A thousand cuts. That’s how you slay a paper tiger, sans water, death by a thousand paper cuts. It’s time to cut out another post to drive into the turf here at the new blog and see if it sprouts roots. Cut another page in this paperless world just in case it’s not as fickle as I suspect. Stand the watch. For that cyberless tiger.

If I’m gonna stand the watch I have to keep the log. Skies partly cloudy, winds light and variable, no apparent moon. Seas are calm. Or would be if there were any. Kinda land locked here in the corn patch and it’s been a couple weeks but it hasn’t rained that much. No arks being built that I’ve heard of. I should say standing ponds in every lull reflectively calm. Crystal as a mirror.

I’m sure I got this late of a start to planting corn last year and what a crop that turned out to be. I may have proof here back in the blog. I may even go back and check though no two years are the same. I’m thinking the two weeks of rain happened after I was done with beans. I could be wrong. The two weeks of rain have become common but not the same two weeks each year. Cutting gullies. Monsoons. Get em while they’re wet.

Sea ya there, sea ya then …….



Rain Fall

I don’t think I can remember a wetter August and September since I started farming back in 1984. I remember one September getting seven inches of rain in one storm. That was the first year I farmed the farm north of town. If you can call running your brother’s equipment farming. To me it felt an awful lot like working for a brother. I’ve done that too many times to count and it’s not felt good since I did it to get out of working for Dad. So it’s all relative, literally. The year of the seven inches was 1988. The first drouth I farmed through. Yields were cut in half during a time when I was farming for half the yield. Try explaining to your new landlord that everything in the bin is everything the farm grew, not his half.

The reason I remember the seven inches was the gullies it left in the fields. 1988 was the first year I tore a wheel off a combine. I tore both rear wheels off along with the axle they pivot on. If you’re going to break it break it right I always say. When they fell through the ground tight into a little tire sized bowl that had washed out under a little four inch gulley I was crossing I didn’t get it stopped until they had rolled up into the straw chopper that ate itself and one of the tires. We could get the axle welded back on but the chopper and wheel was a total loss. I don’t think my brother ever forgave me for tearing up his toy. We parted ways soon there after and haven’t talked much since. Even though we live only a couple miles apart.

I was watching the water run out of fields and the creek top it’s banks the last real heavy rain and the thought of my first bad gully experience came to mind. Here we are a few weeks away from harvesting a crop that has seen nothing but heavy rains ever since it was planted. If there ever was a year to tell us where we need to plant something to hold the soil this one should be it. What’s worse is that this last few storms happened again in a standing crop that can cause pools of water to back up increasing the chance for little tire sized bowls to cut out under the soil’s surface. It could be an interesting fall. Watch where you step and watch where you drive this “fall” season. I’m still healing up from my last fall a few weeks ago.



‘Tween Rain

What a rain. We had to get a few inches. Most of it soaked in. It came fast and furious at first. At first there was no rain. A dust front came through about fifty miles an hour. Then the sky turned kinda green. Lower near the ground it was still dust colored but up above it was that light emerald green that usually spits out a tornado. Then sheets of rain. Rushing across the ground in waves. Faster than water can soak into a sponge. The old familiar gullies ran anew with water. Splish splash the lightning flash. What a show.

I hopped in the van and drove the neighborhood watching the various fields and studying how they handled the heavy rain. Cover crops win. Coming in a close second is no till. Followed up by terraces and grassed waterways. I don’t know where you would put oats and wheat crops. They were not tall and heavy headed enough to go down flat and they soaked up the rain faster than a hairy sponge. Upon reconsideration they may have to be put on top of the list. Definitely worth their place in the crop rotation.

They’re calling for another round this afternoon.  I prefer the slow steady rain we had for the four or five hours after the storm front moved through the other evening. The kind of rain that soaks in and does some good, not damage. I’m not complaining about the rain. I am trying to figure out the best ways to capitalize on all the neighbor’s soil laden water as it flows my way. That way I can have my cake and eat theirs too. I think Dad used to build little holding ponds along the waterways to the creek. Water would slow down in the holding ponds and drop their silt. I think it’s time to reinstall them. I don’t know if dad took them out or if they all filled up. This farm was all grass when Dad quit back in the seventies.

I could talk all day and would if I wasn’t getting hungry. My fingers want to leave the keyboard and get into the cupboard. Put a little vittles in my middle. A sip and a slurp. I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow or so. Like the little matchbooks used to say, Enjoy!