A glossary of terms used around the farm and at markets.

Ballast - holds down the corners of the tent. See Pop.

Balls to the Wall - speed traveled in What Bus while running late to market. A relative term, usually around fifty-seven miles an hour. See Racing Bus.

Bark - to give orders vociferously.

Beans - What the farmer works for. See peanuts.

Big Chalk Board - lists produce and prices, updated as often as we remember to. If it's crossed off, we don't have it. Maybe. Better ask anyway.

Big tractor, the - a 1970 Farmall 544 Hydrostatic, 70 horse diesel row cropper. Hasn't got a name yet, but the farmer is pretty sure it's a male. Whadaya mean how can you tell?

Black book - the farmer's portable office, journal and sketchbook. Kept in the farmer's purse.

Bunnies - enemy to lettuce, cute my eye. Easily dealt with. See landmines

Bus tours - kids like 'em, sit in the pilot's seat, work the sign, flash the lights, but don't honk the horn.

Chalkboards - erasable market signs, symbolic of the ephemeral nature of information. Handpainted by Deb.

Chalk - writing instrument of choice, nontoxic, usually only a quarter of an inch long.

Clean and dry - how most people spend their whole lives. The farmer can't relate to it on any level.

Cleo - a 1912 Planet Jr. wheel hoe cultivator, human powered. Named after Cleone Webster, the lovely octogenarian fireball who donated it to the cause. Both very old and still sharp as a knife.

Coffee - Whatever's on sale, 1/3 cup per 10 cups water. What it may lack in quality we make up for in quantity. The single most important fluid on the farm. See diesel

Coffee cup - usually preceded by the phrase "Where's my..."

Cogitating - what the farmer says he's doing when he's obviously not working. Usually performed with a finger on his chin and a thumb up his...

Compost box - sits under the table at market, looks like expensive salad mix. On empty bus days we've been tempted to put it up with a pricetag on it.

Crew - what the farmer calls volunteer help. When talking shop it makes the farmer sound like he has a lot of people working for him, when in fact they are an independent bunch who come and go as they please.

Crops - what are found in amongst the weeds.

Crying Charlie - songwriter and folk singer Charlie Spring, ably provides the soundtrack for market day. It's funny how quite a bit of the American songbook he draws from concerns unpleasantries sung in the first person, prompting phrases like "Poor ol' Cryin' Charlie, got his heart broke again."

Dancing money - after a customer says keep the change, hold coins between thumb and forefinger vertically and tap them atop the dynamite box while grinning impishly. The farmer regrets ever starting this, as the girls get to do it a lot more than he does.

Deb - florist, artist, and force of nature, cofounder of GypsyRowsCo. Mother of J.

Diesel - the second most important fuel on the farm. See coffee.

Dirt - what you track into the house, as opposed to soil.

Dynamite Box - circa 1936, sits on the big table, used to house cash box, chalk, eraser, little red tractor, stuffed amphibians, and other assorted stuff. Came with the farm.

Employee Lounge - first two seats in What Bus. Good place to nap once you clear a space. See Pop.

Empty bus - a cry of distress with two hours left at market.

Farmer stomp - dance performed before entering a business establishment. If done properly it produces a cloud of dust and dirt that the proprietor would surely rather have deposited outdoors.

Farmhouse - a recent aquired luxury. Classic, squeaky, and highly flammable. The bathroom was an afterthought. Not exactly sure when it was built, but Ol' Leonard was born and raised here, and passed a few years back at ninety-eight.

Fatso - head farm cat, the king mouser of the joint, faster than the coyotes, more powerful than the local tomcats, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

First light - when work starts on market day. See also too dark to farm

Fluffing - fine tuning the display table, what the farmer does to look busy at market while everyone else is working. Borrowed from a limp-wristed interior decorator Ma saw on TV. The word has an entirely different meaning in the porn industry.

Frequent Shopper - our favorite kind of customer.

Freakin' Shopper - one who tries to haggle.

Freeloader - see J

Golf balls for safety - keep finding golf balls in the field, and the nearest golf course is twenty miles away. You'll find them stuffed on the ends of protruding market tent poles and one on the back of the bus to keep the door from bashing in the taillight lens (installed after the fact).

Gypsy - with apologies to genuine Romany, used here as a lower case romantic adjective, i.e. "gypsy ways" or tendencies.

Hoe - a hand-operated cultivating weapon.

Hoer - smile when you say it. See Crew.

Horn section - funny as heck, you had to be there. The farmer on taxi horn, Charlie on guitar playing Elvis; "I'm in love...", HONK, "I'm all shook up".

Irrigation - See rain

J - Justine, the farmer's daughter. And yes they're everything you've heard they are. The farmer would love to hire her full time, but she couldn't take the cut in pay. See freeloader

John Deere - Verboten!

K - Kerry, pretty face at weekend markets. She's clean, she smells nice, good posture, makes the rest of us look bad. The only one in the family who has a real job. The farmer still doesn't know what she does for a living even though she's explained it repeatedly. Office girl of some kind. Sister of the farmer and Crew, daughter of Ma and Pop.

Keep the change - what frequent shoppers sometimes say. Ma's convinced it's nontaxable income (see jail) so she puts it in a special place (see plow fund) but not before boasting about it (see dancing money).

Knife - worn by the farmer at all times, even into the bank. Sharp as a spoon. Worn low at the front of the body for convenient draw, and avoiding the "concealed weapon" problem. Five-inch fixed blade, solid pommel, bone handle. Used as a shovel, prybar, hammer, screwdriver, can opener, row marker, tape holder, cheese slicer, temporary fuse, arm extender, dirt scraper, and sometimes even cutting things. Average lifespan of two seasons. Deadly in the hands of an expert, harmless in the hands of the farmer.

Landmines - anti-bunny weapons. Y'just never know when I'm kidding, do ya?

Ma - she hates it when the farmer calls her that. Has put herself in charge of the our bottom line, says it's to make sure the farmer doesn't move back home. The primary pretty face at market, no superlative could adequately express her value to Pop, K, Crew and the farmer.

Margaret - head farm cat, the queen mouser of the joint, faster than the coyotes, more powerful than the local tomcats, able to leap tall fences in a single bound. Update 2012: Got bored and moved away, comes back to visit monthly.

Market day - harvest starts the evening before, right up until it's too dark to farm, starts again at first light and only stops when we're running late, then it's balls to the wall in the racing bus. After we're set up at market and the pretty faces have the helm the farmer can usually be found napping in the employee lounge.

Monday - the day Crew and the farmer swear they'll take care of all the farm work that keeps piling up. Also our official day off, which is what usually ends up happening.

Next week - standard answer to "when's the <insert vegetable here> going to be ready?". Usually said for about a month.

Peanuts - what the farmer takes in after taxes. See beans.

Plow fund - after all the years Ma's been saving tips, the farmer still doesn't own a proper plow. What it has gotten over the years is 1/247th of Rosie the Cub, a much needed new working hat, and the '49 Farmall "A" replica that perches atop the dynamite box.

Pokemon - a Jamaican proctologist.

Pop - holds down the cement, sometimes the tent. Regularly gets in the way. Often associated with phrases like, "Pop, we're out of bags! Go to Costco. And get some burgers while you're at it." Father of the farmer, K and husband of Ma. Sandwich maker extraordinaire. See Ballast

Pretty faces - what sells produce, what Pop and the farmer don't have. See tumbleweeds

Purse - it's NOT a purse and if you call it that again I'm going to slap you. It's a soft-sided briefcase, so shut up.

Racing bus - what Crew reminds the farmer What Bus is not when running late to market. Usually screamed while going around sharp corners.

Rain - more efficient than irrigation, but not as reliable. See prayer.

Real job - seems to consist of trading ones life for money, as if the latter has more value than the former.

Rosie - a 1948 International Harvester McCormick Deering Farmall Cub. A tractor whose name is a lot bigger than it is. Precision piece of equipment despite its appearance. She's a working girl.

Running late - standard operating procedure on market day. Drives market managers batty, but the lettuce and basil gets to market with dew still on it.

Small army - Crew of volunteers. Help out in the field sometimes when properly sweet talked, bribed and/or threatened.

Soil - what plants grow in, as opposed to dirt.

Stop Sign - standard equipment on What Bus, passes for a drag chute, the third option when brakes and parking brake both fail.

Stuff box - the box with useful market stuff in it; bags, bungie cords, tape, string ... If it's smaller than a breadbox and you can't find it, look there.

Tape and string - what the farm is held together with, akin to Faith. See also zen method

Taxi Horn - made of genuine imitation brass, purchased for two dollars and fifty cents at a hardware store, mounted in What Bus. Squeeze the rubber ball and it says honk quite loudly. Used for scaring the bejeezus out of K and little kids. See also Horn section

"That's not a" Knife - A mockery of a weapon, one and one quarter inches long, Swiss made. Carried in pocket by Pop. Think there's a saying about the size of a man's knife being adversely proportional to something. Actually does cut, unlike the farmer's knife.

Too dark to farm - dinnertime.

Tool box - the thing you look for when What Bus stops running. Usually left at home. Clever mechanical improvisation soon follows. See tape and string

Tumbleweeds - what rolls by when Pop and the farmer are running the store. See Pretty faces

Vegetarian - old Indian word meaning "bad fisherman".

Weeds - what are found in amongst the crops.

What Bus - a 1967 GMC 2.5 ton 14 passenger deluxe touring coach. $1600 brand new, 35 years later $1600 used. Named after Ma's stock answer to "Where'd you get the bus?" or variations thereof.

Worthless - the working title for J's cute new farmhouse kitty whose only marketable skills seem to be cuteness and, well, cuteness. But she is very, very good at it. Regularly gets her furry little ass whooped by Margaret. See freeloader Update: as of April '13 her punchcard reads: mice - 9, flies - 97. Her working title is no longer appropriate, cat needs a new name. Farmer says "Killer", J says "Cuddles". J has veto power on the matter, it's Cuddles. J was warned that due to gender specific language limitations, human males may find the word unpronounceable.

Zen method - what the farmer claims is the organizational system used to combine the many motives and facets of a working farm into a cohesive whole at times when he obviously doesn't know what the heck he's doing.