A few weeks ago I wrote about my adventures plowing a field with equipment that was um… let’s just say there was some learning involved and a bit of adaptation applied to decrepit machinery. In the end I got the job done, barely. With no small amount of drama the field got plowed, seeds got shoved in the ground, etc… Germination ensued. I was a happy camper.
Then, because God has a sense of humor, my schedule went from hectic to harried, and then far worse. Eventually the dial went all the way to hypersonic and even sleep suffered. I found myself 1,800 miles from home and far too busy to think about abandoned corn seedlings Upon my return they were still there… and so were weeds. Lots of weeds. Every farmer’s field for miles around had rows of corn without weeds, I had rows of corn with weeds. Roundup? Lesson learned.
No worries, I’d just man up and get out there with a hoe. So of course it rained. A lot. Repeatedly. Not a little rain here and there but hour after hour, day after day. It rained Seattle style. I hate Seattle style! Meanwhile, the mosquitoes (which are usually bad but manageable) had run amok. Repeated rains, absent winds, and cool weather had handed them their desired niche on a silver platter. Just walking to the mailbox became an endurance contest. Unless of course, it was raining, which it was doing every moment the mosquitoes weren’t in attack formation. The dog got bit up pretty bad and so did I. Everyone else wisely stayed indoors. Anyone who went camping in those weeks probably switched to a new and less maddening hobby, like cliff diving or heroin.
One day I decided to get weird and weed the field in the rain. (I reasoned that mosquitoes can’t fly in a downpour.) That very morning the phone rang with another work trip and I had to hit the road pronto. I can’t say I was unhappy to avoid the wet and mud.
This weekend the weather cleared. Well it mostly cleared, there was an epic thunderstorm that blew down a tree in my back yard but that was overnight (and I needed the firewood anyway). The mosquitoes were still bad but at least the ground dried out.
Over my morning coffee I had to make a choice. I looked at the field. I looked at my log pile (which needs to be bucked and split and stacked before it becomes a woodpile). No man can do two things. I sipped coffee and pondered the proper path.
A dozen ears of corn costs about $4. A cord of split and delivered wood costs about $150. You do the math.
The bugs are still pretty hairy. In a fit of cleverness I rigged an extension cord and a big industrial fan I keep for occasions like this. I blasted air at my woodsplitter and if I stood just so, the mosquitoes couldn’t handle the buffeting. (Even with Deet and the fan I still got fairly chewed up.)
Now the day is done and I’ve racked up a small but appreciated “win” in the race against winter (which seems distant but is never far from time’s horizon). I’d burned every last stick of wood so this is a big deal. I’ll need to buck and split much more but you climb a mountain a step at a time.
Even as I’m pleased with my start on the woodpile I’m disappointed with the corn. I just haven’t had the time to do better. Seems like I learn this lesson every year. Damn!