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From the Farm: Quality Time

May 9, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

Apparently, my husband's idea of quality time spent together is checking field conditions with his wife.

He doesn't tell his beautiful bride that he's not going to the 80-acre field just up the road, but rather a field four miles away!

In this particular field, there are several huge areas where flooding occurs regularly. The water submerges the plants and kills them. It's disheartening to see large drowned out areas and know we lost a lot of money because the corn and beans never finished growing.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Steve also had plans of checking out a fence line he and I ripped out last fall. We wanted to walk the line to make sure there were no remaining pieces of rusty barbed wire or bent fence posts that would damage equipment during planting or harvest.

After the long, chilly four wheeler ride, we arrived at our destination and I opted to walk the line and told Steve to pick me up at the end.

"Well, you keep a close eye out on the middle and I'll drive the sides," he said.

That was fine with me. I had just stepped onto a striped-gopher hole and found it totally cool when I sunk into it. I started walking, looking for every little gopher-hole I could find and crushing it with my heel.

That's what I was supposed to be doing. Right?

Soon I realized that if I took my time and observed closely, I could actually see the ground was pushed up a bit where the underground tunnels were!

That's when I started to have fun.

I walked on every visible gopher tunnel for a quarter mile. I was zigzagging all the way down to the end of the line, which, in the end, probably resulted in a half-mile walk.

The sun was warm, the soil warmer, nary a cloud in the sky and I was demolishing gopher tunnels up the wazoo.

Who could be happier? This date was turning out to be all right.

I don't like gophers much. I did feel a bit immoral knowing the gophers would have to rebuild their tunnels, but that thought lasted just a second. Then I secretly let out an evil laugh.

You can't criticize me for having a good chuckle out of the demise of the gopher lair. Until you have spent an entire day with me in our alfalfa field trying to trap pocket gophers, only to have fresh mounds appear on the top of the earth a few hours later, you won't appreciate the effort.

I managed to work my way to the end of the demolished line fence and found Steve waiting for me.

"Um we might want to drive back down this line; I was a bit distracted," I confessed.

"What? You distracted?" Steve said with a caring snigger.

Needless to say, we found a few, if four is a few, pieces of barbed wire on our way back.

I thought my work was through.

Wrong.

Steve never mentioned we were going to check out another longer line fence area he and Joey removed last fall. Sadly, there were very few gopher holes along that line.

I had to look for barbed wire. Boring.

After checking that, Steve proceeded to drive to every single tile intake he had either installed or replaced. I really hadn't had plans of staying out in the field that long.

Apparently, tile intakes thrill my husband a bit more than me.

Steve stopped at every intake, hopped off the four-wheeler and peeked down the tile to make sure water was flowing in the proper direction.

I believe we spent more than two hours looking at drainage-tile intakes and outlets.

The tops of my feet were starting to burn. My shoulders were getting redder than the red on the Crimson Tide uniform.

Flip flops and tank tops are not approved for protection from the sun.

Seems like every time I thought we were ready to head home, Steve would have another intake or outlet to check.

Now that I look back I shouldn't complain. I demolished gopher tunnels, started working on my tan and learned where every single tile intake is located.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 
 

 

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