Sunday, April 11, 2010

Working Man


Welcome to Working Man week here at OPOD. We intend to feature great pictures of men doing real work. Today's picture was taken in 1942, and shows a construction worker helping to build TVA's Douglas dam on the French Broad River in  Tennessee. As we discussed last week, it seems like no one does real work anymore, and we don't build anything. It is particularly striking to me when I talk to students about their career plans. I hear that want to do things like get a degree in percussion (drumming?) or they want to be a pastry chef or personal fitness trainer. It is hard to make them see that just because a school offers a degree in something, it does not mean you can find a job with that degree. I have been advising students that I think the next great jobs will be jobs where you build things, or work with your hands. I think that it will turn out that being a plumber, electrician, or in the energy business will be careers where you will be able to get a job. I feel we are entering a time where people will have to make hard choices, and you want to work in an industry where you are offering something people HAVE to have, not WANT to have. If people have to choose between a personal trainer and having a plumber come and fix the toilet, people will choose a flushing toilet. For more gifted students, I think Engineering and the medical field will remain good careers. I am not trying to be Mr. negative, but I feel we still have some very tough years ahead of us, and it is going to be very difficult for young people hitting the job market.

Domestic Update: Springtime in Chickie Town


It is official; Spring has Sprung in Chickie Town, and the place is literally covered in lovely bluebonnets. I find it interesting that the chickies eat everything BUT the bluebonnets. The picture shows Miss Honey out scratching around for bugs in the bluebonnet patch. She really is a lovely bird.


The picture above shows Miss Honey and some of the other chickens. The chickies are very sociable and appear to like to do everything together.


Miss Ivy June is shown above chasing after a bug. She is one of our best egg layers.

Chickie town has turned out to be the smartest thing I have ever done. At first, Mrs. PJM was against the idea. She was concerned that I would get some big deal going, lose interest, and then she would be left to take care of the chickens. I convinced her I would take care of them, so she agreed to let me get the operation going. As it turns out, chickens are very easy to take care of, and in fact way less work than a dog. In the morning, I just have to open the door of their coop, and throw out a  few cups of feed. Then all day they go around scratching and finding bugs and other things to eat. At dusk, they march themselves right back into the coop, and I close the door. Collecting the eggs is the most fun part. We are getting 9-10 eggs per day.

Project chickie town has greatly endeared me to Mrs. PJM. It has been a success on many fronts. First, Mrs. PJM loves fresh country eggs, and now she has plenty of eggs to cook with and plenty to have for breakfast. I have further improved my domestic standing by getting up every morning and cooking her breakfast of scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon.


The combination of the plentiful supply of fresh eggs and the custom made breakfasts have resulted in me achieving very high points around the house, and have helped to bring me ever closer to becoming a gentleman farmer. Just the other day, I overheard Mrs. PJM talking to some guests at our house, and I heard her describe me as a "Peach of a Husband". Yes, I achieved the highly coveted "Peach" status. Few men in history have ever achieved this status. Most men are happy to ever even get to "He is not as repulsive as he used to be", or "Not as lazy as most men", or perhaps, "Does not sweat much for  a fat man." But no, I have become the "Peach".

Chickie Town also appeals to Mrs. PJM for other reasons as well. First, she loves little animals, and when she drives up, all the little chickies run up to greet her and make little chickie noises at her. This warms her heart. Also, Mrs. PJM likes to share, and since we get so many eggs, she can share eggs with all her friends. I bought these little clear 6 egg cartons, and made little stickers. When Mrs. PJM gives eggs to people, they have fancy little labels with the person's name on them.


I feel with the success of Chickie Town, a tractor is almost a sure thing at this point. I have even noticed Mrs. PJM saying things like, "With that little tractor, you could move this rock over there". Or, "If you had a little tractor, we could make a little trail over here". While I feel a tractor is almost a sure thing, rather than suggest it at this point, I would like to parley the success of Chickie Town into an even bigger success so perhaps I could get the tractor and all needed attachments this summer. So, I will play it cool for now, as I continue to build more points.

I feel I am closer than ever to becoming a true "Gentleman Farmer". I will keep you posted as the project continues.

29 comments:

  1. Great update on Chickie Town. Reminds me a lot of my Grandfather's house. Even though he lived "in town", he had a chicken coop and a full fledged garden in back. Fresh potatoes and eggs, yum, yum.

    As to Ye Olde Work Ethic, I have always been a big proponent of a) a year minimum as an unskilled laborer, or b) a hitch in the service as a grunt between High School and College. Get some respect for the workers that you may one day manage. Get some perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The chickies look like Rhode Island Reds, to me. Am I right?
    Love chickens. It always sounds so peaceful with them clucking (or singing).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Elsie,
    The dark chickens are Black Star, which I think are very similar to Rhode Island Reds. The others are a type that lay colored eggs (pink, green, blue). Not bright colors but sort of light pastels.
    PJM

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mathan,
    Good comments, but I wonder if the day is coming where the people with useful skills will be the ones calling the shots. Knowing how to butcher a cow, grow a garden and so forth.
    PJM

    ReplyDelete
  5. As one friend said, "All we do in the U.S. is sue and consume." I agree with your economic lesson, PJM.

    Love the graphics on the egg carton sticker! You are so talented.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have never seen colors other than white and a few shades of brown
    You need to line up the different colored eggs and take a photo of them. Maybe with a white one between each color, or the different colored ones with a white one right behind them.
    Just something to blow a persons mind.
    R

    ReplyDelete
  7. PJM, You've a ways to go!
    FIrst, you don't butcher the cow, you milk her, you borrow a bull and butcher the steers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Cow" was being used in its generic sense, inclusive of cows, steers, and bulls. PJM is cognizant that most little boy cows are turned into steers, and in fact has had prior work in this very career. Steers are butchered, but sometimes cows also. PJM used to work for a rancher that raised high end Herfords and is well aware of the subtleties of the industry.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Couldn't agree with you more on the career advise you're offering to students.

    Now as for those clear egg cartons...would you mind sharing your source? My pullets are still months away from laying their first eggs, but I simply must have some of those cartons for the giveaways.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The7msn,

    I got them at McMurray Hatchery. They come with the sticky labels that will run through your printer, and you can make any graphic you want on the labels.

    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/clear_plastic_egg_carton.html

    PJM

    ReplyDelete
  11. Not all female cattle (cows) are milked. Most of them are used to reproduce more cattle (calves).
    But if a cow is not able to have calves, then off to be butchered.
    A rancher cannot afford to keep a non-producing animal around.
    R

    ReplyDelete
  12. ALL of the photos are spectacular. Your Chickie Town updates are serial posts I enjoy and look forward to. Tell me, what is your choice of tractor?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Maybelline,
    Ah nothing like a woman who wants to talk a little tractor.

    I am thinking about a John Deere. I like them because they are green. Is that a good reason to pick a tractor . . . the color?

    PJM

    ReplyDelete
  14. Does anyone else think that looks like a block of concrete this fellow is augering? Amazingly, he's able to get what are apparently wood chips to pile up around the bit.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The end of the one he is augering on is to dark to tell. But the one in front and to his left you can see the tree rings on the end of it.
    So I'm going to go out on a LIMB and say it is the center cut from a tree.
    R

    ReplyDelete
  16. Concerning the choice of practical careers: I was so pleased that the son of our friend has chosen to go to heating/air conditioning school after he graduates this June. He has always been an A student and could've chosen to go to a university instead. But he is following in his father's footsteps. His father and mother started with nothing and have done very well for themselves. Both were born in Mexico and had no outside help in achieving their goals. The dad received his citizenship by serving in the U.S. Army. They are a hard working family and good citizens. Their oldest son served 6 years in the Marines. Joshua has chosen practicality. I wish our son had chosen something like this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Carla,
    Sounds like a good career choice. When times are good, things are being built, needing air conditioning or heating, and when times are bad, people need someone to fix the old one, or help them install a new one.

    Work with your hands, build something, or provide a service people MUST have.
    PJM

    ReplyDelete
  18. You can see where the different pieces of wood are fastened together but the colour changes.
    Fantastic subject last week PJM.
    This week also looks interesting.
    I am a qualified car mechanic and vehicle electrician and even though I know longer do the job I know that I can always go back and do it if needs be.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm not saying that everyone ought to do everything, but I worked my way through High School at Safeway, then bucked bales on a ranch until it was time to go to College. After half a year, I thought I was smart enough and went to work in the open pit mine outside of town. Three years later, I realized I wasn't quite as smart as I thought and returned to finish college. Took me another 16 years to get my Masters and along the way I drove truck, worked underground, was a janitor, a DJ, and a carpenter.
    I tried Heinlein's "bucket list" from "Time Enough For Love" and found I'd done most all of it. As he says, "Specialization is for ants".

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love Chickie Town! I would love to have my own but I'm afraid the noise would bother the neighbors.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Elise,
    The chickies make much less noise than a dog or cat. They make little clucking noise, no big noises. Roosters are another matter. Hens are not noisy at all.
    PJM

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for the link, PJM. Just what I need ... another excuse to go shopping at McMurray's.

    ReplyDelete
  23. And so what is your cost per egg down to now? I'm disappointed there isn't another graph!

    ReplyDelete
  24. PJM, you mention of Engineering as a profession is spot on. There is a severe shortage of engineers in all fields, but Civil, Mechanical and Energy Engineering tops the list. The Civil takes care of and designes a world of public infrastructure. Imagine no highways. no traffic control, no buildings, no waste treatment plants or pipelines. The country would collapse in 15 years.

    Mechanical Engineering works with materials to build airplanes, space stations, artificial lembs and biotech interfacing.

    Energy Engineers

    ReplyDelete
  25. Bluebonnets remind me that I need to get down to Texas to visit the family. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The type of headshell this man is wearing is very common today. It is a fiber reinforced type of material similar to fiberglass and kevlar. I'm not sure what it's actually called but I don't think they had it in 1942. For that period he should be wearing a stamped metal headshell which was common through the mid 70's before they were outlawed. This picture could be fake.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just had to comment. Love the Chickie pictures and love your site!
    Rory from MN

    ReplyDelete
  28. About the photo, even though it is over 50 years old, it looks like one of those photoshopped ad prints you see in high-priced magazines for Levis or cigarettes. So much more was accomplished with so little.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Those pics are gorgeous! We're thinking of buying a tractor too. I grew up in suburban Detroit and never drove a tractor until my partner and I moved to rural New Zealand. We started borrowing our neighbor’s tractor to mow our olive grove. She’s a charming tractor and now I love being out there to mow!

    ReplyDelete