Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let It Pour!


This afternoon, like most afternoons this month, was hot and dry. My pasture is down to nothing. (I’m not the only one with this problem. On her blog, Debi also laments her lack of pasture.) I’m lucky to have hay to feed now and through the winter. Odds are good there’ll be no second cutting.

Some of the local dairy farmers are strapped. I’ve heard that one in the neighborhood has been killing his bull-calves as soon as they’re born. He can’t afford to feed them, and the gas it takes to haul them to the livestock market costs more than he’d get for the calves. The beef market will soon be glutted. My neighbors hauled some of their beef cows to Lynchburg on Monday.

I worry what will happen to horses whose owners can’t feed them. Soon, I imagine, there’ll be plenty of giveaways. Or trucks of horses bound for the slaughterhouses in Canada.

A neighboring dairy farmer started cutting the cornfield he leases across the road. He's cutting a couple of weeks earlier than previous years. The corn is so much shorter than it should be, but it won’t grow anymore. Plus it’s too dry, which could cause problems with nitrate poisoning.


I sat under the maple tree in the side yard and watched the cutting. A tractor cuts the corn and pours the silage into a truck that moves parallel to it. When the truck is full, it pulls away and another takes its place. There’s always a truck beside the tractor, a truck leaving, and a truck arriving. I marvel at the choreography involved.


As they cut, clouds rolled in. Later in the afternoon, after I’d gone in, I heard thunder. Then rain. I looked out. It was pouring! Weather reports forecast strong showers for areas north of me.


The corn cutting continued in the rain.


By evening—when it was too dark to take pictures, the field was bare.

The odd thing was I saw no birds swoop down to eat the spilled corn kernels like they’ve done in years past. Where did the birds go? Some place where the corn grew enough to actually have kernels, maybe?

By the time I fed dogs and horses, the rain was gone and the air was sauna-humid. But the lawn looked a little greener.

Just a little.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Amy Hanek said...

It's nice when the corn looks greener on your side every now then. My house got some rain today too. I am just thrilled. I cannot wait for September to bring the lower temps. I just can't wait!! (It's like waiting for my laptop - I know it will be here soon, but I wish I could make it arrive now).

10:49 PM  

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