I'm Feeling Mellow - Some More Observations

Trip Start Jun 01, 2009
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Trip End Oct 16, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coming from a farm community where farms are described in terms of one hundred acre blocks and are usually homesteads with original settlement houses intact, the farms of the Midwest are imposing.  In this area they talk about sections of land and of thousands of acres of crop to be harvested.  Many of the farmers live in or near a small community that serves as the economic center for the region.  

The town is usually associated with a local grain elevator and sits near the rail line.  The towns will usually have a school, a hardware store, a machinery dealer, a bank, a newspaper, and if they are lucky, an assortment of medical and professional offices.  The land registry office seems to be a big part of many communities.  Some will have local museums that guard the culture and history of the town and county.  Of course they all have a local diner where the locals gather for coffee, just like in the movies.  The 'main street' is often at right angles to a highway or major road that runs parallel to the rail tracks.  larger towns will have a highway strip where you will find a service station or two, maybe a chain restaurant, and other service industries.  The private houses are on streets behind the main street and, unless close enough to a major center to encourage commuters, are a mix of early 20th century and post World War II architecture.  All have unique characteristics, put patterns of existence are starting to appear.  The people are friendly and all, not just the farmers, anxiously await the fulfillment of a successful harvest.  The harvest crews are a boon to many local businesses struggling to survive and help to ensure that the local community has resources to carry them through the winter into another cropping season.

As you move away from town, you first pass a few farms with a home and outbuildings to service the machinery of the operation.  There may be some grain bins and other sheds.  A little further out you may see a grouping of trees with a lone silo standing sentinel over a former homestead, all buildings having disappeared.  If you are lucky you may spot the remains of an old house, barn or even a church or a school house. 

Then you find yourself noting that trees are becoming fewer and fewer and at times you can look in all directions and see nothing but wheat fields.  As I mentioned earlier, some fields may hold this years crop, others have been fallow and are awaiting September planting for next years crop.  The land is more rolling in Colorado than in the part of Kansas and Oklahoma that we have seen, but you can still see for miles.  You can watch a storm build and dissipate before the weather front even comes close to you.

Antelope are  beautiful animals that are often seen grazing in small herds.  Prairie dogs abound.  Rattlesnakes are common.  Our campground has some very friendly rabbits!
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