Thursday, July 14, 2011

A View of Farming from the Backseat of a Cycle & Tales from the Road

Joe posing besides a "wheat" sculpture

No matter where our travels lead us, our interest in Agriculture is always present. Whether traveling within the USA or abroad, our attention is always drawn to how other people farm. The Farmer and I just crossed off one item on our shared “bucket list” by celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary (a year late) on a motorcycle tour through Germany and Austria.

Angela, our guide, in the orange helmet along
with Joe when we encountered a dairy cow along our travels
In viewing the crops from the rural roads of Germany, we saw fields of wheat and barley in about in the same growing stage as on our farm as both Idaho and Germany are pretty close to the 45th parallel with similar climates. Plus we also saw fields of potato plants and corn and the fields as well as tractors are much smaller in size than in the States. It was interesting to see wheat fields and corn fields next to each other as this does not occur in Northern Idaho, where our rain fall usually cannot support the moisture level needed for corn (that is a Southern Idaho crop that utilizes irrigation). We also saw many small dairy operations in these beautiful and picturesque countries. Quite often we could smell and see the manure spread on the fields, and many times dairies were next to towns or sometimes within the town itself. It seemed very commonplace to have the aroma of manure in the air and while we didn’t mind the smell, I wondered how urban Americans would embrace this ordinary fact of farming if it was in their backyard. (Just this topic alone could & will probably be another blog later on)

The other interesting practice that we saw was how every available section of ground was harvested for hay. Seeing men cutting grass on steep hillsides down to ditches next to the road, it seemed no blade of grass was left uncut. The grass was either cut by hand or someone would be walking behind a piece of equipment that looked like an overgrown lawn mower. Then the family would hand rake the grass into rows, followed by it either being loaded into carts loosely or if the ground was somewhat level, then baled up. It was almost like stepping back into time and you could imagine their ancestors doing it the same way. (sorry no pictures tho)

Riding through the charming villages
From the neatly mowed countryside to the red tiled roofs of the houses that all seemed to sport window planter-boxes with cascading flowers, it was like driving through a movie set of a Bavarian village - only real. Truly a once in a lifetime adventure for this farm-wife! Click here (or visit the "At Home" page) to read more about “Tales From The Road” and to see more pictures as well as hear about the crazy characters that we rode with.

Our house amidst the sea of green rolling hills
that are planted with winter wheat
As for what is happening on the Anderson farm, it is still a sea of green rolling hills here in North Idaho and the crops are growing nicely. The wheat was sprayed again for rust disease and aphids, the garbanzo plants are starting to flower, so all is well.
Here you can see the rust stripe

Checking the winter wheat heads, which are filling out

As always, please feel free to email me at if you have questions. I love comments on the blog too. =) Thanks for stopping by and come back soon. All my best, Gayle

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