Monday, April 20, 2009

Another trip home...

Danny, Rea, Nelson and I made a quick trip to Kentucky this past weekend.

Our old hometown is surrounded by acre after acre of tendable farmland; tobacco is a big cash crop, but acres of row crop dominate. It's beautiful in the spring, the wheat is a vibrant green that is beyond description, then a little later in the summer, the soybeans come up and are a deeper green, almost black. I love to see the corn when it's about a foot or so tall; as you drive along the highway and look closely, you can see straight down the rows.

My Cousins tend the land on either side of my parents - one brother tends on the north, the other on the south. On Saturday afternoon, the south tending Cousin rolled in with a tractor, a disc/spray-rig thingy, pick-up truck and three tanks of anhydrous ammonia.

Now, this post is a little like my tobacco posts from back in September, you Kentucky people that read here are are so very used to tanks of ammonia, and quite likely have followed one or thirteen down the road today and cussed it and wished it would get out of your way.

BUT, around these parts - they are QUITE unusual. The longer I sat there and looked at those tanks on Saturday and thought about if I'd ever seen such a thing here in Tennessee. Well, I couldn't.

And I have to be honest with you - I've always known that those tanks had ammonia in them and if you were downwind of them, Look. Out. But, tonight I've had to go to Wikipedia to find out exactly WHY farmers go to all that trouble to haul those "nurse" tanks (I learned that little tidbit tonight) up and down the highway then, hook 'em up behind their fancy tractors and drag them around in circles.

Boys and girls, Anhydrous Ammonia supplies nitrogen for crops - specifically corn and wheat. Apparently this is a super-efficient way to fertilize, the ammonia is injected into the soil where it can bond at the "root zone of the plant". Whoa...

Most recently though, anhydrous has become most valuable in the illegal manufacture of meth. These huge tanks will simply vanish into thin air...who'd a thunk.
And something has just struck me as I've been working on this post, the South Cousin is tending the land that was our Great Grand Father's. Wonder if he ever ponders how different their lives and methods of farming are?

Deep thoughts like how many mules this job would take? And exactly what would those mules would think about a "nurse" tank?

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