Rained out

This spring has had more windy days than I can ever remember. You cannot go anywhere without it being the topic of conversation. Not only is it frustrating for those of us who must go to work every day in the 60 mile per hour breeze, but it is taking quite a toll on everything. Windbreaks that are put up to protect livestock from the elements have broken from the gusts, windmills that are used to pump water from the ground are buckling under the strain of standing in the gales and men and animals alike are wearing permanent dirt stains under our eyes where they have watered from the amount of dirt and dust they have accumulated.

This past Friday night the wind knocked out the power to our house and most of our neighbors, in that darkness a feeling of pure terror came over me as I began to see the lightning flash on the western horizon. While the thought of a rainstorm and much needed moisture was a welcome prospect, the endless down strikes of lightning had me loading the fire skid onto the pickup and filling it with water. We have all been on pins and needles here in western and southwestern Nebraska with the large wildfires that have been burning in this part of the state. A freak accident this last week left us with a burned tractor. Had it not been for the quick response of our local volunteer firemen and the little bit of green grass on the meadow where the tractor was sitting, we might have lost so much more.

While leaving a branding today I was visiting with a neighbor who I trade help with next week. In parting company, I told him, “I hope you get rained out.” He replied with “you and me both.” It got me to thinking about how wishing someone gets rained out of an event they are planning is only a blessing and not a way to start a fight in the agriculture world. If you wish someone in town to get rained out of their golf game or weekend barbeque, you might catch a fist with your teeth. On the other hand, when you make the same wish for rain comment to a farmer or a rancher, they will always say thank you and smile. Unlike many of our co-citizens in urban areas, those of us out here on the land know that without rain, or snow for moisture, the food we produce is not possible.

Even though I know there are some who would disagree, for this cowboy who grew up where dry years are more common than wet, there is no such thing as too much rain. I will admit I have seen years where putting up hay was a challenge because it seemed to always be too wet to bale. However, trying to beat the rain with the baler is always a better feeling than not being able to start the swather because there is no crop to harvest. Drought is hard. It is hard emotionally, financially and physically. Cowherds that have years and years of hard work and genetics built into them can be sold in a single year if there is not forage available to them. Bank notes go unpaid when the corn crop that took so much input and hard work failed because there was no moisture to sustain it.

Friends I know that many of you out there are in the same situation as we are here in Nebraska. It’s make or break decision time for a lot of us. If there is no rain shortly, there will be a lot of cattle in town and several fields will remain fallow. Please join me in praying for rain, for strength for our fellow farmers and ranchers, and for healing for those who have lost everything in a wildfire this spring. That’s all for this time, keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God Bless.

P.S. I hope everyone reading this gets rained out.

Jade Meinzer


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