I’ve put my lawn mower away for the summer. I’m getting a canoe so I can go out into my back yard.
You don’t need me to tell you that we’ve had a lot of rain around here so far this year, but I’m going to tell you, anyway. We have had so much rain, in fact, that people in Seattle are likely to start calling soon and asking what is going on because we’re getting so much more rain than they are.
It’s almost impossible to keep up. I’m beginning to feel like the star of one of those old horror movies where the plants take over the world. I’m afraid I’ll go out the back door some morning and — zap! — all my wife will find is my tennis shoes. I have one thistle in my back yard that is so huge I decided to let it grow to see what happens. At least the goldfinches will appreciate it. My neighbors probably would be appalled but the runaway bushes on my property line have blocked out any possible view they might have of my back yard and the Godzilla of thistles.
True, my problems are minor. They’re what a friend of mine calls “first world problems.” I’ll eventually get my back yard mowed or bailed or whatever needs to be done.
But the problems aren’t so minor for our farmer friends.
The field across the street from me has been planted in corn or soybeans since about the beginning of time, or at least time as it is measured around here. This year: nothing yet. And it’s almost July. That’s the story all across this area and the rest of Ohio, as well.
By this time of year virtually all the corn and most of the soybeans usually are planted in Ohio. Last week, the state reported that only about two-thirds of the expected corn crop and less than half of the soybean crop was in the ground. And a fair amount of that is sitting in water from last week’s torrential rains.
It’s not happening only here in Ohio. Floods and unusual high amounts of rainfall have been a disaster for farmers all across the upper Midwest.
I think that farmers might be the most taken for granted people in the entire world. When we go to the grocery store, we think about how much a loaf of bread costs, not what it takes to make one. Sometimes I walk through the grocery and think there are millions of stores just like it and where could all that food possibly come from? It doesn’t seem possible.
To top it off, many farmers face uncertain incomes this year even if their crops do well because of the growing trade war between the U.S. and China and various other countries.
I wish I had an answer for farmers, but I don’t.
I’m don’t even know why things are so wet this year.
Is it global warming? Scads of scientists at this very moment are studying that question and writing unfathomable papers that no one but other scientists will want to read. At least the extra rain is good for someone’s career.
It is just the normal cycles of nature? There always seems to be not enough or too much rain. Maybe in August we’ll wish things weren’t so dry.
Is it just part of living in Ohio? Tornadoes, snowstorms, thunderstorms, even an occasional earthquake — they’re just part of the deal. At least we don’t have any volcanoes.
Like I said, I’m short on answers. All I know is that sometime soon I’m going to have to venture out into my yard and try to get things under control. If you don’t hear from me in a day or two, you’ll know the plants got me. You’ll probably find my remains over by the giant thistle.
Even then, it could be worse. I could be a farmer.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.