Scratching the planting itch

I have been out of town for three days. Enjoy this previous column concering planting in 2011.

My husband was on the phone again.

It’s a good thing he can keep track of his things better than I can, because without his cell phone he would be lost.

I don’t think a day goes by where our conversations are interrupted by the almost-silent vibration of his phone.

I don’t carry my phone with me 100 percent of the time. I figure, if the person calling has something important to share, he or she will call me back.

But I digress.

Steve was on the phone talking to a person at the John Deere dealer in St. James.

It seems that Steve is finally getting the itch to get out into the field to start planting.

The reason he was talking to a guy from St. James was that our new-used planter is still sitting in the shop down there along with one of our tractors.

They are preparing it for the planting season ahead.

Steve never talked to an actual person, but left a message that went something like this.

“I know we are not going to get into the field to start planting today, or even tomorrow, but it sure would be nice to have the planter here at home.”

So the planting itch has finally landed. I was wondering when and where it was going to hit.

I am sure Steve wants to sit in the tractor cab and play with all the new buttons and switches attached to the planter.

Steve even offered to allow me to do a bit of planting this year.

At first I refused. I have always refused.

Why in the world would I want to put my own dignity on the line and plant the fields? I know there are neighbors that drive around and check out just how straight the Jones’ field was planted when the tiny corn and soybean plants emerge from the ground.

I can hardly walk in a straight line; much less drive a 16-row planter from one end of the field to the next without making it look like a curled ribbon.

Steve then assured me that the neighbors would be impressed with my planting skills, since we now have Auto-Steer in the tractor we use on the planter. Using satellites, it will very nicely guide the tractor back and forth across the field with in inches of the previous pass. It almost guarantees the planting of a perfectly straight line, which in the end is supposed to save us money.

“Well then, as long as I have a good novel to read, I suppose I could do a little planting,” I said. “Hopefully I remember to turn the tractor around before I plant the neighbor’s field.”

“You can’t read a book and plant,” Steve laughed.

“Why not? The tractor will drive itself down the field and then all I have to do is turn it around.”

Steve then proceeded to explain to me that there are plenty of other things to look at while you sit in the tractor cab, with nary a care in the world.

“You can watch the neighbors and see what they’re doing. You could look all around and see different things.”

Well, I assured him that when I am reading a book, I see plenty of things in my mind like the story.

I don’t know; I may just have to attempt planting this year. I will leave my current novel at home and try to appreciate what the neighbors are doing.

The only problem is that there is a line of people wanting to participate in spring field work. Several of our employees have asked. Joey and Russell have asked and that leaves me on the bottom of the list. I don’t mind being low man on the totem pole. I have had plenty of years doing field work; it’s time to share.

I suppose I will have the chance to do some planting during the day, when all the employees are spending their days learning reading, writing and arithmetic.

Besides, having the chance to return to the fields I planted to see just how straight the rows are will be kind of fun.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at

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