Farming doesn’t have a weekend
I don’t know what day it is anymore. Since school let out for summer, I have lost all semblance of time. Days are measured by the sunrise and sunset (or when the rain starts and stops.)
Days are hot and humid, and nights are slightly more comfortable. That is how I mark time.
I hear the weatherman talk about it being sunny for the weekend and I wonder, briefly, why it matters that the weekend is coming? Then I recall that many people receive scheduled days off from work, and not all jobs function the way farming does.
Farming is a job where work is done when weather permits, regardless of what day of the week it is.
Farming often occurs regardless of prior plans to attend little Joey’s birthday party or a barbecue at the neighbors.
Whether you like it or not, if there is a window of opportunity – read: daylight to perform the task – you do it.
There hasn’t been a huge confluence of opportunity in our area this year for tasks such as planting and haymaking, however.
I know some folks who still don’t have all of their corn or soybeans planted, and a lot of farmers are behind schedule in the hayfield, due in large part to an abundance of rain.
I refuse to complain too much about the wet weather. It could be much worse – and much drier – than it is. In fact, out West, many farmers are at risk of losing everything to drought.
For example, the June issue of the magazine Progressive Farmer had an article detailing the conditions in southeast Colorado as a result of a lack of rain.
The article said an official drought has been under way for more than three years, and only a couple of measurable rains have fallen since 2004.
Interviewed farmers told how they planted their crops, knowing they would likely wilt and die, for the sole purpose of trying to preserve their topsoil.
They talked about how their rations of irrigation water were cut, and how they were told not to expect even that lesser amount.
They recounted how wind constantly kicks up dust so badly they can taste the soil in everything, and how they are having to sell their animals and equipment bit by bit to attempt to make payments on their homes and farms one month at a time. They are clinging to the hope they will be able to survive until the rain comes.
When put in that context, I know we are fortunate our problem is too much rain. We can survive far longer with too much than with too little. We are lucky our problem is we have too much to do and too many days that are decent enough to accomplish our tasks.
Even if I lose track of the days while we do them.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.