The Waiting Game

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Some would say farmers are never satisfied, especially when it comes to rain. My farmers would disagree. They would be satisfied if only it rained when they wanted, where they wanted and the exact amount they wanted.

See, simple.

But since life is rarely so easy, instead we spend much of our growing season playing my least favorite game, 'Hurry Up and Wait.'

Earlier this spring, we hurried to plant corn and beans, hoping to beat the rain and inevitable cold snaps. Then we waited for the seeds to start popping through the ground. After they did we began to wait (and pray) for rain. In the meanwhile, we waited for our hay to grow tall enough to cut. When it finally did, we hurriedly mowed the grasses down, hoping all the chances of rain which kept passing us by would hold off for just another day. (And only one more day.)

They didn't.

The day our hay was ready to put in tight round bales, the skies opened and the much needed rains fell ... and fell... and fell some more. While the rains benefitted most of our crops, mowed hay needs to stay dry until it's baled. As it sits on the ground, the grasses lose leaves (and nutrition) with every raindrop. In fact after about five inches of rain, we ended up with the cleanest hay in the county. And no, I'm not bragging.

So 'Hurry up and Wait' began again. This time we waited for the ground to dry. We needed it to dry to put up our hay, but we especially needed it to dry so we could spray the weeds which were growing faster than our soybeans.

While I'd prefer to spend 'Hurry Up and Wait' time doing something productive like going on vacation, my suggestions get vetoed quickly. After all, we need to be here to pounce on our sprayers and balers the exact second the ground dries. (And not a moment later.)

It's not like we don't have a whole list of jobs to do during the wait ... servicing equipment, working cows and calves and preparing to get back in the field top the list. But the longer the rains last, the shorter our preferred list of things to do gets and the closer we get to the dreaded jobs.

For us, the most dreaded job is organizing our farm shop. In fact, the job has been so dreaded we've managed to put it off for years.

So if 'Hurry Up and Wait' wasn't bad enough, last week we commenced project 'Clean and Organize the Farm Shop.'

Just like housekeeping (especially for a group of hoarders like ourselves) cleaning is painful: more painful than sitting in city rush hour traffic when you're used to gravel roads, more painful than trying on new clothes for men or spending two days at a farm machinery show for women. Yep, that bad.

While I know the old adage 'More hands make lighter the work', is true, our recent cleaning project taught me 'More mouths make heavier the arguments.' That is especially true when it comes to agreeing on what should actually be thrown away. Did I mention we were all hoarders? In fact, it really is true, one's man's trash is another's treasure. The problem is we all have different opinions on what is an actual treasure. Depending on the item, a treasure might be something we may need one day, like a two-inch piece of baling wire. A treasure could also be something Grandpa saved for some reason, like a four-inch piece of baling wire. Or it could be something that might be worth money someday, like say, I don't know, ... a five-inch piece of baling wire. (Did you know baling wire is now becoming obsolete, being replaced more everyday by the new farm tool of choice ... duct tape?)

So after two days and a lot of fight ... uh I mean, negotiating, we managed to throw away seven small items and sweep 14 feet of a 100-foot shed. Ahhh, progress.

And now my farmers are thankful the ground dried and we are back to baling and spraying. At least we're thankful this week, next week might be an entirely different story.