For the last several days, we have been slowly cruising across the back roads of Kansas agri-cultura, via State Route 24. On first observation, I note an extreme contradiction in the fields of corn we pass. They come in two forms. Green, robust and above the knee for the 4th of July or otherwise scrawny 6" specimens of patchy zea maize with extremely crispy, brown, rolled leaves. It is obvious from the roadsides that this landscape has not seen moisture for quite some time. This drought has swept across the west, with soaring temperatures and winds gusting across the prairies, harkening an epic reminder of the dust bowl days.
Several farmers I spoke to were dreaming of clouds, rain, and relief.
The green monoliths surviving this lack of precipitation, owe their vitality to the center pivot irrigation systems, running a circular track round and round, driven by massive generators, while spraying mists of water droplets onto the surface of the plants. This makes me wonder how much ethanol really costs to produce, while we also ask the perpetual question, "How long will the Ogallala Aquifer really last?"
"Giants Sunflower Seed 2 For $3 -"
I have been searching for a garden, as we drive through these stretches of corn, soy, wheat, and alfalfa fields. Along the 437 miles that Kansas stretches, I have only spotted one, in a town called Hoxie. It was a pleasing site to behold with the squash, corn, and beans growing vigorously in the middle of a tiny, modest, grass lawn. Have gardens disappeared from our rural landscapes, only to be replaced by the manicured lawns, formal hedges, suburban architecture, and massive fields of capital commodities? What are the chances that one of these fields grows saved seed?
Thank you J & T Repairs, in Hill City, Kansas, for helping us re-weld our exterior swivel broadcast speakers!
|A nighttime shot of the Broadcast Station, camping out at Sheridan Lake, Kansas|