SUNDAY POST : Plains


This week’s theme with Jakesprinter happens to be a theme that is close to my heart.  The definition of Plains is:  “A large area of flat land with few trees.”  Jake further explains that plains are important for agriculture because they support grasslands, are deep and fertile so they are great for crop production and grazing for livestock.

As I mentioned this theme is a bit close to my heart as I view plains in the same category as farming, agriculture, farmers and the depression. Sort of strange I suppose, but my grandfather had to work his way through parts of the depression and would take on odd jobs such as truck-driving, frozen foods delivery, gas station attendent and farmer.  As a child and up through my teen years I would occasionally help him bale hay, feed the horses and more often then not just watch him pitter around his “farm”.  I do wish I had some old pics of him during those years.  I might have to try to find some at my dad’s house the next time I visit.

Because I can’t show pictures of my grandfather and all of his “hay” days.. I’ll settle on farmland and agricultural areas of Venezuela.  With the temperate climate and non-stop mountains and hills it is hard to imagine that there could possibly be “plains” in Venezuela. As a matter of fact, up until the oil boom which started in the 1970s, agriculture was the main economic support system for Venezuela.  At this time only about 1/5th of the land is now used for the same purpose.

One of the most striking areas of Venezuela houses amazing plains where the horizon is the only thing you can see.  I visited Los Llanos, which makes up about 1/3 of the country, during both of its two very different seasons.  I caught the edge of the rainy season where much of the land is under water and you commute by boat to many areas.  During this time we weren’t able to see much of the wildlife because the water was sufficient in all parts to keep all the animals away from the main travel routes.  I also visited in the dry season with some friends. This was a time where the wildlife, ranging from crocs to rats (Capybaras) to all kinds of snakes, converged directly in the high traffic areas to get at the water.  Cattle breeding is the most important economic activity for this region and we were able to travel by horseback to visit much of the area.

There is also the high plains of the Andes which I hiked with my sis and her boyfriend.  This is not really considered a plains area but the population farms it as if it were flat.  It’s amazing to hike through here and travel by donkey passing farms and slanted “flatlands” where crops such as organic coffee and potatoes are grown.

Once you pass the Andes, you have the lower farmlands of Barinas with rolling hills (not really plains but so much of the milk and fruits and veggies come from this area it wouldn’t be fair to not include it here.)  Finally there is Colonial Tovar which is also not really plains either but has many hillside farms like the Andes.  It has the most amazing farmland and grows delicious fruits and veggies as well.

Pardon me for not sticking strictly to the “plains” theme.  I got a little side-tracked with agriculture and farming in general. I hope you enjoy.

Here’s the text of Paul Harvey’s 1978 ‘So God Made a Farmer’ Speech, which inspired the Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad that has resonated with so many Americans:
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.

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10 thoughts on “SUNDAY POST : Plains

    • It’s funny.. when you are there doing it, you are sort of in a suspended state of denial. In retrospect it probably wasn’t safe. On the other hand, that’s how I rode in trucks when I was a kid.. LOVED it.. my kids are grown so I love the parents that let their kids ride up top.. and it was actually safer than it looked.. only in different countries.

  1. I love the section from Pual Harvey for 2 reasons some of the most memorable time in my life was living on the farm with my family and most of all the farmer that Paul speaks of comes to life in my memories of Skip. Then it brings back the times of being with my mom in the car and her listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. Sometimes it seemed as if he was the only thing on the radio.. What I would do for one moment again of riding in the car with my mom listening to Pual Harvey… Thank you so much for a wonderful journey..

    • I agree. I would love to just be able to go back and spend some time appreciating those moments. I was also a big fan of Paul Harvey (and Norman Rockwell). Something about that time period. Wow.. Thanks for visiting again.

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