Sunday, August 10, 2008

rock quarry

"We're the government, and we're here to help."

Apparently that's a common phrase. Apparently it's been around for a while. Apparently, it's sarcastic.

I heard this a lot on my last project at work. The context doesn't really matter. I deal with public processes, and I enjoy my job because I get to listen to what people really think - and then I get to try to do something about it.

Guess what. People don't like the government. I think it's an "out west" thing, but maybe I've been wrong all these years. Maybe no one does.

Here's the thing though. I've worked for the government. State and Federal. I know people who work for the government. And - gasp! - I've LIKED people who work for the governent. I've had neighbors who've worked for the government. I have relatives who have worked for the government. I wouldn't be surprised if at one time my hair stylist or meat market man or barista at my favorite coffee shop had worked for the government. Those people I know don't just take a government job because it's a great place to work. Most of them take the job because, yes, they'd like to help.  In today's government, job security is a thing of the past. People are getting cut or moved right and left.

It's hard to imagine that I could be unique. It's hard to imagine that I could be the only person in the world who has worked for, or known someone who has worked for, the government. I have trouble thinking that all of those people that only I know could be working for the government to try to do something good with their status as public servant.

And yet everybody loves to hate the government. And everyone thinks the government is out to get them. Maybe I've been in Montana too long.... okay, okay. That's not fair. The subject is much deeper than anything I've written, but I'd rather get to my story.

Rock quarry Sunday!!!

This is a quarter mile or less past the gate to the quarry on the Lolo National Forest.  I called in a few weeks ago to get a permit, and our window to collect flagstone started yesterday.  We've got another week or so to go get another load if we decide we need more.  (Yes, that's already been decided.  The Handyman has a saying, "Too much is always enough.")

We drove up a long dirt road somewhere outside of Perma, MT, and then up the side of a quarry which, truthfully, scared the bejeezus out of me. I did walk part of it until I was confident that out little borrowed truck could successfully navigate the terrain.

Hey, Handyman!  The rocks are on the left!

You could stop where ever you wanted to pick up flagstone.  Nature was very nice to organize all the flagtone into little batches of color.  Burgandy was in one place.  Then kind of a slate color.  Then came the browns.  It was a little rainbow buffet of rock.

I was surprise at how much there was.  It's free.  The permit has no cost associated with it, and yet there were lots of big pieces waiting to be picked up.

Did I mention "lots?"

And "lots?"

It just seemed to go on forever.  (Total white man perspective of nature extending indefinitely with resources existing just for my extraction.  What would my former environmental program peers think of me?!?)

Hey, if you're bored and would like a "Where's Waldo Monday, " try to find the Handyman in the picture above. 

I have no idea how to caption the next photo other than to say that my arms really don't look like that.  The Handyman was doing something funny to the camera. I saw him pressing strange buttons on there...

The loading process was really quick.  We pulled up, loaded up, and left.  The time commitment comes from driving 70 miles to get there.

Lastly, I didn't want the Handyman to feel left out.  All of the pictures he took of me made me look manly, so I thought I would include his own, "Gun Show shot."  Anyone want tickets?

Oh!  I was so distracted by that handsome Handyman that I almost forgot the moral of my story.  Easy permit system.  Free rocks.  Nice drive on public lands.   I'm totally lovin' the government today.


Diane said...

Stumbled upon your blog through a comment you left on Rowena's.

I live in a small town between Rome and Naples, but I spent 95% of my middle-aged life in the suburbs of NYC. It's 6 in the morning here and I'm learning a little about your life in Montana. Ain't the internet grand? I'm really enjoying your writing style and humor. Thanks.

the larsons said...

It all depends on what you do for the gov'ment. What do you do exactly? I think the problem with the government is that you never know what you're going to get. You might get Daisy, who cares about people and will move heaven and earth to help. Or you might get Dave, who has no accountability, has worked through 10 administrations and has so much tenure all he has to do is inhale and exhale to draw a paycheck.

Are you an assassin for the CIA? Those triceps are amazing! ;-) -e.

JGH said...

This is so exciting because there's a rock quarry near me. I never even thought about asking for a permit to take some. After all, I have to put up with their blasting, every day at 12:04. They owe me!

My mom worked for the goverment, for many years as a political appointee. After the politician left office, she lost her job and had to bide her time in a position she had no interest in to qualify for her pension. Now I'm glad she did because she is nicely taken care of in her retirement.

Anonymous said...

Okay this is cool. Do you know how much I paid for the flagstone in my yard? Like there were lots of zeros at the end. How wonderful that you can go and take it.

I will admit though it it VERY odd that the government is involved and it is free. I had to say it.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Daisy,
That was the 'Reagan' who used to quote that saying, as IF he contributed any positive changes while that scum was in office.

Now I'll tell you what I really think! That is sooo cool that you can get a permit and go collect rocks! I wish we had something like that around here, because without our neighbor giving us our boulders, we could have never afforded to do our place up the way we have. And just for fun, next time you're at Lowe's, price what they charge for them and have yourself a good laugh all the way home!

BTW, that quote at top also made me think about a wonderfully weird film from a few years back: Northfork from the Polish brothers (they're from ID). Look into that one, it's definitely an odd, but strangely captivating story about Gov't agents trying to get people to move out of a town that will soon be engulfed by a reservoir....some beautiful scenery from out west too.

Kassidy Kern said...