Monday, April 10, 2006
the culture of farmers
farming is still a thriving business for many people who live in wisconsin. while it may not be the only way they make a living, owning property, fields, planting, and harvesting is still profitable. some farmers find it impossible to own all the equipment they need to produce their product, corn, wheat, soybeans, etc. so if one farmer has a planter and another a combine (a special tractor/machine that harvest corn and cuts it up) they share. one farmer may plant five or six fields that don't even belong to him and expect the other farmers to come through for him when it's harvesting time. farmers meet each other, socialize, etc. at the local country bar. there is almost one bar on every corner in wisconsin. [i will post a picture of a typical bar soon] friday nights most bars turn into pubs and put on a friday night fish fry. a certain night may offer just chili and/or burgers and french fries. in the summer a bar may host a huge party around the back of the bar and set up volleyball nets, horseshoe lots, or even a makeshift baseball diamond. the bar owner may hire a person to come in and roast a pig or make a kettle to booyah (a traditional soup with just about everything in it-its a green bay thing). even though the drinking age is 21, it's common to find children sitting up at the bar drinking a soda (they may have a cherry or two floating around in it), playing pool or shooting darts in a smoke infested bar. when my children were younger my sister would babysit on a friday or saturday night (i worked in a hotel-ok?). her husband, who is a farmer, and her, along with my parents and/or his parents, would take them out for friday night fish frys. all three of my kids can play pool and throw darts. they also know that cherries are better in sprite than olives.
bars are part of the culture here and sponsor all sorts of teams all year round. my daughter's softball team, when she was 12, was sponsored by a local bar. they bought the t-shirts for the team with the logo plastered on the back. the bar owner would come out, snap a picture of the team, and it would get framed on the wall at the bar. the bars also sponsor bowling leagues, dart leagues, pool leagues, and i'm sure many other leagues. adult leagues are expected to play their games, if available, at that bar and will travel to other bars to play other teams. at the end of the day the teams all head to the sponsoring bar for drinks.