Friday, April 24, 2009

Memories of an April past...

...and the May that followed

I passed a tractor on Highway 17 coming home from Sauk Centre yesterday. That in itself wasn't unusual – any way you turn these days is seems there's a tractor hauling manure, disking a field, or sowing seed. What was unusual about the tractor I passed was that the tractor's driver wasn't wearing his shirt and I could see the sweat running down his back. Yesterday was April 23rd and our thermometer topped out at 86 degrees. Just twenty days ago I was lamenting the snow that had just been dumped into our yard.

As we peeled clothes off in the unseasonable heat, I couldn't help but think back to the April when we started farming. The weather was unbelievable. We spent the month of April in t-shirts and, often, shorts. We calved in most of the herd during those 30 days of sunshine and dry earth. Our career was off to a fabulous start.

Then, May came. For 27 of the the month's 31 days, it rained. Some days it poured. Some days it just pissled. For days in a row the sun never peeked from behind the clouds. It was awful. We were rotationally grazing and both the primary and alternate routes from the pasture to the parlor were barnyard soup. The cows were covered in mud, which made milking unpleasant, on good days, and downright miserable most days. Our moods were as gray as the skies. Looking back, I honestly wonder how our marriage and fledging farming career survived. Probably because we didn't have any other choice but surviving.

This past weekend when Glen was beaming about how beautiful it was outside I told him how much this weather reminded me of the spring of 2005.

"Do you remember what that May was like?"

"I will never forget that for as long as I live," he said. "That was awful."

We like to think we're a little better suited to handle that kind of precipitation now, both facility-wise and marriage-wise, should Mother Nature throw another May like that at us. But, honestly, I don't know how anybody could keep a sunny attitude when the sun refuses to shine.

I'm going to go out and soak in the sun while it's shining... just in case it goes on vacation next month.

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