The other day I laughed out loud when the man on the radio said, “you know farmers are ALWAYS talkin’ about the weather!” He was right, but he missed a few things…we also fuss about the weather, worry about the weather, cuss about the weather, and sometimes even dream about the weather, among other things.
I know that the man on the radio talks about the weather a lot, too. He does a segment on the noon show that covers the weather conditions for fieldwork, planting and agricultural spraying. In agriculture, EVERYTHING is dependent upon the weather…and I mean EVERYTHING!
We have been fighting with the wind and the cold for some time now. For well over two weeks, we have had freeze warnings at night. Some orchards in the area have lost their entire peach crop for the year. There are no “do overs” in most types of farming. The beautiful blossoms from March just couldn’t stand up to the incredible, unseasonable cold of April. Personally, we have hauled the row cover out several times, hoping to salvage something of the berry crop. The onions and potatoes are fending for themselves. Our situation is not yet hopeless, although I must confess, I am both worried and disheartened at present.
The wind is a constant here on the hill. I really don’t think we have ever had a completely calm day. As I have said before, if you have “views, views, views”…then you have WIND, WIND, WIND! Usually, the wind is just one of those things, something that is just tolerated or overlooked…other times it begins to grate on every nerve in my being. Today is one of those grating days. The wind is harsh and cold and completely relentless.
Working in the greenhouse, the wind rattled the fan louvers and made the plastic sides quake. I turned my music up to drown out the racket. Then, I went to work in the hoophouses. The wind was even more evident there. With the shadecloth tethered by nylon ropes, the creaking and groaning made it sound like we had suddenly set sail on the high seas. The entire structure seemed to shudder in the biggest gusts. I couldn’t crank the music any louder without possible hearing loss. A walk to the post office proved to be an extraordinary work-out as we faced a strong headwind all the way back up the lane. I hoped to gain some relief upon returning to the house.
Before I could retreat to the house, my other chores led me around the farm where it seemed I could watch the precious moisture being sucked out of everything by the relentless wind. The broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower we planted last week are looking bleached and beaten between the wind and the cold.
The potato garden looks like the surface of the moon or some sort of desert. Dust devils rise and swirl as the sheep run along the path to the barn. To say that I was glad to come inside was an understatement.
Escape from the wind was not to be. When I heard the dogs barking, I looked out the window. Something billowy and white was draping through the fence, waving in the breeze and continuing on into the sheep paddock. The sheep were huddled in a frightened group under the pines. WHAT?
The row cover that was to provide the strawberries some protection had blown off for the second time today. Now, we are well aware of the powers of wind, so this had been held down with 10….yes, TEN pieces of rebar (4 foot metal rods that are used to reinforce cement…in other words, they are heavy) With a sigh and a few choice words, we headed out and picked up the mess. We are hoping the wind will calm a bit to aid in the re-application. Regardless, we will attempt to secure the row cover on the strawberries for the night. This time we used FOURTEEN pieces!
Then, I got another weather notification. (Maybe I should uninstall this phone app…..It’s getting depressing) It seems the cold is going to continue for yet another night. Now, the cold is hanging on until Thursday. That’s not going to help anything. My list of things to cover after supper just got longer…and I’ll have to make sure to do it tomorrow night, too.
There is little or no chance of rain in the foreseeable future. That’s not going to help anything either. We really need some rain. The verdant beauty that is Spring is fully dependent on the plentiful rains of Spring. The lush Spring growth is imperative to a abundant late season harvest. But, there is not a thing we can do about that. (or the wind either)
So, we wait. We water….and we worry. With a deep well and the knowledge that the creek has never gone dry, we know we can irrigate the crops and keep them growing. We have done all we can to protect from the continued cold. It is so hard…the watching, the waiting, the worrying. We know that with just a little rain and a break in the temperatures, the grass will again thrive for the sheep, the vegetable crops will burst forth with vigor and our outlook on life will be exceedingly positive. As I said earlier…EVERYTHING is dependent upon the weather!
It has often been said that farmers have more faith than any other group of people. I reckon that is true. We keep on doing what we know to do and rely on God above to keep us and the farm going on a daily basis.
Forget talking….now, this farmer is PRAYIN’ about the weather!