Did you have the day off of work Monday?
Since my "boss" lives in one of our upstairs bedrooms, there was no day off here in our little white house on the prairie.
But at least I don't have a morning commute...and I get to wear my sweatpants to work...and the boss takes a two-hour nap every day which allows for a little down time. (Just between you and me, when she's not around I drink iced coffee and plan my spring time assault on our garden and landscaping. When I'm feeling really crazy, I also watch Friends re-runs...Shhh.)
This spring-y-ish weather has really given me the gardening itch. My garden catalogs have started rolling in by the mailbox-fulls and they are starting to resemble my daughter's Toys R Us catalogs around Christmas time, dog-eared pages that are full of thick red magic marker circles. Truth be told, I already have an order prepared for everything from sunflowers to cilantro.
Matt and his cousins, Jack and Christopher, have been spending their winter "down time" helping local farmers do exactly the same thing. Only instead of sunflowers and cilantro, they are placing orders for corn and soybeans.
In modern agriculture, filling out your spring seed order isn't as easy as choosing between corn or soybeans. Genetically modified or non-gmo? Drought resistance? Food grade? Disease tolerance? How many acres of corn are you planning to plant? What about soybeans?
When farmers are paying an average of $260 PER BAG of corn and $50 PER BAG of soybeans, it's not a decision that one should take lightly.
Just as a point of reference, one bag of soybeans will plant just over one acre (1.1 to be exact) and one bag of corn will plant 2.3 acres. If a farmer plants just one 80-acre field of corn, his seed bill will be just a shade over $9,000.
Eeesh. That's like 45+ grocery trips.
I'm no math whiz, but I'm not sure that my $100 off any order of $200 or more coupon from Gurney's seed and nursery would get anyone very far. But for those farmers who really have their ducks in a row this winter, the earlier the seed order is submitted the larger the discount.
While my "boss" gives me my own daily dose of education on every subject from what's in Dora the Explorer's backpack to the finer points of proper princess tea party etiquette, Matt, Jack, and Christopher are spending their winter "down time" attending Pioneer seed meetings to learn about different varieties of seed corn and beans so they can better help farmers prepare for the fast-approaching spring planting season.
When the boys aren't attending meetings, they are visiting with local farmers, preparing seed information, organizing the seed shed, and training our seed shed watch cats to be fierce guardians.
I think they aren't spending as much time as they should on that last part.
Roganne is a farm wife, mother to a spunky two year-old and all-around farm girl. She and her husband Matt live in a white house on the Illinois prairie, and you can follow their adventures raising what they hope will be the sixth generation of Murrays to farm in Champaign county at White House on the Prairie.