Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Further Out. Higher Up.

I live in a rural area with a high population of livestock.  It's not uncommon to park next to a truck and horse trailer when one goes grocery shopping.  It seems like every fifth car one passes on the road is a truck pulling some type of livestock trailer.  Following a tractor, especially in the summer, is a common occurrence.

One can ride their horse through town.  You can even pick up your latte on horseback, via the drive-thru window at Starbucks.

My drive to "town" hosts dairy, horse and alpaca farms.  Acres of lush green fields are filled with livestock, vegetables, flowers and acres of hay during the summer months.  Pumpkin and Christmas tree farms stand open in the fall and winter.

During the harsher winters, hundreds of Elk come off of the nearby hills that start the formation of Mount Rainier.  They peacefully graze next to livestock.  I never get tired of the drive, there's always something to see.

But recently I've noticed a change.  Some of these beautiful fields no longer host livestock or vegetation.  They now sport construction of a home. 

Yes, one single home, sitting all alone on acres of pasture. 

I took this picture yesterday on my cell phone.  It was a cold and dark day but if you look to the right you can see the light colored wood of what will soon be a majestic house.  My phone couldn't capture the rest of the acreage to the left or right of the house, but there was a lot of it:
Last year it was one field, this year there are four fields with houses being built on them.  They look strange, sitting out there by themselves.

It breaks my heart to see these fields replaced by one single house.  If there is any consolation, at least it's not multiple houses.  But where there is one house, some day there will be more.

Word at the feed store and via the media is that the dairy's, hit hard by the economy, are taking "buyouts", selling off their cattle, equipment and property.  Word is they can't afford to stay and are "getting out".  Others are reducing their stock and property to try to "save the farm".

The economy has hit us all hard but when I see these empty fields hosting one single house, I have to wonder.  Where in the world do you expect to get your fresh milk and vegetables if you give up the land to building sites? 

If the farmers can't afford to feed themselves, who is going to feed you?!! 

One thing is for sure.  Once these fields are gone, they will never return.  And that is not only a shame but a real concern.

My little brother had a saying, "Further Out.  Higher Up". 

Right On, Little Brother!
SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- It took decades and four generations of hard work for the Bartelheimers to build their dairy farm.

But nearly all the fruits of their labor ended up on the auction block on Tuesday. And in a flash, parts of the farm disappeared.


  1. That's sad, but you're right, it's happening all over the country now because of the poor economy....and lack of support by the government for farmers.


  2. Yes your right it is happening everywere here as well. I am afaid that one day there isnt going to be any country side left, I agree with Laughing Orca Ranch our governments needs to pull their finger out of their ass and do something to keep farming alive instead of always throwing money to other countries all the time and start taking care of their own for a change.It angers me !