When we moved back here the first time, in 1986 when the girls were teenagers, I made them accompany me to the potato fields after the equipment was out of the fields, we gleaned enough potatoes..big old russets for the entire winter. The girls were less than impressed. Walking along the rows in the field looking for low spots where the lifter had missed some spuds was not these born and raised in the city girls idea of fun. I told them to just pick faster and soon we would be done. We gleaned potatoes for many years, I do not eat russets anymore..well not often anyway..I prefer the reds..the reds are grown in some other state where I am sure that someone else is irritated by the early morning crop dusting, the use of chemicals so strong that those Peligro ( Spanish for Danger) signs are in the fields and the smell is enough to gag a maggot. The years where our birds finally have had enough and move on..to more hospitable areas..the years where we have no bugs..and then I wonder are all the French fries standing straight up in a box from a well known fast food chain really worth it? I don’t think it is..after all what will be left when the land is all chemicaled up and used out..and the water doesn’t flow anymore? I probably won’t be around to see it..but I am smart enough to know that whatever you take from the land you have to put back twofold, if you don’t it will become a nutrient deficient wasteland where nothing will grow. I remember the color of these fields when I was young, you could tell the health of the soil just from looking at it, a dark richness. Sometimes the fields went into the "soil bank" and just laid idle…they rested. In the spring the old farmers would spread the manure from the barn into the fields and spread it around. I smelled manure in a couple of fields this spring..Far Guy would say what is that smell..manure in the fields..an unmistakable odor…but there were no "Peligro" signs. There isn’t much resting going on in this area or manure spreading either…and the color of the soil is the reflection of corporate farmers misuse. The farmers of old would have been able to feed America..the new corporate farmers are only interested in the bottom line..as for feeding America..I suppose they are..at fast food chains with their stand up french fries.
You can count on the crop dusting helicopter to wake you up early in the morning after a rain. They spray after every rain. The helicopters noise is much like the irritating drone of a mosquito. When they used an airplane the noise was much worse, it was like a big old angry bumble bee, that would spit and sputter and you would hope if he crashed it would be over a field and not over our house in one of his turnarounds.
The helicopter sprays his chemicals, he lands on a platform which I believe is a big tank on the flatbed of a semi trailer to get his refills. He never shuts down to refill.
I watch him sometimes, I am sure he thinks that I am stalking him..he wears a yellow helmet. I cannot tell if he smiles at me or not. Sometimes he is the only entertainment around. I watch for his over spray..he has pretty good aim..but sometimes the wind switches. I will watch those areas where he has over-sprayed..I will watch the trees and the wildflowers..I will watch for changes:(