Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Where Oliver Found His Place


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

This is the 1960s, and a wife's place is at her husband's side, as Oliver testifies:

You are my wife!"

Lisa had forgotten about the Hungarian Parliament's "Big Dumb Law of 1924," which stated: "All Hungarian women have to do whatever their husbands want them to do, no matter how dumb it is."

Goodbye city life.

And so the Haney Place becomes the Douglas Farm -- with all its clutter, fallow fields, and telephones mounted atop telephone poles -- for six television seasons. Oliver struggles gamely to make his farm a success while Lisa brings some graciousness and finer things of life to their rural experience. They stand side by side, in a parody of American Gothic, and declare:

Green Acres, we are there!

Continued at... Where Oliver Found His Place

See the Movie, Read the Book
Farm Supply
Artwork: Green Acres Poster

Monday, July 10, 2017

Flown The Coop

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

Nowadays, I'm hard-pressed to find a chicken coop. We have no chickens. None of our neighbors keep chickens. There are chickens around and eggs for sale someplace nearby, I'm sure, but I couldn't give directions.

We've talked about raising chickens. Every spring, as the slugs rise to gnaw on the strawberries, my wife says, "We ought to have chickens." Free-ranging hens are an effective deterrent to slugs, grasshoppers and many other insect pests. They'll also keep down the weeds and add nutrients to your soil if you manage them carefully.

Every time I trim the fat off a fleshy store-bought chicken I'm preparing for the grill, I tell myself, "We ought to raise our own chickens."

Chickens convert feed to meat efficiently. Most broilers will gain a pound of weight for every two-and-a-half pounds of feed. If a bird is allowed to free-range, not only will it be less fatty, but nearly half of its feed will come from foraging grubs, weeds and worms.

Continued at... Flown The Coop

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Husbandry
Artwork: Chicken Coop at Eugene O'Neill House in Contra Costa County, California

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Folks




by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

Grayce grew up on horses. By the age of seven she was riding alone. At 18, she drove stage teams for her uncle up to mines in the Ochoco Mountains. She'd ride up from Prineville, stay overnight at the stage station, and return the next day. One day up, one day back, day after day. It was great work.

"My mother wanted me to be a lady. That was always a bad word with me. I just wanted to be me," Grayce explained.

For a time, she lived with her mother in Portland, working at a dimestore. But soon as she could arrange it, Grayce was back in Prineville. There were two problems with city life. First, there were no horses. ("Horses were my first love.") Second, she didn't like the people.

"I don't like people," she said. "I like folks."

"What's the difference?" I asked.

Continued at... Folks

Out of the Past
The Corral
Artwork: Oregon Summer Cowgirl by Paul A. Lanquist


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Full Bloom

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

Have you ever wondered why the tulip drops its petals just as orchids are unfolding and while pansies and petunias go on blooming? Is it the heat of summer that makes them fade? Or some aversion to longer days?

Blame it on plant genetics. Flowers don't die off; they are deliberately strangled by the rest of the plant.

A tulip's bloom, however beautiful, serves one purpose to the plant: pollination. A lingering flower saps the energy a plant needs for bulb and seed development. Once pollinated, its beauty is a useless distraction from unpollinated flowers, and so it dies like Desdemona at the hands of Othello, its life tragically cut short.

Continued at... Full Bloom

Rural Delivery
Out There
Growth Spurts
Artwork: Tulip


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sunday Drive


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

Folks on a Sunday Drive count livestock, assess crop conditions and take notice of wildflowers. They pause for rainbows, old weathered barns and small animals crossing the road. And they're likely to stop at any yard sale, flea market or roadside fruit stand.

You'll know these folks by their sun-bronzed forearms resting atop drawn-down windows and their willingness to wave at passersby. Sometimes they'll be stopped side by side in the middle of the road facing opposite directions and jawing at each other across the center line.

Continued at... Sunday Drive

Rural Delivery
Outgoing
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Sunday Drive


Monday, May 29, 2017

Read the News Backwards

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.

So I've turned off the TV news, which is all about celebrities and monstrosities anyhow. (Ever notice how only celebrities are mentioned on network news when they die?)

I cast my lot with newspapers, the more local and personal the better. It's not that they don't sensationalize, because they often do -- especially on the front page. But newspapers also report on weddings and weed control and local high school sports, and the like, when no one else will bother. And the best way to read a newspaper, I have discovered, is back to front, classifieds first. This way I learn about the weekend auctions and the baseball scores and the city council's new ordinance before I get to the holdups and hijackings and beheadings.

Continued at... Read the News Backwards

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Farm Supply
Artwork: Farmer Reading Newspaper


Friday, February 10, 2017

Country Auction

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.

Driving down almost any rural lane it's not uncommon to come across a sudden gathering of pickup trucks parked this way and that along the shoulders. Unless there's smoke rising from some burning barn, chances are there's an auction in progress.

Step outside and, sure enough, there's a cry of "Eight-five, five, five. I have eighty-five. Ninety, give me ninety," wafting across a fallow field.

Move up closer and you'll find old plows and roller harrows and cultipackers lined up on display along with cardboard boxes filled with bolts, drill bits and other assorted items. A crowd of bidders follows the auctioneer up and down rows of tractors and corrugators and shop tools, hovering over each item just long enough to determine whose bid will buy it and then moving on.

Continued at... Country Auction

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Farm Supply
Artwork: Country Auction by Ken Zylla