As we traveled across the countryside this weekend, I noticed something. Usually, as we travel, there's a constant stream of questions from the back two rows. I try to answer eight thousand questions, ranging in topics from flags on people's cars to trampolines to school buses and their destinations. However, this time, while the two little ones were napping and Anna was quietly coloring, the running commentary was not from the "way back," but from the driver's seat.
This is not the first time I have noticed that Joe comments on all things agricultural as we travel. However, now that I have embarked upon my quest to learn more about farming, I took note of these musings. Every time we passed a field where there was evidence of either ground that had been "worked" or anhydrous applied (I just learned the difference during this trip. . . before, it all looked black and bumpy! Hooray for small victories!!) Joe would comment on it. Not a derogatory comment, usually, just a comment. In fact, we have been known to take different routes to our destinations just to see what's been going on.
This fascinates me. As a former teacher, I would think about school and lesson plans and the kids, but I would never go a different way home just to see who has the best playground equipment. I would also never peek into windows to see who had the coolest bulletin boards. In farm country, however, it's a different story. In fact, as I was cleaning up from breakfast on Easter Sunday, a pick up truck was CRAWLING down our road. It was nearly stopped across from the semi parking lot (i.e., my driveway), and it hit me. The man in the driver's seat wasn't trying to keep his car clean from the gravel road for Easter Sunday church. He was counting the rows on our new planter! Honestly, this guy was totally scoping out our stuff, without any pause or act of discretion! Now I tend to note cute shoes or a great purse or a big diamond ring, but there's no way that I would slow down my car to count the carats! That's just crazy!
However, in farm country, you take note, just for noting's sake. Farmers pay attention to each other's practices, but just for the simple fact that they are curious. No real competition, just curiosity. The same seems to go for when the grain markets are fluctuating. We cheer them on whether we're selling or not.
We notice people's activity in the spring and fall, paying attention to who's done with planting/harvesting and who's had a breakdown or not, just for conversation.
In my little world as Joe's farm wife, this is the way it is. And as bizarre as it may seem, it's refreshing to not be worried about keeping up with the Joneses. . .just wondering what they're doing.