Here on the farm we have interesting neighbors. I haven't actually met anyone who lives on our road, because there isn't really anyone (and maybe that's why it's so hard to get our trash collected), but the other inhabitants of our area do make life exciting.
#1 NAWS - the Naval Air Weapons Station. Not only does this particular facility obstruct direct access to the ocean, we must daily suspend conversation during the sonic boom following fighter jet landings. The planes are frequently mounted with funny disks, which I'm told are cameras. I think they know what we're up to.
Hidden benefit: Their missile display does provide nice shade for stretching mid-way through my morning runs.
#2 Industrial agriculture. The Oxnard plain has some of the world's best soil, and hence many of its biggest growers. Buying Driscoll strawberries in Wheaton a few months ago, I thought "I'm going where this was grown", and sure enough, they're just down the road. On a recent bike ride I passed the largest greenhouse in the United States. Berries, tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, lima beans, avocados, citrus and many other crops are grown on a huge scale around here. There are a range of systems and practices that allow these massive fields to be farmed with minimal human input, and I'm sure we'll be talking more about those in this blog. The one that's germane to our house at the moment is fumigation.
Sometime in the next few days we'll be clearing out of the farmhouse for a night while the soil on one of the neighboring berry fields is fumigated. A chemical called chloropicrin will be added into the irrigation tape running under the plastic covering the berry beds. Though we are outside the "buffer zone" for this particular application, there have been problems with chloropicrin exposure in the past. Apparently it has effects similar to tear gas (go figure since it, like many pesticides was first used as a chemical weapon in WWI), so the farmers don't want to take any chances and neither do we. A window into our food system...
Hidden benefit: We are planning to take this opportunity to go camping.
#3 Rabbits. I'm with Mr. McGregor on this one. The bunnies have to go. We planted an appetizing salad mix a week ago in our experimental garden amongst the avocado trees, and I doubt we'll ever even see any of it. Bloodmeal, pepper, rotten eggs, fences, and of course a .22 have all been suggested.
Hidden benefit: none
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