On Urban Sprawl and Agricultural Settings

As a kid growing up in Detroit, the only time I managed to see cows was during the Michigan State Fair. A person would have to drive quite a distance to true farmland in the urban sprawl that makes up the metropolitan Detroit area, and I am sure the number of functional farms within an hour of Detroit has decreased in the past few decades.

By contrast, I only have to travel a few minutes away from Toledo to find scenes like the dairy farm depicted on your left. This farm is located somewhere between the villages of Ida and Temperance in extreme southeastern Michigan; I am not sure of the exact location, as I was just snapping photographs while my wife drove the vehicle.

There are a dozen or so cows visible in this image, and I suspect that dairy farming is just a small portion of the agricultural activities happening on this property. It appears that the farmer owns several hundred acres of land, and I could see corn and soybeans growing near the highway. The cows roamed around on a patch of land perhaps an acre in size, and while this hardly makes them free range animals, at least they get to stretch their legs and enjoy a little fresh air now and then.

I like to poke around in the dirt and try my hand at what I call urban agriculture, but I am sure that this farmer knows a million more details about plants and farm animals than I ever could learn in my remaining decades. Visiting an agricultural region satisfies my yearning to get closer to the land (no, I am not the sort of person who drives a tricked out Expedition with a thule rack), though the idea of having a few chickens running around my yard does appeal to me.

I am not sure my dogs would likewise enjoy the introduction of domesticated poultry into the yard, though.