Ms. Garrold Goes to Washington Part 2

So the start of my second week in DC was a lunch meeting Monday at the Farm Credit Council’s office. A briefing about the coming farm credit crisis. Interesting stuff if you’re a total nerd about this subject, which I am.  Their mantra was “we are not a leading indicator, we are a trailing indicator, we don’t know and can’t project what is going to happen.”   There were several sour notes in the report however regarding the liquidity of the farmers in many sections of the country.  I came away knowing, first of all, that I understood everything that was said, which made me feel pretty good.   And second, I was very under-dressed for the occasion.  Lots of fancy suits and very high heels in the room.   I have to decide whether to step up my wardrobe or just continue to be the frump from Maine. Probably the latter, it’s cheaper.

That evening Marta and I did Skype pickle-making. She was about to can her first batch of dilly fiddleheads and I was able to participate from DC. Bless technology. Here’s a picture of what the final product looks like, this is last year’s batch.

On Tuesday, I walked by the small park at 1st and D and saw the elderly homeless woman who seems to camp in the same spot most nights and next to her, a pair of Mallard ducks. Male and female. They were all there the next day,too. A bit further up the hill as I stood at the crossing near the Senate office buildings a guy drove by in a little silver car and I thought “That looks like Angus King.” As he turned the corner into the Senate parking spaces I noticed the Maine vanity plate that said “No Gas” and I thought, “Yep, that was Angus.”   There’s got to be some metaphor here but I just can’t quite grasp it.  

On Wednesday I spent the morning at the House Agriculture Committee hearing on the Rural Economy. With Secretary Sonny Perdue, himself in attendance.   I won’t recap my feelings about this, you can read about them in the blog post I wrote for the NFFC site as soon as it get posted. Suffice it to say there was a lot of fawning and toadying going on in that room. And the jockeying for position outside the room pretty intense, too. One guy standing behind me in line said “I could jump the line but I don’t want to be an asshole.” He later choose to manifest his inner asshole and jumped the line. I ended up in the overflow room even though I had gotten there an hour early. Maybe I’ll channel my inner bitch next time and jump the line.  Anyhow, this guy was so clueless that when, coincidently, we happened to be leaving at the same time, before the hearing was over, he had the cajones to say to me in the hallway, “there are seats in there now.” 

That evening I went up to Politics and Prose to hear China Mieville talk about his newest book “October“. The nice surprise was that Barbara Ehrenreich was his host/co-presenter. Such a treat. I kicked myself on the way home for not buying a copy of “Nickel and Dimed” and having her autograph it for my mother who is a fan.

On Thursday I went over to Representative Chellie Pingree’s office to drop off some information I had for one of her staffers. We love Chellie at NFFC. One of the few real farmers on The Hill. We had a American University graduate in the office for the day helping with our archiving project. Lots of boxes of papers to be gone through. Lots of history in this room. And the Library of Congress is already archiving our  (NFFC’s) website. We hope they will be interested in some of this paperwork, too.  The ducks and the homeless woman were still in the park this morning.

On the way home I stopped at GLUT a cooperative grocery store in Mt Rainier MD which is a quick bus ride from where I am staying. This is a real, old-fashion cooperative. Wooden floors, over stacked shelves etc. I felt very at home.

Friday morning, just for fun, I took the bus to work instead of the Metro. It was an interesting trip but not one I will be repeating soon. At least I know how to do it now if the Redline ever goes down. I also took the bus to the USDA farmers market on Capitol Hill. There were two veggie farmers there selling their lovely food. I got salad fixings for the week. The rest of the tents were basically “food trucks in tents.” But that’s okay. At least they are trying. They (the USDA) know that they have to at least appear to being supporting local farms.

Saturday was the big event at the Pink House. Mamajuana cannibis edibles has monthly events where you can buy some merchandise (hats, bracelets, bags of candy) and then for every $10 you spend you get an edible. Mamajuana edibles are tasty; Brownies, no bake cookies, rice crispie treats; and they pack a kick! 2000 people filtered through the Pink House during the course of the day. Everything was pretty mellow.

Sunday was a quiet day. I got the tomatoes transplanted in the raised bed in back of the Pink House. It is going to rain for the next few days in DC so I am hoping they will survive. But while I was kicking back in “the swamp” the kids were busy in Maine building their house. 

And on Monday it all starts over again. Having a good time, learning a lot. I now know, however, I do not ever want to run a B&B. More later.

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