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Monday, April 24, 2017

The "Seasons Of Farming In Lancaster County" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just finished snapping the final photo that is needed for my story today.  All began over two years  ago when I found a beautiful Lancaster County farm to the south of the city and took a photo of it during the fall when the corn stalks were at their fullest and pumpkins were scattered on another field.  Then I made another trip to the exact same farm in the winter and spring for more photos.  Loaded all the photos into a file in my iPhoto program and then ... presto, somehow all were deleted.  Thought it would make a neat story showing everyone the four seasons in Lancaster County farming,  but I decided to choose a farm closer to my home so I wouldn't have to drive close to an hour to take the photos once again.  Ten minutes away was the perfect farm and I began the photo assignment all over again.  Today I took the final seasonal photo and am ready to share them with you.  But first, a bit about Lancaster Co. farms and the seasons we go through during the year.  Lancaster, Pennsylvania has been called the "Garden Spot of America" and has some of the best farm land, rich in all minerals necessary for farming, in the United States.  And, quite a bit of that farmland is owned by the Pennsylvania Amish.  They don't believe in using modern technology, such as tractors, and thus they farm with methods used before technology existed.  Mule drawn farm equipment can be seen on just about any rural road in Lancaster, making it feel and seem as if we are living in another era in history.  But, the farms are beautiful and the farming methods, though from by-gone times, make the most of the land.  I chose a farm that was in a small valley to make it easier to photograph.  Made trips to the farm in the spring, summer, fall (autumn) and winter and attempted to take a photo from the same exact location.  Not sure I accomplished my goal, but I believe you will be able to get an idea of the seasons in Lancaster County farming.  Follow along, using the photographs as a guide for my story.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - click on photographs to enlarge.
Summer - In summer the farms in Lancaster County look like a patchwork quilt with fields of tobacco next to fields of corn, wheat or even soybeans.  Summer is traditionally very hot and humid with periods of rain making it perfect for good crop production.  Summer runs from the March Equinox to the June Equinox.  This photo was taken on Wiindy Tor Road which is directly off of Snake Hill Road.  If you notice, there are no electrical lines running to the farm, since it is an Amish farm and they do not believe in any form of technology that connects them to the outside world.  Fields of corn are beginning to show tassels which means the ears are developing.  The lower field in the foreground may be filled with soybean plants, but from my photo is hard to determine.  The farm has double silos which hold the feed for the livestock on the farm.  on the far right of the photo you can see a line of clothes drying in the summer air.  Amish usually have a pulley system for their washlines.
Fall - Leaves haven't changed yet in this photo, but the corn has been harvested by mule drawn equipment and stored in silos to be used for food for the livestock in the winter.  In fall, the weather becomes drier, with comfortable days stirred by cool breezes and nights that begin to get chilly.  Shorts and t-shirts are exchanged for jeans and long-sleeved shirts with a jacket or sweater.  Harvest festivals and winery activities are held throughout Lancaster County.  School is back in session and Friday Night football games dot the landscape.  Fall is called Autumn by many in Lancaster County and it runs from the September Equinox to the December Solstice.
Winter - Had some trouble getting this photo since roads in Lancaster County farmland areas were snow covered for quite some time.  The farmers rely on snow to irrigate the land during the winter.  Winter temperatures in Lancaster County are usually in the high 20s to low 30s during the day with temperatures in the teens or below during the night.  Cold spells can lower both day and night temperatures by 10 degrees or more.  Field farming drops off, but livestock still need to be cared for.  The Pennsylvania Farm Show is held in the winter in nearby Harrisburg which features farm animals and activities.  Farm chores still demand time and equipment maintenance needs to be done.  Mud sales begin in late winter and last into the spring season.  What is a mud sale you may ask.  Well, they are a Lancaster County phenonomon and are held to replentish the coffers of all the volunteer fire companies of Lancaster County.  Farmers lend a hand since they have more time available before spring planting begins. A mud sale is much like a garage or sidewalk sale where you might find just about anything for sale.  Call a "mud sale" since the ground where the sale is held usually gets very muddy and you may need a pair of boots to walk the grounds.  Amish children go to school in one-room school houses which line the country roads in Lancaster County.  Winter runs from the December Solstice to March Equinox. 
Spring - Springtime is a busy time around the farm.  The mud sales are just about over for the season, but quilt shows and home builders shows fill what spare time the farmers may have.  More events around the farm begin to move outdoors due to the warming temperatures.  The mule teams are busy tilling and planting the fields which no longer are covered with snow.  A rebirth of greenery can be seen throughout the landscape.  Evenings still are cool and a light jacket comes in handy.  Baseball games can be found in the fields on Sunday afternoons after Amish Church services have ended for the day.  Spring runs from the March Equinox to the June Solstice at which time everything starts all over again.  The cycle of seasons is a remarkable time in Lancaster County.  

1 comment:

  1. WGAL - "World's Gardens At Lancaster"...