Sunday, August 16, 2015

Never Complain About Rain in July

This morning’s rain could not have been timed any better. Normally I make time on Wednesday morning to write my column right after chores, today the rain made it easy on me. Actually I want to take credit for the rain, yesterday we mowed the last big field of brome hay down and started on the prairie hay. That is what caused the rain this morning.
The field of brome was fairly heavy and would take at least a full day or more to cure. Dad and I looked at the forecast and the radar. All the weather outlets were predicting between a twenty and forty percent chance of rain so Dad and I extrapolated that out to a thirty percent chance of rain and a seventy percent chance that nothing would happen. The odds for haying  sounded pretty good.
The day started with Dad mowing hay and I was hauling the hay in off of the fields. Hauling hay is one of those funny tasks that changes depending on your perspective. When I was a teen, hauling hay was one of those never-ending jobs that stood between me and freedom. Now a field full of hay bales is an accomplishment and assurance that we won’t have to buy hay for the cows this winter. I find hauling hay to be much more enjoyable now.
In any case, I was hauling hay; it was a blistering hot day with clouds building on the Western horizon. Once again I was very happy we wrapped all of our hay up in big round bales that can be handled from the cushioned seat in an air conditioned cab. Dad called to tell me he was done with the brome and what did I think about starting on the prairie hay. Another check of the weather app on my phone and I learned that the thirty percent chance had now become a forty percent chance. How did we manage in the good old days when all we had was the ten o’clock news and weather on the radio. We decided it was still a sixty percent chance of nothing and to keep mowing.
During this conversation I told Dad that if mowing hay down was what caused it to rain, maybe we could sacrifice some hay. The corn was tassleing and a good drink of water would far outweigh any lost hay. We both chuckled at this because we knew it was not going to rain just because we mowed hay down. The odds were still better than fifty percent that it was going to stay dry and we would be baling hay the next day.
I finished hauling hay and decided to make a run for more feed. I was a couple of days from needing more and it looked like we would be baling hay the rest of the week. This would probably be the most convenient time all week. Dad called to say he thought he had enough hay mowed down and the hay he had mowed that morning was nearly dry enough to bale. It’s funny what blistering heat and sun will do. We decided I would check with him when I got back from my feed run.
A quick check of the internet showed that rain was building in Western Kansas and our chances had been pushed up to fifty percent. I looked out at the corn and soybeans with heat waves shimmering above them and once again weighed the cost of losing hay versus the benefit of a valuable drink for my crops. We debated the pros and cons of raking and baling the hay mowed that morning. We would wish we had if it rained but another couple of hours of curing would make for better hay. We had gone from a pretty sure chance of not getting the hay wet to even chances. The decision was made to stick with the original plan and start baling as soon as the dew was off in the morning. It would be a long day of raking and baling tomorrow.
I am a creature of habit and one of those habits is to watch the weather at night. The ten o’clock news had an even greater chance of rain, it was almost certain with another good chance to follow in the afternoon. Sure enough when I woke up the next morning lightening was flashing in the Western sky. This is why I do not gamble, no odds are good enough to overcome my luck. But on the bright side, this morning I suddenly have time to write my column and my fall crops are much happier, my hay is wet but I will never, ever complain about rain.

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