Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Frost is on the Pumpkin

The frost is on the pumpkin and that's as good a reason as any to sleep late. Someone recently mentioned the habit of talking about the weather. It's an artform in these parts. The farmers would gather at a local cafe early in the morning for eggs and bacon, coffee and conversation. The weather is always a top subject because their livelihood depends upon the weather.

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Every square inch, every nook and cranny in a field is planted in the spring. The weather determines the outcome. A hailstorm can decimate the fields and a drought can do likewise.

Discussing the weather cannot affect the outcome but that never stops the chatter.

This area is undergoing an influx of development. The farmer's meeting places have disappeared. Many of the older farmers are refugees from the development push back in the 1970's. They sold their farmland in Schaumburg and moved out here. The concrete and asphalt steadily pushed west and has caught up with them again. They're older and a second migration west is out of the question. Many are so connected to their land that they refuse to leave, leasing out the acreage to younger farmers. They sit in their farmhouses and watch the sunrise over the fields as they have done their entire lives.

One of the fourth generation farmers lost his father several years ago. It was his father's wish to be cremated and have his ashes spread across his beloved fields. His children could not bring themselves to honor his wish. They knew that 20 years down the road his fields will be covered with tract homes.

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Large homes! Less money! That's the chant that pelts you from roadside signs. The real estate and mortgage mess will slow the development for awhile and then it will begin rolling over the countryside once again.

Someone said to me that I shouldn't be so negative about the advance of urban sprawl. That person has never stood at the edge of a field of Illinois topsoil and watched as a farmer plowed under the field at the end of the growing season. The warm moist soil hidden just underneath the surface releases steam as it hits the cold air. The scene is magical and you realize the life giving powers the earth contains. Once scraped away and replaced with strip malls, it can never be recaptured.

I would declare Illinois topsoil a national treasure......no, a world treasure, and protect every stinking clod of earth!

19 comments:

chocolatechic said...

Our land is a treasure.

It makes my heart ache to see all the lovely farm land all used for houses.

Mary said...

Amen.

xoxo,
Mary

bv said...

at one time i lived in the country. i haven't moved. across our little road were beautiful orhards. now our little country road is a by pass around town and our orhards are giant houses..never sold and now in forclosure. central calif. sold out and empty. so sad. your words are perfect. 'they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.'
bv

belladella said...

Amen on this! The sprawl makes me so sad. I hope that it stays away from where I am now but I know it will come, it always does.

To answer your questions- Mrs. Freshleys does a pretty darn good job with the Snowballs but I am Hostess fan first and foremost. Behind me in the photo? That's my guestroom. You can see the old bed and quilt and some of my other pretties. I will be going home tonight and wiping down that mirror!

Kendra said...

I'll admit I'm negative about urban sprawl, and I don't care. The fact that it brings out the hoity-toity city folk that have NO clue what it's like to live out in the country...then they dare to whine and complain that the animals smell! And the tractors are loud! And there is a lot of dust! Wah, cry me a river. YOU are the "intruder" into country life, not the other way around.

Significant Snail said...

Our farmlands are a national treasure..it's too bad more people don't realize that.
I suppose people who know nothing of farming assume there's plenty of land left that farmers can pack up and move to.

Princess S said...

Amen Sister!!
There is nothing as calming as seeing a feild of hay on a summer day with the breeze blowing through it and an orchestra of animals great and small telling the tale of the land. Here is a quote from a great book The Land Remembers by Ben Logan that sums it up.

"Once you have lived on the land, been a partner with its moods, secrets, and seasons, you cannot leave. The living land remembers, touching you in unguarded moments, saying, "I am here. You are part of me."

I have not lived on a farm in several years but my heart yearns to be there.

American in Norway said...

So sad... being the granddaughter of an Illinois Farmer I know what you mean...

But your post brought a smile to my face remembering my grandpa..

PS are you telling me it WONT get better after I go through the "change"?

Sarah said...

I lived on a farm for several years with my aunt and uncle and that is where most of my memories were made that I hold dear to my heart today. It saddens me to see that there are fewer and fewer farmers and that the land is being overtaken by homes and business. I don't think people realize where their food comes from and what good simple times come from being in the country.

Mary said...

Amen Suzanne. Chicago is coming out to swallow us up. At least the town is still small enough that if you sit at McDonalds long enough with a dead car someone you know will come in an give you a ride home. (it always happens on Dead cell phone battery days LOL)

thanks for the reminder to cherish what we have now.

LIBERTY POST EDITOR said...

First. We should not allow farmland to be developed. Second, we need to make our homes much, much smaller or build up, so when we do have to develop, we are not using up precious acres. God isn't making anymore land. We need to protect the soil (and the trees)...there! Now you know I'm on your team...

Jenni said...

I couldn't agree more. God bless those farmers that are still hanging on!

Suzanne said...

Amen! Farm land is a precious thing and even more so is the farmer. Developers fail to realize that they are slowly pushing us to rely on food from other countries. Food and grains, cattle and dairy production, poultry and egg industries are vital to how we live our daily lives and need to more appreciated and cultivated in this country instead of plowing it under to put up an expensive McMansion for some ungrateful, complaining, status hungry clod who thinks everything revolves around them! (Former Pomona Secretary in Washington State Grange.)

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

I so totally agree with you.... Same thing has happened in Arizona where the cotton fields and cattle lots have been disappearing so rapidly this past 20 years. That black soil in the Midwest is so essential to growing our food crops.... just crazy that it is being destroyed.

Heidi said...

How many ways can I say - amen....

Living Life with a Joyful Heart said...

I loved reading your blog but it mad me so sad with the greed in our country i have always thought of the farmers as the back bone of our country, i respect them so much.

Lisa said...

I hate to see woods cut down and farmland raized (sp?) for "new development". Especially neighborhoods. How many new homes and neighborhoods do we need? Do we really have so many more people who need homes?

Anonymous said...

the sweet smell-the lifegiving soil...i will say it again--
NO FARMS
NO FOOD!!!!

Louise said...

You are right that the person never stood on the edge of a field.