February 8, 2016

Fly Over


The hills are starting to turn green, and from an airplane, their color is the only thing about them that looks the same as it does from the ground. The landscape is almost unrecognizable; it has no depth,
only texture, and the feeling of them being big is gone. The hills that normally are the backdrop to the farm are an obstacle that requires Greg to make a small adjustment to fly over them – a task the little plane has no issue doing.
As he flies, my eyes are glued to the ground trying to translate my intimate knowledge of the landscape from the ground into knowledge about the bird’s eye view I now have.

I recognize a field; it has long lines of many different colors that run from one end of the field to another – shades of greens and reds that stack up next to each other, filling a rectangular field. It looks much different that the surrounding farms - their solid blocks of orchard or silage crops are similar in color. Many colors in the same field are the tell-tale sign of our style of agriculture – lots of different vegetables growing in the same field. I recognize the barn and house of Full Belly Farm, home of the Hoes Down Festival and a farm that looks the same as ours from the air.

We follow the creek east. The walnut orchards are bare trees perfectly spaced on a grid pattern. Cows grazing on pasture are little blobs and bare fields are written with the patterns of the last tractor tracks that passed over them. It is obvious which fields were driven with GPS (perfectly square and parallel tire tracks) and which fields were driven the old-fashioned way (pretty square, but just crooked enough to have some character). Beyond the bend is where our farm is – I am excited to see it. I attempt to narrate; here is where our first tomatoes will be planted. There is our kale field, the farm office, the shop, mixed vegetables and where our peppers and eggplant will go. In a moment, the farm is gone behind us now, leaving so many details that were noticed, but not mentioned. It doesn’t feel like we are flying that fast, but it only took a few moments to buzz the whole farm.