Oh what a beautiful morning!
We had a little rain, and I mean a little, which is frustrating, but whatever weather moved through our area last night may have knocked over my deck chairs, but it cooled off the air and got the sticky humidity out enough to make our morning run in the countryside enjoyable.
As my running partner and I ventured out of town, we were greeted by all the sights and sounds that are associated with agriculture: a crop duster (luckily, he was simply turning around and not dusting us as we ran down the road...not that it would really hurt us, but who wants to be dusted in the early morning hours, right?), crops, and farmsteads. However, today, I really drank in the beauty of the countryside.
This is a new thing for me.
I know, I know...natural beauty is everywhere. I usually associate nature's splendor with Maui or somewhere with a breathtaking set of mountains. Not corn.
But what a change of heart!
As we ran down a corn alley, the green of the grass of the freshly mowed roadside, the way the leaves of the corn plant were reaching toward the new tassels and the bushy bean plants in their perfect rows were so amazing. Set against a backdrop of early summer sun, a red barn and a well kept farmhouse, this sight was something to behold. And this is coming from someone who usually thinks a newly unveiled leather couch and a sweet pair of heels is beautiful.
But this is not accidental.
This roadside was not mowed by itself. The rows were not planted straight by happenstance, and the farmstead has obviously been cared for by loving owners.
Farmers are actually pretty fancy, if you really look past the stereotype of dirty faces and floppy straw hats.
I'd like to refer to them as Fancypants, if you don't mind. Farmer Fancypants.
I know it's not every farmer or farmstead in the world, but around here, it seems to be the way that as a farmer you not only do right with the land in a stewardship sense, but you do right by keeping your land, your piece of the world, your "stead," nice. A Farmer Fancypants isn't arrogant about keeping up with the Joneses, but he or she will note if a neighbor has mowed and he/she has not, and will possibly get out there soon to get their roadsides looking nice. Never mind the fact that mowing roadsides has a functional purpose on the farm to keep down weeds, and sometimes not mowing roadsides helps keep pests at bay, but I like to think of it in a more cosmetic sense...
because I'm weird like that.
A Farmer Fancypants may be a little bit of a brand snob when it comes to equipment. I like to think of it more as color coordination. Around us, farmers tend to have run either all red or all green equipment. I know there's blue, yellow, etc., but around here, it's mainly a battle between the Christmas colors. To me, this keeps the homestead in balance from a color sense. It's nice to have it all match...and my husband, as he rolls his eyes while reading this, will tell you that there's more to it. It's easier to do all your business with one dealer, one group of mechanics, not just for color's sake.
I like to think that it's because we all want to look nice.
The farm homestead is the final entity of my Farmer Fancypants theory. This morning, as we ran through our alleyway of foliage, the homestead at the top of the hill with its red barns, and potted plants, and weeded beds, and even a little sign with the family's name on it (not one of those logs...and I'm sorry if you have one, because I detest those and would gladly use it for firewood should anyone ever give me one...and I ever get a fireplace. End rant.) stood out as such a welcoming, homey place. The red barn in the background was so picturesque, it was a stereotype I would gladly accept. A farm needs a barn, and a well kept one at that. It makes you want to have kittens and horses...even though we don't have either. The homestead farm should look well cared for, as it is a direct reflection on how the rest of the farm is perceived. My dad was so thankful that we decided to move here and spruce up the "home place," as it is where all the action truly is. Thus the pressure to keep my flowers alive (on round #2, thanks to a stop at the sale rack at the local garden shop) and the yard mowed and the toys out of the way of the salesman's truck coming into the driveway.
I'd like to think that we're striving to be a Fancypants Farmer. I'd like to think that some day, some runner will pass our homestead and reflect on Americana and the beauty that is American Agriculture.
Until then, I'll keep striving, replacing one dead geranium at a time.