High Tensile Fencing
For the past two weeks I have woken up at 6:30 each morning, put on the same pair of jeans that I had worn the previous day ( by putting on yesterdays jeans each morning you quickly find yourself wearing the same jeans you wore not just yesterday but also last week), fried up a piece of pig formerly named Eugene, made some coffee and boarded the back of Bill’s red pickup truck on our way to install thousands of yards of fence. Fencing, I have learned, is arduous work and falls very low on the excitement scale ranking somewhere just below potato peeling but slightly above being on the delivery end of a nursing home sponge bath. However, as a result of hours toiling in the hot Virginia sun I have developed a new found respect for this type of lifestyle, one where success has a 1 to 1 relationship to how hard you work.
For eight hours each day Bill, James, Sandy and I haul, lift, hammer and saw endless stretches of fence. I come home each day dead tired, nearly too fatigued to open myself a beer let alone cook myself dinner. I write about these days because I find them interesting, different, an exception to my routine. But for Bill, James and probably Sandy work like this is the norm and each day they wake up even earlier than I, put on Levi’s ten times more exhausted than my own and do it all over again. Where as I get to leave in a few weeks and return to my suburban lifestyle full of $7 dollar an hour bagel shop jobs, laptops and Wi-Fi Bill, James and Sandy stay to build thousands more yards of fence, shovel hours more of manure, raise many more barns. Here there aren’t any Google sized breaks, no one accidentally becoming a millionaire after inventing the post-it-note. Here the money you make is just a function of how many hours you are willing to put in, how many 100degree Virginia days you are willing to take in order to keep a cow out of a creek.
This isn’t to say that anyone who labors for a living hates their job. I know many people, Bill being one of them, who enjoy their type of work and the sweat and dirt that goes along with it. Yet to the majority of people reading this blog, those hailing from that small college on the edge of the Thames, few of us have ever considered a hammer and nails as a career choice. Neck deep in a summer focused on manual labor I cannot tell you how many times I have already heard “some hard work does the body good” or “it will build your character”, yet few adults I know want to see their kids grow up to be independent farmers or to learn the intricacies of the cattle business. Perhaps that is just the sphere I was borng into. To be truthful I cannot speak for the majority of those reading this page but I do know that most of us attend a college where “Identifying a Vice Grip” or ” Buckwheat Cultivation” do not appear in our curriculum. The administration would most likely not support those courses but it doesn’t mean that we should, as a result, be negligent in our respect and understanding for those who keep the toilets flushing in Harris Dining Hall or who grow the food we eat each day. Awareness is free and hurts no one.
Plenty more from Louisa to come. Spent a night last week in Miller’s Restaurant listening to some awesome music. Miller’s is located in Charlottesville, about 25 minutes from Louisa, and at one point employed a musician by the name of Dave Matthews. Apparently Dave used to serve drinks in Miller’s until he was fired for lying “Under the Table and Dreaming” one too many times. That was a bad one…More on Miller’s later as well as “Brothers on the Street Juggling” or “The Three Brothers that Juggle for Change” or “A band of Juggling Brothers”. I’m taking suggestions on a catchy name for these three young brothers who stand on the street and juggle.
Peace and Angus Grease