The Farmer’s Conundrum

It’s a simple farming story that, over the many years, has been told and told again. That doesn’t make the job any easier. After all, hot is hot. Temperature was in the mid-90s yesterday, perfect condition for an afternoon deluge.

Baling hay is, all too often, a nerve-racking matter of staying out in front of rain. Whether the hay is still in the windrow or baled, but still on the wagons, rain is the nemesis. Hay needs to be baled and under a roof ; so much easier said than done.

One wonders if the farmer is better served listening to his own instincts, rather than listening to the weather forecast. The forecast provides one guarantee : It changes hourly ! It sure did yesterday. Call it the farmer’s conundrum .

So there we were, seemingly ahead of the game with three wagons full of bales, the wagons still in the field. All that is needed now is help to stack in the mow, again easier said than done. It’s not as though the haymow crew is a group of seasoned professional hay stackers. They don’t commute a great distance to get to the farm. They don’t have 401Ks and pensions.

They are the help who you can get today, right now. They are the guys with whom you have a prior nexus. Guys who give a damn about helping out, guys who have your back. They are there with smiles on their faces, but it’s time to hustle. The wind is gyrating like it wants to storm.

Not all of the arranged help has arrived yet. Rather it be called all of the help that was attempted to be arranged. So, for the time being, a mow crew of two is doing their best on the first wagon. It’s an involved process for just two guys. It’ll be a long afternoon if no one else shows up.

No one else did. In fact, one had to leave, but by the grace of God another showed up. The two fellows in the mow worked ‘til all three wagons were finished; a long , sweat-drenched afternoon. Within two minutes of the final bale being hurled into the barn, the skies opened to let loose a wicked downpour.

It didn’t matter. The hay was in the barn. The farmer’s conundrum had transferred to the farmer’s kind fortune.

That same farmer was once disapprovingly asked why he never went to church.

“I do”, he replied, “all day long.”


One thought on “The Farmer’s Conundrum

  1. Pete,
    You’re telling the story of my younger self here. Gettin’ the bales on the wagons in the field. Gettin’ the wagons to the elevator at the bottom of the mow. Throwin’ the bales off of the wagon onto the elevator. Grabbin’ the bales off of the elevator up in the mow. Rollin’ the bales to the line of guys in the mow and finally up to the guy near the roof. Yup, that’s the way it went. We never wore shirts while working in the fields or in the mow; so when we came down out of the mow, we were coated in green alfalfa. It wuz all in a day’s work on the farm.

    Meanwhile, out here in California, the forests are burning up, the sky is orange, ash covers our cars, many days run around 100 degrees F, the reservoirs are nearly dry, the snow pack has almost disappeared, the fish are dying because the rivers are too hot, everybody has been asked to cut their water use by 15%, the ground is desperately dry, and we have rolling brownouts and black outs because folks are using all the electricity in order to keep cool! California, gotta love it, gotta love it. At least we have survived the disaster that the Republicans wanted to foist upon us!

    I am now going in to the Lab half time and telecommuting the other half time. The average price of a house here in Livergulch is a little over $1M. Daughter Beth (who has a very good job at Amazon) really can’t afford a house. So, we are remodeling our whole house to provide separate living spaces for Beth and for us. At some point in the late Spring next year or perhaps in the early Summer, the remodeling folks will kick Kathy and me out of our house for about a month so that they can finish the remodeling. At that time we plan to take up residence in our Pennsylvania home, which is about 120 miles from your place. That places us within reasonable striking distance of Tuckaway Farms. So beware. We may suddenly appear on your doorstep. We will, however, give you sufficient warning so that you can flee the premises.

    ‘Nuff for now.



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