Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Home Away from Home

My mother, Margaret Wildman, pasted away around Thanksgiving time a year and a half ago. I inherited many things, but the one of interest in today's discussion is her conversion van.

1994 Dodge Pleasureway with 112,000 miles

If ever there was a vehicle that was only driven "By a little old lady", this is it. There are a couple scuff marks on the right side to prove it. Using your mirrors gets harder at some point in your life.

Mom traveled at a slow pace. Moving from place to place as she felt inclined. She met many people and saw those things that interested her along the way.

You can see a lot through a windshield
both seats will reverse for seating

This home away from home provided a kitchen with conveniences. Microwave, refrigerator (this is a standard dorm refrigerator since the gas convertible one died), sink, propane cooktop, hot water, and various storage options, all came with the deal.

The rear area was for sleeping and dining. The table and desk box can lay down between the benches to form a base for the back rests to lay on, making a queen size sleeping area.

The RV is equipped with propane hot water, propane furnace, a refrigerator (originally an electric/propane refrigerator), sewer and holding tanks, fresh water both from a hook up or internal tank, and a cable TV access point.

controls for generator, water pump, holding tanks, co/smoke detector

furnace vent

storage for electric cord

30 amp 120 volt

propane tank

Not sure why fresh water hook up and sewer hose storage are side by side

The bathroom and shower are the same physical space and would seem sort of tight. Not the high point of the tour but handy at certain times.

To me, the air conditioner is one of the nice things about this arrangement. At the end of a long day, I know I can sleep where it is cool. I find that comforting.

I hope this gives you the basic idea of what my mother's home away from home was like. What questions do you have?

I can be reached at Wildman.charles@gmail.com or at 937-462-7082 by txt or voicemail.

Thanks for your interest.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Get in the Basement, NOW!

The farmer's I know are a tough and resilient lot, not given to lengthy speeches, so when they utter a command like, "Get in the basement, NOW!" it is the wise person that obeys. My neighbor's family undoubtedly heard something similar the other afternoon, all obeyed, and all were survived a direct hit from a tornado.

the scene two days later
This is the scene two days later when I arrived to help in the clean up. I was dumbfounded by the destruction and the intense activity involved in the cleanup. It touches my emotions to see a community marshal so many resources in such a short period of time to help a neighbor in need.
I don't know who, but it was obvious that someone that knew how to organize people was leading the cleanup effort.

A food tent was established

A parking area was cleaned and established

Heavy equipment and many hands were hard at it
I observed no sign of law enforcement to maintain order. No one obviously directing traffic. No one driving by to watch. No one (except me) taking pictures. Just a beehive of people doing stuff. If anyone were to be caught looting they are to be pitied among men.

This was a farmstead two days ago

71 years it took to build

One moment to destroy
I noticed that everything a man had built over a lifetime was gone, but the land that has sustained him remains. How fleeting is the work of our hands.

Skill and training are needed to remove grain from damaged structures safely

shinny grain bins are part of a farms beauty and pride

a year's worth of work is stored inside
This is not how you are suppose to move a "wet holding" bin

Trucks, power, cranes, driveways, it all came together

Wonder how that got there?
As I spoke with the two farmer's that call this sight "home", two generations working together, I was struck by their gentle, humble, and peaceful recognition that life goes on.

The verse in Ecclesiastes 3 comes to mind "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,......I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That every man may eat and drink, an find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God. .....".

There is also the story of how Job responded to the devastation that befell his family and property, a wealthy man wiped out in a single day, Job 1:20 "...Then he fell to the ground in worship and said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

These are not men to preach scripture to you, or lecture it in the streets, but they communicated their deep faith and understanding of life simply in their living and fortitude. The crowd that showed up in their time of need is testimony to how clearly they have lived among their neighbors. This is the stuff that makes a farm community and makes me proud to be a part of it.

On behalf of the families struck by this disaster I want to say "Thank you!" to the community that showed up helped and cared. It is this acting together that makes a person feel safe, secure, and at home. Thank you to everyone.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quick notes from Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholder Summit

Cracking the Millennial Code:

The Animal Ag Alliance hosted its annual conference in DC last week. Click for more information.

Honesty drives me to point out that the only part of the code I was interested in cracking is “how do we get money out of their pockets?” If not for that issue there would have been no conference, unless it was the secondary “How do we get them to vote for us?” or "How do I communicate affectively with this group?"
A quick glance at the list of speakers will show you that there were a lot of experienced and talented people presenting their ideas. I had to work hard to keep up. Let alone understand the importance of what I was hearing. For a taste of what the conference was like here is a link to a session from Panera Bread

The take home points for me were something like this and amount to little more than quick notes and personal thoughts:
Millennials are hard to define.

Millennials are an extension of the “me” generation in that they “want it now, the way they want it, with good quality, and a low price”. Which makes you pause and think when you realize how many choices there are for entertainment, news, information, social groups, and so forth, all the way down to personalized coupons at the checkout register.  My thought was, "And our government is trying to give us a “one size fits all” health care system and tax code. Politics aside, can that possibly have any staying power in our society?" I want to be treated as an individual, not a group.

Millennials were defined by age but the working definition at the conference seemed to be,  "those people that are living highly connected, social media lives."

Millenials shy away from long term relationships/commitments (from marriage to phone contracts) since they have seen and been hurt by so many in the past.

Millennials want transparency as a substitute for honesty and trust. Their life experience has taught them not to trust anyone because no one is honest. Broken homes. Broken marriages. Government lies. Depravity in the church. Schools that don’t teach but indoctrinate. Scientific manipulations. A press full of propaganda and not news. Etc.  So if they don’t see it themselves or at least get it from a friend, they doubt it. They are skeptics first. It is a really sad commentary on the failures of society’s institutions. All of them.

Millennials want a company to be about more than “making money”. They are highly sensitive to the ability for a company to make money by ignoring the environmental costs of their endeavor (exploiting the environment) or exploiting workers, so they want to know the company has that cost built into its equation somehow. This can be through environmental reclaimation (planting trees comes to mind) or proving they don’t pollute (green companies) in the first place to auditing of worker conditions in developing countries.

If a company is profitable, Millennials will expect it to be socially conscientious with those profits and give back/pay it forward to society in some public way. This is tough for those of us who think of charity and good works as a private matter. My thought is that one should not do your good works out in the public eye to be praised by man but should do them so your heavenly Father alone is aware of them. Millenials aren’t trusting, and secrecy is not part of their value system, so deeds done in secret/private don’t get a company anything. So start a fund, start a campaign, stand for something, start a hashtag, change your profile picture.

The crisis management exercise pointed out that companies are being judged constantly by the mob that is millenials. The contrast between what the communications department knew needed to be done to protect the company’s image/brand/value (communicate and be transparent) to fend off the judgment of the millennial mob and what the legal department wanted to do to protect the company from the trial by jury that was obviously coming, could not have been clearer. One says “if you don’t tell your story someone else will”, the other says “anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law” so stop communicating/talking.

Sustainability fits in here somehow.

They are cynics until you question/challenge their reality then you are evil and must be destroyed. Perception is reality to them and reality is not welcome.

The conference had too much information for me to assemble and process at one time into much more than the notes listed above. I hope that others who were there or watching on line may comment and post links that expand these thoughts. As a pig farmer, my mind struggled to follow some of these very good and well educated and trained speakers. I am trained to observe animals with my eyes, ears, and nose more than to listen and ponder big ideas, but exercise builds strength, so I appreciate the experience and exposure to the new ideas.