My father farmed the panhandle of Oklahoma way back in teens and the 20’s of the 20th century. Our family raised wheat and corn, but wheat was the mainstay.  He would tell of stories of dawn ’till dusk farming and the exceptionally hard existence of beating the odds on the plains.  His face bore the years of weather, deeply lined with furrowed brows.  His hands were tanned like rawhide, a thumb missing but the handshake was powerful.  It was a farmers grip, true and friendly.  He was a tough man to know.  How many times did I hear of a hail storm that wiped out a wheat crop or a thousand different stories about tilling the land with horses and then ultimately gas powered harvesters?  I wanted to celebrate my dads birthday Sept. 27, in a way that would honor his sacrifice all those years ago. He died in ’07 at 102 years-old, but think of him daily.  Farming was his life and I have a little space in my own soul for those that harvest the land.

It was with a little planning and fortuitous light that I photographed the Aggio family at the Laguna de Santa Rosa harvesting their corn silage for the upcoming winter.  The Aggio dairy is located at the crux of Sanford and Hall Roads.  Of the 230 acres, 50 or 60 of those are silage corn, meant for cattle and not human consumption.

All I had to do was show up and point the camera.

Joe Aggio drives a harvester that feeds the ground up corn in to a truck driven by his dad Val Aggio, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Val Aggio trundles back to harvesting corn, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Joe Aggio harvests corn, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

 

Corn silage is launched in to a truck, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Joe Aggio harvests corn, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

 

Joe Aggio harvests corn, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Joe and Val Aggio harvest corn, Friday Sept. 27, 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

It will take several days to harvest corn at the Aggio dairy , Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

What the harvest doesn't shred, birds will eat, Friday Sept. 27 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Geese descend for leftovers at the Aggio dairy, Friday Sept. 27, 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Joe Aggio trucks corn silage to storage, Friday Sept. 27, 2013 on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Ranch dog, Friday Sept. 27, 2013 at the Aggio dairy. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

-Kent Porter