As many times as I have seen the Mexican custom of the pinata, I have never participated or even been close to one. Seeing it on television many times, I can understand the excitement of trying to strike a target while blindfolded to be able to gather the prize. It is a lot like farming.
We enter the year blindfolded. We try to position ourselves to get the best chance at winning the prize. We try to get everything lined up for our big chance to win from buying our inputs to selling a crop that is not yet planted.
We till, plant, and we spray. Then comes the time when we start swinging our stick wildly; swinging our sticks knowing we are within inches of our reward.
It is so close and so far. It is so close we can see the ears filling on the stalks of corn and the soybeans pods starting to form. Harvest is the pinata. We know it is there. It is close, but what does it hold? What will be my share?
It is an exciting time. Everyone around us knows what is approaching. When the pinata of harvest is opened at last, we will all grab our prizes. Farmers, elevators, ethanol plants, soybean processors, machinery dealers, and more will enjoy all we have been waiting for. All of us will try to fill our pockets with as much as we can.
We look at our fields with the same anticipation as children look at their pinata. We know there is something in there but how much is there and what will I get? It is a great time of year as the anticipation builds.
I look for signs to tell me what I might be able to expect. One sign is the vegetable garden that is now starting to yield. The first potatoes have been dug. Tomatoes and peppers are ripening in plain view. A few feet of string bean plants can last for several meals. They all tell us it is going to be a good year.
My wife is concerned that our 200-and-some potato plants will be more potatoes than we can use this fall.
We need to start giving fresh potatoes to our children who are visiting plus serving all of us those potatoes in meals anytime. Our grown children carry those newly-dug potatoes home with them like prizes they have just won. As if from a pinata.
Digging the potatoes is like the pinata. I cannot see the prize, but I know it is there. My shovel goes in the ground and my container slowly fills with potatoes the size of marbles and some bigger than oranges. Patience is its own reward as the potatoes get bigger with each passing week.
Within minutes the container of potatoes has been transformed into fried potatoes, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and homemade French fries. What a great time of year to enjoy the first bounty of this season, as we look at our fields filling and ripening with the coming harvest of nature’s pinata.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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