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Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Tradition of Trash & Treasure

It’s been a spring tradition in my family for awhile.  It’s something I have never complained about, usually enjoy and am always proud to do.  I wear my most worn boots, that just happen to be covered in green and pink flowers that have faded from the cow manure and mud.  And each time before heading out the door I put my hair up, find my gloves and grab the white bag. 

As I make my way down the drive, I say a little prayer that I won’t find much.  I mean surely people remember what we learned in school, have some decency and respect other people’s things.  However, I am usually wrong.  Each time I bend down to pick up that beer bottle, fast food bag, the old cigarette butts and much more, I am disappointed.  I am disappointed that I have to pick up someone else’s trash on my family’s property.  

Yes, picking up trash is the tradition.  It has become a farm chore it seems as people pass through the countryside and enjoy the beauty but empty their trash along the way.  They have no care about maintaining the land or respect for who might care for it. 

My love of the land runs deep. I’ve written before about a favorite quote of mine that I was taught at a young age, “The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, 
because it's the only thing that lasts”.

So when I see that someone has discarded their trash in our fields and pastures I get angry, upset and disappointed.  When I sense the laziness of the people that discard waste onto someone’s property, it makes me want to work harder to protect our land and advocate for agriculture more.  A lot of people don’t think farmers work to preserve the land, but they do in so many ways.  We are the ones that want the land to last for generations to come.

As we were passing yet another field with trash in it recently, I went on one of my rages.  My husband is used to it now and let’s me get it all out before asking, “are you okay?”  He then calmly puts some thoughtfulness and sense to it all.  As he pointed to one of our fields he said, “People don’t understand that that's our garden. It's just massive. But we still care for every seed and every plant.  I can’t go pick every weed by hand but we try to do the best we can to take care of the land, our garden.”  I reacted with some crazy hand gesture and yelled, “Yes!  The fields are our gardens and the pastures are like our yards.  Why can’t people understand, respect and appreciate that?!”  He gave me that “I’m sure you will figure it out” look and turned up the radio. 

I thought, maybe they didn’t learn about this beautiful earth and abundant land in school and that we should care for it on many levels.  Maybe their moms and dads didn’t teach them about respecting other people’s property.  As a farm girl and agriculture advocate who loves this land, maybe I can be a greater example this spring when I walk more pastures and fields to collect the trash. 

I’m sure picking up a few more pieces won’t hurt me, but I do think I need a new pair of boots so you can see the bright flowers as you pass me and enjoy the fields full of sprouting crops and the bright green pastures.  I’ll help to make it last so your kids and grandkids can enjoy it too.

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