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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Apr 29, 2011

Another week has gone by and we are not any farther ahead in planting, whether it is seed corn by the acres or seed potatoes by the few square feet, than we were an entire week ago.

Seven days have gone by in what should be prime planting time and we have nothing to show for it. How does that happen?

True, there is an 18-pound ham that disappeared over the Easter weekend when an assortment of relatives composed of mainly of children, their spouses and grandchildren that arrived, so that much has changed.

It is the view across the countryside that has remained totally unchanged that has me asking,”What is happening?” The answer to that question is, “Nothing.”

When I was around the age of 8, my parents made the wise decision to enroll my sisters and me in swimming lessons.

Each summer for several years, we were hauled by bus to a lake and later a pool to learn how to be safe and enjoy water that was over our head.

Once we worked our way to the deep end of the pool, we were taught how to tread water.

It is a valuable skill because it keeps your head above water and requires a low amount of energy.

It is what you do while waiting for something else.

However, treading water is not the purpose of being in the pool. It is merely a way of staying afloat until the next move. It is more of a survival technique than anything else.

Here we are in late April and we are treading water, expending a small amount of energy to keep our head above water while waiting for our next move.

Treading water is a good technique. I can tread water for a while, but not forever nor do I want to do it forever.

Planting can wait for awhile, but not forever, especially in late April.

The calendar is making progress even though I am not and that is the problem.

Agronomists and our own experience tell us to not do anything until conditions are right. That is easy to say, but when you hear the clock ticking loudly and the sun sets with nothing changed for another day, it would be easy to try just a little something to show some progress.

What’s the harm in that?

Isn’t there a high spot that dries out quickly so I can shine up the equipment by running it through the dirt?

A tractor that is ready to go,with a full tank of diesel and hitched to an implement is a terrible thing to waste.

I look at the few square feet of ground we use for our potato garden and think, “Isn’t there any way I can turn that soil over and get the potatoes going?”

But when the soil is so damp you do not even dare walk on it, you know it will be another day lost.

So here we are still treading water. It is not why we got into this pool called farming. Treading water is a survival technique and not much else.

It does not even count for practice.

Patience, patience tick, tick, tick, tick … (treading, treading) …

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

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