From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fields and Gardens Are Being Planted

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



Sunset over plowed fieldSunset over Willis's field


Farming is proceeding full speed ahead in Christian County. Our neighbor Willis has his fields tilled and, I assume, planted. He was working until about midnight a couple of nights ago.

Willis is good at watching the weather and timing his field work so it rains just after he parks his tractor and goes in the house. Sure enough, we had a little shower (and a lot of wind and marble-sized hail) yesterday, and we're getting some occasional showers tonight.

Willis also sent one of his boys up with the little tractor and cultivator to work on my garden before the rain. This is the first time the garden has ever been plowed (or cultivated.)

For the past 15 years, I've dug up the garden with a long-bladed spade, one bed at a time as I planted it. I've raised some big, good gardens doing it that way. However, I am not as excited anymore as I used to be about all that digging.

Old time seed and garden catalogThe garden is too muddy to plant at present, but I'm looking forward to getting started when it dries. I will plant the usual: green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and cantaloupe, mixed in with zinnias and marigolds.

I am going to try not to plant too much more than we can eat. This year, when my neighbor knocks on the door with a dozen tomato plants she wants to give me after I've already planted all the tomatoes I want, I will politely decline!

Back to large scale agriculture, now. Yesterday, I saw a farmer using the largest grain drill I have ever seen. I mean a drill that is pulled behind a tractor. It's a machine that makes furrows at a precise depth, drops the seeds in, and covers them up.

The farmer was taking that drill through a field of freeze-damaged wheat, and I suppose he was planting corn. It looked like he was putting on fertilizer or possibly herbicide from some big tanks on top of the drill.

Grain drills aren't a new invention. They've been around since Jethro Tull invented the first one in the early 1700's. Jethro didn't have a mammoth tractor to pull his drill around his field, but he'd have been proud of the rig I saw yesterday.

The drill was about 100 yards wide, and it was pulled by an enormous, dual-wheeled (front and back) John Deere tractor that was bigger than a locomotive.

Am I exaggerating? I don't think so. You'd believe me if I had a picture, but I was motoring to the doctor's office and couldn't pause for photography. You'll just have to take my word for it this time.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.