Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I just finished up a Thanksgiving morning run, just me and dog, 3 miles. I found a lot of parallels between this year farming and my run this morning, and learned another lesson from my dog.

This has undoubtedly been my hardest year farming, a cold wet spring made planting late, a cold summer delayed crop maturity, and the wettest fall even the old farmers can remember. They say we will be saying "this is nothing compared to 2009" to the next generation of farmers. It could really get you down if you let it.

Like most of this year it was cold, windy, and blowing rain this morning. I had hoped to start harvest again Fri or Sat but this morning reminded me it was going to be another wait for a dry window. I would not have gone running except I have been out of town for a few days and not run, and the dog had been staring at me since I got up-guilting me into running. If not for him I would have went back to bed or just stayed in the house.

As we headed out I tucked my head into the wind and started down the road. Once we got past the neighbors house I let Earl off the leash and he was tearing up and down the road like it was the perfect spring day. I could see the joy in his eyes and he jumped back and forth across the ditch-looking for the perfect piece of grass to whiz on.

As the run went on I finally got warmed up, began to feel better, and remembered there are many who would give anything to be able to run, or have a dog, or even walk.

It made me think that I need to stop whining about challenges and focus on some things I need to be grateful about on the farm.

1) That my Grandparents made the sacrifies that enabled me to have a farm to start farming on-without that base I doubt I could have started on any scale.
2) That my Parents and Aunt and Uncle bought another piece of land a few years ago.
3) That I have a landlord who had the forsight to rent not just for the highest dollar-but to someone who will take care of the land-and to give a fair deal on rent-and give a beginning farmer a chance.
4) That I have the physical ability to farm, I know there are some out there who for age, disease, injury or whatever would love to farm but cannot.
5) My family, they get to put up with a lot of the stress of farming, without recieving as many of the rewards.
6) Friends and neighbors, who have helped drive trucks, offered equipment when they were done, etc. That support system gives such mental comfort knowing you aren't alone, and allows one to take chances on growth that I would not take without that fall back.
7) Having a regular job that is flexible enough to let me farm, provide insurance, and stability for my kids futures.
8) That I live in a country that provides the opportunity to and freedom choose your own destity.
9) Advice from experienced farmer friends with nothing to gain-just willing to help a rookie.

I could go on and on, unless you are a farmer some of it may seem trite-but to me it is all pricesless.

And like Earl, who at the end of our run was just as happy as at the beginning, and ready to go again-instead of focusing on the challenges am going to remind myself to be thankful for just having the ability and opportunity to farm and will look forward to doing it again next year!

Edit: I am also thankful that my favorite uncle (who totaled his car last night) is unhurt and able to spend Thanksgiving with us.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone, God Bless

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Harvest Progress!!!

I am glad to say the blog hasn’t been updated in a couple weeks because we have been too busy harvesting. This has certainly been an interesting harvest so far.

Beans are completed and corn is now 80% done. We would be done if the elevators were able to stay open more than a few hours a day, but they are simply getting overwhelmed with wet corn. We have received over 4” of rain in the last 3 days, so I don’t expect to be back in the field before Thanksgiving. Hopefully this will give the grain elevators time to catch up on drying and be ready when harvest resumes. We could be done in two to three full days.

The most recent complication is the propane shortage. So much propane has been used to dry corn in the Midwest that there is now a shortage and the suppliers can’t get the product. We are down to 10% in the home tank, some elevators have actually not opened on some days because they don’t have the propane to dry the corn.

I have learned some really good lessons this year which I will detail more over the winter. First real dealings with paid employees, first wet harvest, stuck trucks, etc.

Despite all the challenges and frustrations I am finding more and more farming is a lot like running a marathon.
1) More preparation than actual event
2) During the hard parts you really question what you are doing and is it worth it
3) After it is done (or almost done in this case) you feel rewarded and can't wait to do it again.