They finished harvesting the potatoes across the road from our house on Fir Island. It's a very big field and it took them a week, working dawn to dusk and into the night -- the harvester going slowly down the rows, running potatoes up a moving belt into a heavy truck that follows behind. An empty truck waits idling, at the edge of the field, and then pulls into place behind the harvester for the next load.
The famous tasty Skagit red potatoes get hauled to huge warehouses -- mountains of potatoes, left for storage without being washed, because they keep better that way.
I'll bet they're glad they finished harvesting, because it's raining steady all day now -- a muddy mess for anyone who is not done for the year.
Some fields are planted with young cabbages that winter over and grow into green-yellow bushes next year -- they will be harvested for their seeds next August.
Other fields have winter wheat and barley crops. But the rest of the fields lay bare through the winter, except the farmers run what they call a V-plow at various places -- as a way of digging a trench to get the water off.
Fir Island is at sea level, and surrounded by a dike. So drainage is a continuous year-long task. All property holders on Fir Island pay pretty good money into the the dike and drainage district. Without those dikes and ditches, we would all be standing in about six inches in water.
That's government up close. You have to pay that tax if you live on the island, but you can see the dike, and you can see all the ditches, and you can see the crews working. You can go to the district meetings and put your vote on how it's all being done. It's money well spent -- I am very glad to be living here. But that's as close as I want to get to politics.
The snow geese are back -- out grazing in the barley and wheat fields. Coyotes work the edge of the flocks at night, and eagles fly over the flocks by day. If you see a snow goose limping or hopping on one leg, it won't last long.
I keep walking out to the slough to look at this beaver trail slithering through the cattails, up the bank, and into the raspberry field - but I think I've gone out there too often and left a scent -- so the beaver must be going someplace else.
The farmer who runs that field on the other side of the slough will shoot the beaver if he can find him, because the beaver likes to plug up the drainage pipes in a dam-building effort. I am only an observer in this beaver-farmer war. I should get a blue and white United Species flag.
But I am pro-human, when you get down to it. I love you all the very best.
Now, as far as the election goes, John McCain is in Pennsylvania and that makes me nervous. I want Obama to win. I already voted for him and I have done other things for him. I heard him speak in person when I was in Texas last spring, I also met Michelle Obama at a smaller gathering and shook her hand. I think they will do really well.
Two high points of the campaign for me were: when Senators McCain and Obama met in New York on September 11 to jointly and quietly lay memorial wreaths at Ground Zero. The other high point was Gen. Colin Powell's comprehensive endorsement of Obama on Meet the Press -- Powell said it just right, and that's how I feel about it too.
Have a good weekend.