Friday, July 17, 2009
When mother nature gives us lemons, we're supposed to make lemonade right? Sounds nice, but here on East Hill and elsewhere around New England, too many lemons are causing the pale complexions of farmers to pucker. I'm talking about RAIN. Too much of this good thing makes stockpiling dry hay impossible. Of course, farms with livestock need a certain amount of hay in the barn to carry them through the following spring. Here in Vermont, that means we need to put at least 7 months worth of hay in the barn in 4 months time. Seasonal mood swings during our precious few warm months can put tractor operators on the hot seat, wondering what it will take to make lemonade this year. If the days aren't hot enough, dry enough, or long enough, they've got to find another way. Prayer? No...err...maybe. More like drastic diversify. For example, if the weather won't cooperate with farmer John, maybe he'll make more firewood to make up the difference it will cost him to buy hay from elsewhere. Or, maybe he can wrap the wet grass in air tight plastic to make a fermented hay. Legend has it that a crafty hay witch will sweep up hay while it snows in November given half a chance. The more creative potions he/she can cook up the better. Seasonal quarks are dangerous to crops and with a global climate in flux, there may be no such thing as normal anymore. Let there be no doubt, that where there is perseverance in agricultural pursuit, wry humor and stubborn creativity make the difference from year to year.Which way should we diversify next, rice or watermelon? Leave your idea in the comment box below.