Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A good day to plow.

It has been a pretty wet spring so far, but we've had a nice week of sunny weather. The forecast was for more rain tonight, so I paced the fields nervously this morning trying to decide what to do. After turning over a few test shovel-fulls, and squishing the soil with my hands a lot to determine if it was indeed ready to work up, I got the feeling that today was a good day to plow. This half acre was totally thawed, and dry enough that we wouldn't compact the ground or damage the structure of the soil. Now, to find a tractor for the job. Bob's tractors are not going to work. The dealership I am buying my new Kubota from wouldn't have it ready until Friday. Well, Friday would be too late, the soil would be wet again. I called Jack, the farmer down the road. Too busy, he said. But he said, yes, it was "early ground" (he had worked these fields before), and today might just be a good day to plow. The other farmer down the road, Kenny, was nowhere to be found. I left a note on his house & on his barn. I peeked out onto his fields. He had plowed yesterday it looked like. The 2-bottom plow was sitting out there, and his tractors scattered around, taunting me. I was restless. Only 5 or 6 more hours before it would start raining. The sun went away & clouds started forming. The wind blew. I was in town trying to distract myself with errands, and tell myself that it was okay to wait another week. Then Jack called. He had his tractor started up & he was on his way, half an hour. I rushed back to the field in time to hear him speeding down the road, his huge 4-bottom plow raised up behind the tractor. He did the job in about 25 minutes. The 18" blades made fast work of the thick sod, turning it over to a depth of about 10 or 12". The soil was dark and filled with roots and earthworms. And rocks. But the tilth was just amazing. I can't wait to get my hands into this.

The grass will take a couple of weeks to decompose. Jack and I talked about what would come next. Should I disc it or just try to use the rototiller? He said that if this grass was Canary Reed Grass I will have a hard time killing it. Sudangrass might be easier. Bob doesn't remember what he planted. I can't find any seedheads to identify it. Jack said Roundup was just about the only thing that would kill Canary Reed Grass. Can't do it, I said. I'll just have to till and till. We'll see...
The raindrops started falling as dusk came over the farm, and I smiled. We might have something planted in the ground in a couple of weeks. Spring, the annual renewal of hope.

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