Farming and agriculture have always have always been strongly connected to me even though I wish that I knew a whole lot more about the subject than I do. My dad was farming when I was born but the winter of 1948 pretty much drove him out the business. I have always lived where agriculture was a vital part of the local economy. Whether food crops or other (trees, flowers, etc.) the local farm was not far away. Delaware is no different. In fact, Sussex County is very rural and dependent on agriculture. The main farm products are chickens, soy beans, wheat, barley and corn. What is so different for me is the size of the farming areas. In the West everything is on such a larger scale than here. So, it is amazing to see wheat and barley fields that do not go as far as the eye can see. I am also amazed at how fast everything grows after it is planted.
Speaking of planting, defined rows cannot usually be seen. The fields are seeded very tightly. Over the winter and into the spring the fields were very gray. The soil here is what I call concrete colored. After the fields are fertilized -- usually with chicken manure (ooo), they become a little brown and quite ripe. Then two to three weeks later they start greening and before you know it, the corn is three feet high. I swear that it grows at least six inches every week.
The countryside has changed dramatically in the last few weeks. Today we drove down the nearest road (about a mile from the house) and stopped to take some pictures of the crops that are maturing in our area. I think I have identified the pictures of the wheat and barley correctly, at least I hope so.
Here is a wheat field. It is located about two miles from where we live. The farmer was harvesting an adjacent field.
The same wheat field. But here you can see the limited size. We were on the roadside when this photo was taken. This seems to be the size of an average field in this area.
This corn field photo also gives an idea of the size of the fields here.
"The corn is as high as an...." Notice here how close together the plants are growing.
This and the next couple of shots show my fascination with farm sprinklers. In the West much of the irrigated land is done in circles as the massive sprinklers move in a circle. Here, there is not enough room for a circle. Or, should I say, I have not seen a circle yet but I have seen lots and lots of sprinklers.
These pictures are of what I believe is barley. When looking at these fields and the wheat fields I am reminded of how large they are not but how vital they are to the local economic fabric. Although they are not like the rolling hills of the Palouse or flatlands of the Great Plains, they are just as vital and beautiful.
"Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain..."