Monday, July 12, 2010

Monsters in the Field

When we moved back here the first time, in 1986 when the girls were teenagers, I made them accompany me to the potato fields after the equipment was out of the fields, we gleaned enough potatoes..big old russets for the entire winter. The girls were less than impressed. Walking along the rows in the field looking for low spots where the lifter had missed some spuds was not these born and raised in the city girls idea of fun. I told them to just pick faster and soon we would be done. We gleaned potatoes for many years, I do not eat russets anymore..well not often anyway..I prefer the reds..the reds are grown in some other state where I am sure that someone else is irritated by the early morning crop dusting, the use of chemicals so strong that those Peligro ( Spanish for Danger)  signs are in the fields and the smell is enough to gag a maggot. The years where our birds finally have had enough and move more hospitable areas..the years where we have no bugs..and then I wonder are all the French fries standing straight up in a box from a well known fast food chain really worth it? I don't think it is..after all what will be left when the land is all chemicaled up and used out..and the water doesn't flow anymore? I probably won't be around to see it..but I am smart enough to know that whatever you take from the land you have to put back twofold, if you don't it will become a nutrient deficient wasteland where nothing will grow. I remember the color of these fields when I was young, you could tell the health of the soil just from looking at it, a dark richness. Sometimes the fields went into the "soil bank" and just laid idle...they rested. In the spring the old farmers would spread the manure from the barn  into the fields and spread it around.  I smelled manure in a couple of fields this spring..Far Guy would say what is that smell..manure in the unmistakable odor...but there were no "Peligro" signs. There isn't much resting going on in this area or manure spreading either...and the color of the soil is the reflection of corporate farmers misuse. The farmers of old would have been able to feed America..the new corporate farmers are only interested in the bottom for feeding America..I suppose they fast food chains with their stand up french fries.
 You can count on the crop dusting helicopter to wake you up early in the morning after a rain. They spray after every rain. The helicopters noise is much like the irritating drone of a mosquito. When they used an airplane the noise was much worse, it was  like a big old angry bumble bee, that would spit and sputter and you would hope if he crashed it would be over a field and not over our house in one of his turnarounds.
 The helicopter sprays his chemicals, he lands on a platform which I believe is a big tank on the flatbed of a semi trailer to get his refills. He never shuts down to refill.

 I watch him sometimes, I am sure he thinks that I am stalking him..he wears a yellow helmet. I cannot tell if he smiles at me or not. Sometimes he is the only entertainment around. I watch for his over spray..he has pretty good aim..but sometimes the wind switches. I will watch those areas where he has over-sprayed..I will watch the trees and the wildflowers..I will watch for changes:( 


  1. We have not been too kind to mother nature and mother earth. I didn't grow up with those kinds of fields. The fields I remember are the ones we tended.

  2. Beautiful and profound. We are selfish, thoughtless children wounding and probably destroying this beautiful planet...Mother Earth.
    When will we grow up? .....and if we ever do, Will it be in time?

  3. I found you thru Iggy. :) I'm Minnesotan born and raised--even if I have been residing across the river in Fargo for the past five years, I am a Minnesotan. I swoon over your wildflower photos!

    Puzzles me how we humans don't learn from our mistakes, think ahead, or try to see the bigger picture the majority of the time. We don't take notice until it hits our pocketbooks--and it has started to. I am so glad that the "green" movement that started back in the 60s has finally been growing. We have a long way to go, but maybe we are finally starting to head in the right direction? I am hopeful. And I believe the earth is capable of surviving us if we do end up destroying ourselves. Sadly, I guess I have more faith in the earth than in human beings--hehe! ;)

  4. Dad knew there would be a Silent Spring before Rachael Carson penned it.

    Yes, we must give back, the Great Dust Bowl was testimony to that. The people who knew this are long gone and the corporations gobble the family farms at an astounding rate.

    We must readopt the old ways of caring for the land and she will care for us. I hope it is not too late.

    Great post.

  5. I agree with your sad post. What gets me is that we just don't seem to learn. First there was DDT, which was banned when they finally learned it was responsible for the dying out of the birds...but those who do these things still think that the chemicals they spray can actually not cause damage to the environment. Either they're dumb or naive.

  6. Well said with the authority from a horticulturist background. Unfortunately our world is run by the bottom line rather than good hard science as you have used.keep up the good work. Someday people will have to listen.

  7. Having worked as a nurse that gave chemotherapy, I can honestly say that crap they are spraying is a killer. I have treated too many farmers who handled those pesticides every summer and I am sure it was NOT a coincidence that they ended up in a chair beside me while I shot toxic agents into their veins to kill cancer cells growing in their lungs and bones and blood.

    You are smart to stay out of those fields now. Unfortunately we are all still exposed, even when we buy stuff from the grocery. Just about everything is tainted with chemicals of some sort anymore.

  8. EXCELLENT post! My grandfather had a dairy farm and he spread the manure in the fields. His only crops were hay and corn but to the best of my knowledge, he rotated them.

  9. I grew potatoes a couple of times in my garden in Cincinnati. They did well the first year, but nothing but tops the second. I now realize that's probably because I failed to fertilize that year.

  10. I worry for us and all the chemicals we are exposed to. So sad!

  11. Beautiful shots - rather sinister though if you think of all the chemicals. Which is why I always buy organic and never visit that fast food chain that sells fries...

  12. there's a farm near us that uses pig manure each year...smells for a while, but so much better than the chemical smell...Many are trying to come back to the old ways, but may not be enough soon enough...we'll have to see...

  13. Sure is a lot of misinformation out there. Like DDT. It never caused the problems they said it did.

    There are mostly family farmers now, tho' they have grown in size. Very few "corporate" farms. Family farmers have had to get bigger to be efficient and provide you all with cheap food. Organic food has been proven to be a crock and not any more healthy for the land or the people who eat it.

    As I understand it, the sprays they use are about 500 times less harmful than the gas and diesel fumes you breathe when you fuel up at the fuel stations.

    Do some research people. The American farmer feeds the world.

    Go check this blog out for some truth.

    Most people bitch about the smell of manure. What would you have them use to provide you with your food?

  14. Ah the down side of capitalizm supported by the government. Oh wait, that could actually be an oxymoron couldn't it? The unhealthiness of it all can be seen everywhere, even in the city.

  15. the wheat fields that roll away from town have light colored areas where the top soil has blown away or just been abused.

    What can we do. cry.


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. I no longer accept anonymous comments. Connie