Friday, October 16, 2009

What's in a name?

By conservative estimates, we farm more than 3,864,297 fields. Not really! But we do have a lot! It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or 60, depending on how particular the guys want to get when they are harvesting crops. Sometimes they break a field up into sections to be more descriptive, especially if it's a large field. Where we live, we don't have lots of large expanses of open land, but we do have land to farm. So we travel around quite a bit going from one field to the next.And everything has a name. You wouldn't believe how long it took me, as a new bride and transplant to Kansas, to learn the names of the fields. Ted would call me up and say: "Pick me up at Hiller's," and I would have a nervous breakdown when I showed up at the wrong field. (Did I mention this was before cell phones?) Oh, this particular field (with the sunflowers) is called "Around Ted and Kris," because it's...well...around our house.
I don't know that this field has a name. It's a tiny patch in front of the grain bins. I shall call it "George!" And I will love it and hug it and pet it... Sorry, I got carried back to my Looney Tune days. Actually, I think it's just a part of "Around Ted and Kris."

Now this field I know! This is "Rumsey's." Across the highway is "Tornaden's." I call them the separated conjoined twins, because they would be complete, but for the highway that divides them. They are named (like so many of our fields) after the people who originally owned the land.

This is Torneden's. Even though it's just across the highway from Rumsey's, it always gets planted to a different crop. This picture was taken this spring when the creek was out of it's banks.
This is the "Deal Hill." Originally, it was spelled "Diehl," after that owner. But over the years, the spelling has morphed into "Deal" which is how it is pronounced. This field had such a deer problem, the owner decided to have us plant it to wildflowers, which we maintain.
I won't bore you by posting a picture of every field, but I'll tell you some of the more colorful, and/or practical, names.
Let me tell you about our field named 9 Mile. 9 Mile creek actually runs along the edge of the field. You would think that that is where it got it's name. Not so! (Well, not completely.) The field used to be part of 9 Mile Ranch, and that's why it is called 9 Mile.
Like I said, most field's are either named after the previous owner, or the current landlord, if we lease the ground from them.
My favorite field name has always been "Betty's Bottom." It's not actually named after someone's posterior, but rather a woman who used to live across the road from the field. And it happens to be bottom ground (that means creek bottom), thus the name "Betty's Bottom." Across the highway from that field is the "Woods Piece." It is a small field with a very large oak tree in the middle of it.
We have the "Big Field," which is far from our biggest field. It was, at one time, the farm's biggest field when Ted's grandad started farming in this area.
There is "Across Pony," which is a field that you literally have to cross Pony Creek via a low water crossing to get to.
We have small field's named after sizes: "10 acre" and "20 acre."
Field's named by location: "South of Turnpike," "Next to Blooms," "Across from June's."
I won't mention all of the field names, but I will tell you one more: "The War Zone." The story is that our neighbor saw several people walk across the field carrying large semi-automatic weapons. It looked to him like something out of a war movie. The name "War Zone" stuck.

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