When riding through the fields of Wisconsin during summer with my dad I learned to respect farmers. Dad would point to a field and say “See that field? That is George’s field. He is a smart farmer. So is his brother Glen. Look at that field.”
Then all of the way home on the back roads I compared corn field to corn field; wheat field to wheat field; soy beans to soy beans. Dad was right. George was a smart farmer. Being a kid I usually just past by, bored to tears, thinking of the beach that I was not playing on. After Dad pointed out the art and science of farming, I was always attuned to my bucolic surroundings.
A smart farmer, what is that?
How do you know that a man is smart?
Do you quiz them? How do you know what to ask?
Do they spew out farm facts during casual conversations?
Don’t you just end up a farmer rather than studying about it?
To me, farming was then a life sentence of hard work that started at 4 am and a pretty scary prospect for a Wisconsin girl who wanted to move to California.
But, I was ignorant.
I had so much to learn about truly the best profession ( big statement to be made by a teacher) in the world.
A little farther north in Door County I learned that Wesley was a smart farmer too. I was told to observe. No doubt about it. The crops around his farm were thriving!
Then there was the family that was blessed to inherit and farm the best soil in the county. Door County is a rock pile for sure, so if you are from those parts, and have ever picked rocks in the spring, you know exactly what I am talking about!
The farm on the deep topsoil was always was a benchmark to observe. So beautiful. But, since they had the advantage of what my dad though was the best soil in the county, my awe faded a bit at their success. Ehhh… Show me the smart farmers who plant on the rocky soil Dad. ( I mean no offense here to the deep topsoil farmers, because I respect you all. But I am for the underdog, can’t help it. )
If you know me, you know that I have always loved art.
I love color, texture, and the changing values of a field of wheat as it blows in the wind.
What Van Gogh and Monet could do to represent wheat fields!
Those French landscapes are still my favorites today. But I didn’t always appreciate those landscapes.
I love the way light plays upon the surface of lake Michigan and on the squeaky sand on the shore as the sun rises. I have always been drawn to the water. Landscapes took me a bit longer to appreciate. Thanks to my Dad, a smart fisherman, watching the smart farmers taught me so much!
Thanks to my dad and smart farmers, I see the fields as a form of nutritious performance art. Every year the performance was laid out there for all to see day after day. What a beautiful art form. Edible. Fodder of Photography. Inspiration of painters. Life giving form to animals. It is all this and more.
So here’s to George, Glen, Wesley and all of the smart farmers of the world!
May we follow in their footsteps.