Late last Summer Uncle Huck called me up looking for big marijuana starts for his ramshackle Weott backyard plantation, and I told him I had no idea where to find big plants for sale this late in the season.
Typical Uncle Huck, trying to finally get his scene in the ground in late August. Then I remembered that I'd gotten a call from a clone farm a couple weeks before. The flunky running the scene for his out-of-town owner had asked me if I wanted any, all sizes available, but I had said no and forgotten about it. In the Spring I had ordered mostly OG and Cookie clones from them, but when I went to pick them up there were mainly just a bunch of root-bound, yellowy, stunted varieties of Sour D in old, depleted dirt. It was already late May so I took all that I could get, the attraction was that they had already been stepped up into 4 by 4's from the cubes and ready to go into the ground, or into bigger containers. (In fairness those yellowy girls did recover within a week or two, turning healthy verdant green.)
It was the lazy man's way to grow. If I wanted to put out more energy and expense I could've built a hoop house and used mixed light for the babies; or set up a grow room with a couple of lights for a month or so. But the last hoop house I'd built collapsed in the rain, and the last time I'd used PG&E I'd killed most of the Cookies and ended up spraying the OG for powdery mildew all Spring, and that was annoying and disheartening. Miss the old days when we just started some seeds and grew some nice weed.
So I'm done with that ranch. This year I'm reactivating the old grow room, the clones are on order and I've been researching lights and fans and supplements and trying to figure out how I fucked it up the last time. It could be that I didn't water the Cookie enough at the beginning. I'd always been told not to over-water in grow rooms, and I'm adding two cheap oscillating fans for the corners of the 10 by 12 room to help with ventilation. But what the hell, it's April 1st. I still have all that Sour D from last year, and there seems to be more uncertainty in the market and industry than ever—it will be a challenge to see if I can successfully harden up the clones and have some nice one to two footers in three gallon containers by the end of May. Maybe then I'll step 'em up into fives, but if I don't sell my weed by the end of June I don't see any point to putting more in the ground; got to unload before I reload. No, I'm not set up for Dep so it'll be thank you and good night. It's been a nice forty year run, and I'll try to offload the OG, Cookie, and Blue Dream plants to some depster, and if I do get rid of all that Sour D I'll put the new ones in the ground, find someone to water, and head out of town for the Summer. Don't we all just need a fucking break?
Uncle Huck is one of those strange guys, very understated, hard to figure out so why even try? The other day I ran into him at Murrishes and he gave me a hug! Huh? Trump get to him too? I guess it all worked out last August at the clone ranch, and he found what he was looking for, because soon after I made the introduction I got a wrong number from someone working out there who was going to come in from the hills and help him put his plants in should they actually find room amongst all the other crap cluttering up his backyard. She had this really sexy voice, and being somewhat of a packrat I saved the number.
Then a month ago I was so bored and lonely with this endless Winter that I called her and reminded her about the introduction of Uncle Huck. We got to talking and she said she had been recruited from Craiglist by the owner sight unseen and things were going well at first when the clones were moving but then, as often happens in these casual partnerships, things started to unravel.
There were too many unsold clones, and the money had stopped coming in. She didn't like the way the owner, on his occasional visits, treated his long-term flunky. She called him a slave, and she was encouraging him to ask for more money out of the operation, but he was too stoned and lazy to care. She was counting on her full-term crop to go along with her dep share, but then she said the owner came in and cut it all down when it was still immature. She said the same thing had happened with the ranch hand the year before; he had to leave before the crop was in, and he had pulled this shit with other sharecroppers over the years as well. She was an aspiring lawyer and wanted to sue the owner for her wages and investment. Without a lump of cash to live on she was driving an hour a day out to the coast in her unregistered Honda, doing office work in an old barn for one of the new compliance engineers guiding the clueless ex-hippies and other wannabes through the thickets of legalization.
“There is just enough rat poop dust and talk of cannabis to make me feel right at home,” she said.
This all seemed odd to me because the owner, Jack, was the only buyer I knew who I trusted enough to front to; a couple years before I gave him 30 pounds of OG, went to Mexico, then got paid when I returned. I had first met him about five years earlier when he stopped to give me a lift when I was walking home up the hill. I wasn't even hitch-hiking, but I got into his truck even though I was just a few hundred yards from home. He stopped at my road and we started talking about weed and the weed market. I got us calculating how many pounds a day leave Southern Humboldt down 101.
After a while I asked him, “Do you buy weed?” as I desperately needed a new connection. He hesitated and then alluded to a little dealing back in high school. I looked into the bed of his little green pickup and said, “Are those clone boxes?”
I got his number, and a few years later he did buy some weed from me, and then I started going out to the ranch to score clones. He seemed like an upright citizen, but when I checked him out with one of his neighbors on the mountain he told me, “Jack cuts corners,” and I never followed up on what he meant by that.
The year before last Jack found a guy on Craiglist to run his show, and the guy seemed really cool. He had a nice girlfriend, and had gotten experience working for some big growers out Highway 36, typical greenrush trash. That year I kept annoying him making and canceling my order, being on the edge of retirement and completely confused, and when I finally went out there and got a mess of clones and stepped 'em up into fives I changed my mind again and sold most of them to a friend down the hill. Jack's sharecropper ended up strung out on narcotics, his hot girlfriend left him, and when I ran into his stoned-out flunky in town he told me the guy was so immobilized on the couch that Jack had to literally tie a rope to his ankle and drag him off the property.
So I'm not going back there. The problem with getting clones instead of starting seeds is that you're dependent on someone else at a crucial stage of the operation. This year, a month or so ago, I ordered some OG clones (the adult thing to do), some Cookie (the fun thing to do), and some Blue Dream, (just because). When the guy showed up with the delivery last week he had only OG!
“Yeah, there was some mixup with the order so this is all there is,” he said.
“Oh, that's okay, no problem,” I said.
“Oh, I thought you might be upset or something.”
“No. In fact if you had said the whole order was deleted and there were none, I would have said great! Now I don't have to grow!”
The clone guys know best, what's best for me: OG, the adult thing to do.
(All names and locations have been changed)