Archive for April, 2010

Ditches are Beautiful

The fields are still black and awaiting the first sprouts of corn.  But the ditches already thrive with lush grasses, yellow flowers and dandelions.   To be sure, corn isn’t the only thing that’s beautiful.

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Potting Soil

Not to dwell on dirt again…this web site is supposed to be about corn.  And it will be, once the crop begins sprouting.  But in the meantime, it’s impossible to appreciate the beauty of corn without a deep appreciation of the rich, fertile black earth that makes such abundance possible.

I drove around this morning, sunny skies after a late night thunderstorm, and was struck – as always – at how absolutely amazing the ground is here.  Everywhere, as far as the eye can see, fields just like potting soil.

This great land is now tilled and prepared – exposed, naked to the horizon in all directions – soaking warmth, drinking rain, waiting…a womb, ready to conceive and  nourish and burst forth with life.

Soon, these vistas will change:  roads hemmed in by walls of green; earth hidden beneath towering stalks; ditches bursting with colorful flowers; horizons filled with gold tassels that roll like waves in the summer breeze.

But for now, the land awaits.

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Old As Dirt

Twelve thousand years ago, or so the story goes, when the last of the glaciers retreated from Iowa they pulverized rock and stone, grinding it into fine powder and then scraping it smooth.  The result is some of the richest, blackest, most fertile farmland on earth.  And it’s everywhere you look.  These pictures were taken just 3 miles from home.

I’m not a big environmentalist, but it does make you stop and think:  Every new street that is platted…every new house that is built…every new development, and strip mall and parking lot that creeps out further from town…consumes more and more of this bountiful land.   Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

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Just In Time

Snow blanketed the ground by early December, and didn’t melt until March.  Some of last year’s fields are only now being harvested — just in the nick of time for planting again.  It doesn’t much hurt corn to stand through the winter like that, but it can slow down progress in the spring.

The bottom photo was taken April 8, after spring had already sprung.  The photo directly below was taken just today, after the corn was finally picked.

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At Long Last

Finally!  After one of the most intense winters in recent memory, the snow has melted.  Rivers and steams that only weeks ago were creeping out of their banks and threatening the fields have now retreated.  The days grow warmer as they grow longer, and the grasses along ditches and fencerows have turned green.

And as tractors buzz around county roads pulling plows and disks and tanks of anhydrous ammonia, the land awaits.  A new growing season is about to begin.

I will be doing the corn blog again this year — more pictures, new commentary, and also some Tweets and video.  When planting begins, I’ll start updating this site more regularly.  Stay tuned.

But corn is still in our midst, even when it’s not growing.  Here are some pictures from last winter.  For in Iowa, we can’t ever completely escape the corn, even in the off season.

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