“Dr. Mom” working on my stitches post surgery

Here are a series of pics (out of order a bit) of my wonderful wife working on my wound post surgery …. ensuring it stays dry while I take my first shower in days and making sure it stays dry post shower.

What would I do without her?

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In the meantime … I have to do this … please check out my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign which currently has 10 backers!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/72OxNc

The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

Please also check out my new Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Muckville-Farm-Policy-Media-and-the-Strange-Oddities-of-Semi-Rural-Life/182345468639212

And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:

http://www.farmroot.org/index.html

Update on Crowd Funding Campaign and my Bloomin’ Onion Quest!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/72OxNc

Sadly, my Kickstarter Campaign has now failed.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176629437/muckville-a-memoir-of-the-public-policy-life-of-a-0

Here is the message that I posted on the page to the 41 wonderful people that chose to back and support me on Kickstarter:

I want to first thank everyone that has backed me and spread the word about my project! I am extremely grateful. 

You are not just helping me get a book published, you are helping me to continue to do the public policy work my wife and I have been doing for the benefit of our community the past 17 years and what my memoir details. Our goal has always been to help out farmers, our community, our friends. That’s what the book is about.

I do have exciting news … my Muckville-hire an editor project now will be featured on the Crowd Funder Show. When you back me for every dollar you back you get a gift card from places like Best Buy, Sears, The Gap, Toys R Us or Home Depot of equal value. Total win-win. It’s like supporting me for free.

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/61mkb2

You have backed me on Kickstarter and I am very very appreciative of that, but if that campaign fails (Kickstarter is all or nothing) I hope you consider backing me on this program. Again, not only are you supporting a worthy cause you can receive a gift card worth the matching value of your donation at a place you will probably be purchasing soon from anyway.

Link for my blog article about it:

https://muckville.com/2013/12/04/exciting-muckville-news-my-campaign-will-be-featured-on-the-crowd-funder-show/

Finally, the new website for my new public policy organization that focuses on supporting specialty crop farmers, vegetables and fruits, is up … check it out:

http://www.farmroot.org/index.html

Again, I am truly humbled by all of the support and appreciation shown for the work that Eve and I have done over the years!

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One other update: Outback is not only giving me a free Bloomin’ Onion they re sending me 5 additional Bloomin’ Onion certificates! I will be giving them away via some sort of contest on this blog! Look for the contest to come soon!

Bloomin’ Onion campaign update … OUTBACK IS GIVING ME A FREE BLOOMIN’ ONION!!!!!!

So, as I was digging around the internet I found this article from SB Nation:

http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2013/12/13/5207558/2014-outback-bowl-coconut-shrimp-vs-bloomin-onion

The article is entitled “2014 Outback Bowl rooting interests: Coconut shrimp vs. bloomin’ onion”

The article in part states:

Iowa’s playing LSU in the Outback Bowl, but the real story will be off the field! Way off the field, because nobody who eats bloomin’ onions will be in any shape to be playing any football for a while. Outback Steakhouse has the details:

Victory or defeat, everyone gets free eats Jan. 2nd. If LSU takes home the Outback Bowl trophy, Outback will give away free Bloomin’ Onions nationwide. If Iowa prevails, it will be free Coconut Shrimp for all. Just say “Outback Bowl” to your server on Jan. 2 to score the free app.

Simply lock eyes with your server. Hold your server’s gaze for some time. Grin. Signal for your server to come closer. Yes, just like that. Whisper in your server’s ear, like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, “Outback Bowl.” Choke down your reward.

O-M-G!

A free Bloomin’ Onion … IF LSU WINS????????????????

Seeing this I immediately posted a comment to the article with a link to my initial blog posting about my quest to get a free Bloomin’ Onion:

https://muckville.com/2013/12/08/iowa-to-play-lsu-in-the-outback-bowl-and-i-want-a-free-bloomin-onion-from-outback-steakhouse/

I then took off for the Twitterverse and started posting replies to anyone that tweeted about this … including the author of the SB nation article and Outback.

A few minutes later I got a tweeted response … FROM OUTBACK ITSELF!

In fact, they tweeted to me multiple times. Here is the exchange:

@ChrisPawelski Everyone wins at the @outbackbowl! If Iowa wins, you get free Coconut Shrimp and if LSU wins you get a free Bloomin’ Onion

@Outback @outbackbowl Uhm … I don’t want shrimp. I want a Bloomin’ Onion. You need to read my blog to learn why. http://bit.ly/1bR14ye 

@ChrisPawelski But we can arrange a Free Bloomin’ Onion for you before game day. DM us your mailing addy #outbacksurprise

@Outback AWESOME! WILL DO! Thanks #Outback!

@ChrisPawelski Anything for a 4th generation onion farmer! Without you, there wouldn’t be Bloomin’ Onions

Link for the entire exchange:

https://twitter.com/TimRossComedy/status/410251066803257344

So now I am getting a free Bloomin’ Onion and Outback is now following me on Twitter!

Thank you so much Outback!!!

Now I wonder … do you want to send a deeply in debt onion farmer, his wife and two kids to see the game with complimentary tickets, airfare and lodging? You can also feel free to support my Crowd Funding campaign:

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/72OxNc?

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120304/SMALLBIZ/303049975

LOl … just kidding! But all kidding aside … thank you Outback!

My arthroscopic knee surgery on my meniscus tear!

On Friday December 13th (yes, Friday the 13th) my torn meniscus in my left knee was operated on. This was my second surgery on this left knee. The first was 2008. As readers of this bog may recall on November 4th I posted an entry about my new tear entitled “Another meniscus tear” (https://muckville.com/2013/11/04/another-meniscus-tear/). On October 24th I saw my Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. John Juliano. As my blog entry stated:

In October I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Juliano again (I brought him two red onions) and he ordered another MRI. In my follow-up visit (which this Thursday will be 2 weeks ago) he said that the MRI was not 100% definitive but it appears I have another tear. He suggested I try a steroid shot in my knee and see how that worked. If after the shot the pain is reduced I could skip the surgery but if not I could get the surgery.

Not only did the cortisone shot not work, it actually hurt. And since it hurt and I had prolonged knee pain post shot I ended up over compensating while bundling boxes, causing me to mess up my back and requiring me to see a massage therapist.

So, based on what happened post cortisone shot Dr. Juliano felt I should get the knee surgery. And I agreed. Now Eve was afraid that the pain and discomfort I felt was not so much due to a tear but was caused by instead arthritis in the knee. That, obviously would be very bad. I in fact saw Dr. Juliano back in 2010 about the discomfort I was feeling then and he felt it was probably arthritis as well. Obviously all questions would be answered as to what was causing my pain via the surgery.

The following are a series of photos that chronicle this event. The only thing missing are pictures of the actual surgery. I know pictures are taken so I asked Dr. Juliano if I could have them for my blog. He laughed and said no problem. I hope to get them when I have my post-op appointment where he removes the stitches.

When you first arrive at St. Anthony’s Community Hospital one of the people checking you in gives you a number. These number cards are very important according to the woman at the next step who registered me. She said “Jerry (the name of the older man that escorted us to the registration booth) is going to want that back when we are done … they are very important.”

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Eve with me at the registration booth … “you aren’t going to be taking pictures all day are you?”

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Papers to sign … lots of papers to sign ….

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An official wrist tag!

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In the prep area.

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Eve tying up my gown … then the bad news … the nurse said I have to get entirely naked.

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I anxiously explained to the nurse that tonight Iowa was playing Iowa State in men’s college basketball and for only the second time in the over 100 year history of these interstate rivals playing each other they are both in the top 25 rankings.

Me: “Do I have to take them off? Iowa performs much better and generally wins when I wear my black underwear.”

Nurse: “Well, we like to have patients remove all clothing in case of accidental release of fluids during the procedure. it’s easier to clean-up.”

Me: “Oh … I understand … I will just put them back on as quickly as possible for the big game tonight.”

Nurse (laughing): “Okay, understood, I think.”

One note: Iowa lost to Iowa State that night by 3 points. My son Caleb and I are convinced the loss is due to my not wearing the back underwear during my surgical event.

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The bed!

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Behind the bed “Code Blue.” You always hear it in the movies … I wanted to start shouting “Code Blue” out, along with “Stat” but I didn’t.

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My favorite sign in the hospital … where is the “Comfortably Numb” designation?

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It took a while to get the iv inserted. As I explained to the nurse, it always does. I have small veins. When I had the intestinal blockage back in 2008 for my intestinal blockage they actually had to put it in my hand. The nurses couldn’t get it into my arm. I told her she did a fantastic job getting it in my arm. She laughed.

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A selfie in bed.

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Dr. Juliano came in and said “so, we are doing the right knee?” I paused for a sec with my jaw dropped and he laughed and said “gotcha.” He then marked the left knee. I like that!

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As they were about to roll me in they finally put the hat on me. I told Eve she had to take a pic and she obliged!

I was then rolled out to the operating room. The anesthesiologist administered the anesthesia via my iv as we rolled down the hallway. I thought to myself that I would stay awake as long as possible and make a mental note of when I started to feel drowsy. I was rolled into the operating room and I do not remember anything after I entered the room.

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I awoke post surgery in the operating room and the nurses were still cleaning up. I was then rolled back into the prep room and Eve was waiting for me there. They brought me cranberry juice and a roll to eat. I felt fine. No negative effects from the anesthesia and I wasn’t expecting any because I had been put under twice before and both times I experienced no nausea afterwards.

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At this point Dr. Juliano came in. The good news, there was no sign of arthritis in the knee. The bad news, the tear was much worse than he thought it would be and the operation took about an hour longer than expected (surgery was over 2 hours). He said based on what this tear looked like it was not likely a repetitive injury from working the inching pedal/brake on our smaller barn forklift. Something more traumatic caused it.

I do so much stupid stuff on the farm I couldn’t even begin to isolate which stupid action on my part led to this. He didn’t rule out a repetitive action totally, but said it was highly unlikely.

He said I needed to keep everything dry until Monday, and then I could remove the ace bandage wrap and shower (I’m going to get stinky) and on December 23rd he’s remove the stitches and do his post-surgery evaluation. Eve then asked him when I should go back to doing physical labor. He was sort of surprised by that. To him it was a no brainer, a few weeks, mid January at least. Eve then told him when I had the surgery done last, back in December of 2008, the day after my dad called to have me shovel snow. He laughed and said that I should be doing any shoveling anytime soon. “Don’t ruin my work, the most you should do for a few weeks is sit at a desk. Make me the bad guy.”

I have two rare genetic blood clotting disorders. A couple of years ago I tested positive for one positive copy of Factor V (Leiden) mutation and I tested positive for one copy of the prothrombin gene. So Dr. Juliano said instead of taking 1 daily aspirin (which is what I normally do) I should take 2 daily aspirin for the next 5 days, to avoid a blod clot.

The nurse then brought an ice pack. I was given instructions on a series of post operative exercises to do and told to ice the area the next few days. I was still a bit dopey and only remember half of this stuff.

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My lovely and extremely patient nurse.

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When I sat up after getting dressed I was hit with a wave of nausea … I did not expect this. I told the nurse and she said it’s too bad I didn’t feel it before they removed the iv because they could have given me some anti-neausea stuff in my drip. I had brought my promethazine with me, fortunately, so I took one. It is one of three pills I take in a cocktail for acute headache relief. It prevents and controls motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

This time it didn’t work. I felt nauseous all during the drive to the Florida Pharmacy to get my pain meds and all the way home. When I would then lie on the couch I felt a bit better, though as I started to doze off I started to experience some serious gerd. Three or four times material started coming up on me. I also had a terrible headache. So, I took my cocktail of promethazine, tramadol and cyclobenzaprine. Because I took those I only took one percocet for my knee.

Despite all of those drugs, and all have warnings for drowsiness, I only fell asleep for a half hour or so.

Have I ever mentioned I have a very high tolerance for pharmaceuticals?

Now, one thing you will notice in the picture below is that Dr. Juliano obviously applied iodine all around the surgical area on my leg. Standard procedure of course. Unless you are a sadist. A couple of years ago I passed a small amount of blood. The medication that I was taking at the time for my headaches had one side effect of potentially casing kidney stones. I went to see this urologist in Middletown … Dr. David Cohen:

http://www.middletownurology.com/physicians

This jerk, and I don’t use that term lightly, did a cystoscopy on me. What is that you ask?

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cystoscopy

I asked to be given a local anesthetic for the procedure. he flat out refused, though I repeatedly asked him for it. He said to em “the procedure doesn’t last that long, doesn’t hurt and you don’t need it.” Eve wanted to walk out and leave but I just wanted to get through with it. After waiting a half hour he did this minimally though still invasive procedure with no anesthetic. He also did no iodine swipe before it.

Why did he refuse to give me a local anesthetic? Your guess is as good as ours.

The procedure was terribly uncomfortable, no, it hurt when he did it and I had pretty strong pain while urinating for about a week afterwards. He gave me no pain killers post procedure.

Well, back to the now!

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As you can see in these photos I had two friends to comfort me, Chloe on my legs and Bauer on my chest. Chloe, who is a fat cat, actually at one point jumped onto my knee.

My scream was deafening.

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These photos are taken the next day. I am doing my leg exercises. Thank the Lord for percocet!

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Another image of my knee, wrapped tight.

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Resting post exercise.

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I always have to score some sort of trophy post big event … whether it be a placard or name card or in this case … those special hospital socks with the grippy stuff at the bottom!

SCORE!

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Look for this blog for future updates on my knee and eventually for photos taken during the procedure by my doctor!

In the meantime … I have to do this … please check out my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign which currently has 4 backers!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/72OxNc

The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

Please also check out my new Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Muckville-Farm-Policy-Media-and-the-Strange-Oddities-of-Semi-Rural-Life/182345468639212

And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:

http://www.farmroot.org/index.html

Oh, it is now been 6 days since I contacted Outback Corporation about getting a free Bloomin’ Onion after it was announced Iowa would play in the 2014 Outback Bowl. How can they refuse gong a 4th generation onion farmer who is an Iowa graduate a free Bloomin’ Onion?

https://muckville.com/2013/12/08/iowa-to-play-lsu-in-the-outback-bowl-and-i-want-a-free-bloomin-onion-from-outback-steakhouse/

It’s not as if they haven’t given away free Bloomin’ Onions before:

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-09-23/features/sfl-free-bloomin-onion-at-outback-on-tuesday-after-redbull-flugtag-20130923_1_bloomin-onion-outback-steakhouse-deals-text

http://www.examiner.com/article/outback-veterans-day-2013-freebies-restaurant-gives-away-free-bloomin-onions

Come on Outback … do the right thing!

Updates on Outback and my Crowd Funding Campaigns and other stuff!

On Sunday night I e-mailed Outback for a free Bloomin’ Onion and promptly blogged about it!

https://muckville.com/2013/12/08/iowa-to-play-lsu-in-the-outback-bowl-and-i-want-a-free-bloomin-onion-from-outback-steakhouse/

It’s now Wednesday and no response from Outback Corporation. Do they hate Iowa fans, or onion farmers, or just Iowa graduates who happen to be onion farmers?

Here are the two contact links I used … feel free to contact them and demand they give a free Bloomin’ Onion to the 4th generation onion farmer who is a University of Iowa graduate! Ask them why they don’t support onion farmers who are Iowa grads!

https://www.outback.com/Contact-Us

http://www.outbackbowl.com/contact

I now have 4 days left on my Kickstarter campaign:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176629437/muckville-a-memoir-of-the-public-policy-life-of-a-0

39 backers pledging $1,627 is pretty fantastic but Kickstarter is “all-or-nothing” so it appears pretty unlikely I’ll make my goal of $5,000 in 4 days. hey, you never know … but many thanks to all that chose to support my project!

In the meantime my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign now has 4 backers!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/72OxNc

The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

I now have a Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Muckville-Farm-Policy-Media-and-the-Strange-Oddities-of-Semi-Rural-Life/182345468639212

And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:

http://www.farmroot.org/index.html

Wow … that’s lots of updates … arthroscopic knee surgery coming up Friday … hopefully I will be able to post lots of fantastic pics … will be asking the Doctor if I can only have a local so I can stay awake and take some neat surgery action photos!

We’ll see … though I doubt my wonderful and long suffering wife will allow it!

Updates on my Crowd Funder Show campaign and Farmroot!

While my Kickstarter Campaign picked up another backer it appears it will not succeed with only 5 days to go. It was close, and the backer support was tremendous, but with Kickstarter it is “all or nothing.”

On the other hand my The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign has picked up a new backer and is moving forward!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1efvb/ab/72OxNc

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176629437/muckville-a-memoir-of-the-public-policy-life-of-a-0

It is not “all or nothing” and it has some fantastic rewards for people that support me …. dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Sears, Home Depot or Best Buy. So if you plan on doing some holiday buying or post holiday buying at any of these locations please consider supporting me. You are essentially able to do it at no cost to you … and you are supporting a worthwhile cause … funding my endeavor to hire a professional editor for my first draft memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” Once again, all contributions and any other support, including the passing along information about this campaign, is very much appreciated!

On another note, the website for my new public policy/advocacy organization that focuses on issues surrounding specialty crops, or vegetables and fruits, Farmroot, is now up and active!!!!!

http://www.farmroot.org/index.html

Please feel free to check it out! Check to the issues page, the about us page, and feel free to spread the word!!!! look for exciting news regarding Farmroot to be appearing soon!

Finally … it has now been a day with no response from Outback regarding my quest for a free Bloomin’ Onion from them because Iowa is in the Outback Bowl and I’m a 4th generation onion farmer and Iowa graduate … I will keep everyone posted on this!!!!!

You’ve gobbled the turkey … you’re stuffed with stuffing … now’s the time to support my Muckville Kickstarter campaign!

At your wonderful dinner yesterday did you eat any of these?

Not those … these:

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Do you wonder how they got from point A to point B … your plates?

That’s only part of the story …

Ever wonder what happens when a entire crop is obliterated?

Ever wonder how we work with elected officials and politicos to bring about positive public policy for farmers?

If any of these things are either of importance or interest to you then please support my project and spread the word. My memoir tells the story of what’s involved in growing a crop and working with the powers that be to develop smart public policy.

And either way … eat more onions and thank you for your support … this Bud’s for you!

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“Keep On Rolling …Keep On Rolling ……..”

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Quick update on my Kickstarter campaign:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176629437/muckville-a-memoir-of-the-public-policy-life-of-a-0

33 backers … $1,397 … that’s 25% of my goal!

But we are down to 18 days to go and the clock is now becoming a factor! So if you can back that is fantastic and if you can encourage others to back … even more awesome!

Remember … if my memoir doesn’t get edited and then published … how will people learn all about the vegetable trees?

https://muckville.com/2013/11/26/if-my-memoir-muckville-isnt-published-how-will-people-learn-about-the-vegetable-trees/

So this holiday weekend let’s “Keep On Rolling …!”

On a nice roll ….

Wow … what a day yesterday was for my Kickstarter campaign! I picked up a bunch of backers, now up to 30 and $1,267! That’s 23% of my funding goal!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176629437/muckville-a-memoir-of-the-public-policy-life-of-a-0

But, I’m now down to 19 days to go and Kickstarter is “all or nothing.” If I don’t make my goal then I get zero funding!

We can do this!

Why is this important?

In yesterday’s issue of Politico current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was interviewed. In the article entitled “Tom Vilsack: Farming ‘under-appreciated'” It states in part:

As you look at your (hopefully) full plate this Thanksgiving, take a guess at what percentage of your annual income you spend on food. Whatever you guessed, you probably guessed too high.

“We pay as low as 6 percent,” Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, was telling me at a conference table in his office. “In most other industrialized countries it’s 20 to 25 percent.” And if you were spending that much on food in America, Vilsack asks, “How big a house would you have? How nice a car?” In addition to being a relatively small amount of our incomes, our supply of edibles is virtually guaranteed. “America does not really have to depend on the rest of the world for food,” Vilsack says….

Only 1 percent of the U.S. population actually farms. Though Vilsack and his wife own a farm in Iowa, nobody in their family has worked a farm since his great-great-grandfather. But, Vilsack says, one out of every 12 jobs in America is connected to agriculture….

“It’s tied to national security,” he says. “In 40 years, we will have to increase agriculture by 70 percent globally to feed the world.” But the amount of land devoted to agriculture is shrinking — think climate change and urban development — and because of that, farmers will have to produce more food with less land and less water.

“And if you think the world is unsafe today, wait until we have serious fights over food and water,” Vilsack says. Enter the American farmer. “Farming is under-appreciated and misunderstood,” Vilsack says. “It is a sophisticated business.” It is also a business whose practitioners are aging. The average age of a farmer on a commercial-size farm is probably close to 60, Vilsack says, and it’s hard work. “There are three times as many farmers over the age of 65 as under the age of 25,” he says.

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/tom-vilsack-farming-roger-simon-100360.html

(end of clip)

That’s sort of the point I made yesterday when I talked about the woman who believed vegetables grow on trees. They don’t, but, I don’t think she is the only person out there so clueless about farming.

My memoir talks about what is involved in being a farmer. It also talks about how Eve and I have gone about the past 17 years to educate the public and elected officials about what we are experiencing and ways in which the situation can be improved. And what’s detailed can be a road map for you to improve your situation!

Once again I greatly appreciate the support and humbly you ask for your continued help to get this done!

If my memoir Muckville isn’t published how will people learn about the vegetable trees?

Why do we need, “we” meaning our society, my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life” to be published and widely disseminated?

Allow me to introduce you to this young lady who back in 2008 testified before the Santa Cruz City Council on May 13, 2008. Much of her testimony focused on agriculture.

Please watch her testimony now. It’s only 2:35 long:

You’re laughing … I know. Stop laughing, or at least reduce it to a giggle please.

You see, if my book isn’t published and doesn’t become widely available how will people like her learn about the onion trees that I grow my crop on?

You’re laughing … I’m laughing … sort of … yes, this young woman might be equal parts drug influenced and a level of stupid of epic proportions but believe it or not … she is not unique.

Did you notice one person clapped at the end of her presentation? Did you notice you could see not one person on the floor laughing in hysterics at the end of her presentation? Yes, some, probably most, were just being courteous and nice, but I would bet not everyone was simply being courteous and nice.

I would bet there were others in the room that believed land is free and vegetables grow on trees.

As I said, she is not unique. I have come across via the internet, and in person mind you, many many many many many many many many many many many people that rival her in regards to her utter and complete lack of understanding of farming practices and our production realities. There are people that sincerely believe fresh produce is simply produced in the back room of the grocery store, the place the men and women that wear the aprons that scurry back and forth from, rolling the fresh produce out on those carts to put on the store shelf. It’s produced by magic, you know.

You see, we as a society are so far removed from farming we have lost much of our basic understanding and perspective regarding the simple facts as to how food is grown and the overall importance and impacts of farming in general.

The following is an excerpt from Muckville that discusses this:

Farming is one of the oldest, yet it is now one of the most unique professions in this country. Currently, though representing a mere 1.2% of the overall GDP for the U.S. economy agriculture represents roughly 9.2% of U. S. exports. Roughly .7% of the labor force is employed in farming, forestry and fishing and it is estimated that roughly only 2% of the U. S. population is involved in farming on some level. If you add processors, outlets and related industries the number increases to 15%. But, only 2% to 3% are really only directly employed or work on a farm. That means that every on-farm job helps create 5 – 7 related industry jobs.  That is a pretty impressive positive economic impact.

Of course, in some states agriculture is one of, if not the most important industry. This includes, surprising to some, New York State, where agriculture, outside of New York City, is one of the largest and most important industries in the state. But, times have changed. In Orange County where we live, agriculture is still the #1 industry, and its economic impacts are still very important on a local and state basis.

Even as recently as 1955 between 10% to 15% of American workers worked in agriculture. Today there are roughly 3.3 million U.S. farm operators but those farms produce enough food that U.S. consumers each year spend about a half trillion dollars on various food products that are produced on U.S. farms. What we don’t always understand is that we in the U. S. have one of the world’s cheapest food supplies. U. S. consumers spend just 10% of their disposable income each year to pay their food bill. For comparison that figure in France is 15%, China 33% and the Philippines it’s 37%. But for every dollar spent on food the farmer receives about 16% of it. The average age of a U.S. farmer is 57 years old. And today each American farmer produces enough food/fiber to feed 154 people in the U.S. and abroad. These are just some of the facts folks.

If you look at the figures above, that $0.16 of the food dollar that the farmer receives generates $0.80 to $1.12 in related businesses. To put this into perspective, one of the arguments for bailing out General Motors was that its demise would have a negative ripple effect across support businesses that would be as large as the funds invested in GM.  Agriculture has much less control over its own destiny than the auto industry.  And its ripple effect is much greater.

What does this all mean? Our nation’s history and roots are inextricably tied into farming. Farming is still a major part of our economy, including being a key part of our export economy, and everyone has to eat. Yet, it is an industry and vocation that few people today have a direct connection to. Nor do they have a good grasp of in terms of the sophisticated, multi-faceted production, marketing and economic realities surrounding it.

(end of excerpt … back to blog)

That’s one aspect of Muckville … informing people about the production realities associated with farming. But that’s only half of what Muckville is about. Muckville is also about informing people, educating people about what is involved in formulating smart public policy. Much of Muckville is all about the sorts of things Eve and I did to bring about positive changes, from the grassroots level, to laws, regulations and general public policies connected to farming.

Why is this important, or, more importantly, important to you?

First, if people like Eve and I and other farmers don’t do it, don’t work hard to bring our voices to the table in terms of formulating sound public policy positions on various farm related issues, well, more clueless people will fill that void and do it for us.

People like our friend who testified before the Santa Cruz City Council. Sad reality, I would actually count her as a “friend” of farmers. There are people out there, many people out there, who are virtually as disconnected and uninformed as her but are not benign in terms of their positions. They are not friends of farmers and they stake out positions, or are simply manipulated by people who are not as clueless, to back positions and policies extremely harmful to our industry.

This affects you, because you eat, daily (or at least you are supposed to) and I firmly believe maintaining a healthy domestic farming industry is not just wise public policy, it’s a matter of national security.

The second reason why Muckville should be important to you is that what I detail in the book you can use as a roadmap in terms of working on any issue of importance locally to you. In other words, what we did you can do. I spell it all out.

So, Muckville is about informing, educating and entertaining … it provides a great deal “behind the scenes” details as to how one can influence public policy. It enables you to make better choices in terms of supporting to backing various issues or positions connected with agriculture.

Please, back my Kickstarter campaign. Spread the word to your friends. Help me to be able to afford an editor, to get this work polished and get it to a willing and eager publisher.

Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176629437/muckville-a-memoir-of-the-public-policy-life-of-a-0

Or face the potential consequence … a loss of farms and the eventual eradication in this country of all vegetable trees. When all the onion trees disappear how will you be able to enjoy local onions?

Just think about that.