The tennis ball hit my eye and I wasn't high.
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3:20 AM... still awake. Slept too much today, paying the cost with boring night hours. Here at the farm I'm feeling a great deal clueless. Everything seems to be taken care of and is going just a little behind schedule. The only serious problem we're facing is a lack of liquidity. I think the wheat prices are out and are as were hoped.
Would very much like to go back to Baghdad and see Smoky. Tomorrow I've got to go plastic pipes to distribute to the farmers to regulate their irrigation. See the farmers to show some support for the guys whose responsibility is the irrigation management. Should also resolve some issue with a cranky farmer that wants to remove some excess dirt from his borders.
Why are the widths of the pipes in inches and the lengths in meters?
Looking at the quantities we've moved to the government silos and the announced prices, I should be expecting sales of a little less than two hundred million dinars. That sounds like a lot. Last rice season's sales were about a hundred and fifty million and profits only came up to a fraction of that. Wheat should be better since it incurs less expenses. That said, I've spent so much money on fixing up the farm and added an electric generator, that it looks like I've yet to see the day I get to pocket some profit.
Dad's still expecting me to do the accounts for the work we've done with the rice mill. I'm seeing myself as unable to do them here at the farm because of all the distractions, where as in Baghdad I'd be stoned and I can never get anything done stoned. But right now, I think I'm better off going to Baghdad to do them.
I was sick before going to Baghdad and then I got high and then well and then I came back and now I'm sick again with a sore throat, a bit of a cold and feeling like poo.
I got back to the farm today. My three days of getting high are over, I left the stuff at home in Baghdad. Od's squirming since I didn't leave him any. He finally got himself a residence somewhere outside of Baghdad. He's just going to have to hope that we meet up in Baghdad some day soon.
Yesterday, Nahida's nephew took us to some guy that sucks out blood from one's back. It's supposed to be a very old sort of alternative healing called 'hijama'. Nahida went in saying I had back pains, which I don't really have these days, but it's true that I can't touch my toes. Need to stretch. High as I was, I just went along. The guy, who we'd call 'Sheikh' (as in a religious cleric), asked me where the pain was on a poster of the human body and I pointed at the lower back region. He lied me down on my side and shaved the area he was going to work on (I got a hairy back). He then pricked the area that he was going to suck from with a needle and placed a cup on the area all whilst reciting prayers and blowing on the area. From what I know is that they usually have put inside a candle or something to create a vacuum to suck the blood out, this guy however had a plunger thing with his cup with which he could just pull and create his vacuum at will.
Nahida wasn't at all impressed with the cleric and showed it which led the cleric to go through all sorts of nonsense to convince her. For example, that like women who menstruate their bad blood, men too have bad blood that needs to be ridden of and that it accumulates in the back. He'd show us the blood after it had been extracted and it'd look like a big lump though it was sucked out of the little pin pricks that he had made. Oh and after we were done with everything Nahida who is uncomfortable with me smoking up asked him if he could help chilling me out. So the guy told me to stare into his eye and then he grabbed my head for a moment and said I was okay. I was high.
My dad just called asking for the accounts. He's worse than the tax man. Well I'm now left with a big round hickey in the middle of my lower back and tomorrow I'm going to get myself working again.
Just over a month has passed since my last post. Seems the posts are getting further and further apart. Got myself my one bottle of beer here at the farm. Having trouble sleeping, so I guessed I might as well slap me a post up on here.
I finished the wheat harvest a couple of weeks ago. Just like the rice harvest it involves visiting every single farmer and splitting each share. Even though it took less than the rice harvest it was still quite an ordeal to get through. On some days I'd get back home at one in the morning.
Starting from the left in this picture we've got my adviser and the guy that calculates how to split my share from the farmer's share, he's not to be trusted and often doesn't give me the full story on things. Then behind him we have the local alcoholic that puts his whole family to shame. Then there's this annoying guy, he thinks he knows his thing and I thought that perhaps he did, that's until I saw him mix two varieties of rice in the same field. And then there's the old timer who is always asking for a new dishdasha, this season he made the most wheat per area, which was really cool.
All in all it was a good harvest. It was a good season for all, my lands however, weren't as great as others which was my fault because I didn't time the fertilizer distribution early enough. I had to admit my mistake to all the farmers and they in turn were quite forgiving.
One day during the harvest there was a big fire in the agrarian reform lands in land. That day was the worst of all. I was sitting with my bunch and we could see the smoke and hear the bullets signaling, but everyone around me seemed all cool about it until about an hour later somebody pointed out that it wasn't so far from my land.
The better pictures of the fire got corrupted somehow.
The thing about wheat is that it burns and spreads very quickly. All the land that had caught on fire had been harvested but it could have spread onto my unharvested lands had the people and firemen not have made a huge concerted effort to stop it. And most important and fortunate of all nobody got hurt.
One day, I had to finally confront the scariest of all my farmers "the professional criminal". I hadn't had to deal with this guy up until now simply because he was in jail ever since I came to take over the farm. That day, he seemed all ready for a confrontation carrying a gun in a holster regarding some expenses before my arrival that he felt that I should share the burden of. Within seconds, I got him to chill out, eventually met him half way on the expenses and now I'm his friend. Here's him with his grandson.
Up until the harvest my own morale was pretty low, but I was surprised to find the farmers encouraging me and telling me that I've been doing a good job. I had a chat with one of the best farmers I have and from our conversation he told me that he in the time I've been here I've come to understand as much as my uncle and my dad took years to learn.
And talking to one of the guys that is in charge of tilling the land today, I'm told that the farmers are paying more attention to the tilling than usual suggesting that they too are more enthusiastic about the season to come.
There remains one massive gloomy cloud hanging over the parade though, and that's the country's massive water shortage. The government's giving no guarantees that they'll get the water flowing. Chatting to a guy today, it seems to hang on whether the government will be willing to give Turkey a cut of the oil in exchange for water. I don't know for sure if that's the truth but if it is I hope that they concede. Otherwise, it would be really stupid of the government to keep all the farmers holding their breath and spending money on the hope that there'll be enough water for water-thirsty rice instead of just calling the rice season off this year at the appropriate time which has more or less already passed.
That's pretty much, I've typed more than I had planned to. Aside from the farm and the accounts that are still piling up that's not much left to my life. When I went to Baghdad for the a few days after the harvest, I got a little depressed because there was nothing there for me to do. Even my buddies all seemed to be too busy to hang out.
I ended up spending a couple of late afternoons at a family funeral getting to know some relatives, one of which keeps stressing to me that it's great to be working at the farm but not to waste away my life there. One night I took a cousin of mine out to one of those dodgy nightclubs which was pretty fun, I danced a little with the prostitutes and ended up leaving when the cops arrived but I didn't understand what the deal was up with that. On the way back home it turned out there was a midnight curfew but I still managed to get home.
Shepherd people come to the land during the harvest to let their animals feed off the land after it has been harvested and I got a picture with a camel that belongs to one that I'm so happy about. It was the first time I ever came up close with one and it was so cool. The camel was really friendly and was playing around with my headgear whilst I was trying to get one of the workers to operate my camera phone. I'll try to upload some pics of the harvest sometime soon. There got it!
I really should get to sleep now, the workers are coming in four hours to load up the wheat into the truck to be taken to the government silo which is purchasing wheat this year without declaring the price at which it will buy. I'm loving this government.
I got to stop sleeping during the afternoons, staying up so late is not good.