As we drove through the German countryside on our latest trip, a pale yellow and green checkerboard of corn and wheat flashed past us on our way to the next largest town of Munster.
Each wheat field was in a different stage, some were still studded chartreuse green while others were all tuffs of golden blond, ready to be reaped, sent to market or dried in large lockers for livestock feed like the cows you might have seen in my previous posts.
“Let take some pictures for your site,” my husband chirped – snapping photos is his favorite pastime on vacation.
I felt like a real midwestern girl sitting out in that field, wholesome farm living, wondering if a stray cowboy or two might show up, hats tipped against the blazing sun.
Not a cowboy in sight, but in the distance I saw laundry hanging outside a farm house, sheets rocking back and forth with a slow but steady breeze.
We were expected that afternoon at cousin Ludger’s pig farm where he raises some fifteen hundred pigs alongside several fertile wheat fields.
After a quick shopping trip in town and a change of clothes, we arrived at the pig farm. We were greeted by my husband’s aunt who had baked fresh fruit tarts covered with fresh farmer’s market strawberries. Several slices of tart and a few cups of black coffee later, I was ready for the tour.
We set out for the barn, where Ludger proudly pointed to the latest addition for this year’s harvest, an enormous brand new shiny green tractor. He insisted that I climb in. “It’s ok, it’s clean and brand new” he gestured to a metal grated step as I eyed the tires that were almost as tall as me. Apparently, the price of grains fluctuates every year so it’s important to invest in larger machines to do the work faster in case the market price drops, to ensure he’ll still have a profit.
I adjusted my wrap dress thinking that I made a bad fashion choice as I climbed into the cab. I couldn’t even reach the gas pedals, but that didn’t stop Ludger from turning the engine on. I laughed, shouting over the roar of the engine, “What are you doing – I can barely drive a car!”
I guestimated that this farm machine probably costs around $300,000 dollars. “Go ahead, drive, do it!” he hollered pressing down the gas pedals, throwing his hands in the air and refusing to take the wheel. I panicked, grabbing the enormous wheel, squealing nervously as I manuevered the tractor out of the shade of its hefty garage.
“This thing handles like a compact car!” I called back as Ludger cracked a smile, very amused by my initial panic. He pushed it into reverse, watching me confidently back his new tractor back into its over-sized garage.