Thursday, June 23, 2005


Well, I'm thinking that I'm about to get bitten in the butt by the Supreme Court. Pretty wild, eh? I'm not used to having national news sneak in here and do something to get my attention. I guess that I'm used to being parochial. Small time Bob... that's me. Right? Well, maybe.

My grandfather loved muckland. And my dad loved it too. Me? I mostly wanted to teach... and do something that could be done in the air conditioning. Well, that's not exactly true. I've enjoyed doing some farming and I took a non-air conditioning sailboat around the world and never gave it a second thought. But... I really prefer to stay somewhere that doesn't need repacement of fluids. No rehydration please.

My grandfather's ghost is right there hovering over a chunk of muckland outside of Umatilla, all laid out in blocks of manageable and productive row crop farmland. There really isn't much you can do with it except grow row crops or feed crops... forty feet of muck. It's either yellow crooknecked squash or alfalfa. The muck is forty feet thick and it took millions of years for being a lake bed accumulating the capability of being a farming goldmine.

Since I wanted to teach I didn't make a "career" of farming like my dad did and my grandfather and his father and his father. I guess I've broken the chain. But I still don't want to undervalue the land. That muck is black gold and really needs to be farmed by someone. Just not me. My solution has been to rent all 800 acres of it to my close friend Wayne who lives and dies farming. He grows something on that whole lakebed year round. Mostly alfalfa fed to milk cows as green chop and he makes a damned good living at it. Works his ass off. I own the land and rent it to him cheap. But...

Every year I get literally dozens of guys who come to me and want to buy my grandfather's favorite piece of lakebed muck so that they can build houses for the burgeoning home building craze in rural Lake County. It's amazing. Guys want to dig up the muck... all forty feet of it... and then bring in limerock to stabilize the ground... then build houses on my granddaddy's lakebed. Amazing. Up till now I've been able to just tell the developers to stick it where the monkeys stick the nuts, but now... but now... the whores of development driven county politicians (they just want 'best use' for the future of the community.... then they say that it's 'best' for the children... huh?) may be able to to just push me and Wayne off the place and give it to guys who want to grow suburbs rather than alfalfa. Oops.

Now... I'm afraid that the whores who are the Lake County Commissioners who have encouraged me to sell may be able to just come and take it away from me and give it to some damned developer via a "best use" domain case. I've managed to duck it for a long time, but now my friend and his wife and three kids came over here and spent the whole afternoon talking with me and our attorney... plotting strategy for what might happen to the farm. Wayne is scared. So is his old lady.

This really sucks.