At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
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Scenic trash of Elbert County

In Elbert County we find many things put to use that find new life and are no longer rubbish.  We find many things, brand new, cast away on the roadside like soda cans and lunch wrappers that become rubbish.  But the State law is clear: farmers know best what to do for the raising of crops and animals, and should be allowed to employ whatever materials are necessary without the censure of their work being called rubbish.

        Prosperous Matheson is home to some of the most picturesque farms in Elbert County where the rolling hills of Agate begin to fall to the plains.  The communities are linked by road and spirit, and though you can find the old Agate School bus parked along Highway 83, soon, as Agate fades forever, the two peoples will finally sunder.  Yet there too you see rubbish, but of a different sort.  Instead of peacefully at rest, rubbish is laid aside for use, and is actively used as soon as it may.  This sort of zealous energy for farming is to be admired, and thankfully is encouraged by the protection of State laws.

        Down the Matheson Road, a beautiful windbreak for the cattle can be seen out of scrap metal and tires.  The tires are falling down in some places, but is still functional! Though our tire walls and pens are larger, we are not proud; we all do what we can and admire and learn from each other’s efforts.  Larger is not necessarily better: in the arts of recycling, efficiency and utility matter most.  The scenic trash of Elbert County is so because it reminds us of the beauty of utilitarianism, as each work of art speaks of the ingenuity and love for the animals and crops and land bestowed by the craftsmen responsible for it. 

        Even in prosperous western County where the horses are worth more than most of the inoperable vehicles in eastern County, tires are used as culverts and walls and gardens, and so many other uses besides.  Farms and ranches, no matter their wealth, need rubbish to work the land, it is often the only affordable material to choose.  State law protects farmers and ranchers in numerous ways, providing special protection and rights to farmers and ranchers who make their own food, who undertake the use of horses, who raise cattle or other animals, or in other ways secure our State’s economy with a dependable economic engine that has outlasted silver booms and busts, technology booms and busts and will even outlast those commuting revenues that Elbert County has in recent times attempted to cultivate.

        There is enough room in Elbert County for all of us, and whether on your farm you wear muck boots or sandals, whether you enjoy at the end of the day a hot plate of rice and tofu or beef and potatoes, the diversity of Elbert County’s farming and ranching community stands unified in the practice of recycling materials and keeping hold of things that may one day be again useful.

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