By now you have turned the calendar from August to September which means in a mere 30 or so days, harvest will have started. Combines, trucks, augers, tractors, wagons, bins and driers will all be readied for the job ahead.
Gradually, soybean leaves will change to yellow and then to tan. The sumac and a few trees have made the coming season shift official by starting to change from green to orange or red. It is going to happen.
If all goes well, sometime about four to six weeks later, harvest will be complete or nearly complete. We will know what our average yield is and there will be no more estimating. We will know what impact our less-than-hot summer had on the crop.
Every crop year I can remember can be described as too wet or too dry, but this is the first one I can think of as being too cool. It seemed we went from June to September to September and now to September. I believe we turned on the air conditioner two times and that was due more to humidity than heat.
Having the windows open for the summer was pleasant, but I do not remember a time when they were mostly closed by late August. Most early days when school starts we seem to get a heat wave with some schools closing early because of the heat. That will not happen this year.
There is no ignoring the signs. Yellow and orange leaves along with yellow school buses notify us summer is nearly done and fall is very close.
We have one holiday ahead of us for that last family picnic or trip on a three day weekend. I do not do much shopping, but the few stores I patronize have their Halloween displays in place. Then the next holiday is Thanksgiving, snow, and Christmas followed by a new year.
Before all that, we need to get out everything that grew in the garden and get used to the idea that winter is a real possibility. There is a sobering thought.
We went from last summer’s flooding to this summer’s lack of flooding with areas of dry weather. Last summer’s $4 per gallon gasoline became this summer’s $2.50 gasoline. Last summer’s booming markets gave way to this year’s busting markets.
Is there anyone bold enough to make a prediction about the next 12 months? How about the next six months? Six days?
Many years ago, I heard cowboy poet Paul Zarzyski of Montana recite a poem he wrote as a rider of bucking horses. Just before his ride he was given advice from the rodeo queen whose jeans were so tight, “you tell if the dimes in her pockets were heads or tails”. She told Zarzyski to “Hold on tight.”
Rodeo queens are not known for their sage wisdom (I could not resist the pun) but who can argue with what she said? It applies to riders of bucking horses, riders of grain and livestock markets, and everyone who has ridden out a storm, weather or otherwise.
My wife and I have found it to be good advice to say to each other in our years together. I will take the rodeo queen’s advice over what most politicians say in Washington.
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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