Today's post isn't about community or networking, but it's a good story anyway.
I needed some eggs, but mostly, I thought it was a good way to get out of the house and do something mildly interesting with my son, so we walked about 10 minutes across the fields to the place with the "fresh eggs" sign out. Although I definitely live in suburbia, there are still some fields left. And although I usually get free range eggs, I figured we'd learn something (like why I usually get free range eggs.)
"Do you want to go see the henhouse?" I asked Tevel when we got there. We don't actually have appropriate vocabulary for the hangar-like buildings that now pass as henhouses.
"I don't care," he said.
As we approached the hangar, the, um, farmer (more lack of vocabulary) approached us and explained that we can't actually see anything, because it's a controlled environment, and the wall flaps are now down because the air conditioner is working.
Farmer Eitan gave us a fantastic explanation of how it works, too. You see, the food is all weighed so they know how much comes in, and around 2 in the afternoon they start to collect the eggs. There's no way to know what hen is laying which egg, or if one of them isn't. They just live in the hangar for 2 years, getting their food and laying their eggs, and then they are sent off to become shnitzel.
He used to sell the guano to the farmers in the area, but now they won't pay for it. They prefer to use chemicals because they are just mixed in the irrigation system, so it's much more consistent and easier to distribute. He's grateful that the farmer on the neighboring land is willing to take the guano for free. That farmer, he said, gets a better yield than the other guys, but he doesn't turn over crops as quickly . He also makes more money by putting the crops in a refrigeration system and selling them when the prices go up, while the other farmers are in a hurry to sell since they have payments to make on loans and land, etc. The neighboring farmer has more invested, gets his fertilizer for free, and takes his time to get better crops and a better price, and is doing very well financially compared to the other guys who are just scraping by. The guano parable, in and of itself, is a telling story about farming and business in general.
"How many chickens are there?" I asked.
Ninety thousand. If you saw this place, you would never guess he could fit that many hens in those two buildings. They are big buildings, but still. Ninety Thousand. "They're bigger in America," says Tevel.
We got our tray of eggs and started back home to make egg salad for tomorrow's pot luck.
"What did you think," I asked Tevel.
I dunno either.
Reference for the title of today's post, from Woody Allen's Annie Hall: It was great seeing Annie again and I realized what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her and I thought of that old joke, you know, the, this, this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken,' and uh, the doctor says, 'well why don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. You know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd and, but uh, I guess we keep going through it...because...most of us need the eggs.