Pages

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 30 - Worthington to Mankato MN






Long day, early start....

Sun rising behind huge bins of corn....





Slow swirling windmills - new energy....













The rumble of the train carrying coal - old energy.






And hundreds of miles of corn grown for ethanol - it's all about energy....





I'm used to corn from Indiana, but I'm amazed by how much of our midland is completely dedicated to mass production of this one crop.

Is it wise to be so dependent on one crop?

I think about the potato famine in Ireland...










When Al and I biked Amish country in Indiana, we saw small family farms...

Dads working out in the fields..

Mom's hanging laundry...

Kids and ponies running around the small neat houses.





This land feels like a desert of corn...

No houses...

no kids...

no ponies...






The huge corn buildings like temples dominating the landscape.






Train tracks disappear into the distance carrying our mass crop...








Ponds along the roadside...







...turned sickly green....











We bikers silently pedal by...

foreign to the landscape

like strangers in a strange land...







...even our bike jerseys celebrate King Corn...









Between the oceans of green are the friendly small towns...







Where Shirley sells her sweet corn from the back of a pickup truck...







She proudly shows me an ear of her corn....












Look at those sweet golden kernels...













The town mural celebrates the capture of the Jesse James gang - first spotted by 17 year old farm boy,
Asle Oscar Sorbel....









....with the younger James brother dying beneath the steps.






On towards Mankato, colorful flowers catch the biker's eye...










It's a local family orchard...






In the family for three generations

...they sell live flowers....








fresh produce...







peaches...



I talk with Ron...

He tells me about the farmer who runs the orchard...

a former biology professor, he is careful to steward the land....

He doesn't always spray for bugs.

He traps bugs.

If he finds so many he will lose half of his harvest, he sprays.

If he finds bugs that could take 2% of his harvest, he doesn't spray.

When he sprays, he uses the least he can - and never uses the same spray twice. He figures if the bugs outlived the first spraying, why spray again with the same stuff?

Besides, spraying moves up the food chain and kills the predators that are on his side.



The bugs reproduce quickly; their predators more slowly.



Let's keep the predators alive and work together.

So less spray, less toxins, more birds, wonderful foods....

I like this man.







Back on the bike I pass places the land use committee called wasted.

These lands don't produce crops or business or homes or industry.






But they are rich with songbirds and color.




The day's biking done, we land in Mankato, Minnesota.

For an evening of rest...

...and back on the road....











Post a Comment