That photo may be the last time I ever see a sunset from my grandparents farm. They are not getting any younger and given the cost and time to make the trip to rural Minnesota from halfway around the world I don’t know when I will get the time and change to do it again. I’d like to do it again. My daughter — the driver behind this trip — really enjoyed the farm and the whole trip. And it would be nice for her to spend more time with her great-grandparents. Especially since she is the first great-grandchild.
When I was growing up I spent a few weeks every other year on my grandparents farm. A lot of things have changed, or at least my perception of a lot of things has changed since I stopped going on family vacation when I was a teenager.
The most obvious change is that my grandfather does not farm any more. He rents the land out. So gone are the cows and tractors that dominated the daily routine when I was a kid. Other changes that I see; a lot less crop diversity than I used to see. Everything was corn and soybean. There were not even that many cows, just a sea of corn and soybean. Interestingly my uncle, who still makes a living farming, says that most of their soybean crop is shipped to Taiwan and Singapore. It’s a small world when you consider that the soybean that turned into my stinky tofu in Singapore might have been planted and harvested by my uncle halfway around the world.
The other thing that you can’t help but notice is that windmills. Everywhere. I do remember there being one, or two power generating windmills off somewhere to the east the last few times I visited the farm as a kid. Now they are everywhere. And trucks carrying 100 foot blades are all over the roads. Seeing all the windmills gives me a bit more hope that despite the blowhards in Washington and their inability to move beyond the “did we cause it” to the “how to stop it” discussions on global warming (or climate change) that the world is moving on without them. The exploitation of renewable energy sources is proceeding apace in the commercial world; let the politicians blow on.
You can see the whole Pipestone, MN, USA, September 2010 photoset on Flickr [flickr.com].