Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring Planting

On my way home from Algona this morning I passed a farmer in his big John Deere 4-wheel drive tractor sitting forlornly at the entrance to his field. Looking in my rear view mirror I saw him back slowly out onto the highway. Like many others, he is chomping at the bit to get into his fields and start planting.

This time last year most farmers around here had their corn completely planted and were bravely holding off planting beans until May or June. The last two years have been extremely warm and dry during April and have allowed the farmers to get a jump on spring planting. But the 8 inches of snow we had two days ago (!) have made the fields impossible to work. Luckily we had a very mild fall and winter which allowed them to get most of their spring field work done. Now all they need is a few warm (please God!) days to dry off the fields and they'll be working day and night to get it done.

Coming from "the bottom" ["The bottom" is what the valley between our hills and the hills of Nebraska were called. Long ago the Missouri River cut a wide swath between the two, leaving fertile ground behind. I'm guessing it was about 20 miles wide and FLAT, FLAT, FLAT! Onawa is located on the bottom. I think that's why I always hated that town - it was too flat.] in Western Iowa, this drive to get into a field amuses me. Farmers around there are never in a hurry - mostly because they're farming gumbo. The standard "joke" is that gumbo is only workable one week out of the year. If it's too wet you can get a tractor stuck tighter than a tick on a mule. But when it drys out its like trying to farm cement and will break a cultivator like a candy cane.

I'm feeling bad for the farmers. I guess my little patch of garden is not such a big deal after all. Last night the weather guy said that the normal temperature for this month is supposed to be in the 60's - it's 48 right now and is the warmest it's been since the "heat wave" in March. Snow storms in Texas, tornadoes in Mississippi and cold up here in Northern Iowa. This should be an interesting year, to say the least.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Farmers have a very difficult job. What a picture you paint of the gumbo wet or dry, yieks. I'm wondering how all my lovely herbs did with the hail I understand Dallas had yesterday.

Sally said...

If it was anything like the news showed yesterday morning, you better stop at Lowes and pick up some more. Man! I've never seen it hail that hard. Crazy weather, huh? Where you at anyway?

A wildlife gardener said...

London had temperatures of 26 degrees yesterday, which is abnormally hot for April. We, on the other hand, in Scotland, had 16 degrees and today was ten in the morning after a heavy frost. I do sympathise with the farmers. My mother used to always say, 'Never criticise the farmers with food in your mouth'. A good lesson I think.

Sally said...

That is a great saying of your mother's WG. I assume you mean 26 degrees celsius (which, being "old school" I don't know how hot/cold that is!)