The Thing About Farming Is…

The thing about farming is…

It decides!

Whatever plans you may have for the day or the weekend, may be totally upended by the weather – good or bad, the health or injury of an animal, the sudden crash of an engine, flat tire, computerized mechanics, pump, etc.

Hay must be made while the forecast is cooperating and there is someone available to care for the other aspects of the farm. To ‘make hay while the sun is shining’ is more than an abstract saying to those who actually make hay!

An emergency with the poultry means immediate – drop whatever you may be doing, get the food to go, walk out of the movie if someone else isn’t available to make the repairs – attention must be paid or else you find yourselves upside down in the investment you’ve made.

If a cow is ready to have its calf, you might want to stick around. Usually the cows have little problems with birthing but there are those occasions when even Mother Nature needs a little gentle helping hand or you can lose the calf and the cow. Plus, who wants to see any animal suffer?

Today I’m on annual leave from my regular job. My car has decided she needs a break from the grueling day to day grind, so one tow truck fee later, she’s being cared for by the local dealership. I can’t work without it, so I’m on vacation until she is mended. (I always refer to my car as if she had feelings and a personality; we spend a lot of time together. And if she laid down in the road and died tomorrow, I’d have to say that she worked hard for her keep and performed stellarly.)

But this also means that we can get a jump on the rest of the hay crop in Virginia. We left our equipment there so that we could finish the remaining fields that need cutting. And this weekend looks like the perfect time. We have our son to attend to the farm in North Carolina, and the weather looks fine.

Of course there was that dinner invitation with friends on Saturday night and a birthday party for my nephew’s son on Sunday. Yikes!

But the hay is ready. Next weekend – on the long range forecast – is looking like rain is more likely than not. Then the following weekend we don’t have the help with the NC farm. By the next one, good or bad, the hay would be ruined.

I didn’t grow up in a farming family. Adjusting to disappointment was sometimes difficult. After nearly thirty years of being with my husband, I’ve completely adjusted. I’m not sure my family has. I can only hope they aren’t too disappointed and the friends who issued the dinner invitation knew that our acceptance depended on the weather. But they understand farming and also have horses who are particularly fond of the Alfalfa and Timothy and Orchard grass that we square bale for the horses.

So, our friends will need to come to Virginia for dinner with us and I can only hope we are home in time for the party on Sunday, although I doubt it. Kids love to come out to our farm, so maybe he could come and ride around in the tractor, feed the horse apple slices from his hand, or pet a chicken. It’s the best we can do.

Farming is good, wholesome work, but it decides the schedule.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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1 Comment

  1. I guess you have to learn to be flexible when farming. It must be hard to plan things with certainty, but hopefully your good friends (and family) understand. Good luck with the hay this weekend!

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