Garry's guys had only planted 20 acres of wheat a week or so ago on the field where the sorghum was harvested, and he was trying to decide whether to plant more or not. If it stays dry (unusual for fall in Ukraine, where it is cool and wet right through November most years) putting seed in the ground would be a waste of time and money. However, we will have a lot of land to plant in the spring if we don't plant wheat, plus next year we will need straw and grain for the people who get goods instead of cash for rent, and straw to bed up our cows, too. Most people say October 20th is as late as you want to plant, although now some are saying the end of October this year with hardly any wheat planted.
For the last month, every time the weather forecast would call for rain in 5-6 six days, it would be gone when it got closer. Garry really didn't want to plant and just get a little rain, which might sprout the seed and not get the wheat up and growing, As time went by, he would switch from we won't plant to we should plant, even though he was worried it would turn cold soon and maybe it wouldn't grow. They could plant spring grain, but summer and even spring are normally dry, so the yields are not as good as winter wheat, which the moisture from winter snow.
|This year's corn - there is some piled in the shop|
Most people prefer wheat for their share, but a few took corn
Saturday they were chopping cornstalks and getting some of the land plowed and ready for spring planting. Some land had already been disked up, but it seems like the ground that is plowed in the fall grows better corn every year. The land is almost too hard and dry to plow now, we'll use less fuel in the tractors if we get some rain to soften it up, I'm told.
|The new tractor|
|It's getting dirty planting now|
Amazingly, they got finished a couple hours after dark, the guys were back around 8 pm. The field that had sunflowers by the highway was planted by lunchtime, and Garry helped move tractors around to the other field that sunflowers were harvested off before teaching his afternoon classes at two pm. I drove him around after we gobbled down the nice dinner I had cooked after class, leaving Maria (Garry's translator) in the house.
First we went to the "box" (best description- rented storage in the village public works buildings) meeting the guys (tractorist Sasha and one of the students Valera) where the wheat is stored, then I drove him to the field to pick up the tractor and planter, he started driving back to the garage -which is what everyone calls the new farm shop, where he filled up with fertilizer and headed to Moroznika, the village where the other field is. I met him at the shop after going back to the house and grabbing some food for the two guys and followed him with the van and waited while he took a turn around the field planting the headlands before the second tractor with the wagon of seed and fertilizer arrived with Sasha the tractorist and Valera, his assistant for the day.
I wished I had brought the camera to take some pictures while I was following him, as he passed a horse and wagon that pulled off the road for him, since the planter fills most of the narrow two lane road, and twice he pulled off the road a bit when he met an oncoming car, so it could squeeze past. He just squeezed though the trees on the dirt lane on way to the field from the main street in Morozinka, a smaller village than Nikolipolia, but was part of the same collective, so we have some land there.
I walked home after my 4-5 pm English class, well Polo and I, first I got some bread at the store (the dog stays outside as he's told) and then we walked through the village herd on the street which was heading home at 5 pm. There were a few tiny drops of wetness while I was raking leaves and hunting walnuts in the yard until it got too dark to find the nuts around six pm. Hopefully this rain arrives tomorrow after Garry had the the guys hopping to get this wheat planted... and it grows before winter arrives!