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the ramblings of the girl and the truck driver #5

The truck driver:

“Aint it like most people?  I’m no different

We love to talk on things we don’t know about”

“Aint it like most people?  I’m no different

We love to talk on things we don’t know about”

These are words from a favorite song of mine by the Avett Brothers called 10,000 words.


Monday, I ran to Idaho falls, Idaho hauling New Mexican drywall.

A long 11 hour drive.

I left at 3 am.

Rolling far across Wyoming, just shy of Teton village

I could see the snow covered Tetons.

I turn southwest on into Idaho and toward my destination.


Luckily, when I arrive, I am unloaded by a kind fork lift operator willing to work a little late.

I like to think these guys understand trucker life and they want to move us along our way.

Getting unloaded the same day helps for tomorrow.


The girl is back in Denver.


First thing Tuesday morning, I’m dispatched 170 miles south to Snow Ville, Utah for a hay load.

I did this once before, hauled hay from somewhere in Kansas to somewhere in Minnesota to a dairy operation.  The truck and trailer smelled like cow shit for a week.

This time it was to be Organic, certeefied hay alfalfa, destined for Portales, New Mexico.

977 miles away!

Alfalfa. 24 bales. 42,000 pounds.  Superfood for milk makers, not just milk, ORGANIC MILK.

I really hadn’t much knowledge of what this meant

This delivery experience illustrates so much of what I don’t know.

What the hell does organic mean?

I know what I like to think it means, very little to do with the reality I am coming to know.

This seems an incredible distance to deliver food for 2000 dairy cattle.

How long would 24, 1800 pound bails last 2000 head of milking cows being milked 3 times daily last?  How many milk calories to fossil fuel units?  Units?  Gallons to gallons, milk, water, fuel…?

I’m gonna look for this milk on the shelves of stores this weekend in Denver.  I didn’t  see it in the refrigerator case of the local Walmart in Portales.  If I had time, I would’ve liked to look around and see if these cows’ milk was available within a 10 mile radius of the “farm”.

What am I eating? Really.  Apparently I have little idea.  I know I look for a bargain.  I am embarrassed to admit, low cost and volume attract my eye.  Quality, taste and the real costs don’t usually get a look.  I’m too busy.

I saw the dairy operation ORGANIC.

It is not what I expected.  I guess I expected some idyllic farm scene.  No. industrial food production lessons my appetite.

Today, February 3, I bought 10 pears and 6 apples from the year round somewhere orchard.  4 avacado from Mexico, 4 bananas from Mexico, tortillas from Denver, kimchi cabbage from Texas, and the truth is a bunch of other foods and looking at the where and how of it all is a bummer and takes time.  These are the foods I like, I’m conditioned to enjoy them year round.  Cost?

When I was a kid, I worked at the barn.  Very much the good old days.  The boss had several steer for a time that were used for roping.  I remember burlap sacks full of fruit loops, some kinda surplus animal feed.  Did we actually feed that to the cattle? Don’t remember, maybe the pigs.  I do know my brother and I wasted no time buying a gallon of milk, we rustled up spoons and bowls and had a feast by the cattle pen.  Surplus burlap bagged fruit loops are stale, it was heaven.

I saw the organic milk in the store today.  Non pesticide, non hormone, certified organic, grass fed, coop, and other feel good qualities and now more importantly,  I helped.  $12 a gallon.

I’m guessing, when my brother and I bought a gallon of milk to eat fruit loops with the cattle, we probably paid around 2 bucks. I can go to the store today and find a gallon of milk for about 2 bucks.

The girl:

I’m standing in the middle of the produce section at a grocery story.  I don’t do this very often.

It’s February 3 and I am looking at colorful peppers, tomatoes, green beans, baby potatoes, corn, zucchini, watermelon, apples, grapefruits, avocado, salad greens…

Standing here, I have no idea what season it is outside.  I think sadly that the grocery store has ruined the celebration that comes with the first ripe tomato of summer or the first perfectly sweet melon in August.  I feel amazed at all the things that you can buy at the grocery store in February.

He is home for 1 day before heading out again in the morning.  We are restocking his pantry for the week.

I use goat milk kefir in my smoothies in the mornings.  For years I made my own kefir with raw milk.  For a couple of years I milked my own goats believing that if I consumed this, I should understand it, believing that I am responsible for my own food.

My goats are gone now and the farmer I was buying raw milk from moved to a state he could afford to live and raise goats in.  Since then, I’ve kinda been looking for another source for raw milk but I started buying my kefir at the grocery store.  I got lazy and stopped thinking about my own beliefs.

On Tuesday, he told me was delivering hay from Utah to an organic dairy in New Mexico.  Suddenly, I became inspired to find my new raw milk source.  I did.  I believe we should be consuming raw milk but the big dairy business has scared our culture into thinking that ultra-pasteurized is the way to go to stay healthy.  It’s so much easier to buy milk at the store than it is to raise and milk your own cow or your own goat.  In fact, it’s so easy that tuning out, numbing and disconnecting comes pretty naturally.

I found a small dairy that raises both cows and goats.  It’s a little operation and the animals are all grass fed, grass finished and live happily on pasture.  They are milked once a day so this farm produces very little milk.  That works here.  It’s illegal to sell raw milk in Colorado.

How fortunate for the big dairy business!

You have to buy a share of a cow, pay for it’s boarding, then you can buy the milk.  If you own a cow you can have raw milk.  You just pay the farmer to do the milking and distribute the milk.

I’ll spend $60 to own a share and then I’ll spend $12 a gallon once a week for the milk.  I’ll go pick it up in a drop off location and then I’ll make kefir to make my smoothies.

We head over to the dairy section of the grocery store, he and I.  He wants to look for the organic dairy company he delivered the hay to this week.

He finds it, reads the labels completely.  A new understanding of where the milk is coming from.

Eventually we walk away thinking how complicated our food system has become.  I think how out of touch it has made us all.

February 3 is exactly halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox.  Some traditions spend this day celebrating. It is the day we turn from winter, toward the light of spring.

Turning toward new beginnings, it is an auspicious day.




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