September Has Been a Pisser

Backyard Fire After Irma

Last week was stressful as Hurricane Irma passed through central Florida over our daughter’s home.

They boarded the windows, sandbagged the doors and laid in water and shelf stable food for when the electricity went out.

“The whole house has been playing Settlers of Catan, which we never get to play enough,” she texted. “Next up is Fluxx, a rules changing card game. The lights have been flickering slightly, but we still have power and water. Every so often, the outside sounds a bit like a car wash.”

She and her housemates weathered the hurricane, suffering minimal property damage. Her final message in the hurricane series was

Stay safe out there. If anything, I am reminded that everywhere in the US, there is some kind of emergency that can happen. Please, pack a Go Bag, prepare a plan, know where your evac locations are. I love you. Stay safe. Be prepared.

It turns out the previous board of directors for our sanitary sewer district failed to communicate new requirements to comply with ammonia nitrogen standards when they all resigned without notice. I emailed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to learn more and there is a multi-year process for compliance added to our agenda. Stress level kicked up a notch with this.

The week ground down with efforts to meet my tomato contract. Farmer Kate and I traded my labor for her tomatoes. To finish the deal, I prepared seven quart jars of diced tomatoes each morning and water bath processed them in the evening. The work is not hard but it blocks out other things. A deal is a deal and she met her part of it with an abundance of organic tomatoes. On Friday before work at the home, farm and auto supply store I delivered two cases of canned tomatoes. We each should have plenty to make it until the next tomato season.

At Thursday’s county board of supervisors meeting a zoning application for a farm near here was considered and rejected unanimously. The controversy involves people I know in government and in the local food system. None of it is good for any of us.

“In one respect farming can be considered a tedious series of lawsuits, disputes and legal struggles,” I posted on Twitter. “Versaland bares that for all to see.”

I’m trying to understand the context and situation with more clarity and plan to write a longer post about local food in light of it.

September is always busy so there’s no surprise in any of the week’s activities and developments. Last night a group called the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition lavished praise and support for the 45th president. That was a pisser too.