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Spring in the Season of the Optimist, by Kathy Smith
Spring is the season of the optimist and how could it not be? My Lenten Rose produced one beautiful bloom in the snow, I hear birds singing in the morning now and yesterday I found the very first crocuses for the year.
Yes, spring really is the season of the optimist and no one is more optimistic than the farmers working in their fields.
As you drive by and see field after field being plowed, disked, fitted and planted, do you realize just how much hope has to be planted with each seed?
Even with all of our modern technology such as knowing the exact soil analysis of each field with a soil sample, using the correct amount of lime and fertilizer, choosing the best seed variety for our area, and controlling grass and weeds, the farmer still has to rely on the current economic situation and Mother Nature for a good year.
It can be so wet that seeds rot in the ground; it can frost in May and kill the three inch high corn. There might be a huge storm with wind and hail in July that damages the corn leaves. This year could be like last summer with not enough rain to produce a decent hay crop. Or we could get so much rain in the fall that it's impossible to get the corn combined at all. It might be such a good year for soybeans that the market is flooded and the price drops far below what it cost to plant them.
But right now, since it's spring and instead of thinking all of those pessimistic thoughts, most farmers are like a little kid who just planted a bean seed in a paper cup and put it on the kitchen windowsill. Every single day they check and hope and watch for it to germinate. Then a single stalk appears; then leaves and finally a plant. It seems like a miracle that something so beautiful and green and full of promise could begin as a small seed and yet it does again and again every spring.
And each and every year the chance comes around for us to help make this miracle happen again - whether in your garden, flowerbed or cornfield. And that's why farmers are annual optimists - they may be discouraged in the fall over a bad crop or low prices or no rain, but every spring they are back on the tractor, back in the fields, planting crops and saying to themselves, "Now this year is going to be better than last year."
Kathy Smith is a farm wife from Wayne Township. She writes for the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau.