Posted by: chlost | May 16, 2014

Country Roads

We live in a semi-rural area. Suburban style subdivisions share the land with large farms. Big old red barns may sit alongside a split-level home with fancy cars parked in the driveway.

The change of seasons is evident in the farm fields. Over the years we have watched the annual evolution of dirt to crop and back to dirt as we drive the county roads to and from our home.

As I drive out of our subdivision, this is the view which is laid out before me while I wait to turn onto the county road which feeds into the highway leading to my office:


This is a potato field. The soil here is very sandy. It is apparently quite good for growing potatoes, because there are several different potato farms within a short distance of our home. The big deep rows have the seed potato chunks planted into them. This is a field of small red potatoes.

I can mark the progression of summer by watching the changes in the field. When the potato plants bloom, the summer will be half done. After they begin to bloom, a crop-dusting plane flies over the field and sprays them to kill the plants above ground. After the plants die back, the potatoes are harvested with a special tractor and carried away in very large trucks filled to the brim with little red potatoes.

I’ve never been a farmer, although I know many people who are farmers. I have learned a lot from them about the land, and weather, and the way food is produced. Even as a kid, I spent most of my growing-up years in and near farm areas. My grandparents would take Sunday drives into “the country” to check on the progress of the farmers’ crops. “As the crops go,” they’d say, “so goes the economy.”

It is something that I would miss if I lived in a big city, I think. And as much as I love the mountains, if I lived in a mountainous area I would miss the rich flatness of the plains. The sight of the fields filling with green each summer is an integral part of the year.

When I drive up to that intersection each morning, I know that in my heart this is home.



  1. Very nice, I would almost agree. I also grew up in flat farmland country the San Joaquin/Sacramento river delta. Flatter than here as a matter of fact. There the crops were rice, tomatoes and fruit and nut trees. But given the chance to live in the mountains… I’d be happy to go visit the flatlands.

  2. This looks not unlike the flat filed of south Georgia where I spent part of my growing up years living on a farm. Now I live in a more mountainous area, where the farms are on rolling fields littered with boulders.

  3. I think it’s fun to watch crops grow, too. In Phoenix, I mostly saw citrus and corn… one farm lets you pick peaches in May. Yummy!

  4. Sometimes just being near the growing food makes you feel like a part of it.

  5. I find the mountains versus plains preference to be very interesting. All that landscape conditioning we get in childhood, etc. My dad was raised in central Montana, and so whenever he’d come visit us in Northern MN, he’d say, “All these trees make me feel hemmed in. It makes me nervous.”

    Now that I’ve lived half my life in central MT and half in MN, I have to say I’m good with both…although there’s still nothing as big as a blue Montana sky.–Jocelyn

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