Tuesday, June 21, 2011

W is for WORK; ABC Wednesday

The sun wasn't even up yet when I heard the sound of many cars passing our house. I looked out to see a line of vehicles slowly making their way along the edge of the onion fields across the road. 

Everything is so dry here this year that any car passing raises a little dust; this many cars lifted the dry soil high into the air to mix with the smoke we've been getting from the Arizona fires. 

Hastily dressing and grabbing my camera, I took a picture of one of the harvest trucks as it gathered the onions, which were then sorted and crated by the men who worked quickly in the early morning coolness.

You can see that the furrows on the right have been cleaned of onions, while the furrows to the left have yet to be harvested. It's a lot of work in a dry, dusty, and blazingly hot climate. The workers have my admiration. Would you take on a job like that?

P.S. For my impression of the onion growing and harvesting process, see my comment, below.

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Kate said...

Your photos convey the atmosphere and the work involved in harvesting onions. No, I would look for work that is less backbreaking, if at all possible.

Georgia said...

wow you never actually think about all the work that goes into bringing the everyday staple of onions to your produce drawer. did the air smell like onions? i know you can smell the garlic when it is harvested. really lovely post.

Sylvia K said...

Wow! That does look like a LOT of work!! And I'd try to find something else to do, too! Terrific captures, Clariz! You can almost feel the dust! Hope your week is going well!

ABC Team

Roger Owen Green said...

farming is a lot of work, indeed.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Life with Kaishon said...

I just LOVE farmers. What an awesome thing to capture. Fantastic!

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots, love the variety.

Reader Wil said...

You created the atmosphere of work by your photos. It's not difficult to see how dry it is.

becky said...

These are great shots, Clair! I was wondering if that were dust, or smoke... I see that it is both. I imagine I would take that job if I had to, though I know many people would not. In the central valley of calif, many that are working the fields are illegal aliens. People complain about them, and yet, most of those people are those that think they are "too good" to do such a job and would rather collect unemployment than put in hard days work like this.

clairz said...

Becky, I was careful not to get faces in the photos I took of the workers, thinking some might be illegal and that having their picture taken would worry them. However, many of the cars had license plates from various states in Mexico, so I had to assume that all were legal. I don't really know how that all works here, but I know that not many people would want these terribly tiring agricultural jobs.

nonizamboni said...

Very thoughtful post. . .at first I felt sorry for the commuters and then when I saw the onion fields I knew who had the hardest job. Great photos [including that gorgeous header!]illustrating W so well.

Ms. Becky said...

these are some great shots. I'm wondering how the onions are pulled from the ground, or if they are. maybe a machine just unearths them and then they are picked up? it seems a labor-intensive job. and they probably get paid not all that much. with no health benefits. someone has to do the work. bless those that do. thanks for sharing Claire. it's an intriguing subject. hope the air is clearing for you.

clairz said...

Ms. Becky, here is the process, at least the parts that I've observed. Once the onions have been planted and are growing, many mornings are spent with large groups of people moving slowly through the field with hoes--weeding or dealing with pests, I guess. I see tractors going over the field again and again as the onions grow (spraying? fertilizing?). Of course, irrigation days are very busy, with a few workers making sure the water goes into all the rows.

As the onions mature, you can see them along the top of the soil. Apparently there is a step where the tops are cut off and the onions are left to dry, looking like the ones on the left in the bottom picture. Then the onions are gathered and sorted. There are an awful lot of people involved, as you can see from all the cars--way more than are in the photo with the harvesting truck. Then the boxes are loaded and trucks full of them go off (presumably) to a packing plant for further processing.

I don't look at onions (or cabbages or pecans or chiles or cotton) in the same way now, since we've lived among the fields and orchards of the Mesilla Valley.

And, yes, Georgia, the air smells deliciously of onions during the harvest.

chubskulit said...

Wow that must be a fun thing to watch and experience.

Would love you to peek at my ABC. You are welcome to come by anytime, have a nice day!

Kay L. Davies said...

I've lived in agricultural areas before, and never cease to be amazed at the work that goes into farming. I'm so grateful I had a "desk job" although it turned out to be not very good for my health.
Thanks for the educational photos, Clair. Very interesting and informative.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
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