People in these parts try to get their work done and money made so they can vacate the region in January and February. I think this might be misguided thinking. July and August might be better months to bail out. I know it would be some kind of trick for a farmer to be away from the farm this time of year but if possible, it would be a good idea. In my memory we’ve had a couple of ‘delightful’ summers. In those years, the temp only hit 90 degrees a couple of times and of course the corn crop suffered from too much rain and a lack of heating degree days. This year we’ve had too much rain at times but we’ve been into the mid 90’s several days and at the same time the humidity soared making it difficult to draw a breath. I fully expected to hear that someone actually drowned while mowing his lawn. These conditions make it hazardous to open your pickup window while driving because of the immediate fogging up of your glasses.
But there may be other drawbacks to Kansas and Nebraska in July and August. It’s vegetables and what to do with them. We plant tomatoes and cucumbers and just one zucchini plant. (We’ve all learned our lesson there, haven’t we?) Then we wait, and weed, and water and ask our friends if they might have a tomato we might have because ours aren’t ready yet. We operate under the theory that there are just a couple of folks in the county raising tomatoes and everyone else is waiting to hear the words, “Okay, they’re ready, come and get em!” It’s at that point when you realize that there are a lot of folks capable of raising tomatoes and they went ahead and did it. Now, just try putting a 5 gallon pail full of the red beauties in your car and giving them away. “Oh isn’t that nice of you, but Fred left a bushel of them in the back room.” Or they say, “No thanks Cliff, we just got done canning 20 quarts and we didn’t even need to raise any.”
Then there was the year early in our marriage when Marilyn wanted to raise Zucchini squash. I’d never heard of them. We bought a packet of seeds and it planted a row about half the length of a football field. They all came up and flourished. We had enough zucchini for the city of Tekamah. Two days later we had enough pounds of squash for the city of Omaha. I’m surprised that the government doesn’t require some kind of warning on the packets.
Warning: Planting more than two of these seeds may cost you all of your friends. The neighbors lights will suddenly go out when you enter their driveway and worst of all, everyone in town will begin to lock their car doors. And forget about feeding them to the hogs, they don’t like them either. Best if picked at about 8 inches in length and we mean 8 inches. The following day you will need a tractor and loader to harvest.
Our cucumbers are coveted here on our place but we have trouble raising them. The cucumber beetles or blight or bad luck always seem to kill ours just after we pick our first cuke. But not to worry. The same rules apply for cucumbers as they do for tomatoes and we just go get the bushel in some businesses back room in town. The one someone else raised and couldn’t get rid of.
August should be the month to go sit on the bank and see if you can trick a catfish into captivity but alas it’s been almost too hot and sticky for even that. Arizona has been on my mind a lot lately as the perfect vacation spot and maybe those who travel there have the right idea. It’s a dry heat this time of year and it’s a dry 60 degrees in January and February.
It’s okay to dream. Right?