Weekends at Work

It’s been a hectic week (since moving to Western MN, I’m always tempted to add, “in Lake Wobegon” to any summation of a week’s events), what with three dinners hosted at The Kitchen in Clinton, various other grunt work in support of radical hospitality, staying current with news from the local foods and sustainable farming fronts, making farm and business visits, and getting an office space up and running for Johanna Rupprecht, LSP’s new intern in Big Stone County.

Johanna hails from Earth Be Glad Farm in Southeastern Minnesota, and besides getting used to the more horizontal topography of this part of the state, she’s also adjusting to a less populous region after having spent a couple of years pursuing a Master’s degree in Library Science at UW-Madison.  On our way back from a solstice celebration at Glacial Lakes Permaculture in Estelline, SD last night, we fell to reminiscing about our favorite Madtown restaurants until we started getting a little mopey and had to quit.

It’s good to have a resident librarian (who is also passionate about local food and sustainable farming) in Clinton, and we have not-terribly-well-concealed plans to keep her here by inspiring her to open an independent bookseller business in the upstairs of the Kitchen–the old Masonic Hall.  I think we might’ve given ourselves away by taking her on a tour of that super-cool space yesterday morning and repeatedly mentioning how neat it would be to, you know, make it into a bookstore.  I think she’s onto us.

This weekend is going to be more about relaxing, though I’m still putting in a few work hours–gleaning mentions of local foods project tidbits from my stack of local newspapers, filing them in their respective media files, and writing a column and an article for those same papers.

I’m also making chicken stock, which is of my doggie companion’s favorite kitchen endeavors because it usually involves chicken skin tidbits for her.  She was unusually excitable this morning for some unknown reason (mornings are typically dull for Vega–what with my computer screen fixation), and even with her newly designated “senior” status (we are expecting to hear from AARC soon–American Association of Retired Canines, that is), she could hardly stand to see me just sitting on the couch poring through a few weeks’ worth of newsprint.  Who’s the senior here?

Besides the fact that these tasks need doing, in looking over the past week’s busy schedule, I realized I should put in a few more hours that I could really and truly call “the work I get paid for.”  Sure, a farm visit and discussion about organizing the local market is work time, but time spent in the farm’s hot tub probably does not constitute an actual hour on the job–though the soaking was much appreciated by our canoeist friends, who’d already spent 20 days on the river and a couple hours listening to discussions about farmers market organizing and strategies to implement EBT acceptance there.

Community based food systems organizing is not a three-martini power lunch kind of occupation–I’m not sure how the fat cats justify that as work time, but I’m guessing they have to be fat cats indeed to still be above the table at its conclusion.  I’d be hung over the rim of the toilet–which indicates that community organizing is probably a healthier work environment, at least for me.

It’s not all relaxation, despite the hot-tubbing adventure.  That’s another reason why, on this gloomy-but-brightening Saturday, I’m devoting time to reading and writing in support of our many projects.  While I welcome the phone calls, e-mails, impromptu and scheduled meetings that dominate much of my week, they do challenge the process of simply sitting, thinking, digesting, and writing.

And, despite my appearance of inactivity, I think the dog appreciates the mistress hanging around the house–especially when it means lounging comfortably on her bed in between snacks of local chicken skin from the stockpot.

Who’s the fat cat here?


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