I mean, what else do you talk about on your birthday?

by Katie on January 8, 2011

Yesterday was a Leister household milestone.

Someone who lives here (we’ll let you guess who) gets to mark a big “3-0″ in the “age” column the next time they come across one.

We were fortunate to receive a gift card to a steakhouse during the holidays, so I proposed we actually spend an evening on the town, since we have never celebrated any occasion in that manner. And so we did.

We had a lovely meal out with another engaging farm couple. They are quite like us in that they are very serious about what they do and manage their business very closely. With that, of course, comes obsessive worrying over details, every lost dollar, and every negative turn of events. Which, on the farm, leads to quite a bit of worrying and fretting. But at the end of the day, we all love what we do.

So, the steak. It was good. As was the conversation. And the giant chocolate chip cookie the singing waiters set in front of Brandon.

Then came the ride home.

During that ride, this other all-business, serious farmer informed us that, indeed, we could have rooded our cotton** after it was picked, even in the midst of the barley “trash” covering the field since it was a no-till crop. The men were having this conversation in the front seat, but I overheard this tidbit, and (probably impolitely) interrupted his wife to inquire further.

Because, as a novice cotton farmer, one not exposed to all the proper procedures, I kept asking Brandon why we couldn’t rood our cotton every time we saw one of those machines going down the road. He just kept telling me it wasn’t done in no-till crops, due to too much “trash” getting in the bales, leading to awful grades. I accepted it, and he had just always heard that was how it was done.

And then this guy comes along and tells us we could have done it. I think we probably both looked a little beaten and defeated upon this news. A little yield goes a long way when prices are good.

After that, neither of us could think or talk about anything else. The remaining ten minutes of the drive home were filled with nothing but rood-talk, as was the hour we spent packing Brandon up for his hunting day-trip the next morning, and the what-seemed-like-hours we spent tossing and turning once we hit the sack, with Brandon mumbling, “Man, I wish I would have known we could have rooded that,” and probably calculating every penny of lost revenue in his head. (Because he can do things like that. I can’t, but even if I could, I think I would refrain, or I would never sleep peacefully.)

At some point after we arrived home, and were still having conversation focused solely on the shoulda-woulda-couldas of cotton rooding, I sent the wife of our rood-expert a message reading, “…And we’re still talking about rooding…”

To which she replied, in a knowing farm-wife sort of way, “Happy birthday! If we’re not invited next year, we’ll know why.”

But really, if it weren’t rooding cotton (or in our case, the lack thereof), a farmer would find something farmish to talk about on his birthday. And just knowing the nature of things, probably something that hadn’t gone right. Kind of the whole “pick your poison” concept.

Even so, I know my farmer was happy to be farming on his birthday, and this farmer’s wife was too.

**If you have no idea what it means to rood cotton, find it in this list, google it, or just know that it picks up remaining cotton, post-picking, giving you a higher yield.

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