Back-breaking work, without the payoff

I written before about Plough and Stars, Erik Jacobs's blog about a year as a farming student. Jacobs and I don't know each other, but we worked concurrently at the Boston Globe.

What I expressed previously was my adoration for Jocobs's overwhelming combination of stunning, affecting photography with good writing and reporting about his experience. And, completely, I still have it, but it's hardly worth repeating oneself.

The purpose of this post is to praise and refer to you Jacobs's post "In the Weeds," which fabulously draws the capriciousness and contrasts of the farming life. He foreshadows his family's next move, which I infer does not include farming, though to be clear, that's strictly my supposition.

If so, it's a good reminder that the people whose labor feeds us have a very hard job with an unreliable outcome, and alone, the romance of the land isn't enough to live on. There was nothing in Jacobs's narrative on this, but he helped me to understand why farmers (who do) douse their fields with chemical pesticides and fertilizers: Collide with the vagaries of nature enough times and you too might opt for more certainty, if your competitors are doing it and the alternative might be the waste of one's investment of fortune, time, and exertion.

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