Mama Said There'd be Days Like This
My mama said me there’d be days like this. But she didn’t say nothin’ about two years’ worth right in a row. Even my granddad and dad have told me of their own struggles in great detail, but their experiences of past burdens do little to ease the pains of mine as a farmer.
It’s funny. With all our technological advances into the 21st century with impressive gadgets, computers, satellites, GPS, chemistry, etc., farming just doesn’t get any easier on some levels. Yeah, we’re riding bigger, more powerful tractors and pulling fancier, more expensive equipment, but our visions of grandeur come crashing back down to earth because of something as tiny as a grasshopper or rootworm or thrip.
No matter how many acres we farm or how large our tractors get, Nature has a way of humbling our labor, bringing unforgiving attention to our methods. All that blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t mean anything if one microscopic or tiny genre or family or species gets a hankering for our crops because the ecosystem gets out of balance. Their invasions can cut us down to size pretty fast, making us recognize our vulnerable mortality.
So, halfway into 2012, I find myself humbled…yet again, for the thirtieth time within 18 months. O’ farming, how you pain me. But I love it. It’s almost as if I crave these lessons so they’ll make me stronger, transform me into beef jerky, a Super Bowl Champion, and air traffic controller all rolled into one humungous yarn of chewable perseverance.
We’re recovering from the worst drought on record in 2011. Then we get our hopes up with some key rains and snow for 2012. Then the dry heat and high winds come, bringing only spotted rains, so spotted that the drops are only wet on one side. Then I get Roundup drift damage from my neighbor on my only organic field. Then come the thrips. Then the cutworms. Then the grasshoppers. Then Roundup drift damage on another field.
You get the point. Although it is the oldest profession (you can Google it), farming still isn’t that easy. But we’ll be fine. The cotton will grow out of the thrips damage. The cutworms have weeded out the weak from the strong plants. I’ll turn the grasshoppers away with a heavy dose of garlic spray. As far as the Roundup damage goes, that won’t go away. But I’m dealing with it best I can.
So although 2012 is halfway gone, I’m ready for the other half to bring on whatever it has to offer. I can take it. Afterall, I’ve had several generations worth of training…and warning.