Always Next Year Country
The old timers in our part of the world have a saying. They say that this is "always next year country." Meaning, that many times the crops are lost or other catastrophic things happen that make making a living from this land very challenging. So there is always next year.... I feel like the farmers here have to have the nerves of a gambler.
In the last two weeks I have seen a few events that confirm that this is "always next year country". We have had very hot, dry conditions that came on suddenly and withered crops. Folks here "dry land farm". There is no irrigation. They depend on the good Lord to send the moisture at the right times to grow the crops.
There have been fires. Every harvest time there are prairie fires started by the combines and equipment that are working in the fields. Especially when it's as dry as it has been lately. The other day one of those fires was started about a mile from my house. It burned a few hundred acres before all those volunteer firefighters, friends and neighbors were able to put it out. It drained the town of it's water supply, burned some equipment and the crop was lost. Thankfully no one was injured.
Then there's the hail. Every year it seems like a race between the crops and the hail storms. Harvest time happens to fall right at the time of year when hail storms are most likely. What a weird coincidence right? So every one holds their breath a little until the crops are safely in the bins and elevators. Last week there was a major hail storm in areas around Geraldine. We had a storm roll through that dumped more hail in ten minutes than I have ever seen. Pea and marble sized hail devastated the crops and torn through farmsteads. It destroyed or damaged the barns and property. The hail was so deep that the snowplows had to be called out to clear it off of the highway. There were drifts of hail some 5 feet high. The crops that are my neighbors income for the year were totally lost....
Through it all there is a resiliency in our community that seems like a throwback to the days when this country was homesteaded. There is a toughness and stubbornness to keep going in spite of it all. There's a hopeful nod and a shrug because, there's always next year....
Now go make something beautiful,