Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Conflicted Nature of a Farmer/Grower

It is raining….AGAIN!

Before anyone thinks I am complaining, I’m NOT. Having lived through drought years in an agricultural community, I know that it’s almost blasphemous to speak of rain in a negative way. We have all been taught….NEVER COMPLAIN about the rain, because you never know when it will dry up and never rain again. Personally, there is nothing more disheartening than a bunch of old farmers comparing drought stories. It makes me feel as if my very soul is shriveling with the heat and lack of rain.
But, I’ll be honest…the gloom, the mud and mire, the wet sheep….it’s all beginning to get to me.

The abundant spring rains are wonderful. The grass grows nearly overnight. This means the hay crop is maturing. This also means that the rapid growth in the lambs is coming from the ground and sun and no longer the feed trough, thus lowering expenses somewhat.

The garden is growing by leaps and bounds, too. I think if you sat quietly and listened hard, you could hear the broccoli growing. The onions seem bigger every time I go outside. …and hooray, it looks like ALL of the potatoes came up.

But, herein lies the conflict…

The moisture and relative warmth causes a heightened parasitic issue with the lambs. We must be ever vigilant, or they will succumb to parasitic overload. That would mean the great growth rate; the anticipated lamb crop would be lost. That would be a shame.

If the torrential rains continue, it will make it difficult to get the hay crop in. There is a timeframe to making hay.
It must be moist to make it grow, but dry, dry, dry to allow for its harvest. Many farmers worry about how much of their hay gets “washed” in a season. This is not at all their intention. An unexpected rain spells the end for a hay crop that’s been cut and not properly dried.

Then, there are the weeds.
The ever growing menace of the weeds comes creeping in like a bright green mist along the freshly tilled earth. At first it seems innocuous enough. It’s such a bright and vivid shade of green. Then it becomes evident that the weeds are taking over. All the work we have done in the onion patch, the brassica garden, and the potatoes is rapidly giving way to the weeds. It’s too wet to run the tiller, too muddy to hoe, and almost impossible to walk through without tearing up the ground.

So, I start thinking of dry weather and SUNSHINE.

Being forced to “take the day off” is great in theory. I got caught up on a lot of inside stuff. I can actually see the top of my desk again, and I’m on my way to getting all the bookwork updated. And, I didn’t succumb to the nap that was oh, so very tempting!

But, in the back of my mind, I can swear…I can hear those weeds growing! So, now I’m praying for a few dry days. A little breeze to dry things off would even be nice.

Is it that I am contrary? Conflicted? Just can’t make up my mind?

Because after a few days of hot, hot sun and dry wind…and, you guessed it…I’ll be praying for rain again!

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