So I'm heading back to Fort Reno after meeting up with Kim Barker, Julie Gahr, and Kit Pharo at the grasslanders workshop in Hennessy Oklahoma, when Clay Pope tells me we don't have any water infiltration testing rings for the free "Agriculture, Water and Climate" workshop he and I are teaching over the next two days, and he can't find any anywhere. They are a crucial teaching tool.
I suggest we make some if we can find some materials, so Clay heads off to look. ...
Now...I'll you a secret...
Because of my work for the Soil Carbon Coalition, and my love of poetic irony, and because I'm a Vermonter who never gets to see such wicked things at home, I have a secret fascination with oil jacks and the combination of oil jacks in agricultural landscapes, especially when surrounded with grazing animals. So, since I'm alone and no one is watching, I stop to take some pictures by the side of the road at a place that apparently manufactures them.
As I'm poking around, I see a machine shop inside--a big beautiful, clean machine shop--and I wander in, glad that I have my cowgirl outfit on but a bit self conscious of my northeastern accent, and ask if by any chance they have some leftover thin pipe, maybe a drive shaft cover? and could cut and sharpen me some pieces.
"Like these?" asks the guy. Perfect.
He and his coworker take about 20 minutes to make me 5 water infiltration rings. (Which I'll use tomorrow to show people how atmospheric carbon can become soil aggregates that prevent flooding and drought.)
When I tell him what I'm using them for, he says "Were you just at the grasslander conference with Kit Pharo?" And I say yes. This means he's not only onto me, but onto the whole concept. We start talking and I tell him that I'm developing curriculum on soil health principles and regenerative agriculture for the Oklahoma Agricultural career tech programs. He says "That's wonderful. It's very needed." Clearly he's one of the holistic thinking gang. Just happens to be manufacturing oil pumping equipment for a living.
The cost of the five infiltration rings? Zippo.
The value of this interaction? Incalculable.