Portland State University. Department of English
Date of Publication
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing
Baseball -- Minnesota, Dairy farming -- Minnesota
1 online resource (ii, 138 pages)
Stearns County, Minnesota is the number-one dairy-producing county in the number-one dairy-producing region--the Midwest--in the country. The area has been home to German-Catholic immigrants from the Rheinland region of Germany since the mid- to late-1850s, when they traveled across Canada and the northeastern United States before finally settling on homesteads in Central Minnesota.
150 years later, the descendants of these settlers still live and farm the same area. Through it all, these farmers have kept a similar schedule: six days of fieldwork, Sunday for rest. And, nearly since the day they arrived in the area, that day of rest has featured one sacred leisure activity: baseball. The state of Minnesota boasts over 250 amateur baseball teams, the most of any state in the country. In the summer of 2012, I moved to Spring Hill, Minnesota, a town of 85, to play for the Spring Hill Chargers and work on the farm.
My thesis lies at the intersection of farming and baseball, showing the reader both how little and how much has changed for these men who still farm their land of their forebears and still play America's game. A Summer in the Land of Milk tells my story of living and working in a rural area where the past hangs like a shadow and the future is frighteningly uncertain.
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Opatz, Louis Charles, "A Summer in the Land of Milk" (2013). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1054.