Tangled Up in the West

Tangled Up in the West

by David Haskell Author

It all started in high school when the author spent one summer on a hay and cattle ranch in Utah-open blue skies, the smell of fresh cut alfalfa, stacking the baled hay. With these experiences and his strong interest in biology, the LA-raised kid made a connection with the land. He carried these interests into college, graduating from San Jose State in 1969 with a degree in biological sciences. In the late 70s, he worked for a farm-chemical dealer, selling pesticides, fertilizer and seeds to farmers in the Santa Clara Valley, California. Working closely with growers during these difficult economic times, he observed business failures and the stress that comes with farming. He noted that humor borne from these difficulties, helped the farmers to deal with their adversities. The company went bankrupt in the early 80s and he found more secure employment with the California Department of Agriculture in Sacramento. Not giving up on his farming dream, he bought 40 acres of high desert in Lassen County, California, and tried to dry farm native grasses grown for seed. This endeavor ended in failure when the jackrabbits ate his first crop and a lack of rain failed to germinate his second crop. The author is "Tangled Up" in his farming dreams and the reality that he cannot escape his bureaucratic livelihood. He captures this frustration in a series of humorous poems drawn from his experiences and observations working with farmers and the government agencies that regulate them. The author currently recites his poetry at California Weed Science Society conferences and for retirement parties at the Cal/EPA.