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Editor’s Column: Make hay while the sun shines. If you can

During most of August, there were only a few days when the crop was ready and we had weather like this. By September 7, we were only about one-third finished harvest and it was pouring rain.

It’s raining today.

My basement office is next to the cistern we’ve built into the basement of our house. Although we’ve tried drilling a few times, we haven’t found water yet, so we rely on this cistern for our household water. The good news today is that every drop of water that runs from the roof into the cistern is a drop of water that we won’t have to haul. (By “we,” I mean “my husband.” If something was to happen to him, I’d either have to learn to haul water in a hurry or move to town before the cistern is empty.)

That’s the good news. The bad news is that we can’t catch all this water in our cistern, and most of it is falling on the durum, peas and canola that we still have out in the field.

The canola is swathed and waiting patiently, but the peas and durum likely won’t fare as well. With a week of wet weather ahead in the forecast, it doesn’t look likely that we’ll get out to pick it up any time soon. (We’ve tried looking at several different weather apps, but they’re all carrying the same unpleasant forecast.)

It’s amazing how a rock smaller than my fist could shut down a machine the size of a combine faster than I could shut off the header. Luckily, this happened in an area of the field where we had a little less kochia than in other areas, so I’m able to share this photo. photo: Leeann Minogue

It looks like this rain is widespread across the Prairies. Of course, we don’t take pleasure in knowing that other farmers are having a challenging harvest too, but there is something to be said for shared frustration.

Actor and comedian Will Rogers said, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” Of course, Will Rogers was dead by 1935, so he probably never spent an entire sunny day trying to figure out why the GPS wouldn’t work on the swather. And he was probably up on stage a lot more often than he was replacing parts on the combine header after someone picked up a rock in the lentil crop. But he was right about the need for optimism, and the need to find a way to search out the bright side.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably raining on your farm too, or maybe you’ve finished harvest for the season. Either way, I hope you’ve taken time to find beauty in the season and enjoy this year’s chance to reap what you’ve sown.

I always like working in this field. From the right angle, you can imagine the edges by the slough as lakefront property. If the geese get irritated and leave, there’s always a flock of seagulls to provide entertainment. photo: Leeann Minogue

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