The van was loaded with suppers to hand out to the harvesting crew and we were pulling out of the driveway when I received the following text from My Farmer:
We are used to violent late-spring weather. This is Kansas, after all. We weren’t the setting for The Wizard Of Oz for no reason, people. I had been watching the radar all afternoon, willing the storms to stay north of us and continue their due-east movement.
By the time I arrived with the food, the last desperate passes were being made as the drops began to fall with greater regularity. No one stopped – the food quietly grew colder as the combines (both finally working at once) ran a losing race with Mother Nature. Finally forced to shut down, My Farmer watched the sky.
That row of trees marked the divide between the 80 acres they just finished harvesting and the 50 acres they rolled into next.
Eventually, it all came down. I tried to come up with a metaphor to express what it’s like – the wheat was ripe and ready. The 70 mph wind and rain will have beat some of the grain right out of their heads onto the earth. The ground is going to be sopping wet, rendering us helpless to watch the remaining kernels dry too far, losing test weight (it will take more seeds to make a bushel this way – our overall yield drops). It’s especially depressing because our wheat this year was remarkably good. That happens once a decade or so in farming.
The best example I could come up with is getting a big anniversary bonus after ten years at the same job along with your usual paycheck. They give you all of it in $1 bills, laid out single file in a trail from your work place to your home. Whatever the wind blows away before you can pick it up is gone. So you gather up your friends and whatever helpful equipment you can come up with and start picking up bills as fast as you can. A storm changes everything.
We were really fortunate – everywhere to the north and west of us received a dose of devastating hail. Hail completely destroys a crop. We have friends who weren’t so lucky with the weather last night.
My Farmer is taking it in stride – that’s just how farming goes, he says (as he opens a beer). I know he feels sick, but he is also right. That’s just how farming goes. This, my friends, is where the wise saying comes from…don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
In totally unrelated news, my friend Mad Woman is raising money to fight breast cancer. I contributed this morning, in memory of my Mother-In-Law and I hope you will consider contributing as well. Breast cancer can suck it.
And I’ve been sharing how I created an almost-free curriculum when we began homeschooling over at Growing Your Homeschool.
While we wait to get back into the fields, I’ll be thinking of those farmers who won’t be going back in because there isn’t any wheat left standing.