Friday, May 18, 2012

Looks like pizza

(Click to enlarge)

When I took this photo of a trio of California white oaks (Q. lobata) growing in a clump on a hill surrounded with wheat (photo taken near Creston, CA) I was all set to launch into a rant about the stupidity of beating the snot out the soil to produce a cereal crop on land that for centuries supported its inhabitants with acorns.

But in light of the previous post I'm seeing this photo in a whole new light.  Acorns plus wheat equals... pizza dough.  Or really, really good bread.

The problem, to me, is one of scale and proportion.  I hope I live to see a day when oaks will be the primary crop on land like this, wheat is an afterthought, and the farmer spend a lot more time sitting in the shade with his friends than sitting on a tractor burnin' oil.

I wonder if the farmer knows that he can produce a different, more nutritious flour from the bounty of this field that fetches 18 bucks a pound?  For some reason I doubt it.  But in field after field - be it a corn field in central Minnesota with a magnificent bur oak or a vineyard in Tulare, CA with a giant California white oak - I see oaks left standing where they arguably detract from the productivity of the target crop being grown, and I often wonder why.  Yes, there are regulations here in CA and probably elsewhere restricting the removal of mature oaks.  But I don't think that's the answer.  I think something deep in our psyche finds reassurance and comfort in seeing those oaks.  We subconsciously know - even if our conscious mind has long forgotten - that the crops we are laboring so hard to grow are fragile and foreign, and are one water shortage or disease away from disappearing.  The presence of these "farm field oaks" tells our subconscious that even after we beat up the soil beyond the ability to produce row crops there will still be food.

Well what do you know?  I managed to get my rant in any way!

No comments:

Post a Comment