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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When I grow up I don't think I want to be a Farmer anymore.

That is what my daughter told me the other day. I would have to agree. While I tell her glowing tales of growing crops and honest labor, the truth is perhaps much different.
It is 40 degrees and raining. The sort of weather that drives us Oregonians to the depths of depression. I don't want to leave my easy chair.
If only I had more than two "Song of the Lazy Farmer," cartoons perhaps I would have more understanding.
In days gone by I would have been off to the used bookstores in Portland to find old farm magazines. Or rather, I would have gone out to the shop to work...
I took Dad to his heart Dr. in Portland yesterday. Dr. Rudolph says he is in great shape for a 75 year-old. This is funny and good because as his Dr. knows, Dad is 90. Dr. says I could live to be 90 as well. That is both good and bad news I suppose.
Dad is not lazy. Dad is a very hard worker. His youngest son, has to struggle. Dad goes to work every morning at 7 a.m. He puts bills in his laptop computer and then spends the day, alternating between selling moisture testers, making kind of strange brochures on the photocopy machine, and organizing his office. Not all of this is productive but we do not tell him this. The fact that he a times loses important bills and the fact that he tends to organize things in a strange and random manner is not as important as the fact that he is working. He is busy, and he is doing something.
Sitting in a chair, drinking coffee, and posting into a blog read by three people is not productive either...
The problem is, I'm not really sure farming is what I want to do. I just came back here to help out in 1989. Just for the summer. Now, I see that 1989 is a few years back... The problem is I have no idea what I really want to do. This was not such a problem a couple years back when I actually thought I knew how to farm, or should I say, I thought I had the talent to be a good farmer. I read lots of soils books, I studied the "nu-till" system. (Was going to add a link but the website seems to have changed.) Somewhere I have all the PDF's I downloaded from the old site. I read all the back issues of NewFarm Magazine. I had it figured out how to build up our soil and get back to raising the crops my dad grew when I was a kid.
As part of that long range goal I got into the no-till planting business. That is when I started learning the importance of getting everything right, at the right time. And I came to understand that without Dad, we don't really do that. Plus we have very wet, low pH soil. Plus, we are broke all the time from various back luck situations, frost, flood, not getting paid, being screw by Farm Credit Services. Now the dairy down the street which was key to getting the manure has been going downhill, and well frankly I'm tired...
I really wish I had not 1. purchased a used 1085 balewagon, 2. Bought a new Great Plains drill.
First the balewagon. Bought it used for a good price. But without it, we would not have had to bale. Oh we would have, but the old stacker would have died and we wouldn't have got much done but we would have fooled around and looked busy. The baler is paid for anyway.
The Drill makes all my money for me. But, I should have just stopped putting on fertilizer. If I would have just quit the dry fertilizer I would have still got jobs but would not have spent $42,000. I would have paid it off this year so there would have been a lot more money coming in. If I kept patching it together I could have milked the drill operation for another few years and then just quit.
I wish I had an alternate skill, like making banjos. I think I would like to try something else...

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