Thursday, August 08, 2002
Addendum: I've added photos.
Hooker, Oklahoma. Greetings from the Oklahoma panhandle, or, as the locals call it, No Man's Land. We're here on my lover/partner/unindicted-co-conspiritor's family's farm.
It's dry. Very dry. As dry as people around here have seen in years. Mack's dad's milo-maize crop is tiny. Usually by this time of year its waist high or so, with heads of kernels that will be harvested around (U.S.) Thanksgiving. Not this year. It looks unlikely there'll be any production to harvest. The (winter) wheat harvest earlier this year was meager.
We drove in from eastern Oklahoma, where they've had more rain. In fact, just east of U.S. highway 54, which goes through Hooker, there's been rain. But there was no snow last winter, and there's been very little rain so far this year. Any rain that comes now is likely too late.
New farming technology -- the no-till stuff -- has helped prevent the kinds of wind erosion that was characteristic of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Still, the current conditions aren't exactly reasuring to the locals.
We spent some time yesterday looking around the farm, helping Mack's dad with a few chores, helping Mack's sister look for some cattle that belonged to her brother that had gotten out of the pasture.
Mack's dad also killed one little bitty rattlesnake.
The people around here are what was once known as good decent farm stock. They are sensible in their concerns and sensible in their conduct. And they are concerned. Perhaps of greatest concern is their sense that government is not working the way it should. That it has become a tool of big business and only big business. They are concerned about trade issues and matter of sovereignty. And they are concerend about the possible loss of their small-town and farming ways of life.
Simply throwing copies of Who Moved My Cheese (ugh) at them is not going to solve that latter problem. And the prior problem isn't being addressed to the satisfaction of anyone sharing that concern, city or country.
Regardless of the drought, the countryside is beautiful, and it's a pleasure to be here.