Of golf courses and sugar beets.

This image from a New York Times article about Tiger Woods’s waning golf empire is a striking example of the potentials and perils of irrigation.
I’ve had irrigation on the mind these past few days, after spending time in the MSU archives this week looking at extension records and reports. Montana offers a fascinating context for looking at the overlapping jurisdictions of various federal, state, and county agencies, in particular the USDA Extension Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Reclamation. I’ve discovered here that Indian reservations often had their own extension agents, run through the Indian Service (later the BIA) in cooperation with the county agents; Montana’s numerous irrigation projects, administered by the B of R, had extension agents too, though these were often employed by Extension. The programs run in these special irrigation projects were amazing examples of regional planning in the 1920s and 1930s, as they were based around watersheds (massively re-engineered ones, that is) and devoted to creating new agricultural communities and economies out of whole cloth.
The amazing thing is that you can still see these irrigation districts, some of them begun in the 1910s, when you look at satellite photos of the area. The big green patch in the center is the Greenfields District of the Sun River Irrigation Project; this was laid out, engineered, and settled by the Bureau of Reclamation in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the big crops was sugar beets.
Zoom in now and you can see it’s all center-pivot irrigation, rather than the ditching systems they were putting together in the ’20s and ’30s; but the district and the farms endure, apparently. I wonder if they’re still growing sugar beets.
Apparently the market for golf courses outside of Dubai hasn’t been as steady (or, maybe, as subsidized).

Before “Got Milk?”

“There’s SOMETHING about an athlete . . . and it’s usually a crowd of girls.” Brought to you by the National Dairy Council, 1947.

Source: “Straight from the Shoulder” (National Dairy Council, 1947, 1945). New York State College of Agriculture Extension Service, 4-H Club records, #21-24-692 Box 115. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Wait, is that Dale Sveum doing a manager’s interview?

I must have been out of the loop, but I just learned, while watching the NLDS, that Dale “Wave-‘Em-Home” Sveum has been the interim manager of the Brewers since mid-September. I remember hearing his name over the PA when they announced the base coaches the last game I was at in Milwaukee, but, until I tuned in to Game 2 tonight, I don’t think I’d seen his face since the Red Sox’s postseason run in 2004. And then, sure enough, there he was, looking the part, we’re-in-the-postseason stress stubble and all, wearing the big clunky headseat and spouting the Bull Durham interview platitudes like he was born to do it.
Of course, tonight’s game is not going so fantastically thus far for the Brew Crew, after Sabathia walked a few to load the bases and then gave up a grand slam in the second. I’m staying tuned, hoping that Milwaukee will rally and maybe get those Philly fans to stop waving those ridiculous towels around.
New pitcher in the 5th, though: not a super-fantastic sign. Fingers crossed here for McClung. Even though he just issued a walk to the first batter.
And now the bases are loaded.
Let’s hope that Sveum brings a little 2004-Red-Sox postseason luck to the — oh, YES, Prince Fielder just robbed a guy of a hit — boys from Milwaukee. Go Brewers!

A good find.

Purchased for $2.00 at Willy Street St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store on Thursday: Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King’s Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season. Ah, just the sight of Tek shoving his mitt in A-Rod’s face — you can spot that baby anywhere. Foxwoods commercials! Dale Sveum! “Myoolah, Millaaah, Ortizzz — who ahh these guys?” Love it. Love it.
Oh, and we may have an apartment for the fall, pending the requisite credit/employment checks, &c. Have I mentioned my excitement at being back within the warm televisual embrace of NESN? Watch out, Hazel Mae!

Take me out to the restroom.

At yesterday’s Brewers-Twins game at Miller Park, I took advantage of the multi-song seventh-inning stretch to avail myself of the restroom facilities, as I was scoring the game and didn’t want to miss a pitch, and needed desperately to relieve myself. The PA system was blasting out “God Bless America,” and many people were standing and stretching and some were singing. As I made my way down the aisle, someone in the seats behind me called out:
“Look at that, she’s disrespecting our national anthem!”
I was shocked, confused, and no little measure of annoyed. Call me crazy, but I’ve always been under the impression that the national anthem is traditionally sung at the beginning of the ballgame, during the opening ceremonies, before they call “Play ball!” and the first pitch is thrown. Call me opinionated, but I think “God Bless America” is simply not as good a song as “The Star-Spangled Banner” (our national anthem, for those of you out there who might have forgotten), which had been sung (beautifully, beautifully!) by a youth choir a couple of hours prior to that moment. Call me disrespectful, but, while I always take off my hat for our national anthem, you won’t ever catch me putting my hand over my heart for “God Bless America.” (“America the Beautiful,” sure — but that’s an amazing song, and at least Katherine Lee Bates had a mastery and appreciation for the beauty of complex English sentence structure, which is more than I can say for Irving Berlin and his “oceans white with foam . . . home sweet home.”) Call me traditional, but I think the seventh-inning stretch is for “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (and, when you’re in Wisconsin, “Roll Out the Barrel”), both of which they played after G.B.A.; and I blame the infection of the ballgame with same entirely on George Steinbrenner, the M.F.N.Y.Y.s and their need to rest their pitcher just a wee bit longer, Ronan Tynan, and the City of New York’s general post-9/11 need to forcefully and publically champion and empathize with every crisis. (Did you see that the players were wearing the Virginia Tech logo on their caps during Wednesday’s game? They better have given that school a hell of a lot of money, that’s all I can say. How tacky.)
As for the poor fool who mistook my need to urinate and its coincidence with the playing of G.B.A. over the loudspeakers with some kind of anti-Americanism, well, perhaps he needs a little civics refresher. What kind of a patriot can one be if one can’t even recognize one’s own country’s national anthem? Kneejerk patriotism is good for neither self, nor God, nor country.
I made it back to my seat just as “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was starting up. The Brewers won, I got to stretch for two songs, and I didn’t miss a single pitch. Oh, and the kielbasa won the sausage race.

Year two.

My final paper of the semester is in, I’m admitted to the Ph.D. program, and I’m getting my M.A. Paul’s in town, Martha’s graduation party is tonight, Camilo and Catalina are visiting, and the weather is perfect for an evening on the terrace.
Paul and I headed down to a farm party with the environmental history folks last night, and enjoyed some amazing fresh asparagus and the best brats I have ever had in all my life. During the day, we’d had a lovely lunch on State Street, ducked into a used bookstore, and walked along the lakeshore path. Madison in the springtime is marvelous.
The weekend holds a trip to the farmer’s market Saturday morning, and a Twins-Brewers matchup in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. The Sox play the Yanks next week, and I’m hoping to catch at least one of the games on TV. It’s so rare that we get to see Boston play out here — they usually air the ChiSox instead.
From this prospect, summer is stretching out in the loveliest manner. I’m looking forward to it.