Oklahoma Politics

I saw this sign in Anadarko, Oklahoma yesterday.

Can you name the second man on the moon?  What’s the second highest mountain the world?  Which horse came in second in the last Kentucky Derby?  It’s usually not very noteworthy to be #2, but there’s a guy named Kenneth Corn who apparently aspires to be second in command in Oklahoma.  I don’t know a thing about him but enjoyed seeing his signs.


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This is the time of year grocery stores and garden centers sell corn stalks for decorations.  And at these prices, I’m surprised more farmers don’t focus on this market — think what a whole field would be worth if 5 stalks sell for $8.99!

Was $8.99. Now, $8.99. What a deal!


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The first picture (top) was taken in 2009.  The second one (bottom) was taken in the exact same spot today.  All around here, the most fertile farmland in the world is being taken out of production, paved over, and filled with houses, strip malls, parking lots, schools.  What was once a beautiful cornfield will soon be cul de sac streets with beige homes, streetlights, tidy weed-free (but chemically treated) lawns mowed in straight lines, swing sets in backyards, SUVs parked in driveways, little trees, and maybe…maybe once in a while… in the fall there will be a few decorative dried cornstalks tied to a mailboxs to create a festive, country atmosphere.  I wonder what they’ll name this new street — perhaps Country Lane, or Prairie Drive, or maybe Green Field Road.

And still, some people call this Progress.

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Most of the corn grown around here is called “dent” corn.  That’s because when a kernel dries, the starchy stuff on the inside shrinks but the outside shell doesn’t — and thus it develops a dent in the surface.   The dent is a hybrid, meaning it didn’t evolve this way naturally; it was originally created by cross-breeding other types of corn.

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Fall Colors

Even though most of the fields are brown and in the process of being harvested now, the colors in the ditches and along the edges of the corn are still vibrant.  It is still a very beautiful time of year.

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Life Cycle

All throughout April and May, the countryside is a buzz of activity:  Tractors move slowly down rural roads and across fields.  Plows churn the earth, and disks smooth it back out again.  It’s a time of planters and sprayers, of dust and of rain.  And most of all, it’s a time of hope, anticipation, and optimism.

June and July are months of great change; every time you look across the landscape it’s different.  The colors morph from light to dark; from green to gold; the wide open spaces become hemmed in with walls of stalks and tassels that wave in the breeze.  And one day there is sun, the next, rain.

In August, things become quiet.   The days are humid, the wind is still.  The corn and the sky and the shadows seem frozen in time.

And then September comes, and then fall, and it all starts happening in reverse. Combines drive slowly down the road, lights flashing. At night, the fields are abuzz with lights from the machines, and dust swirls, and grain bins whir.  The walls of corn come down, the horizons become wider, farmsteads and trees and water towers that were hidden in the distance reappear.  The colors go from brown to black as the earth becomes visible once again.

As fall progresses and the days become cooler, there’s a feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment — but also a gnawing sense of mortality as you look about and realize that the seasons have changed; that the fields once full of life and beauty and bounty have given up their fruits.  The energy returns now to the earth, and the cold winter winds will soon blow.

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Summer Comes to Close


Honestly, I am running out of things to say about corn.  But it is still a very, very beautiful time of year as the fields await harvest.

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