Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
I scoff at making resolutions and have shared that sentiment numerous times. Perhaps it’s even a well-known fact about me. In January of 2023, this column stated I didn’t make resolutions this New Year. I didn’t follow through with them in 2022. And in January of 2022 it was even more blunt. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I scoff at the idea of making champagne laden promises of exercise. Budgeting. Dieting. Or personal improvement. Instead, I opt for sarcasm.
This year, I’ve opted for a different approach. For my farmer. Not me.
I will continue with my love of Dr. Pepper. WBBM News Radio 780. Sweet tart ropes. And podcasts. I will not increase my water consumption. And I will not attempt to like the radio stations and songs that my kids think I should.
Side note, my blue-eyed girl spent 7,246 minutes listening to Spotify. That’s over five days! Her top artists include Morgan Wallen, Priscilla Block, Lainey Wilson, Chase McDaniel, and Shania Twain. When I open the Spotify app, the message I get is, “We don’t have your Wrapped this year.” Perhaps because I joined Spotify in November. Of 2023. After my blue-eyed girl made me a playlist complete with Demi Lovato, Cody Johnson, Chris LeDoux, Lee Greenwood, and Nickelback. I made some additions: Fall Out Boy, Kansas, Juvenile, Brantley Gilbert, and John Pardi.
Instead, for this year I’ll assist my farmer with creating his 2024 New Year resolutions.
My farmer and I have been together for over 20 years. In high school he was the lead in “Grease” the musical. Hiawatha FFA President. And at one point a basketball cheerleader. Not a basketball player. As a 40-something-year-old adult he has retired his singing voice and thankfully his pom-poms. He remains active in FFA through our blue-eyed girl. Like his grandfather and father before him, he farms. Raises livestock. And cares for the land.
As a caretaker of the land my farmer spends countless hours researching land management practices. Investigating new techniques. And applying different and innovative avenues to improve soil quality and health. For 2024, my farmer will further his efforts to maintain soil health. Improve water retention. And improve topsoil regeneration.
Since his early teen years, my farmer has worn contacts. Without them or his glasses he can only see shadows. No lines. No details. As I got older, I was prescribed contacts to help with the sharpness. I can see but not always the street sign at the next stop light. When my farmer fails to order his contacts, I offer him mine. It would take 15 of mine to equal one of his eyes and 30 of another. Needless to say, he rarely takes me up on my offer. For 2024, my farmer vows to remember to order his contacts. Especially, since his glasses may also date back to his cheerleading days.
A tool he uses to reduce nutrient and soil loss is cover crops. Cover crops are planted to help the soil while holding it in place. Most cover crops are planted without the intention of ever being harvested. In the spring, cover crops may be tilled into the ground. Terminated. Planted directly into – and in some cases chopped into – animal feed. Cover crops are a tool that help farmers to reduce nutrient and soil loss. Like any other tool, how an individual should use it depends on the situation. What works on my farmer’s fields may not work for a downstate farmer. Or even a neighbor.
This Thanksgiving my farmer suffered a crafting injury. More specifically a hot glue gun injury. To his nose. Complete with a blister. In 2024, my farmer will use more care when crafting to ensure that when gluing finger puppets, he does not glue himself.
Fortunately for my farmer these are not champagne laden promises. Instead, they are goals for the new year.