Sunday, October 13, 2013

welcome, dear reader, once again

I've discovered that my blog has been in semi-hiatus while I farm.  This is because, when I drag myself inside about 19h00 every day, I find that I am to brain-dead to do much besides fiddle with my fantasy football settings.  Apparently shepherding 25 tons of grain up and down roads all day is mentally draining

I just got done with a bike ride.  9.7 miles in 45 minutes.  Biking here is much easier than in Togo.  it is at least 20 degrees colder here.  The land rises in short bumps, rather than long, slow swells that crest on the horizon.  And the roads are, mostly, paved

Today is one of those gorgeous fall days that I missed when I was in Togo.  Until I realized that most days in Africa are like this.  Only a lot warmer.  The sky is clear blue that shows you infinity.  The sun embraces you and the land laughs when you go by

The one difference being that today most of my bike ride went into the teeth of a north wind that grabbed my lungs with chilly fingers and snickered

I feel a lot further from the sky there though, than I did in Africa.  I cant figure out why

One thing I have been having a hard time with here are dogs.  There are three houses within a mile of mine that have a set of dogs that come running out to confront someone, like me, when he is walking/running/biking down the road.  I find that I dislike being confronted by barking dogs immensely.  When this happened to me in Togo, the dogs' owner would immediately smack the shit out of them.  If not, it was perfectly sociably acceptable to do it yourself.  Of course there dogs are usually politer, or more cowed, probably due to some innate knowledge that one social misstep too large and it would find itself on the menu for the next fete.  Here, though, people think of their dogs like their children, and of course its taboo to chastise someone else's wayward child.  Even when that child is running at me with a bristled ruff and blood in her eye    

We are about to start harvesting corn.  Each load I take into the elevator is about 850 bushels, on average.  I will take in at least 3 loads a day.  Hopefully. The average corn consumption per capita in Togo is about 137 kilo per person.  Or 302 pounds.  Which works out to about 5.3 bushels.  So every day, I will take enough corn into the elevator to feed 481 Togolese for a year.  Which would be about 1/3 the population of Nampoch. Assuming we produce at least 20,000 bushels of corn this year, we could feed 3,7775.5 west Africans.  This is not counting our soybean production

Of course, though, if we are going by the US national average, 38% of our corn production will go to livestock feed.  It takes 6 pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of beef.  It takes an average of 80 bushels of corn to raise a steer from infancy to slaughter weight.  That amount of corn could feed 14 people in west Africa for a year.  Think about that next time you're looking at a T-bone steak in the supermarket

dance! sometime in the hot season or harmattan


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