Hi there young fella,

Thought I would write you a few lines after reading “Old Man Farming.”

Well, I am just a year and a half from being “80” – wow, how did that happen. I guess I was not paying attention.

You might recall me, from your editorial of many years back about not giving up the farm, and keep going. Our most recent contact was the exchange of poetry writings and the grand picture of the “old man” tree looking over the vineyard.

I hope you can read my writing – eyes going, etc. I just got finished with six weeks of the most barbaric medical treatment around – six weeks of radiation for cancer. Good thing it was with the VA, cost wise. Well they got the cancer knocked down, but the months of recovery are really, really tough. I needed to read something so I got a copy written by a young farmer from Sisters, OR.

We are on the same page Lynn, but I see things getting much worse.

The whole cancer thing I do believe started from my tenure in the raisin vineyards of California; much spray and chemicals. One of the worst things was the fact that the vines were in the fields next to cotton fields. They used all the really nasty sprays including defoliants which drifted over and actually took the leaves off, but the grapes were picked anyway for raisins.

There again is another example of how the USDA labels mean nothing, because under pressure of the big guys, they allowed the change in feed labels – from corn, oats, soy, to processed grain products – processed grain by products, etc. none of which I know what they are. I asked a salesman if cotton seed meal was a processed by product and he said yes. When I said they were probably the most sprayed crop around he said he did not know – go online and look at our website. It’s hard to find an honest feed label.

Any way I have been lucky in this life to have been able to farm in what I call “The Golden Era” of this country before “Get Big or Get Out” took hold. Not bad for a kid from New York City who got out of the army, met this sweet heart from Brooklyn, and 57 years and several farms later, find our life has been free and rewarding.

I would love to get back into a small farm again – we have 12 acres now, but only a few would be tillable and we live between two hills that block the sun all winter.

I loved your words about the sheep herders and the big flocks. When I rode for Uritea Ranch in the foothills of the mountains in California, I met a few retired herders who told wonderful stories of those days. Their dogs still spent a lot of time outside the feed lot herding the cattle inside to keep in shape.

The farm has some powerful memories, for me and my five kids. One son posted on Facebook how great it was to get lost in the many adventures, and the fact that mom would always know they would show up for lunch. My oldest son gave me a picture to carry in my mind when he and the one armed farmer he was helping came in the kitchen for lunch and without a word, unzipped his jacket, helped him off with it and three hands went into the sink and he washed all three up. Good stuff.

The saddest of all my life was the day I sold the team. It broke my heart and has left mental scars that will last my lifetime.

I agree with you all the way, that this country is going down. It’s all about greed and the fact that we are governed by crooks.

I am a bit less optimistic then you when you say more small farms would cure a lot of the problem because we must feed the people.

Why the heck do we have almost 9 billion people – hello folks – wake up.

Nature controls all that is within it, everything but one – sorry people – but then again that is wrong because we are going down swirly the drain.

You said those folk need food and we can provide it. Well when it all comes down and they have no income and have to feed the family they will be coming out to the small farms and taking what they need, including the breeding stock, the seed stocks, and even the houses.

This new generation with a phone stuck in their face don’t have a clue.

Well, I have bent your ear enough – keep up the fight. I would give most anything to be back on a small farm, I guess that’s why I buy a couple of lottery tickets each week.

I think I would like Oregon. Sweet Home sounds nice. I would love to go out with a set of lines in my hands. I know the team would just wait for someone to find us.

Farming is the only sanity left for me – doing nothing will take me sooner than anything else.

Keep up the fight Lynn. It’s good to see you and Kristi fighting the good fight.

In 1976 when you started the Journal I remember driving my team with a covered wagon for the Centennial. Good fun.

Best regards and wishes. Jane says, “Hi.”

Bob Faller
Republic, WA