If it rains. If it rains. When it rains.
Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old and gray, but I am really starting to notice how the weather controls our lives. Oh, It probably isn’t as much as it used to be, but everything a farmer or rancher does kind of revolves around the weather.
Farmers and ranchers watch the markets. I don’t imagine there is a market report that doesn’t include the words “if it rains.” Corn could be $8 a bushel, but “if it rains it could be $4.” Cattle market will be at record levels “if it rains.” If it rains in Brazil. If it rains in Argentina. If it rains on the plains. If it rains I will plant corn. If it doesn’t rain I’ll plant sunflowers. If it rains those cows are going to be worth $3,000. If, if, if.
Now, I would have to say I am an optimist. I say, “When it rains.” And I remember from typing class a long, long time ago. In a galaxy far, far away. It went something like “The rains in Spain fall mainly on the plain.” I guess I don’t remember that well. But some of you might!
Now, for the past couple years, the midsection of the country has been, and continues to be in a severe drought. We were a little better off in North Dakota, and especially well off the farther North you went. But the dry weather is creeping north. I’m not sure where the snow fell over the weekend, but recently, once you were south of New England, the ground was bare.
Now, winter is a fine time for a drought. Unless you need stock ponds replenished, or operate a barge on the Mississippi (I love typing that word). If we do get a pile of snow, it blows off our fields and fills the yard and the calving pens. I failed in pen design a long, long time ago. Pictures of snow sitting eight inches deep on a fence post are not taken in North Dakota or Northwest South Dakota. Here snow falls parallel to the ground. It doesn’t come floating down to rest on top of a fence post.
Now, to what made me start this story.
A few months ago there was a great documentary on the Dust Bowl. For you sport fans at St. Anthony club, it was not a football game. It was the drought during the 1930’s. Sorry to get your hopes up. Anyway, for Christmas I received the DVD of that documentary. Watching it, I realized how soft and spoiled we have become in the last century.
Those old farmers and farm wives kept plowing that ground up and planting that wheat and saying, “when it rains.” They said it for years. And it didn’t rain. Nor for a long time. And it blew and blew and blew.
Now, I don’t want to depress you, because those same people noticed that three days or three months after a fog, it rains, so I’m predicting a lot of moisture from March on. She’s gonna be a bin buster!
And Shirley says if it rains…