To my mind, there is no season as glorious as spring. Everything is greening up, trees and flowers are blooming, and our son, “Sparky,” saw his first butterfly of the season.
While the return of butterflies and lady bugs are welcome, I can’t say the same for the abundant population of stink bugs which have appeared, even the chickens, who eat everything turn their beaks up at these disgusting little magicians who manage to appear everywhere. Yuck.
I admit, walking outside each morning and seeing the acres and acres of wheat growing makes me smile because it is just beautiful. This emerald-green carpet spread out across the field lifts my spirits because it just looks so bucolic. The only thing better is seeing lambs, kids and calves bucking and dashing about in the pastures. Adorable.
The farmers have been taking advantage of the dry weather and have kept busy prepping and planting the new crop; many fields had new tiling installed this winter and several drainage ditches had been cleared of brush and debris. The work is never done.
With all the farming activity going on, it is also unfortunately, what I call suicide by stupidity season. Just this week, I saw a SUV cut off a farm vehicle who was pulling a couple of tanks of chemicals. While I am not 100 percent certain what was in those tanks, I do know they had the universal caution stamp for flammable contents under pressure.
If that little Kia Soul had caused an accident, the potential explosion could have killed at least three people, myself, the driver of the SUV and the farm hand. I can only assume this was a new resident or a visitor to the area who thought he outrunning this truck was a good idea. Anyone who grows up in an agriculture-based community understands that in a battle between 99 percent of any farm equipment and anything else on wheels, the farm equipment will most likely come out on top. Sometimes literally with devastating results.
While large farm equipment has come a long way with technology, they still do not have the same safety features that most vehicles have. I assure you, the farmers are well aware of other vehicles on the road, they are after all, driving to work. More often than not, they will pull off when possible to allow other vehicles to pass, but, when your vehicle is at least four times the width of a car, there are limits to what they can do.
I will also suggest this; honking your horn or tailgating is not going to help those farm vehicles go faster. Seriously, who would you be more likely to accommodate; someone who is being patient and courteous or someone who is being a jerk? If I have someone riding my bumper, my foot instantly goes lighter on the accelerator and I take every square inch of road that I am entitled to, since my natural inclination is to not reward bad behavior.
People who opt to move to rural areas should have to sign a waiver to indicate they understand farm equipment have the right of way on roads, there will be dust during planting and harvest seasons and if livestock farms are in the vicinity, there will probably be noise and odors. Some of them will be potent.
The best story I ever heard was from an older gentleman who had a hog farm, his neighbor had sold off a series of two-acre plots along the front of one of the neighboring fields. Several new houses sprouted up in a few months and transplants from the city happily moved in assuming they were now also farmers because they had planted strawberry beds and had fenced in their yards for their designer dogs.
However, when they woke up one morning to the pungent odor of hog manure being spread on the field across from their homes, they were distressed by the stench. Several of the new residents, visited the farmer complaining about everything from the tractors being driven by their house, the dust from the fields, the wind-rows, which were eyesores, and finally, to the offensive smell.
The farmer listened to their complaints and then calmly informed them it wasn’t his fault they did not purchase rural inconvenience insurance when they purchased their homes. He assured them they would need to talk to the farmer who sold the land, their realtor, the builder and insurance carriers about this coverage, but his farm would continue their practices.
It didn’t take long for word to get around there was a group of people asking around about rural inconvenience insurance and his neighbor called to complain about the phone calls he was getting from irate landowners. Eventually the new homeowners realized their inquiries and complaints were going no where and within five years, every one of them had sold their homes to locals and moved on.
As you enjoy this beautiful weather, remember you are sharing the roads with people who are providing you with your food. Slow down, sit back, enjoy the drive and admire the scenery.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.