We heard the aliens visited Löhningen the night of July 11/12 and created a new crop circle in Farmer Müller’s field. Robert and I biked there on Sunday to see for ourselves. We found the area fenced off from the rest of the field with yellow tape – it seemed okay to walk in and look. For Robert it is clear – this is the job of people with a narrow roller. I wasn’t so easily convinced – it seemed too precise, the interweaving of the grain too intricate.
I did some online checking – in an aerial view of the crop circle it looks like a flower, quite beautiful to see. The farmer didn’t think so and filed a report. The Schaffhausen police are looking for the suspects. Clearly everyone expects this to be the work of humans. Reading through the Wikipedia page on crop circles, I reluctantly began to agree.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_circle) Crop circles were rarely seen before the 1970’s, and then only as simple circles. A large influx of crop circles in southern England in the late 1970s, more intricate all the time, was later found to be the work of two men, Bower and Chorley. Crop circles have since become more frequent and increasingly more intricate. Much as I like the idea of mystery, there probably isn’t anything really mysterious about crop circles except how did these guys near Löhningen do this so near a dwelling and train tracks without anyone catching them?
It won’t be there long anymore – the wheat and canola harvest is in full swing. A week of dry warm weather has the combines busy in every corner. Robert sat on his old combine last night. He bought the John Deere 965H in 1982 (30 years ago!) together with two other farmers who are still running it. Markus Stamm and his daughter Sarah, an agriculture student, were combining wheat. With a 12 foot header and no cab, it’s not the most modern or largest combine around, but it does the job. The combine cuts about 20 hectares (50 acres) a year.
Last time Robert was here during wheat harvest, he was combining his own field – more than 20 years ago. It felt a little strange last night, to roast smokies at the top of the hill, and watch everyone all around busy at work. Well, Robert will get his hours in yet – he’ll be working for our neighbour in Canada again this coming harvest season.
Yields are good – Markus harvested 8 Tonnes of wheat per hectare, about 120 bushels an acre. He’s pretty happy. The weather in Switzerland has been almost ideal this year for most crops. Our Sunday bike trip took us past some of the nicest corn fields we’ve seen in years. Sugar beets and sunflowers look great too. Hopefully the aliens won’t come and destroy it!