Anyone notice the breeze today?
Did you happen to see either one of us fly by briefly? We were heading North east?
When the weather report last night stated we might have a bit of a breeze for today we took them at face value.
The dictionary states: Breeze- brēz/ noun noun: breeze; plural noun: breezes. A gentle wind. synonyms: gentle wind, puff of air.
When one is laying plastic in ones produce fields a precise weather report is what a farmer rely’s on when one lives on a farm. We watched the 10 o’clock and the 11 o’clock weather report and both stated the identical report. Being Ohio it is not unusual for the weather to vary but nothing had changed in that hours’ time of reporting. Rising at 5 a.m. this morning preparing to work in the fields before the rains came, we listened carefully to the morning weather report. You know just in case there may be a change from the previous report 6 hours earlier. We heard that one word that told us the report had changed. It now stated “slight breeze today”. Good, that meant we could finish laying the plastic and drip in the last 12 rows in our approximation a couple hours. We should be finished by 10 a.m. 11 at the latest baring any problems and then we could move on to other “needs to be done chores” around the farm.
In cowboy terms we saddled up and moseyed out to the fields. A beautiful morning, cloudy, cool, that meant minimal sweat and great weather to get the task at hand done. I rode my gator to my end of the field while hubby took his position on the tractor with the mulch/drip layer attached. He carefully lined up the machinery so our rows would be just the right distance apart making it easier to cultivate and harvest our crops throughout the summer as they come on. “Ready?” he says as I take my position behind said machinery and hold the ends of the drip tape and plastic mulch securely to the ground by standing firmly and precariously on them. I say firmly because it must not move or as the tractor barrels down the field it can pull the drip tape with it pulling the drip out from under you, I liken it to pulling the rug from beneath your feet. I say precariously because you are standing on it one foot in front of the other. I can only liken it to the cops & robbers shows on T.V. where the officer has pulled over a drunk driver and has them walk one foot in front of the other to see if they are inebriated. As I don’t drink I have never had to do this but I can relate to those folks because I have to stand on 2 pieces of 5/8 inch drip tape while also standing on the black plastic mulch which a gigantic machine is trying to pull out from under you. Combine that with hubby wanting you to shoot video from my stand point and not move the camera as I precariously balance on rough dirt clogs under previously stated material we are laying in the field. Yes, you get the picture now don’t you? Well one row done now 11 to go and I notice that slight breeze is picking up you know that “puff of air.”
Stations everyone it is time to lay row number 2. All systems go- Ready? Yep! Tractor takes off, I get video, I shut video off at 25 seconds and prepare to secure my end of the row with freshly tilled soil to hold the ends down. Row 2 done. 10 rows to go we should be done well before we anticipated at this rate.
“Ready? Says hubby. Yep! Says I. Tractor takes off…
Let me take this time to convey Life on the farm is hard at times especially if you have no help except just 2 of you. Laying plastic and drip should be a 3 person job and in a slight breeze 4 would be good. Hold that thought now.
Row 3 done; let’s move on to row 4. Hummmmm we might have a slight problem Huston. That breeze is no more a “puff of air” it is more like gale force with wind gusts of 25-30 mph and as we would find out later some a bit stronger than that. Have you any idea what plastic (I’m talking 400 feet of plastic) can do in those kinds of winds? No you don’t. Trust me, no you don’t.
Oh another tid bit to chew on until later we are laying bio-degradable plastic. Not its cousin the stronger non- biodegradable plastic. Believe me when I say there is a difference. An immeasurable difference!
As we are getting a bit older we made a very important decision to pay a bit more for the bio-degradable plastic, for we would not have to tear it out at the end or beginning of a season. That is a time consuming and hard job and well you see there are just the 2 of us. You see the bio-degradable plastic disintegrates as the UV rays break it down. Hence making our life just a tad bit easier, or so they said. Now getting back to having help on the farm, today we could have used 12 folks. That would be four of us to lay the plastic and drip and 8 workers with dictionaries, thesaurus and apps to research the meaning of our vocabulary today.
Ready? Yep! Tractor takes off… I shout “Hey, HEY, HEEEeee Y- STOP!” As hubby looks due west, I’m standing due east and the diesel engine of the tractor drowns out my voice, well that is if the winds didn’t carry my words off. At any rate hubby didn’t stop. The winds had gotten under the plastic before the discs could throw the dirt over the edges of the plastic to secure it over the raised bed of soil. The winds gust higher and higher, though not quite as high as the plastic by this time. My feet go right out from under me I jump up and run to try to catch this black plague that is wiping back and forth higher and higher into the sky. The only reason it didn’t fly away was because it was still attached to the mulch layer which was still dispensing drip tape and plastic rising higher and higher and higher. It’s a good thing this is the 21st century otherwise one would have thought the black plague had arrived on a puff of air. Of course when hubby finally turned his head to see behind him, he damn near shot out of his seat as that 400 foot long piece of plastic was chasing him and shaking violently in the “puff of air” that was under its sails. Crap where’s the video camera when you need it? (That’s not my exact words!)
Remember the cartoon character Foghorn Rooster? Remember when he would get caught doing something he shouldn’t? When his eyes, tongue, & teeth (as if chickens have teeth) would shoot out of his head? Well that was hubby when he finally casually turned his head and noticed the plastic in the breeze 400 feet in the air give or take a foot. I’m here to tell you I am not doing his laundry tonight he knows how to use the washer that was one of the first things I taught him when we were married. Smart aren’t I?
Oh and remember the bio-degradable part of the equation? Well they are right it isn’t as strong as its cousin the Non- biodegradable plastic. Every time you would grab that plastic and the wind was still caressing it, pieces would come apart in your hand. I don’t think UV rays are the only thing that makes it bio-degradable. As we would lay it back down on the ground and try to hold it down by standing on it spread eagle as that “puff of air” diligently worked against us and we were contorted by trying to hold it down all the while trying to get shovels full of soil to lay on the edges. Well that expensive plastic tears real easy too.
Needless to say we spent the rest of the day, and I do mean the – rest – of- the- day laying plastic and drip by hand with shovels, so much for getting done in a couple hours. The breeze did die down about 4 minutes after we finished laying the last row of plastic and drip. If I ever see that salesman who told us this bio-degradable plastic would make our life easier, again, well someone better research our language we are going to use on him. I do believe he is part of a Ponzi scheme.
One thing absolutely puzzling to me, one would think that with all those little pieces of plastic that tore off today that they would have blown away in the breeze. Maybe we are going at this all the wrong way since all those pieces of plastic are scattered all over the farm and laying perfectly flat well except for those that are budding in the trees, why can’t one whole solid piece lay that way?
Our game plan for tomorrow, and the next day and the next, will be picking up all those pieces of plastic. I’m sure our neighbors would appreciate that.