If you are putting in a grow and plan to water it, get a water right. That’s what everybody else has to do, and many of our creeks can barely balance the legal irrigation draws with fish and wildlife needs during the summer, without the additional burden of your Honda pump. And please, don’t illegally use your household well for your irrigation needs. It’s not an endless supply down there in the ground, and all your neighbors have their straws in the same pool. Nobody likes it when wells run dry...just ask the folks up Humbug Creek.
While we are on water, please make sure you leave plenty of space between your grow and the riparian habitat to keep your overpriced soil amendments from soaking into the creek. Seriously, nitrogen and creeks don’t mix well. If you did plant too close to the creek, don’t cut down the riparian trees that are “blocking your sun” It’s rude, illegal, and those trees are now serving an important function in filtering up your fertilizer before it get’s to the water.
If you’re building an irrigation pond, don’t put it along the creek or river—sensing a theme?—as it will inevitably become a breeding ground for invasive plants and animals that don’t play well with the local aquatic species.
If you are concerned about rodents, erect raptor poles around your grow instead of using d-Con or any other anti-coagulant rodenticides (ARs). Simply drive 3-6” wood pole into the ground with a height of around 15’. Add an 18” cross piece at the top for a perch, made from 2” thick wood, and orientate to in an east-west direction so that it’s more visible in low light. These artificial raptor perches are used all over the world to help keep rodents out of large-scale plantings. You provide a safe vantage point for the hawk, and she eats your mice and voles. What a deal! Problem is, if any of those rodents have tasted an AR in the last nine days, than your hawk will die too. So get your neighbors to pack up the poison too.
Finally, some general suggestions for getting along:
Don’t call yourself a farmer. It’s hurtful to the people actually growing food in this valley for a thousand times less money.
Pay your “trimmigrants” a fair wage, but be aware that many local businesses can’t afford to offer the same $30/hour under-the-table. You are making it harder for everyone else to find labor during the fall.
Tip the person serving you at the Cafe, buy a Britt Festival ticket instead of trying to cut through the fence, etc. We all know you have a wad of cash in all four pockets, so don’t be stingy. Your buying power is supporting local farmers and small family restaurants.
In closing, welcome to the Applegate. It’s a beautiful place to live, with a diverse community of residents. Whether you plan on sticking around and growing some roots, or just making some money and moving on, I invite you to add to this community and place while you are here.
I wrote this piece for our regional community paper, The Applegater. Since it came out last week, I've had an overwhelmingly positive response from the local community. I've also been compared to Trump and called a "Nazi fucking pig". It is clear that many have felt victimized by some of their new neighbors and this is a conversation we must have with each other honestly. This is not an "anti-cannabis" piece. I voted for legalization and I'm generally "420 friendly". I have less tolerance for greed and disrespect to my watershed and its community. Perhaps my writing is "inflammatory", but inflammation is a biological response when feeling threatened by selfish outsiders.