Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ground Cherry, Barren Sumac, Why They Call It Spring Wheat

Before you get to the bottom of this entry I thought I should offer yet another warning that the next couple of entries are of a dead dogs bones.  If that seems cool, read the rest of this and then read the next entry as well.  If that doesn't seem cool, skip the rest of this dates entries and save yourself my fascination with bones.  Thanks, and hope I don't have to be sorry....
Click this link, to skip away from the dog below.... after you've read the rest of this, of course.

This first photo is hard to see, so click it.  It's a ground cherry.  I was once so stupid I bought these things from a local historical museum as "heirloom seeds."  As you can see here, not twelve feet from the Budweiser cans and Hershey bar wrapper half sunk in the terra rosa soil, the emphasis is definitely on "ground" and not so much "cherry".  I knew they were no more edible than the ancient "heirloom" corn (that nobody would eat for the perfectly great reason that it taste's like crap) when I bought them.  The problem was that I didn't realize they were sort of a local weed.  It's like buying a butterfly bush, where you'd probably have one if you didn't mow you lawn.  But anyway, that's what the picture is of.  The second picture alternates between spring wheat, soybeans and corn depending on the whims of the farmer and market.  I don't know the farmer personally, but I know who he is, and he seems pretty careful about his practices, from what I've seen.  That said, he's a conventional till field farmer, and wheat is at historic prices.  Remember last year when the plot of future wheat heist movies was being set up (by large scale theft's of wheat from elevators and temporary storage silo's.)  It will be fun to watch the field grow.  

Not far from where I took these pictures... in fact I rode my bike by it on my way home, is the place where I saw oats being grown for the first time in my life.  I couldn't believe the beautiful field (this was five years ago) with its straight parallel lines and pendulous fruited tops.  I walked into the sensuous and enveloping grain and felt as I did as a child (and I suppose even now) walking into a mysterious corn field.  Anyhow, I couldn't believe something as pedestrian (and hugely unpopular compared to corn.  For all hype for the last twenty years about oat bran and oat meal, and oatstraw tea, and oatmeal scrubs, and the "as american as apple pie" appeal of Quaker brand oats---- the vast majority of oats goto animals, silage and not human beings.  Though the majority of corn still probably goes to cattle, pigs and poultry, so there might be some hypocrisy in the comparison.  I shall look into it.

The last picture is of the de-fruited Sumac, one of my favorite small tree/ large shrub in our area.  In open places like a highway or interstate they really thrive.  I think they have a reputation (that among the species, depending on the one you are talking about) for causing contact dermatitis.  But I miss their incredible beauty in the town.  I mean, my God, who doesn't prefer the look of a Great Sumac flower in January to some ground hugging funerary Juniper.  The last time somebody's heart rate increased from a Juniper, bathtub Gin was probably the craze.  IU campus has way too many Juniper.  There ok.  Kind of like grass.  But look at those Sumac in the picture... even when disrobed of their finest clothes by the birds, they look to be contemplating the Cirrus clouds.  The Sumac, no doubt imagines the Cirrus have feathered their hair in deference to the beauty of a roadside bush.

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