I’m almost a farmer, but I’m still waiting for my government check

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There are a lot of farmers around Winters. They have a certain look about them that I admire. They are usually grumbling about something, like the weather, lack of rain, rain at the wrong time, the price they got for last year’s crop, or labor shortages. One thing you can count on is that they all drive pickup trucks, and won’t admit it, but most have pretty new vehicles. Some pride themselves on driving old pickups, but you know they look when someone buys a new one. My “ranch” may be only .49 acres, but it does have enough fruit trees on it that someone stripped my trees before the fruit was even ripe. It is one thing when I tell a few friends to help themselves, knowing that most won’t bother picking anything, and a few will only take what they can use for themselves. It is another when someone takes hundreds of pounds and you know they are selling your pluots (plum and apricot hybrid) at a farmer’s market somewhere. It is probably better to let people pick before the fruit falls on the ground, but I would still like people to ask me before they just help themselves. I’m sure the people who helped themselves can justify their actions, but I see it differently. That is one rung on the ladder of being a farmer. Next on the list is buying a new pickup. I just crossed that one off. The well quit working and we (Elliot, my partner, and I) had to have the pump replaced. We are still waiting for the bill, but having to have your pump replaced is another farmer qualifier.  I’ve read where area farmers receive millions in farm subsidies from the federal government. If I can just figure out how to get on the public dole, I will have made it in the farming circles. I might even try having coffee at the café.   It has been a sad couple of weeks I try to keep a positive attitude, but sometimes you just have to admit that life isn’t fair and you need to cry. Hearing that Umpy Green passed away was bad enough, but the news that Russell Layton died in a motorcycle accident pushed me over the edge. I would see Umpy once a week, when I was delivering her newspaper. She was always glad to see me, sometimes with a glass of white wine in her hand. I never saw her without a smile on her face. For her family, a hurt that may never heal. Russell was driving one of my old Harleys when he hit a tree while riding around Lake Berryessa. I remember the day I sold him the bike. He was happy, as was his wife, as they drove off. She passed away a few years ago from cancer, and now Russell is gone as well.  Sad, just sad.]]>

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