That Heartwarming Feeling of Working with One’s Brother-in-law………….. (no wait, that’s heartburn).
Hopefully everyone is enjoying the holiday season, tucked into warm houses and dreaming of warmer weather in 2017. On that note, at Plum Creek Farm we’re diligently working to make the warmer weather more enjoyable for everyone by introducing The Creamery, which will be located in the same building as the market. The Creamery will hopefully become your spot to take the family for soft serve and hand dipped ice cream, Italian ice, gelatis, fresh fruit sundaes, fresh baked soft pretzels, and so much more.
Some of you may know that Keith joined the farm full time this fall. He’ll be helping out with the farming, but will also put a lot of time in at the market and creamery. Our winter has been busier than normal, with all the work that goes into renovating an old building for more market space and a new ice cream shop.
This has been challenging as we’re doing the bulk of the work ourselves, but also has that added bonus of allowing each of us to learn how we compliment the other and vice versa.
Keith was previously employed at CropCare where he was involved in the design and manufacture of farm equipment. Now, if anyone is familiar with metal fabrication and design, then you are aware that precise and exact measurements are required so that the final assembly on the item you’re making is possible. In other words, millimeters matter. However, when someone moves from that environment into farming and remodeling old houses, there are some things that don’t always translate.
My biggest point of contention lies with the humble tape measure. With my particular brand of “farmish” carpentry, one never breaks down a measurement to anything smaller than a quarter inch. For example, if you want a board cut at 32 5/16″ you simply say 32 and a long quarter. By that same logic, 3/16″ becomes a short quarter. Not only does this save the hapless farmer in charge of running the saw the tedium of staring at those really tiny lines on the tape, but might I remind you we’re remodeling an old farm house that was built so long ago that the 1/16″ measure wasn’t even invented yet. Do I complain, no, I quietly soldier on as I am fully aware that the man owns a caliper and will use it strictly out of spite. To his credit, paying that much attention to measurements typically insures that everything will line up and fit, however my reply would be that we should never overlook the blessing that is the sledgehammer.
One other problem that arises with family working closely together is in the area of compassion. Now mind you, I’m not talking about growing to despise each other, although we have yet to make it through a full summer working together, so stay tuned on that. What I’m referring to is when you see someone struggling with a task, basic decency kicks in and you’ll help them out. Things don’t always work like that on our farm. Last year I was enjoying a crisp fall morning cleaning out a fence row with the Bobcat skid loader, when a minor miscalculation of the slope I was on led to a rather abrupt upending of the machine. I calmly got out, assessed the situation, determined that no amount of heaving by me was going to fix this, and called Keith to see if he was near enough to bring out the tractor. Now he wasn’t available to help, but that didn’t stop him from calling into question my operator skills, much laughter at my expense, demanding a photo, all while forgetting to ask if I was ok. In all fairness it was later mentioned that if my limbs weren’t all intact, I would’ve probably led the phone conversation with that.
I would love to tell you that I’m above this this kind of behavior, but sadly I have stumbled as well. We have a battery powered cart (Keith’s invention) that we pick our sweet corn into. Earlier this summer, after a night of heavy rain, Keith was driving it out to pick one morning when he stumbled across a rather significant mud puddle. Rather than taking the prudent path around the obstacle, he chose to bulldoze straight ahead and would have made it except for a rather unfortunately timed chain failure. Imagine my surprise when I came around the same corner and instead of seeing the man in the field picking corn, he was instead calf deep in mud searching for a hopelessly lost chain link. Did I jump right in to help my dear brother-in-law fix the problem………Surrre, let’s go with that.
Thanks for reading my ramblings and we’ll see you in April.
Ps. We really do love working together, but it’s so much fun keeping the other humble.