Farming in the Land of Oz
What is the definition of a farmer? Answer – a man out standing in his field.
Studying the horizon along State Highway 23, north of Cimarron, for a lunch spot, let alone a tree, to provide our riders with some shade, a veritable grove appeared in the distance. Pulling in I discovered it hid an old farmhouse and a bunch of ancient and modern crop equipment. And so lunch preparations began.
Half an hour later in pulled Kyle Copper driving a John Deere green monster (apparently it was a “sprayer”). Welcoming us he explained the farmhouse was his grandparents until 30 years ago when they moved to Cimarron. Now they store some of their machinery there for use on the family’s 19,000 acres (30 square miles!) of corn, wheat, barley, hay, and milo (sorghum grown for animal feed). Now that’s quite a field to stand in!
Kyle confirmed that Western Kansas is suffering from drought and that the farm has not had a 1 inch rainfall since last August. Instead they rely on an aquifer to draw the water that a irrigation machine spreads on the crops as it makes its massive circles. Then he was off to tend to the family fields while the riders munched on chicken salad sandwiches before hopping on their bikes and spinning down the road to Clark’s Drug Store and Ice Cream Parlor in Cimarron for old fashioned milkshakes.
Before cleaning up after lunch we peaked into an old barn and disturbed an owl. It was a wise decision indeed (and a hoot!) to choose the Copper family farm as our shady mid morning lunch locale.