Give thanks

Let’s begin with something from motivational speaker Brenda Schoepp. “My grandfather used to say, Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but everyday, three times a day, you need a farmer.” How true. Farming is hard work, in so many ways … some of which may not be so obvious. The average last-day-of-frost in our area is May 10. Our weather this spring has been up-and-down, literally insofar as temperatures are concerned. We were well into the 90s last week, down to just about freezing the last two nights, and the forecasters are calling for temperatures into the 90s again later this week. A number of folks have spent the better part of two weeks planting tomatoes down in the Susquehanna floodplain. As I made my way to town the other day I tried to estimate just how many plants were placed into the ground there. My conservative estimate was one million. The National Weather Service announced a frost warning last night and on my way to town at 6 AM there were spots of frost here and there, on the roofs, lawns, and even along the beautifully cultivated river-bottom fields. I’m sure the tomato plants and these corn seedlings were quite chilly overnight but looked unscathed by sunrise. Farming is a risky business and prone to so many vagaries out of one’s control. Next time you see a farmer, why not say Thanks?


23 thoughts on “Give thanks

  1. We had three feet of snow in some areas around here during that “frost.” It is/was tragic and comedic. The humble farmer has the best sense of humor because there is no outsmarting Mother Nature. When you see photos of snowmen with bouquets of lilacs stuck in for hair, you know how insignificant you are in trying to manipulate the weather. However, in spite of the severe weather, there has not been a huge report of losses. There was time to cover crops for some, though finding enough covering was not easy. I felt a bit smug, though, because I was raised to never plant before Memorial Day weekend. And I hadn’t. So I didn’t lose anything. And fortunately the apple trees did not lose their fruit in this one. At least in Southern Vermont, we didn’t lose our fruit. Love that photo and cannot imagine so many tomato plants at fruition. I have trouble coaxing tomatoes out of just a dozen plants!

  2. Another great image. The green is so vivid. Almost looks florescent next to the dark earth. Love how symmetrical all the rows are too. Thanks to the farmer that grew the romaine and green beans I am currently munching on in my salad! πŸ™‚

    • The fields adjacent to the one in the picture are sometimes grown to green beans, sometimes to potatoes, and last year we even saw sunflowers. With the cold snap of last week I think summer is now here to stay … it was just about 90 today. D

  3. I agree, and I often think it is a shame that food is so cheap – given the efforts that are put into “producing” it. I don’t like the “production” metaphor that turns agriculture into an industry sector – which it unfortunately has become, at least from the perspective of some large businesses dominating the “agriculture market”.

    • There’s lots for discussion there Elke … agribusiness versus the small farmer. And you’ve pushed a button with the ‘price’ issue. Around here commodity prices are always a hot topic. You are correct though … if prices were higher perhaps fewer small family farms would be driven out of business. But, of course, the consumer wouldn’t appreciate that reality. Farming is, indeed, a very, very difficult way to make a living. I know no rich farmers … few comfortable ones … many that just get by … and a few who have lost their shirts. We should all be thankful that there are still folks out there who are filling to farm for a living. Many don’t see this and I wonder why? D

    • I just finished my reply to Elke which said that I know no rich farmers … few comfortable ones … many that just get by … and a few who have lots their shirts. I am thankful that there are still many who find reward in making their living as famers. I too appreciate the Zen (or even spiritual) side of working the land. Perhaps I’ll try to work that idea into a post someday … although few, save you and perhaps a few others, would really understand. Thanks Charlie for the supportive comment. D

    • Hey Leanne … nice to hear from you. I have been following the evolution of Leanne Cole Photography with great interest. Sorry that I haven’t pushed the comment button lately … many other do however and didn’t think that my two-cents would add much. I eagerly wait to see how the portraiture business will work for you … I’ve got my fingers crossed. I have enjoyed the portraits you posted recently … you seem to have a real knack for ‘people.’ Keep it up and all the best. D

  4. I think of this very thing almost every time I sit down to eat! I am very grateful. There is a wonderful expression in Japanese that I have understood to encompass the gratitude I like to express. The expression is γ„γŸγ γγΎγ™ (itadakimasu), and while it doesn’t really have an equivalent in English, it means “I shall take,” or “I humbly receive,” but really expresses more of a thank you to Nature and farmers (and anyone else involved in the preparations of food, too) for making our lives possible through the food that they provide. It is a humble expression of appreciation (even though today people say it without realizing what it really means).

    • What a wonderfully informative response Lemony … thank you ever so much. Itadakimasu … I’ll have to learn to say that less haltingly … it sounds so nice when I can get it to roll of the tongue. Really neat. Thank you. By the way, really do enjoy enjoy all of the ‘botanicals’ you have posted over the last weeks. Really nice … especially the last that was in black and white. Quite enjoyable. By the way, I looked up bilateral scotoma (having never heard of it) and was intrigued. I know that we all have blind spots that the brain smartly ‘fills in’ for us … but your condition is an enlargement of that such that it is too large to be ‘worked around’? Anyway, your photography and writing would suggest that you have found ways to adapt. D

      • Thanks for taking time out of your very busy schedule to check in. I did see a bunny picture on Twitter! Very cute … you’re very brave. Looking forward to your update. D

      • I’m so glad you enjoyed the expression “itadakimasu.” The scotoma I experience, partially a blackening of my peripheral vision, and partially what is called “scintillating scotoma,” is indeed too large to work around, and I have to wait for it to pass. But you are right, I am also finding some ways to adapt.

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