Wednesday, September 06, 2006

rain dance

Before we discuss the successful rain dance (imagine over a hundred people out in the middle of a parched corn field performing an elaborate yet exotic dance) I have a question for someone out there to find us the answer to.

This question popped into my head this morning while I was eating a bowl of corn flakes.

I was eating the corn flakes and thinking about, of course, corn.

And since I was thinking about corn, I started thinking about corn ear worms.

And since I was thinking about corn ear worms and eating corn flakes, I started wondering what happened to the corn ear worms that were no doubt growing on the corn used to make the corn flakes.

I immediately turned to the side of the cereal box and looked at the ingredients.

No mention of corn ear worms, or for that matter any other insects.

The ingredients did not list harlequin bugs, cut worms, corn borers, seed corn beetles, root worms, wire worms and not even a mention of the fairly ubiquitous Japanese beetles that love to eat, in bad years, the corn tassels.

No mention of any insects in the ingredients.

So, the question is, what happened, if there is no mention in the list of ingredients of the insects that were undoubtedly clinging for dear life to the corn when it was harvested, what happened to all of those crawling critters?

What happens to all of those insects that regularly live on corn?

What happens from the time the corn is picked by those monstrous machines that harvest hundreds of ears a minute (or is that a second) to the time that box of corn flakes (or corn meal or twinkes or veggie burger or soda pop (yes the sweetener in your pepsi is made of mostly corn) is finally opened by some unsuspecting human?

What happens to all of those insects that one moment are happily going about their lives and doing all those things that insects regularly do, and the next moment when that machine comes and chops down their home, hauls its out of the field and after subjecting it to who knows how many processes, eventually winds up on your plate.

Where do all those insects go?

(Back in college I once had a friend who paid his bills by working in the local pickle factory, turning locally grown cucumbers into pickles that were shipped all over the country. He refused, because of his experience on the inside of the factory, to ever eat pickles).

Anyway, this morning, while eating a bowl of cereal I wondered if there was some magical machine that separated the insects from the corn that goes into making all that processed food we eat and drink (think coca cola and pepsi). And if there isn't, how many parts insect body is your average soda?

How many corn ear worms go into the secret formula for a Coke?

Or what percentage of insect bodies is that draft beer?

Anyway, those were the sort of questions I was thinking this morning just before I went out to pick our un-processed vegetables (you know, the ones with the corn ear worms that you can see and pick off as opposed to the ones in our sodas that ... well let's not discuss that).

And now that I've got that off my chest, let's go back to the farm.

For all of you who did those rain dances, thank you.

We received about 2.8 inches of rain on Friday, .4 inches on Saturday and another .9 inches Tuesday. My rain gauge says we've received 4.13 inches so far in September.

We seem to be just fine rain-wise. The lettuces are looking good, the rain was gentle enough that it didn't wash the seeds out of the field.

The wind , while it did some damage (my weather station says it hit 26 miles per hour Friday afternoon) blew over several thousand of the sunflowers we were growing for sunflower seeds for the most part didn't do much harm besides that.

Along with the fall storms note that the seasons are changing in other ways. Along with the lower temperature are the shorter days. In the next couple of weeks we will be getting different vegetables. The summer vegetables are starting to fade and the fall greens will be coming on.

Leigh Hauter


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