Farming + weather = !

It rained, beginning on Thursday evening. Flash flood watches became warnings by Friday morning and when it was over we had three inches sloshing in the rain gauge. Planting had begun in earnest, and fields down by river looked more like ponds this morning as I drove to town. Recent stories in the national news have told of wildfires in the west and statistics posted by the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection indicate that well over one thousand wildfires have been reported thus far this year. The folks out there could surely do with some of our rain. It is because of this inequality that I feel just a bit guilty hoping for some dry, sunny, conditions over the next week or so. This pattern of spring weather is all too familiar however. Early spring is always quite cool and wet, providing excellent conditions for the hay crop. By the end of the month the grasses will begin to head up to set seed. This will be the best time to harvest but, if past experience is any guide, it will remain wet and the weather service will characterize most days as partly cloudy. Those who have followed this blog for a bit may recall a number of previous posts which have talked about hay production. In those posts I have said that, here at the farm, we require three dry days with full sun to make hay. On day one we’ll cut the field. On the next day, sometime in the afternoon after the uppermost surfaces of the windrows have dried, we’ll rake the field to expose the undersides of the rows. And on day three we’ll form the dried hay into round bales. There’s absolutely no rushing this procedure and a crop can lose significant nutrient content if rained on anytime after drying has begun. Along about the first of June I’ll begin to get anxious, especially when the weather service begins predicting good days, but just two-at-a-time. This will go on for another week or so when, all of a sudden, the weather prognosticators will predict four successive good days … three days out. The next day the great forecast will be reduced from four good days down to three, and then just a day out the good forecast will be reduced form three good days down to just two; and, after getting my hopes up (and the equipment greased and fueled) I’ll be crushed. By this time I won’t be able to even look at the weather map and will leave all of the big decisions concerning the crop to Joanna. She’s much more reasonable and less emotional about such things. Usually, within another week or ten days she’ll give me the thumbs up and I’ll climb onto the 1520 and, in terms of the local vernacular, start ‘er up and put ‘er down. [That would be, start up the tractor and then mow down the hay crop standing in the field.] Anyway, that’s all in the future. Right now I suppose I am happy for the moisture which will support the good growth of the field that I will eventually harvest and feed to my animals next winter. I will try to be patient.

14 thoughts on “Farming + weather = !

  1. Wow, what terrible anxiety … and over something which you have no control over … yikes! The weather can be a terrible mistress even for our small garden and my photography … so I can only imagine … but presumably you would just buy in extra winter food if it did rain on your first hay harvest? Always love to read your posts David 🙂

  2. Well, you’ve got a great macro going with the raindrops. I hope the sun shines on your schedule so Joanna won’t have to babysit you for days while you pace the floor over the weather report! 🙂 Chuckle. I really do like this image a lot.

  3. This image looks like one of M.C. Escher’s impossible illusions – not sure why that is exactly. As if the two halves of the leaves don’t fit together? But spherical droplets and leaves in general are “very Escher”.

    As for the weather – we had severe flooding in central Europe last week, for Serbia and Bosnia it was the worst in 120 years. If I counted correctly that was the third “100-year” flood in central Europe within the last 10 years.

    • Yes, we’ve heard of the floods in Serbia and Bosnia … accompanied by landslides. These are especially dangerous since they have resulted in the movement of previously-mapped mine fields … which are, as a result, no longer mapped! What a mess! I am sorry. How have you been? D

      • Some places in Austria were affected, too, but it was not as bad as with the last floods. I was happy that I did have to drive to the university where I did my engineering degree last year – that could have been “interesting” last weekend.

  4. April showers can bring May flowers, but rain in May gives Dave some hay 🙂 Sorry, I really could not resist. It seems we have also finally entered spring around here. That means icebergs too! Yesterday I even went out with the camera to find a few but, unfortunately, the fog rolled in. Too bad. Funny, though, you’re getting ready for a first cut, which means to me the grass must be a foot or so high and here, in my place, the grass is just sprouting.

    • Same in Saskatchewan – the willows came out in leaf this weekend but we’re waiting for the other trees – grass showed up green this week! I bought a bag of potting soil that had been stored outside on a pallet at Peavy Mart on Saturday, the dirt was frozen, with ice between the bags!

    • That’s just about right … the front field is just about a foot high in some places. Please return to your coastline (and don’t wait too long) for images of icebergs … I await a beautiful gallery. Also … Joanna laughed at your poetic line! D

  5. One man’s curse is another’s wished-for blessing. I wish you could ship some of that wet weather out west. We could sure use it! Patience. 🙂

  6. I can imagine how concerned you get over wishing for and finding that three day dry spell. I am that way about our upcoming Memorial Day weekend weather. Things are so much more fun when it’s not raining! BUT I am thankful for the rain we had on Friday. My grass got a good drink, along with my new plantings. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is hard to predict! Look at the weather on Ben’s wedding day! The black background in this shot really makes this young hay-maker POP! Wonderful texture and interest!

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