Today I got to help Ethan begin work on the stage for the farm party. A flatbed trailer has been used traditionally for this purpose, but this year we are using materials we already have on the farm instead. Both the flatbed studebaker and the old GMC flatbed were backed up against one another on the cover crop nearest the equipment shed. We then started out building a pavilion that will cover the stage and provide shade for the musicians. The pavilion is supported by 2"x4" boards (reclaimed lumber that we had on hand) that we trimmed down to fit inside the slots on the edges of the flatbeds. This afternoon Ethan planned on beginning the crossbeams that would support the tarp we plan to use for the cover. Tomorrow we will build an awning on the front of the stage and hang lights across the front. I am excited about how the pavilion is going to look when we are done. The interesting part is that the flatbeds are at two different heights above the ground, so the stage has two separate levels. It looks a bit odd at first but I think it will make the stage presence better for both bands and create an interesting visual dynamic. Both the Kubota and the Cultivating Tractor will be parked along either side of the stage for added effect. It will be nice for young kids to be able to go sit on them and have pictures taken etc.
I am somewhat excited about the farm party, but am weary as well. I find it very interesting how Garden City Harvest has such a small role at the farm throughout most of the year and all of the sudden they swoop in and expect us to spend extra time working for them (for free) to put on a party so that THEY can make MORE money off of our free labor. When speaking of sustainable agriculture and sustainable businesses it seems often forgotten that your business plan must be financially sustainable as well. I look around at many of the small farms surrounding Missoula, and it seems that most of them barely scrape by, and that's with multiple interns providing virtually free labor. Society claims they value the small sustainable farmer, but I am beginning to see things otherwise. I'm not sure what to make of it. I wish to have a farm of my own someday, but would prefer not to count on free labor to make it run smoothly. I think that there has to be a better way, or at least a more efficient way to make it work and to make a decent living without burning myself out.