Plowed Fields are a Blank Canvas
By Geary Hare Growing up in a little town, down a farm-to-market road, was boring. Every spring and fall, we would pass miles of boring, empty plowed fields. In the summer we would drive past miles of boring corn and milo fields.
When we went on vacation, we went to exciting places were there were tall pine forests; in 1976 there were even majestic sequoia trees. On vacation we would see mountains and cool mountain lakes and streams. At the top of Mount Evans in Colorado, there was snow in summer and shaggy mountain goats. On vacation, there were chipmunks that didn’t wear sweaters and huge elk. The rolling, treeless prairies of Montana were exciting, especially at night when a thunderstorm touched the ground.
After a week or two, it would be back to boring, hot Jackson County. Home tends to be boring to kids and taken for granted by adults. It doesn’t matter where home is. I’m sure the kids in Montana all think they live in the most boring place in the world.
A few years ago, I exchanged photos with a friend in New York and through my camera I saw beauty at home. I even found interesting things to photograph in Francitas.
All of our plowed fields in Jackson County are wonders to somebody who lives in an apartment in a big city. Plowed fields become an artist’s blank canvas, soon to be painted by a John Deere (I actually sent him a photo of a big Caterpillar tractor on tracks – he was amazed).
The idea that we grow food like tomatoes and watermelon at home is as amazing to the city folk as the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge are to us. All of that is stuff that people have heard of, but not everyone has witnessed.
In a big city, there is new construction, but there are never the blank canvases like we have here. I’m sure when I was a kid there were farmers who looked out at plowed fields and could see the milo, corn, or cotton they were about to paint into the landscape. I’m sure there still are farmers who can see next year’s crops in their plowed fields. I’m confident of that because I can see what I’m going to paint in my garden before I plant.
This fall I’ll be painting some different pictures. This week’s photo is of my canvas where I will be painting bush beans. Bush beans get planted now through the end of October, an inch or two deep, spaced three- to four-inches apart. Rows should be spaced three to four feet apart. I’m also going to paint some pictures of cantaloupe and cucumbers this fall. Those are vegetables I usually grow in the spring. Martha’s painting beets in pots for the first time this fall.
I have another nice sized canvas in the backyard for painting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, butternut squash, carrots, and a few onions. Oh, collards get planted in the backyard on October 1st, Collard Day. The carrots are already planted but my few sprouts don’t amount to much of a painting yet.
Take another look at the photo. Can you see those rows of green bean bushes? If you are a gardener you most likely saw them the first time. If you might become a gardener, you might have seen them the second time you looked. If you lack imagination, you probably still see a photo of boring dirt with some boring okra plants to one side. Close your eyes tight, count to five, and try it one more time.
Keep on growing!
Geary Hare of Edna is an avid gardener. For questions, contact Geary at firstname.lastname@example.org.