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What not to say during "Hurry Up and Wait"

Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 12:37 PM

A watched pot never boils.

True, so here's another one ... a watched field never dries.

Well, at our house it doesn't anyway, at least not fast enough. So that means for at least the third (maybe fourth) year in a row we have had "Hurry Up and Wait" time waiting for spring to well ... for lack of a better term, spring.

It is a very frustrating time for farmers. Imagine, for instance, if you are a checker at Wal-Mart and your line just keeps getting longer and longer ... but you can't check the customers out. No one else can do your job. The line isn't going anywhere. They are just going to wait for you. And you know the longer it takes to get started, the longer it will be before your finished. Not to mention all the new people that will get in line in the meantime, piling up your work even further.

For a farmer it's like that (thankfully, though, at least an empty field can't talk, like a line full of frustrated customers, but you get my point). A farmer knows what he needs to do, and knows that not getting in the field in a timely fashion could be costly in many ways.

But if its too muddy, you can't get in the field. And even if you could get through some of it without getting stuck, the consequences of working a muddy field can show up in yields, often for many years. For a farmer -- who knows he has to take care of the land -- it is a frustrating dilemma.

So, in other words, I understand why they get a little cranky.

Through the years, I have learned a few things (mostly by trial and error) about "Hurry up and Wait."

Here are just a few of the times I'd suggest you not say to your farmer during wet years, even if you've had a tough day of work yourself:

--"Why didn't you clean the house, since you don't have anything else to do?"

--"You could have at least mowed the lawn."

-- "I was talking to Susie and she said, 'Farmer Brown has all his corn in. Are you sure our fields are really that wet?'"

--"I think the wet weather is just part of global warming, maybe we'll have to get used to it."

--"I just drove by the big field, it looks dry enough to me. I don't see what the big deal is."

--"Are you really sure this farming 'gig' is what you want to do with your life?" (They love it when you call their profession a 'gig.')

--"Since it looks like you won't be planting this weekend, why don't we take a few days and go visit my mother. It will probably be dry when you get back."

--"The weatherman said ..." (Doesn't matter what he said, best not to mention him at all during these times.)

--"Why don't you just plant rice -- or cranberries. I hear those crops like water?"

Of course, things that might be helpful normally, also turn out to be the wrong thing to say during "Hurry Up and Wait."

For instance..

--"It will be okay. What's a few weeks anyway?" (Two weeks can sometimes mean a big difference in corn yield.)

--"It will all work out, it usually does." This is usually followed by a long list of years, complete with exact corn yields, where it didn't work out so well. (Is is just me or is it puzzling that he can remember yields and years in detail, but can't remember how many years you've been married?)

Of course, even though I may (or may not) have used some of the above statements, I am smart enough to know there are some things you just shouldn't share with your farmer spouse.

Like the little tidbit I heard the other day that at least one weather analyst has predicted we are in a 100-year wet cycle.

"Honey, are you sure we can't grow rice in mid-Missouri?"



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MARCIA GORRELL
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