Snow in June

I went wading this morning.

I walk outdoors most mornings when the weather permits. This morning I could have used my barn boots instead of my sneaks. Yesterday, Jack Parent started trucking the first-cut hay down the road and neighbor Charley Smith’s Cottonwood trees began snowing. It wasn’t quite knee deep at the bottom of the hill but it is piled higher and deeper.

“The trees do that for Father’s Day each year,” Mr. Smith said.

Cottonwood Tree It doesn’t appear that we can spin cottonwood seeds into yarn let alone loom a fabric and the lumber is lousy; it splits poorly, rots quickly, and offers about 12 BTUs per cord of firewood. On the other hand caterpillars love the wood as food.

Mr. Smith’s bigger issue is the chopped grass that sluices off the farm trucks. The Parent farm is divided. His new farm is about three miles north of his home farm and about half a mile north of me. I get to watch a regular parade of 8-wheel tractors and liquid manure trucks and open dump trucks.

CottonwoodWe pick up half a bale of hay for each truck that passes but we have about 500 feet of road frontage. I don’t think Mr. Smith gets quite that much although there is a bump right in front of his land.

“There ought to be a law,” he said. “Farmers have too much power. We should have a regulation to keep the roads free of debris.”

I’m not much for rules. I googled farm bureau regulations and found about 2,230,000 results in 0.21 seconds. Regulation > Policy & Politics > Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “Farmers fear effects of proposed child labor regulations” at the Iowa Farm Bureau. Arkansas EPA regs. Suarez on Labor Regulations. Texas Farm Bureau Commodities and Regulatory authority. Guide to Lighting Regulations for Farm Implements, Guide to Open Burning, and Women’s Food Check Out Day at the Tennessee Farm Bureau. The Stanislaus County Farm Bureau also administers the ILRP on behalf of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition.

Hay Truck And so on.

Heck, there were about 4,290,000 hits, nearly twice as many, for Vermont farm regulations alone.

Maybe it’s time for someone without a Ph.D. to wade through this mess. There is no way on this green Earth that any farmer could comply with every reg already on the books, let alone the 1,523 new ones under consideration right now.

Meanwhile, Mr. Parent probably should think to cover his dump beds; after all, feed is even more expensive when the road gods get that sacrifice bale every day.

This farm report brought to you by the letter G.

2 thoughts on “Snow in June

  1. Herr Blogmeister, as I remarked to Mrs George a few nights ago when she was in a romantic mood, “You have touched upon my hot button.”

    I grew up in an area where the growing season for grasses that make up the ambiguous term “hay” begins early and ends late into the warm weather. In late summer the hay balers would be busy, and the hay haulers would be busier — just trying to keep up with those 100-pound wire-bound (think *haywire*) bales that pop out of the back of that thing like huge dog turds on a city street.

    In two weeks before the start of school, a young, strong buck like me could earn $140 (14 days @10 hrs a day @ $1per hour with no such thing as time-and-a-half for overtime). My mother would have a healthy supper for me at night, and a healthy breakfast and sack lunch for me in the morning. It was a good life.

    Often, I would party until midnight then hit the floor at 5:00 ayem the next day. Did I mention that I was a young buck?

    Of course, in 1952 $140 would stretch way into the Yuletide season. Not so anymore. In fact, today I paid that much at the verterinarian just to get a cat spayed. Adulthood sucks.

    — George

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