The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men


Spring 2011 029.jpg
Our corn waiting to be planted... May 27, 2011

Any farmer seeing this picture will know that it's not looking good for us to get that corn seed planted in 2011. Time's up folks. The window is closed on planting corn in Big Stone County. Or I should say the window is closed on getting a corn crop planted and harvested. Same difference.

Time for plan B.

But first I'll reflect on plan A. A plan that was based on, well..., a form of greed. The decision process was not unlike the familiar "Make hay while the sun shines." Instead it was "Grow corn while the commodity prices are in the stratosphere." Corn at $7.50 a bushel was just simply too promising to say "no" to. Yeah, sure, we were going with the morally superior Organic Corn, but corn all the same. And we weren't going to market it as organic, just deliver it to the elevator with all the other RoundUp Ready GMO Corn. The decision was simply a "count your chickens (or corn as the case may be) before they hatch" calculation that we could make a chunk of farm payment off those 40 acres of corn-- even a fair to middlin' crop.

The sky got progressively darker this morning until is started to rain at 10:30am. When I stepped to the door as the rain started I yelled "NOooooo!!!" It is the second time this year that we were close, really close, to getting into the field when the rain started back up.

To add insult to injury, 80% of the State's corn crop is already in the field. You may not know me personally, but I don't take kindly to being in the trailing 20% of anything (except maybe in youth and those days of being the youngest person in the room are fading fast as well). I don't mind being on the fringe, but let's make it the leading fringe please. So it's depressing as hell, frankly, to be looking at this from my farm house window.

Spring 2011.jpg
View of our silos from my 2nd floor window

Which leads me, finally, to Plan B. Oh yeah. There is no Plan B. Plan A is bought, paid for, and sitting on pallets on our machine shed floor.

One of my rare talents is to recite Robert Burns poems in my made up 1785 Scottish accent, with strong overtones of Minnesotan and a hint of Iron Range. But since the old Scottish is indecipherable, I'll leave you with the standard English version of the great Mr. Burns' last two stanzas of his immortal "To a Mouse, on Turning Her up in Her Nest with a Plough." Oh and ask me sometime to recite this for you... although you may have to buy me a couple beer first. And frankly, that's sounding pretty good about now. As they say "it's 5pm somewhere."

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!


My 7-year-old planted his Chirez Baby Corn seeds last night in the garden. Maybe you could harvest yours as organic baby corn and sell to an upscale Asian food company?? :) Good luck with coming up with a Plan B!

That last comment was from me, by the way. Too fast on the clicker.

So if your 7 year old and my 7 year olds are harnessed to oh, I don't know, some kind of planter, maybe we can get that corn in. I hear that even progressives are now considering doing away with the Fair Labor Standards that covered child labor since 1935. How convenient to be farming in the USGS designated "Dismal Swamp" when child labor laws are set aside at last. Bwahahahahaha.

Crop report: Rains continue to slow spring planting in Minnesota
Article by: Associated Press Updated: May 31, 2011 - 4:39 PM
0 comments resize text printbuy reprints

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Steady rains and cloudy skies continued to slow the spring planting for Minnesota farmers last week.

The weekly crop and weather report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Tuesday says farmers had only 2.7 days suitable for field work last week. Many fields are still wet with some ponding.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 55 percent adequate and 45 percent surplus, compared to 64 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus the previous week.

Both corn and soybean planting is behind last year and behind the five-year average.

The report says corn was 88 percent planted, compared to 100 percent last year and 98 percent for the five-year average.

Soybeans were 53 percent planted, compared to 93 percent last year and 89 percent for the five-year average.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on May 27, 2011 11:26 AM.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly-- early spring local foods in Minnesota was the previous entry in this blog.

Wind Beneath his Wings is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.31-en