Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Working the land May 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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A farmer in the field Sunday evening along Minnesota State Highway 60 between Zumbrota and Faribault.

A farmer in the field Sunday evening along Minnesota State Highway 60 between Zumbrota and Faribault.

THE EARTHY SCENT of freshly-turned soil wafted through the vents of the van Sunday afternoon as my husband and I traveled through southeastern Minnesota after a weekend trek to eastern Wisconsin.

A field along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

A ribbon of grass runs through a field along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

I love that smell of spring, of cold earth warming to the sun after a long winter.

Heading to or from the field on a frontage road along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

Heading to or from the field on a frontage road along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.

Planting’s been delayed because of excessive rainfall, as noted by muddy fields, water in road ditches, and by high water in streams, rivers and lakes in many areas. We drove 600 miles round trip along Minnesota State Highway 60, US Highway 52, a lengthy stretch of Interstate 90, onto a few miles of Interstate 94 and then across central Wisconsin on State Highway 21 from Tomah to Oshkosh and finally onto US Highway 41 north on Saturday and then back the next day.

Doing field work the old fashioned way in Amish country near Coloma, Wisconsin.

Doing field work the old fashioned way in Amish country near Coloma, Wisconsin.

On Saturday morning, except for a team of horses working the land in central Wisconsin, in the heart of Amish country, we noticed little movement in fields. In extreme southeastern Minnesota, though, farmers had already been out working the ground.

Working the land somewhere along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

In the field somewhere along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

By Sunday, with a day of sunshine and warmer temps, we noticed more earth turned, the blackness distinguishable from soil exposed to harsh winter weather.

Working the land in southeastern Minnesota.

In the field in southeastern Minnesota on Sunday.

Our farmer fathers would be proud of my husband and me for, after all these years away from the farm, still noticing the progress, or lack thereof, of field work.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling