Confluence Chronicles – Where City & Country Meet
August 24, 2009
Another Monday morning and I’m off on a parts run. This time I only have to drive 120 miles round trip; last Monday it was exactly twice that and in a different direction. In the area where we live, many folks have to drive further than that to get repairs or to shop. I’ve heard people complain about having to drive 10 miles for services, thinking it is an inconvenience. However country people in the hinterlands are used to the drives. We are 70 miles from an airport, with the constant construction somewhere between here and there, it takes just a bit over an hour. It is all in the perception.
A city person would think nothing of driving an hour to the airport, because they think and talk in time, not miles. When we tell guests we’ll pick them up when they fly in and it’s only 70 miles, they are aghast. But if we say, sure, it just takes us an hour to get there, they are not in the least disturbed.
Distances are just one differentiation. Consider those who work in offices. They have heat, air conditioning, windows, and access to a radio. A farmer’s “office” is his tractor, and he has basically the same amenities. Isn’t that fair? Some people don’t think so. They have the idea that the farmers are soft, not tough like old granddad. They may forget to mention that granddad was deaf due to prolonged exposure to motor noise, he had lung problems due to the dust on the open tractor, and ended up with skin cancer because he spent so many long hours under the sun. Cabs on tractors are not just for comfort, but the things that plagued granddad are at the least, minimized by cabs.
Farm machinery doesn’t come cheap. A new John Deere 7720 tractor can cost $113,000. Or maybe the idea of driving a combine is enticing. With price tags of $158,709 to $233,517 for a John Deere 60 series combine, purchasing one is not for the faint of heart nor for a man who will not work hard. A price like that and it doesn’t even have a basement!
I’m glad to see farmers and ranchers who are putting up Web sites or writing blogs in an attempt to educate non-rural residents as to the true nature of farming, ranching, and country living. Fewer than 2 percent of the U.S. population involved in production agriculture (those who grow your food and feed for animals). That leaves 98 percent of American families who are at least two generations away from working the land for their livelihood. The probability that students think milk and steak come from the grocery store is common.
Give a little thought to the producers of our exceptional food supply as you sit down to your bounteous meals. When you get a chance, thank a farmer or rancher for their good work and the family support that makes it go smoothly.
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Peggy’s Internet latchstring is always out at email@example.com.