Christmas at Sunrise Acres
Another year is drawing to a close here at Sunrise Acres. With rain falling in the valley and snow in the mountains, there is hope that adequate water will be available for next year's crops. Christmas is truly a time to reflect and be thankful for family and friends. It is also the time we begin the process of planning for another year on the farm.
The farm ground is absorbing the rain like a sponge, helping to rebuild the supply of moisture for 2008. The hay and pasture will go into winter healthy and ready for an early start next spring. Our corn ground will be much easier to plow next year with this moisture we are receiving. With the short days and long nights, farmers finally get to take a well deserved break here in Idaho.
While farming has come to a close, the irrigation business hasn't shown signs of slowing down. At Agri-Lines Irrigation, our crews are still busy pouring concrete for pivot pads and installing pumping stations. It is tempting to call it quits, but every day spent on installations now puts us a bit closer to taking the edge off of the 2008 Spring rush.
This time of the year calls for careful scheduling to get concrete into wet fields without getting stuck, yet not cold enough to ruin the fresh cement. Bulky "blankets" are used to cover these pivot pads until they have completed their curing process. Getting the pads poured is just half the battle. Our pivots come from Lindsay, Nebraska, which is not exactly a tropical paradise in winter. A heavy storm between Idaho and Nebraska can delay shipment and hold up our progress.
Last week, I delivered a pivot south of Melba in a snow storm. The truck driver remarked he had driven in snow all the way from Nebraska. Without hesitation, he chained up his rig and headed across the field to the pad site. By that afternoon our crew was putting up the new pivot in bright sunshine. Just a typical day in Idaho! Later in the week we poured two more pads in the Midvale area. Usually this area is locked in a "deep freeze" until spring. Taking advantage of an unseasonable warm spell the feat was accomplished without a hitch. Now, just to test our luck, the pivots are scheduled to be delivered in early January. Stay tuned to see how that goes!
With a New Year close at hand, we get the opportunity to take a look back at the good and bad of 2007. Carol has kept our link to farming alive with her love of making things grow. Although we no longer rely solely on farm income for our livelihood, we are still proud to call ourselves farmers. My father, as did generations of Butlers before him, loved farming and passed that love on to me. Carol, her brother Andy Smyth, and I are the last members of our families who have an active role in production agriculture.
Our children will always have the memories of what it is to grow up on a farm. Running freely through the lush fields of sugarbeets, picking jalapeno peppers, and helping mom and dad move siphon tubes. Watching calves being born and grieving over lost pets. These are things that cannot be duplicated in video games or in shopping malls.