Monday, June 9, 2008

Luck O' The Irish (or not)

I live in Irish Grove, I sport an Irish last (maiden) name, and I come from some pretty sturdy Irish stock.

So when during the past two farming years, my first two years as a farmer no less, I've been the happy beneficiary of some pretty good 'Luck o' the Irish', I just figured that the luck comes with the heritage. It makes sense. Somehow, I'm just destined to be lucky.

For the past two years, the weather's held out even when it's been too dry just south of here or too wet just north of here. The crop yields have been decent and grain prices have been strong. We've started a fine herd of Murray Greys and all of our cows were somehow impregnated by a very young, inexperienced bull. (May that be a lesson to you parents of teenagers!) We've cleaned up the farmstead, organized things a little, and done pretty well for ourselves, under the circumstances.

We've made mistakes, sure, and I'm very realistic about how many more of those are on the horizon. And in no uncertain terms do I deny the fact that there is absolutely no substitute for experience in the farming world. But the mistakes we've made so far haven't held any real, tangible consequences. Everything, thankfully, has turned out okay in the end.

And so that 'I'm Just Lucky' attitude wormed its sneaky little way into my psyche, set up shop and hung curtains. At first it was a welcome guest. It gave me the reassurance I desperately needed that I wasn't going to screw up this whole farming experience and ruin our beloved family farm. But lately, I'm Just Lucky has overstayed his welcome. He's eatin' potato chips on the couch, if you know what I mean, and he's started leaving his dirty socks under the dining room table.

Almost two weeks ago now, I'm Just Lucky finally overstepped his bounds and convinced me to mow the first crop of hay when we had a 4 day window of dry weather. I'm Just Lucky whispered to me that, "Sure, it looks like the storms could push in sooner that expected, but you're lucky, remember? Don't forget who you are, my dearest. You're Irish. You're lucky!"

So what do you think Miss Under-experienced, Relying On My Luck Farmer did?

I went and cut the hay!!!

Long story short......10 days later, the hay is still on the ground, has been rained on ump-teen times, and will soon be a nice black, slimy mess. The alfalfa continues to grow, of course, and is now growing through the windrows in the places where it's not getting snuffed out due to lack of air and sunlight. The ground is saturated from the gazillion inches of rain we've gotten in the past 10 days, and I wouldn't dare put the heavy tractor in there, even if we do get a few dry days. I've got to go call the farmer that was going to buy all of this hay and let her out of her contract. And next winter, we're going to have one heck of a time trying to force the cattle to eat this degraded yuckiness. That is IF we are ever able to get this darned hay dried and baled in the first place.

Luck o' the Irish? I don't think so.

Now please excuse me. I'm got some spring cleanin' to do.

2 comments:

Shelly said...

Hi Jackie!

I saw your email address in an email from Lisa Bartels and google-d it to see if your farm had a website and found your blog.

After a very stressful day, I've been reading your posts. I laughed. I cried. I missed you and your beautiful children with their sparkling brown eyes and big grins!

And -- I remembered how much I always admired you, Jackie. You're amazing! Notwithstanding this week's hay disaster (so sorry!) sounds like you're settling into farming like it's in your blood. I guess it is, huh?

Anyway, I'm happy to see you and your family happy and healthy. Can we talk about some chickens? I don't think I'll ever eat a rotisserie bird from the supermarket again ...

Shelly (Griswold)

Jackie said...

Hey Shelly! Nice to hear from you. Hope you and yours are doing well....I'd love to hear what's up in your life sometime. I was just thinking of you, actually, because Eva came for a visit this past weekend. She's doing really well, thanks to you and the many who've helped her along the way.

Glad you've enjoyed my ramblings. Sometimes I wonder why I keep this up. Just being able to reconnect with old friends like you makes it very worthwhile. Take care! -J