Day In The Life of a Gig Worker

Cass Steele
3 min readNov 19, 2020

Survival Economy in rural U.S.
Ranch, Plant Nursery, Feed Store

Repotting Agave when it’s root bound, and there are new plants that need their own pot. Of course, this is a prickly job, we use tongs for the more spiny succulents. Of course, there’s not a single bin to put work gloves in, so either keep your own (ideally leather), or get used to having callous, cut up, sandpaper hands.

A fresh stack of hay is roughly 12 feet high, each bale weighs about 80lbs. Don’t fall. When you ascend to toss bales down, you have to pay close attention to where you step, especially as you move the bales, or you’ll fall into the cracks between the bales.

Hay is sharp enough to cut you sometimes,
it’ll itch like crazy when it gets in your clothes.

The guys chat about hay quality and pricing
The breakfast club

The stud (the white hog) is likely to have a one way ticket to the butcher soon, since the rancher expected to have a litter of piglets by now that he can sell. It’s unlikely he’ll hire a vet or breeding specialist for the sow. Together, these 2 cost the rancher $100 of profit in feed per month. He claims they weigh 800lbs, but it’s more likely they are between 2–300lbs each.

These are the ducks that were not released from captivity. Of the 5 that were released in the pond at the hot springs, only one remains, the rest were likely killed by avian predators or coyotes.

Sacks of feed weigh 40–50 lbs each. 2–3 tons (or pallets) arrive almost each week. This work is done by hand. Each bag must be moved no less than 3 times to get it from outside, to the shop sales floor inside, for a total of 120–150lbs of muscle to get one sack of feed into the shop. Up the ante when it’s in excess of 105 degrees. Sacks are moved from the pallet to a vehicle, then to a dolley on the patio or loading dock, and finally wheeled into the store and stacked by hand.

I refer to this as: “circuit training”… you won’t miss the gym?!

Roosters are a surplus, and most likely you’ll have to slaughter them so they don’t kill each other

This is a repair on an improvisational dump station for boondockers, so they don’t have to go 60 miles round trip to the nearest dump station, or illegally dump human excrement into the Saddle Mountain BLM area. I’m not sure who’s brilliant idea it was to make handles out of fiberglass, but the green stuff is actually adhesive plastic wrap. I have recently had immense real wood splinters on multiple occasions in my fingers and hands. I would take that any day over invisible fiberglass splinters.

Desert tortoise coitus
The offspring are a novelty for visitors, and for sale