing in which I find any solidarity with the Casino Indians, but then again...
I digress...
I started cutting hay at Gopher Valley in something like 1980 for the family farm. When I started my own farm it was at Gopher Valley. It was the only place you could get ground on a very low budget.
Since then I have lost a lot of money and made a little money. I will say that Gopher Valley hay bought my mower, baler, and various rakes.
However, it is a long way from home and everything goes wrong for me up there.
Lately it is been discovered by other hay farmers. Discovered is a loose term. Actually, it has been absorbed by people I have hired to haul hay for me.
It is kind of amusing. I drove up the valley a bit yesterday and found several "undiscovered" fields. Of course I have not been cutting hay off them and so they look pretty sad. The big guys are not interested in those fields.
The one thing that makes me a little bitter is my old farm on Thompson Mill Road. I put a huge amount of work into that farm. I didn't fight with the family of the elderly lady who I used to rent from when the grand kids wanted to try hay farming. Of course they didn't call me when they decided to rent it out this year. They called my neighbor.
I gave up another 20 acres this year. The fellow who got it is a friend who I've been helping get started doing hay. He got behind and I raked, baled, and stacked the field. Something I swore I would not do.
I found out yesterday that he sold it to the fellow who has been buying hay from me and who bought hay up there last year. He didn't try to sell my hay right next door.
When I questioned my hay guy who helps me sell to these fellows he said, "I have no friends but my dog..."
Had to think just how true that statement is!


  1. Play rough, don't they? I started farming with a twentyfour year old's total lack of consideration for what happens when it's not fun anymore and why that might come to be. In dogs we trust.

  2. That makes me pretty sad. I don't even own a dog.

  3. Not that I am making light of the situation Budde. The land market is becoming increasingly cutthroat as the prices rise. I always try to give my close neighbours (the smaller ones) first chance when I have been down sizing.

  4. Want to go partners on some grape vines? Then we can all go broke in style & ride bikes in speedos.

  5. Yup, I like the bumper-sticker that says, "The more I know people, the more I like my dog!"


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