Thursday, April 22, 2010

Planting Season

It’s planting season over at Corn Beans and Spent Brass.

I don’t know why but I find this fascinating. More drama that the best the TeeVee can produce (well, since Firefly). I’m just a suburban boy. The closest I get to farming is mowing an eighth of an acre of lawn. And Frank James has a couple hundred acres to tend to.

Last year there were lots of rains at planting time, and that played hell with getting seed in the ground. I had no idea those big wheeled tractors could get in trouble in the mud. And I mean up to the AXLE trouble. And there was a wet harvest last year as well. The year before was one of the best harvests ever. EVERY year has major mechanical failures on the megabuck worth of equipment a farmer needs these days. Some of those tracto thingies have a nasty habit of lighting up like a Zippo in some circumstances, leading to some interesting reports.

This year is nigh perfect for corn planting, but it may be a bit early or dry for beans.

Weather is EVERYTHING. And, obviously, totally out of the farmer’s control.

What is it about farming that is so darn riveting? Is it the lost connection with everyone’s agrarian roots (and they are there, if you go back far enough… go back a bit further and it’s our hunter-gatherer roots (and that reference to hunting is the closest I may get to gun content in this post))? It can’t really be tacked into our DNA. Humans have only been farming for 10,000 years or less. We were hunter-gatherers for 100,000+ years before that.

And my ancestors a few generations ago were pastoral herdsmen and cheesemakers, not planters. And the dichotomy there is whole ‘nother can of worms.

But I take great pleasure reading Frank James’ posts on everyday farm activities. Part of it is the fascination with the process, and, I’m sure, part of it is the quality of Frank’s writing. Can you imagine if he had faithfully kept a farm journal, long hand, with THAT quality writing and detail, plus all the data from operation, from the beginning of his farming career until now.


Old NFO said...

Yep, he's an excellent writer! No question...

Tam said...

I will never forget the time I sent off an email to him at some ungodly hour of the morning...

...and got a reply like two seconds later; he was on a tractor in the back forty with a Blackberry at an hour when the birds were still dozing.

Hat Trick said...

I grew up working on a farm and I find Farmer Frank's blog fascinating too. When you wrote "up to the AXLE trouble" I was thinking of this post:

In finding that one I came across a few more that bear a second look: