I never really thought too much about rain until Joey started working as a farm hand. The first year that we lived in the country, he didn't have a job at the end of the harvest season because the farmer didn't make enough of a profit to keep him on. That was tough. We moved 4 hours from home and got a 30-year mortgage for that job.
This year, we have our own harvest to worry about. Besides the acre of fenced pasture for our sheep, we also have a 2 acre field. And this year, we have $250 worth of sweet corn, popcorn and pumpkins seeds trying to grow on it without any rain. The acre of sweet corn and popcorn was planted weeks ago with a borrowed tractor and planter. (It was planted in the dark after Joey got home from work.) Over the last few days, after work, Joey and I have been out in the field planting pumpkin and gourd seeds by hand. Joey planned it all out on the calendar based on maturity dates so we have carving pumpkins just in time for Halloween. But with weeks without rain, we've instead been planting around the times that there is a chance for rain.
We prayed for rain in church on Sunday (only in the country does the minister pray for the crops) and early Monday morning saw a few showers. By Monday evening, there wasn't much moisture left in our clay soil when we planted pumpkin seeds on our hands and knees.
Our sheep pastures are dry and almost bare of grass. We've sent our rams to eat the weeds in our friend's fenced in yard. The ewes and growing lambs have been moving around and eating the grass in our backyard with a series of wire fences. The neighbors probably think we're hillbillies.
But you do what you've gotta do.
Even if it means your rams are eating weeds out of a filled-in in-ground pool, your sheep are mowing your lawn, and your prayers are consumed by hopes for rain. Joey has taken to watching the little green splotches of precipitation drift around us on the weather radar. I just hope the thousands of pumpkin seeds we've planted grow. And that people will buy them when they do.
If you're in western Illinois this October and we've gotten rain this summer, we'll have jack-o-lanterns, pie pumpkins, squash, wee-be-little pumpkins and miniature gourds. All planted and picked and prayed over by this girl, who never thought about rain until she planted an acre of pumpkins with her bare hands.