Monday, May 10, 2010


Don't start planting on a Friday.
Never start harvesting or planting on the 13th.
The best day to plant corn is April
___________(fill in the blank depending upon your family's lore).

Is this for real? Is there any truth to these superstitions? Is farming comparable to voodoo? We haven't been farming long enough to know if these are tried and true results, family beliefs, or just guesses, but whatever the season, whatever the situation, there's superstitions.

Consider this morning: I woke up, thought about the fact that we finished planting last night, but then thought, "What if it frosts?" Where's my positive attitude? Shouldn't I be thankful we're done? Last year on this date, we hadn't even started planting anything yet!

Similarly, last night, upon congratulating my dad on a job well done, he said, "Now let's hope we don't have to go back and replant something." Great attitude, Dad. Even my husband, the owner of the book, How to Be an Up Person in a Down World (and if you know my husband, soooo appropriate for his mind set), is cautiously hopeful that something doesn't blow up or blow over.

Although it's easy for me, the newbie farm wife, or anyone who isn't 100 percent farm-minded, to execute a perfect eye roll at these thoughts, I have come to realize that superstitious thoughts as well as unpositive thinking are par for the course in a profession that relies primarily on acts of God and fluctuating markets (those are acts of God, too, right?). How could you not become a bit of a cynic when a freak hail storm could take your year's livelihood down? How could you not tend to stay away from doing anything on a date on the calendar when a tornado blew down the main farmstead buildings? How could you not be a little nervous when 8 out of your 10 purebreds, just purchased, moved into a new pasture, and tagged for identification (kind of like ear piercing) were struck by lightning, all while we were in attendance at our good friend's wedding? That anniversary is coming up, and we will never forget that phone call, or our friend's special day.

Regardless of the circumstances (whether fortunate or freakish), the farmers in our corner of the world all have superstitions. There are truths to some of them, and farming is a profession that has withstood the test of time, so who am I to question the date you should or should not plant corn? Farming is a profession that relies heavily on chance, so why not throw a little superstition into the mix? Maybe that will help the markets go up!

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