From the Farm: The planting bug has bitten

I thought of this year’s planting season just a few weeks ago.

On one of those nice, balmy days my mind drifted off to planting time.

I wasn’t smiling. It’s a stressful time for me. It’s almost like I lose my partner in crime.

Planting time is serious business when it comes to my husband. Like a fast moving freight train, you just have to stay out of his way. In fact, even Kate, one of our employees said the same thing about her dad, who also farms, “You just stay out of his way.”

It’s true.

Steve gets into this planting groove and he dances in it for several weeks, until the last seed is placed in the ground.

I can give you an example of how, once planting season starts, the only thing that is in super-farmer’s mind is getting those seeds into the ground, in a timely manner and at the proper rate per acre.

Tuesday evening, after a much-too-long baseball game (too long because it got too chilly) at Mueller Park, we drove home.

As we drove on the gravel toward our home, there were a gazillion bright lights in the field. For a second I thought of saying, “go into the light,” but I wasn’t quite sure how funny that comment would be for a guy that only has corn planting on his mind.

(As I type this column, I can hear one cow making a ton of noise outside. It makes me a bit nervous. I keep looking out my dirty kitchen windows expecting to see “Cows Gone Wild.” So far, so good; no cows running amok.)

Anyway, as we “drove into the light,” Steve said, “Go out there so we can check on Pete.”

Pete is Steve’s oldest brother. He took over planting so Steve could attend Russell’s baseball game.

Nobody was in the tractor. In fact, nobody was near the tractor. It was running. The powerful lights were heating the atmosphere, but Pete wasn’t anywhere around.

I sat in my Jeep’s driver seat waiting for my next direction.

“Drive over to Pete’s,” my living, breathing Tom-Tom said.

“You could just call him,” I said.

As I turned around in the middle of the road, (I did entertain the idea of ditch-hopping) Steve dug out his phone and called Pete.

“He’s out of seed already?” Steve said in a question format. “That seems kind of heavy.”

We are planting silage corn that is use to fill the silo and as feed for the cows. This corn is totally different from corn we sell at the elevator and extremely different from sweet corn. It gets planted at 34,000 seeds-per-acre rate.

Before I could finish turning around in the road, Steve was mumbling a whole bunch of numbers – numbers that didn’t mean a whole lot to me, but I knew they meant a lot to super-farmer.

The figuring must have gotten too complicated for Steve to cram into his number-loving mind. He pulled out his cell phone and started using the calculator.

I drove past our house at a snail’s pace thinking Steve would say, “If you want to go home, you can and I will go over to Pete’s.”

I never heard it. There was just silence as he tapped away at his mobile calculator.

By the time we arrived, Pete and his wife Bev were on their way back out to the field with bags of seed corn in the back of their van.

Steve wanted to take it out of their van and put it in my Jeep!

Talk about a silly idea. He wasn’t thinking straight. He had numbers on his mind. He couldn’t figure out how he plugged the wrong number into the planter’s computer and ended up with too many seeds per acre. I think he even refigured on his 10-key adding machine once we returned home.

In the end, even after all the number crunching, they chose to leave the planting rate where it was set. So much ado for not making any changes.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net. You can also follow me on my blog www.hoffmankann.wordpress.com.

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