Tag Archive: kristen


You think my tractor’s sexy?

Wide open spaces.

Wide open spaces.

That’s right, it’s official, I am now a farmer! You thought, ” Jacque, what the hell are you doing farming? I thought you were a scientist.” Well, I’m here to tell you – you can’t farm without science…and mud, and cows, and grass, and fertilizer (fancy name for cow poo), and TRACTORS!!

Rolling Rolls

Rolling Rolls

I have spent some hefty time sitting on a Rollmaster harvester on our sod farm near the Myakka river. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to ride and operate the harvester which rolls up the sod. Sitting behind a diesel tractor all day isn’t my idea of a glam job – but it sure as heck had me smiling. So, I have come to the simple conclusion that….drum roll please…..KRISTEN WAS ALWAYS RIGHT – WE SHOULD BE FARMERS!!!

It’s such a green and simple life, fraught with weather watching, cow chasing, muddy boots, pump fixin, rain gauging, cow patty avoiding, and

Farmer Jack

Farmer Jack

sweet smelling grass! The most interesting thing is – all that GREEN brings in a lot of GREEN! Green side up and

Trucking along...

Trucking along…

payday is Friday kind of green.

I thought all you kids out there would want to see how a girl farmer works…and what a sod farm looks like. So, without any further adieu…..For Fun Friday – Here’s Farming….

 

I must pause at this moment in our journey to take some time and give thanks. It has always been that people are the catalysts to change in our lives. Well, I am here to give thanks for something – not someone.

There – like a friend who kept us safe!

In the beginning, we realized that we need to carry a lot of crap to remote places. We also realized that we had to walk up and down rivers and creeks with this crap. The best idea was a raft of some sort. Leave it to John to bring a friggin Kodiak raft into the wilds of the East Fork of the Manatee River at low flow….that story is for another day but suffice it to say – we FLOBBED (a term I made up to describe dragging a deflating Kodiak raft filled with very expensive equipment down the river) the thing back to the truck that day!

I had bought a red, old style,

Big Red was always with us!

fiberglass kayak with an open hull from a buddy (Brian) for nothing ($50). We began using it every day. It was PERFECT! It had plenty of room for equipment and gear (and us sometimes), it was a kayak so could be used to navigate places that were small safely, and we could hang on to it with the false sense of security thinking that gators wouldn’t eat us because we looked like we belonged to the kayak and WHAT GATOR WOULD EAT A KAYAK!!!

Years flew by and the team and our trusty kayak, BIG RED, engaged in all sorts of crazy adventures. You will hear some of these tails but others will go silently into the past….unremembered by the team, no photos were taken maybe or maybe we just plain are getting old.

The dark day wasn’t so long ago….the day BIG RED died. We were meeting on a gray 4am morning to go to the Santa Fe and Ichetucknnee Rivers for some serious surveying and recon. It was dark. I was early and I expected Kristen would be late.

I checked the kayak to make sure I hadn’t left anything of value and I entered the Denny’s at Wildwood ready to casually eat breakfast while I waited. Kristen arrived early – we shared a laugh and made plans over breakfast. We paid, and left the restaurant chatting wildly about the days we might spend in these spring fed beauties!

HORROR!!! DOUBLETAKES….that’s what it was HORRIBLE! BIG RED, still strapped firmly in the truck bed, was torn asunder! Someone had hit the kayak end and broken it in several places. It was so damaged that we would have to find alternate ways to work now. It began to rain!

Goodbye Friend!

We had quite a sad moment of realization! This kayak had been with us on most of our journeys, adventures, triumphs and tragedies! It had taken us safely to more places than we could remember. We needed it!! We both teared up. The loss of the kayak was more than that. We lost a piece of our team.

Just thinking about loading up Big Red and trudging into the wilds makes me smile! I will begin to write adventures that included Big Red. There are so many! The day we lost Big Red was the beginning of a very different kind of loss….it wasn’t long after that, that we lost what seemed like everything!

My pant legs wet with early dew, or is that late rain? We are almost to the creek in Myakka River State Park when I begin making those typical mental catalog entries when I sense post-flood conditions. I notice rafted debris up in the saplings. I see freshly dropped sand that the creek has played with and tossed aside carelessly as it rambled out of its banks and into the forest. Some half crazed wandering storm that grounded and misbehaves.

I am hefting my gear to the same spot i have hefted it for years now. The familiar sandy bank of a very small creek that I love dearly. I place everything just so – almost as if it were the first time of the many. I blah blah blah to Kristen as I always do and she always lets me because she loves me and knows me. She knows every thought comes out of my mouth because there is simply no room in my head for anything more than the million tangents that are tiddly winking around in there at all times….

Flooding rains have come late this year and I am eager to see what the flow will be. The waters have subsided but everywhere is the look that something naked and wild has run past. It raked its wet fingers across the landscape and nothing went unscathed. I think I hear small mammals rustling about complaining. I take one last look at my spot. The spot my body has taken up for years….

SNAKE…I say this out loud of course because of the tangents and blah blah blah….Kristen says “Where”, and I say, “Right there!” What I mean (since you were not there and do not know where I was pointing) was right where I usually sit….on the snake….the pygmy rattle snake.

Wow, it was so small.It was so still. It was so in my spot where my rear goes. Immediately we dance around laughing. What would the nurse say? How would Kristen get me out of there when it’s on my butt? All the “suck the poison out” jokes are funny….for a minute.

I realize that the rattlesnake is offended that I want my space. I try to shoo her away into the forest but she resists. She knows, too, that great things happen when you occupy that space. She knows how good it feels to sit there. My feet just reach the creek while I work. The leaves always occupy my fingers. She snake is reluctant to relinquish what I know is the perfect view of the creek.

She leaves, pouting, and rattling that she will be back. I look, once more, at where she has been. A small curl of danger rises from my space. That’s when I realize how very lucky I am….In so many ways!

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