Sunday, October 18, 2009

She took a truckload of farm to the city

Grant's sister, Joanie, is a writer/stay-at-home mom/gardener extraordinaire/excellent cook/farmgirl. She has become a friend that is also family. She also lives about five miles from us in the country in the house that Grant's mom grew up in. Joanie used to work for the Galesburg newspaper up until she started her family, and she continues to write a column, "At The Farm Gate", for the Knox County Farm Bureau Bulletin that goes out to local members. Whenever the Bulletin is delivered in the mail, I turn to page 2 to read her thoughts for the month. Many times I learn something new from her column and other times it makes me feel like I'm not alone in the experiences I have down here on the farm. This month featured one of my adventures I had the first fall I lived in little Dahinda. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I read it!

At The Farm Gate
A commentary for Illinois’ county farm bureaus
October 2009

She took a truckload of farm to the city

By Joanie Stiers

My sister-in-law once drove to near Chicago with a truck bed packed full of flapping corn stalks and backseat loaded with stuffed garbage bags. She spared space for a weekend travel bag, legroom to drive and window clearance to wave at gawking Friday-night commuters on Interstates 80 and 55.
It seems everyone wants a piece of the farm during fall, even in the confines of suburbia. In fact, my sister-in-law, a suburban native, earned honks and hollers as she distributed straw and corn stalks for fall decorations to relatives and friends. She even drove her outlandish ride into gated communities, where friends looked forward to a piece of her farm.
Both she and I also enjoy the traditional d├ęcor here and have the advantage of growing it. But as Americans distance themselves from farms and the horse-drawn farming days, decorating with straw and specifically corn shocks continues by tradition, rather than purpose. It is intended to celebrate the harvest bounty. The use of corn shocks originated as a way to recall when farmers hand-cut corn and placed them in shocks throughout the field. Mechanization ended the practice, but the corn shock lives on in rural and urban settings alike.
And as retailers know, some traditions must be bought. My sister-in-law earned enough to pay for the trip’s fuel and a steak dinner for two. Recently, my daughter thrust her pointer finger and cheered as she spotted a 10-foot wall of straw bales for sale at the grocery store. The bales arrived just in time for the first day of fall. (This sighting occurred two hours after we watched an employee decorate a Christmas tree at a local department store.) Anyway, the grocer had enough straw to bed down the 4-H cattle barn fourfold at the county fairgrounds.
My sister-in-law delightfully offered to take some of this homegrown bounty outside her back door to the front door of her suburban childhood home. It seemed an appropriate business venture for this woman with urban connections. Mom helped her cut corn stalks to the appropriate length, pack the truck topper and force the tailgate closed. They shoved straw bales into 55-gallon trash bags to reduce the evidence that a scarecrow had been abused in the backseat.
By her first fall on the farm, she felt like a farmgirl when she swung a corn knife that seemed as old as someone’s great-great grandfather. It was a memorable moment that observed the past while celebrating today’s harvest.

No comments:

Post a Comment