Wild and Domesticated, Side by Side
One of my bookstore customers from the Lansing area told me that crops downstate are fried brown by the long drought. We haven’t had enough rain Up North, either, but my far-from-expert eye tells me we’re not in totally dire straights. There won’t be as much hay as usual this year, but hayfields are green, and this alfalfa (below) looks decent, doesn't it?
Field corn is tall and green, and stalks have ears. It is good-looking corn!
Small grain crops and their straw are already being harvested in some parts of the township.
Stone fruit crops (cherries, peaches, apricots, plums) were hard hit in spring by too much heat too soon, followed by damaging snow and freezing temperatures, but at least some of the apple varieties are bearing fruit, and this week’s Leelanau Enterprise gave us all a reality check, in the form of news items from the past. Ten years ago the county cherry crop was disastrously bad, and it wasn’t all that good 115 years ago, either.
July 25, 2002: ...John Henry Schlueter has 100 acres of tarts and another 10 acres of sweets, but is not harvesting either this year. ... "This year I'd be lucky to get enough for three cherry pies," he said.
July 22, 1897: "While in Northport supervisor Garthe informed us that the fruit crop around there would be a small one this season."
But farming, like art, like poetry, like bookselling, like any true vocation, is in the blood. Orchards and farmers aren’t going to disappear, and 2013 will be another year.
Behind orchard and woods, a sailboat cruises the Manitou Passage
I finally got outside again to sit quietly, too.