Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tour de Wisconsin Agriculture, Part Two

Part one is here, click any photo for larger.

I took a closeup of one of the blooming weeds from the "tunnel of weeds" yesterday. Here it is. I have theorized that they are milkweeds, but I am not sure. I googled some photos of milkweed and there about a zillion varieties. If you know what this is, drop an answer in the comments, I would be interested to know. Whatever they are, they do well around here.
Eventually the path that leaves Middleton and follows Route 12 ends. It ends at Rauls Road. After that, you are on the hills big time. It looks a lot like this from here on out. That hill may not look like too big of a deal at first glance (enlarging the photo gives you better scale too), but it is, especially after you have ridden 40 miles of them already. This is one of the first hills I climbed, and the last one before you return and get back on the path. It is very steep. On the backsides of these you can approach 40 mph. I usually back it down to 30. Much over that and I start to feel uncomfortable (nice talk for scared shitless).
Along the way there are lots of farms. I was somewhat blown away at the different things that grow on the farms around here. Time for the first quiz...do you know what this crop is? There were a lot of fields that I saw that were planted with this. If you think about it you can get it. You former farmhands will get it right away.
Here is a closeup. I will drop the answer in the comments.
I was happy to see that lots of fans of LITGM were out to greet me on my ride!

Three more parts to come...

11 comments:

Dan from Madison said...

The crop in the photos is alfalfa. An important part of any dairy cow's healthy diet.

Annie said...

That first pic is Queen Anne's Lace. Technically, it's the carrot family but it's considered a weed.

Annie said...

P.S. And yes, it's edible (the little wild carrot root), but only when it's super new. After it's been there for awhile, it's like wood. They're weird though, in that they only sprout from the seed every other year instead of every.
Here's something fun for your kids:
Have them pick some and leave the stem fairly long...stick it in a glass or vase with food coloring in the water. You can see the color spider out into the bloom part. It's kind of neat!

Dan from Madison said...

I have the best readers.

Jonathan said...

Whoa! That's the biggest Doberman I've ever seen.

gerry from valpo said...

When I was young back in the early 60's my family would travel through WI on the way to Canadian fishing trips. There was a nice aroma in the air at times (not cowpies) that my dad told me was the smell of sweet clover. Could it have been alfalfa?

Dan from Madison said...

Clover...I haven't heard that one before. Hard to tell what it was. The best smell of the ride was the freshly cut hay, that much I can tell you from my ride. I didn't really notice too much of a differernce when I passed the alfalfa fields.

Dan from Madison said...

Hey Gerry - looks like your dad may have been right. My dad, a former Wisco farmboy, just told me that clover was often planted alongside the alfalfa. I don't know the reason.

mark said...

A hayfield generally consists of alfalfa, clover, timothy and various other grasses. Each have different characteristics as far as the nutrients they provide, how they handle drought, freezing and how quickly the grow. Kind of like hedging your bet. Also, cows can die if they eat too much wet alfalfa too quickly.

Dan from Madison said...

Damn the things I learn on the interwebs. Thanks Mark.

Annie said...

Yep, Mark's exactly right. Cattle can die because their internal organs can’t easily convert that much protein. It causes them to sweat so badly, they get dehydrated and get colic or impaction.