Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shorter days ahead

DW met me in the driveway. "How did the photographing go?" I made a face.
I wasn't out long, and hoping to see something new,  chose to drive some roads to the west of my usual trek. Different fields, but not all that different. I suppose that makes sense, yet one can hope. I took one photo worth saving.
Clearly the field in the foreground has been burned more recently than the one in back. You can see inside the loop that the grass is starting to grow again. The cycle continues.
Autumn is fast approaching and the area's biggest harvest festival is this weekend. We've never been, even though I wouldn't mind seeing some tractor and horse pulls. What keeps us away is the alcohol, for it is widely known that much is consumed on the festival grounds. Fights, puke, those sorts of things. The local cops have their hands full. The State Patrol, County and nearby municipalities' officers patrol the highway. Good.
I imagine there was a time when this festivity provided a vital role for the community. After several months of sweat and toil for 16 hours a day, neighbors gathered to catch up on gossip, share new knowledge and achieve some catharsis from drink and dance. There is a purpose to such ritual. Now, despite a well-advertised "Family Day," I say that if you have to work so hard to sell the positive, there is still going to be an odor to the PortoSans. I'll do without.
The grass seed farmers don't have much to celebrate this year. Their market is glutted; future burning will be severely limited, which will mean more labor and costs; and everywhere around here is evidence that they are making a switch to other crops, so they may not have the free time to tie one one anyway.
Thousands of acres of grapes for wine have been put in just in the past year. And thousands of freshly plowed fields tell me that there is a late crop going in, and that can only be wheat, a crop that had a good price a couple years ago, but no longer. I'm afraid in seven years the same will be said for grapes, and the price of Oregon wines will plummet. Cheap wine with which to celebrate the harvest.

1 comment:

Crash said...

On the bright side, few places in the world can make the type of Pinot Noir that Oregon does. Light, yet full of flavor. That type of wine could compete round the world with a giant market. Prices may hold.