Growing up in central Illinois, I have a great fondness for corn and soybeans. This time of year, watching the fall sun descend over a sea of light russet corn stalks from my tree stand is just about as ideal as it gets.
I don’t live in Illinois anymore and I am missing the rhythms of the harvest year. However, not all is lost in Katy, Texas. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to go out and see a rice harvest. Rice is one of the only crops that will successfully grow around here. Unlike Illinois where there is an overabundant supply of black, organic matter in the many feet of topsoil, Katy has, at best, a really low grade sandy clay (and it is only about a foot down before that mediocre soul hits solid clay). A situation like that is terrible for pretty much all crops, except rice.
So the area grows rice and in particular Katy is renowned for its rice fields. 25 years ago Katy was that little town west of Houston that was all rice fields and great football. Now, Katy is a sprawling urban center. If you find yourself around town with any local whose roots go back further than a job transfer at some point they will inevitably say “I remember when all this was rice fields.” While there still are still some rice fields around, as my dad always says, the final crop these days is housing.
It was certainly a blessing for Jesse and I to go out and see a rice harvest while we still have the chance. Thank you, Arnold England.