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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jul 9, 2010

Change arrives sometimes so imperceptively that it goes unnoticed until we realize enough time has passed that the accumulated change has made a difference we can measure.

For example, with June 21 behind us, our days have started to shorten and we are losing less than a minute a day. That does not seem like much, but within a week, there is about 5 minutes less of daylight.

I like daylight and I would prefer keeping every minute I could. Unfortunately, the cycles of the universe have their own schedules that prevail over my wishes.

With the last acres of spraying nearing completion, it is another year that two implements have sat unused in a corner of a shed, the rotary hoe and the cultivator. I have to think how long ago it was that they were used. It has been more than 10 years.

Ten years? How did that happen? It was a bit of relief when we could see that our herbicide was doing such a good job that the hoe and cultivator were not needed.

Both of them are in good shape with even their paint hardly faded. They will probably stay that way for years to come, unused and nearly forgotten. Today, their future use seems as unlikely as the return of the threshing machine.

It takes someone at least 50 years of age to remember doing the job of cultivating. My 33-year-old son has never cultivated, but would remember seeing me do it.

A group of farmers at least 50 years of age can reminisce about front mounts, rear mounts, trying to stay awake, and if they are very old, cultivating in both directions, north-south and east-west, in a check planted field.

The day is coming when the next question will be, “Check planted, what is that?” For a few, that day is now.

Some change is immediate such as what happens in a disaster, but most changes are more subtle. So subtle, in fact, that we must look back into the past before we can measure where we used to be and where we are now.

Ten years of change is a lot in the 21st century. Cell phones have gone from a convenience to a necessity. GPS has gone from an interesting curiosity to one cab-mounted box that controls the sprayer in the summer and measures the harvest in the fall. Its evolution is not done yet. Auto steer will become more common in everything.

There are things that have gone unchanged and could stand to be advanced because the jobs have not changed that much in 50 years. Lawns still have to be mowed. Dishes always need to be washed. Nobody has found a replacement for the broom and dustpan.

Find a way to improve or eliminate these jobs and you will be rich. I will help make you rich.

I do not see the makers of scoop shovels going out of business. They are not adding a computer or GPS to their scoop shovels either. Are they stuck in the past? How about at least adding a digital readout of some measurement to a shovel so we have something to watch? Wouldn’t that be more natural?

After the shovel is improved, next will be the hammer, another tool in need of updating. It could be a GPS equipped hammer that is able to connect to the internet. Its time has come.

How about if I duct taped a cell phone to my cultivator? Would that make it usable again?

We are talking about the future here where things are not allowed to stay the same. This is for your own good, so no complaining.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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