I believe it was Edward Weston who said there are no bad onions, only bad photographs of onions. So when I saw the Free Onions sign I stopped to grab some for a still life. But they were all bad and I didn’t want to stink up my car.
I took a few shots to see if I could capture their beauty even though they are basically pig food now. I’m not sure if this is a good photograph because I’m not a professional onion photographer, but it’s my best out of thirty five.
Weston also said something that I’ve always liked: “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” Now all I have to do is explain that to the Amish farmers.
“It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Charles Dickens
“If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean that you would be a midget if you were bald.” Lemony Snicket
I stopped at an Amish flower stand to check out the sunflowers I saw last week and an old woman on a bicycle rode up and said hello. I mentioned how big they got and she told me that she didn’t plant them, it was the birds.
When I asked her if any were flowering she told me there was one on the end of the row but something was wrong with it, it wasn’t perfect. I walked over with the curiosity of Schrödinger’s cat and wondered what she meant.
As soon as I saw it I knew that it was absolutely perfect! The leaves protecting the flower were growing at an odd angle but it was very healthy and probably happy to have someone care so much about it.
I took a few photos as the clouds burned off into bright sunshine, the kind of bright that makes color photos of flowers look washed out, so I knew I would end up converting this to black and white. I thanked the woman and told her she made my day.
“Do you think it will be OK?” she asked me before I left. I was a bit surprised at the question but I figured she was used to dealing with two headed calves and vegetables that grow to look like genitals, the Amish hate when that happens. I assured her the flower would be fine.
The Buddha said: “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up because you will lose the ability to learn new things. Move forward with your life.” I didn’t tell her that because she was close to 80 and I’m sure she has life pretty much figured out by now.
“Life begins well. It begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom of the house.” Gaston Bachelard
I read an article about cow farts in our local newspaper the other day and decided to do some research. The Salt Lake Tribune said: “Greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise, global warming is becoming a bigger threat, and cow farts are partly to blame.
Methane from cows is a big contributor to the greenhouse effect, trapping thirty times more heat than carbon dioxide. To put the toxicity of methane in perspective, you would have to sit and idle your car for 21.3 hours a day in order to produce the same amount of gas as one cow does per day.”
Josh Goldman of Australis Aquaculture said that one alternative is to feed the cows a certain type of seaweed. He claims: “If you could feed all the cows this seaweed, it would be the equivalent of taking all these cars off the road.”
Note: whether cows actually fart and whether or not as one website put it, cow farts matter and could destroy the world, think carefully before sitting in your car with the engine running for 21.3 hours. I had a neighbor who did that once and it did not end well.
One day you’ll look back and realize that you worried too much about things that don’t really matter.
It’s been said that if you choose a job you love you will never have to work a day in your life. But I think that applies more to a job like a motorcycle tester than an Amish farmer.
Wendell Berry wrote: “There are only two reasons to farm: because you have to, and because you love to. The ones who choose to farm choose for love.” I wonder if the horses feel that way too?
I stopped to photograph this Amish farmer getting his field ready for planting and it was such a tender moment that tears came to my eyes. It might have been the near freezing temperature and biting wind, but the scene reminded me of many things.
Time passing so quickly, the changing of the seasons, the beauty of spring and the hard work of these farmers. As the smell of horse manure rose into the air, I thought of the show Green Acres, and Oliver deciding that working with his hands was more important than working as a lawyer in the big city.
I would say that farm livin’ is the life for me, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside. But I don’t like getting muddy, or working in a field all day, or having obsessive photographers standing there taking my picture while I’m trying to do my job.