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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Mar 31, 2017

It has been a week since the first day of spring so maybe winter is done. Especially since the month of April is mere days away as I write this.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture assembled a map showing this winter’s snowfall across the state. Four of Iowa’s 99 counties received more than 40 inches of snow. All four counties were in north central Iowa and my county was in the center.

When winter drew a bead on Iowa, we were in the cross hairs.

Mitchell County east of me received the most in all of Iowa at 47 inches and my county came in second at 45 inches. That’s not a record I take any pride in having.

What made the winter’s accumulation unusual was that there were three storms of 7 to 8 inches and they all fell on bare ground. That means it stormed and all melted, stormed and all melted, and stormed.

So we are now back to bare ground, the birds are migrating north, tulip shoots are appearing, and farm equipment is parked outside of sheds where they have been stored since last fall.

What a great time of year.

The grass is starting to green up so the snow plow will be parked and the gas tank of the lawn mower will be filled so every 10 or so days, it will be time to cut the grass.

I certainly didn’t miss lawn mowing in the last months. I complain when the grass is getting long and 90 minutes later, the job is done. Then in less than two weeks, it is time to do it again.

However, this is spring. It is a time of new growth for both plants and animals. It is when the ground is turned over and seeds are planted.

It is when my favorite crop is started. Corn and soybeans pay the bills around here, but they are not my favorite crop. I am looking forward to planting our potatoes.

When we were first married 24 years ago, my new wife wondered about planting a potato garden. For me, potatoes came from a grocery store and besides, they were cheap. But it was important to her.

I pointed to a weedy patch of ground near the house where the potatoes could be planted.

She wasn’t sure about planting in a weed patch, but I assured I her it would work. I also liked where it was next to the driveway so we could check on it as we drove by.

The weed patch was turned into a seed patch and it grew potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. There was so much pleasure and satisfaction from a few dollars of seeds.

Isn’t that what farming is? Recognizing the potential in something that appears to be going to waste and making it productive. Then along with it comes pride in appreciating what that has become.

Planting, nourishing, cultivating, all of it working towards a harvest.

Come to think of it, isn’t that what we want to do in a marriage and in life?

What a great time of year.

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

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