Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life On the Farm


It has felt at times that it has been raining non-stop all year. Of course it hasn't been non-stop but to a farmer with crops to get in the ground it might as well be because the next rain comes just as the ground is beginning to dry out from the previous one. I would also say that this has been an unusual year except for the fact that it has been exactly like last year so far. So in an effort to prevent my parents from moving into my basement, I have been helping them by doing odd jobs that need to be done while they focus on getting the crop into the ground during the brief minutes between ground dry enough to work and the next approaching rainstorm.

On this particular weekend, a month of weekends ago, I headed down to the farm fully expecting to run some large piece of tillage equipment in a tractor with a cab and thus have a controlled environment and listen to some interesting discussions on NPR. Instead, I found myself on an open tractor with a rotary hoe breaking up the crust from a previous heavy downpour so that the corn planted underneath could reach the surface. It is a very dusty job and with no radio so I pretty much had to live in my head.

Living in one's head is a nice thing to do now and then and after spending a full day doing so, I almost wish I had the opportunity to do it more often. I did some thinking about the future and what is in it for me but mostly I just let my mind wander as it pleased and enjoyed the mental show. If someone ever figures out a way to create some sort of mental log, it would have been very interesting to see it later however, the big brother applications from such a thing would have me probably running for the hills should one be invented.

When I finished hoeing at the end of the day, I had covered around 120 acres, I was covered in a thick layer of dirt from head to toe, my teeth were gritty but I was happy. I fueled up the tractor, spoke to my mom over a piece of fresh homemade strawberry shortcake and drove home thought the dark. I got home just in time to read a story to Little Abbey and tuck her to bed. I wouldn't want it any other way.

13 comments:

Sage said...

When i saw that pic, I immediately thought, "Life through an exhaust pipe!" But that's what farmers see a lot--nice that you are close enough to be able to help your parents

The Real Mother Hen said...

Statistic shows that a man thinks of women and you know what at least once in every 30 seconds, subconsciously. By that calculation, you must have thought of you know what the entire day. That's quite something Ed.

Saur♥Kraut said...

It is hideously hot here. Hot and muggy ... ranging from low 90s to 103. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I hope your weather's better there, as you're outdoors so much!

Beau said...

That's a full day my friend. Heck, I cut 4-5 acres of grass each week and it takes hours. I enjoy living in my head, but it's a bumpy ride. Of course there's no rows to worry about... how do you keep it straight on an old, open seat tractor? The new-fangled ones have gps and the works these days.

Ed Abbey said...

Sage - The newer cabbed tractor that I drove the following day has a side mounted exhaust pipe and thus has a much nicer view of the field.

Mother Hen - Those thoughts only last seconds so I got lots of other thinking in during the twenty odd seconds inbetween.

Saur Kraut - Back when I did that, it wasn't so humid but right now we are getting temps near 100 with 70% humidity and rain everyday. It has been brutal this week.

Beau - You have to read the planter tracks which after the heavy rain that caused the hoeing to begin with were really faint. Generally the seed sprouts are still pliable enough that you can run over them and they will still come up but we still try to stay inbetween the rows with the tires as much as possible.

Murf said...

Ted would have made great company.

Ron said...

I always thought driving tractor was fun, at least until the sweat ran in the eyes and diesel exhaust made me sick. I'm amazed that the cabbed ones are quiet enough to listen to NPR!

Ron

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I would like to have had the opportunity to do some of this stuff before I grew too old. (and trust me, even if I did have family once that plowed every year till they were ninety, I am too old.) I spent several hours today in the saddle of an ancient Lowes riding lawn mower, and I seriously wondered if I shouldn't call the funeral home to come take me off from it.

Ed Abbey said...

Murf - I'm sure I thought about him several times during the day.

Ron - The newer cabbed ones are. All mechanical linkages have been replaced with fly-by-wire technology and any intrusions by those can be sealed up tight. The older ones with mechanical linkages were quiet enough that I could listen to NPR turned up really loud but with the new one, I hardly have any volume and I don't have to turn it off to talk on the two-way radio which I always had to do in the older tractors.

3 Score - Some days are like that even for the most youthful of us. I already have a bum knee and I hope I have a long way to go yet.

Murf said...

So you thought of sex and Ted while tractoring? I'm sure morels were in there somewhere as well. What an odd little man you are. ;-)

TC said...

Sounds like a wonderful day.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I concur... a good day. YOU are the only active farmer I know, albeit you do it to help out your folks. Strange what's happened to us as a nation in that regard. All my family from my dad's side come from the farm. Yet now, I think I have only one or two cousins that still farm, and as I said, I don't know them. Nice perspective...

R. Sherman said...

Nothing better than a day well spent at hard work.

Cheers.