Have you ever noticed how when there is a lack of anything to talk about in a conversation it somehow transitions to a lengthy discussion on the weather, or complete strangers will spend minutes talking to you in the store about it.
Yesterday I was running errands in town and couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I went, everyone had something to say about the weather. The cashiers, the people next to me in line, the people around me shopping with their children…everyone.
One of things I noticed immediately when I moved to South Dakota was how friendly the people who live here are. It is such an obvious difference it’s crazy. I have been known to stop in the dog food aisle and carry on a conversation with a stranger for at least five minutes, and not even about dog food, but the weather.
Another thing I have realized about being a farm wife is that every one expects you to know how many inches it rained, how many inches it has snowed, or when it is supposed to be above zero degrees. It’s almost as if knowing those things each day is a requirement to being a farm wife.
Let me tell you that my answers to those questions are often very vague and most likely not what they are looking for.
“Nope, I don’t know how many inches it has snowed, all I know it has snowed enough for me already!” (And we are only two snowstorms into our winter!)
“I don’t know how many inches of rain it has poured because as far as I am concerned- it’s better than snow.”
“And no, I don’t know when it will get above zero again because to me it’s all cold and it really doesn’t matter after you reach a certain point of cold what the temperature gauge actually reads”
Weather is important to ANY farmer or farm, and at times I do take notice and care- if I must! The weather tells us how we plan our days, our week, or even our month.
During harvest if there is talk of heavy rains for a good number of days you better believe we are in the field until the wee hours of the morning getting in as much of our crops as we can. When it rains it doesn’t just hold harvest up during those days it is raining- we also have to wait for the ground to dry in order to be able to get into the fields safely and efficiently.
If there is a lot of rain during harvest or planting season it can prove to be a BIG problem for farming. It can mean an entire field of crops completely underwater. It can mean spending more time pulling equipment out of the mud than actually combining. It can prove detrimental and dangerous to a farm.
Last fall when we were combining late one night my husband told me a story about how when he was younger they were expecting a pretty bad ice storm the following day and they only had a little bit to go to be completely finished with harvest. Him and his brothers combined all night long and finished the last row of corn right before the rain started falling. You do what you got to do when you’re a farmer.
Snow- my absolute hate. I always get this sort of “awed” feeling whenever it snows for the first time on our farm. I am excited because it is so beautiful and the dogs love it. That moment of awe lasts for about 5 minutes, because then I remember after the snow comes the crazy temperature of 0 or even -18…
When you have a lot of cattle lots like we do, you move a lot of snow. You have to move snow in a cattle lot mainly because it piles up, and piles up, and piles up. Eventually, because it snows so much here, it can pile up and the cattle can walk right over the fence. At our farm the guys move a lot of snow, and often. We like to get it out of the lots as soon as possible so it doesn’t prove unsafe for the cattle, plus we really don’t want our cattle wandering off to socialize at other farms.
Which means, a lot of gate watching. This means sitting at the entrance to a lot while the guys haul snow in and out. Cattle sometimes like to play games to see if they can sneak past you. Luckily, I have not let one escape yet! I sit and watch gates a lot. I like it- I can read my books, plan my dinners, and get a really really sore butt.
Anyway, I talked about rain and snow because those are two big areas we seem to all enjoy complaining- I mean “socializing” about here is SD. Well, those two, and also how cold it is. Then when summer gets here we talk about how hot it is. Isn’t it amazing how much we find ourselves talking about the weather?
Also another thing about farming in SD I never knew would be a pretty serious issue. The need to get a large amount of snow off of your home and also your out buildings as soon as possible. If you don’t get snow off of out buildings quick enough in SD this is what happens:
No cattle were in this building at the time of collapsing- so please PETA stay on your own side of the road.
Also, my Golden Retriever…whom I love and adore…absolutely loves the snow. She also likes to nap right outside our bay window on the snow pile that my brother in law threw off our roof
Regardless of SD’s cold, blowy, miserable winters. I do love it here…I honestly don’t think I could have picked a better place in the world to spend the rest of my life.