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KAREN SCHWALLER

By Staff | Jun 27, 2014

Every now and again I’m reminded of the notion that the word “farm” is both a noun and a verb.

Come to think of it, the words “plan” and “spit” are of the same vintage.

This past spring, I was once again witness to our group of guys trying to make the plan to get the day’s spring planting done.

It’s a group of guys of all ages – young farmers, middle-aged farmers and one getting a little closer to retirement age each year, but not getting close to retiring.

They sort out seed and load the seed tenders, and when it’s all finished, they stand around in a circle with dirt swirling around their work boots as they shuffle back and forth.

It’s a group of guys, so of course, this elaborate thinking process requires jocularity overload, verbal fertilizer and a certain amount of spitting.

I’ve learned that it’s not always the greatest thing to be on the receiving end of any of those things.

Nearly three decades of marriage and a quarter century of being a mother has taught me to stand clear of all things spewed – from babies to children to grown men – whether in food, word or salivary form.

And especially if tobacco and wind speed and direction are involved.

Some of the guys run field cultivators, some run planters, some haul seed tenders, and everyone has a job to do.

When the monkey business has subsided, the plan is made as to who will be working where and how seed tenders and pickups filled with seed bags will get to the fields where they need to be throughout the day, and what the seed tender drivers will be doing after they reach their destinations.

And if making the plan for the entire day, they extend their planning by figuring out who should drive what pickup somewhere so everyone has something to come home in at quitting time or who will be around to drive so-and-such home.

It’s quite an intellectual process that makes my head spin, and I’m certain that so much time and thought was never put into planning our wedding day, nor subsequently in the planning of our family.

Of course, each plan is meticulously constructed, and two or three plans might be scrapped before the final revision is accepted by the entire congress.

When it receives all “ayes,” they scatter, firing up tractors and trucks for the day’s work ahead of them.

And, as we all know from time to time, the plan is subject to change without notice. When I bring supper to the field I sometimes get roped into helping move them from field to field.

It takes an axe to my own plan, but getting the crop in or out trumps all other plans. And I know the inconvenience is only temporary.

Better a temporary inconvenience than a temporary marriage. Most of the time, anyway.

All of this planning reminds me of our sons when they were in middle school and deciding the pecking order when it came to making planning decisions outside when their dad was not home.

There would be a wicked feud every now and then, which the neighbor’s dog could tune into by cocking his head sideways and turning up his ears. After a certain amount of bickering, our guys came up with a plan.

One day my husband asked one of them a question about something they were doing, and he answered with a clear and present tone of apathy.

“I don’t know. I’m not the boss today.”

I bet that plan involved a lot of spitting, but I’m glad I wasn’t there to see where – or on whom – it may have landed.

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net and at www.karenschwaller.com.

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