Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Colors of Soybeans, continued

I figured that I should get the heck out of this soybean field as fast as possible in order to avoid what smelled like the worse kind of poison. Maybe I could have made it, but I met up with another employee of the farm, who had just cut his foot with his machete as he cleaned the ground around the young trees referred to in the previous post. He was using his teeshirt as an improvised bandage to reduce the bleeding but he commented that he had cut a vein. He was hobbling off home, which wasn't too far away. He didn't make any attempt to hail down his colleague on the tractor, which I thought strange. By the time I got going again, the tractor driver had made a complete circle of the very large field and he was bearing down on me. Well, too late now, so I took a couple of pictures and faced the music. If the driver was worried about my well being, or that of his fellow worker, it didn't show. A few minutes later I got back to the road smelling like the poison concentrate sold in those plastic bottles with the obvious crossed bones on the label. I couldn't help from remembering when this farm belong to a common slash and burn farmer, Sr. Arthur. He and his family worked the land with an ax, several hoes and machetes. Yes, they burned, but it was a small piece at a time. Cut, dry, burn, plant, keep undergrowth down with a hoe, harvest and move on to another area on the homestead the next year. When they got back to that first plot of land several years later, it was already secondary forest and they could begin the whole cycle over again. I laughed to think that now this tractor can cover the same area of land in just a few minutes. Sr. Arthur eventually moved off to the city because he had serious high blood pressure problems. His wife, being an excellent seamstress, earned the living for the family and they were able to educate most of their kids. Sr. Arthur offered his land to me at a very cheap price. It would have increased the size of the forest at the Bosque considerably, but Aurea figured that we already had too much land for which to care, so we let it ride. More coming in the next post.

1 comment:

Aaron B said...

What are the local feelings towards the sustainability of industrial farming methods vs slash & burn? It seems like both have their costs, but industrialized methods offering a quick return.