I don’t believe there is an occupation that requires its practitioners to be in touch with their surroundings more than agriculture, and farming, in particular, does.
It starts when winter ends and everyone watches for those clues when it’s time to begin planting season.
The soil has to be dry enough to support equipment, but there are times when “mudding it in” is a last resort.
As soon as planting is complete, weed control begins when farmers do the annual battle with those pests from the past such as button weed and new ones like Palmer amaranth.
It isn’t just pests with roots, but there are also soybean aphids, root worms, molds and fungi.
As harvest approaches, the date of the first frost sets combines in motion along with trucks, wagons, dryers, and everything that supports them.
After harvest ends, an eye is kept on the weather to keep stored grain from spoiling in the bin.
I was thinking about these things when I was recognizing the importance of timeliness when all these tasks need to be done under the best conditions possible, not too early nor too late.
The reason the concept of timeliness was on my mind was because it started with not the growing of food, but the consuming of it.
During Mother’s Day weekend, my sisters and brother-in-law joined my wife and me for a meal at our home.
The menu included asparagus harvested from a road ditch next to the farm where I grew up less than a mile away, rhubarb that was transplanted from that same farm to my sister’s home where she lives in a city about 25 miles away, and morel mushrooms collected by my brother-in-law on the property he owns between here and where he and my sister live in Illinois.
They also brought asparagus from their Illinois home.
A trip to a local convenience store for broasted chicken was the final touch when asparagus pizza was served as hors d’oeuvre with asparagus as part of the main course with the chicken, a freshly prepared salad, and fresh rhubarb pie for dessert.
It was a meal that only could be best prepared at this time of year when the ingredients are at their maximum freshness and availability.
It was timely.
As an aside, among my sisters, my wife and I, we have a total of six children, none of whom were here to enjoy our meal. They had lives, plans, and families of their own that weekend.
My sisters’ and my mother passed away nine years ago and my wife’s mother was celebrating Mother’s Day with family members near her home 200 miles from here.
That does not mean our get together on Mother’s Day weekend was any less as we were pleased our children were safe, celebrating among themselves or with other family members.
We were grateful our own mothers instilled in us the importance of family and creating meals where we can talk, laugh and share in the passages of our lives.
That’s timely, too.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.