Tuesday, July 1, 2014

This is the worst thing you can do...

2014 crop layout plan
 I had my crop layout all set earlier this year; I'd read up, purchased my seeds and a seeder, and worked pretty hard to get the ground ready.  It took most of two weeks, but with the alfalfa and grass and squash and pigforage areas, I was pretty happy.

I don't mention the corn area because I'd talked to a local guy who grows a lot of corn in this area last winter, and I'd arranged to have him come out and plant my test plot of corn.  The idea was to plant it and start practicing growing organic corn with tillage vs herbicide.  You can read all you want, but there comes a time when you want boots on the ground, and hands in the soil and to see what works and what doesn't.

So around the 1st of May (which is the start of corn-planting season around here) I called this guy, who I'll call Albert (not his real name) and asked when he'd be out.  Actually, I texted him, and he texted me back, and said he was down the valley, and he'd be up my way soon.  So I waited a week, 2nd week of May, and texted him again; "I'll be up there soon".

Now when I said "I waited a week"... I wasn't really waiting.  Stuff would germinate, rain would cake the soil, and I'd have to go over the field again to get rid of the weeds and fluff the soil back up... again.  and again.  and again.  This is getting annoying.   But it's also giving me time in the saddle with the tillage tools and by the time I've covered this field 7 times, I'm also getting to know what the ground is like.  What's clay, and whats sand, and whats dry and drains and what's wet.

So the first week of june rolls around, and I text him.  "The weather is unpredictable", he says.  Screw you, albert!  you planted the 40 acres RIGHT NEXT TO ME.  Look, if you told me you didn't want to plant my small plot I would have made other plans.  If you'd said you would plant it, and you'd crossed the fence from the other field to plant mine... great.  Job done.  I pay you, we both win.  But this is the WORST thing you can do to me; shine me on and tell me you're coming for a MONTH and then you're just gone.
looking north-east, at border of corn and alfalfa/grass
 Albert did tell me about a guy who had a planter, and I did go and buy that planter, and then I spent a week or so waiting for parts to come in and fixing it... and so 3rd week of june my corn went in.  a good 3 weeks after everyone elses corn.  Planting isn't like other stuff.    If you miss a window you're done for the year, or that's the way it feels like to me.  For the last month I've been watching other folks corn plants come up, and really, really being annoyed at YOU, ALBERT.

looking south-west, border of corn and alfalfa/grass
I didn't have a corn planter on my list this year, I thought I had it taken care of, but next year I don't have to wait for someone else; I've got the tillage tools and planter now, and I'm on my own schedule.  

So my cows got out last week, and they ran over to a field of corn that Albert had planted, and they trampled a bit, and ate some.  I got the call, and went over, and there was Albert and his whole crew, maybe 6 guys, and he's pretty annoyed.  And I thought about calling him out on the planting thing, but I figured my cows had gotten my revenge, and didn't.

Look, if you tell someone you're gonna do it, then absolutely do it.  Don't shine them on and then flake out weeks or months later.  Particularly with PLANTING.  ALBERT.

I chose a 71 day corn variety, and I think I'll get good enough weather to get it to harvest, but my real hope was to compare my corn with Alberts corn across the fence.  But that's a little messed up right now; I'm 3 weeks back.  So even if I wanted Albert to come back and chop it for me it won't be close to his corn.

And I'll be darned if I'll contract with Albert to do any other work for me.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  You don't get a 2nd time Albert.


Dale said...

I had a similar thing happen. I wanted to give my son-in-law a pig-slaughter class for Christmas, so before Christmas, I called a guy, who I'll call Albert, and asked him whether he was going to offer such classes in 2014. Albert said yes he was, so I gave my son-in-law the promise of a class for his Christmas gift. Two subsequent calls produced assurances of a class in February 2014 and after February passed, a promise of an announcement of class dates on Albert's blog the next day. That was in March.
Dale Lindsley

George said...

I've found relying on custom work guys just aren't very reliable.... better to do it yourself. Sorry to hear you having troubles at this time of year. Given the heat and what not this year I think your corn will still squeak by !! And FU Albert for not showing up!!

KGFarmer said...

Gosh this Albert guy seems like an Ass. From what i understand is that Albert has done business with you in years past and you've yet to pay him. I drove past you when you were herding your cows and i saw Albert and two animal control vans. What's up with that? When i was at the cafe the other morning all i heard was pissed off farmers talking about how the sheriff had called them at 1 am looking to see if those were their cows that had been out for 3 days. I've also heard you run a psychic hotline. Shouldn't you have known your cows were gonna get out? If i were this "Albert" why would i drop everything i was doing to plant a few acres of corn for somebody that still owes me money. And really man you're gonna text somebody about doing business or when you have a problem with them.? When i have a problem with someone i talk to to them face to face or the very least call them. Are you in High school or are you an Adult?

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! Not your situation, but your response to it. I am glad you maintain your sense of humor.

Bruce King said...

George, I'm just learning your lesson. I figured since he was in the area it wouldn't be a big deal, and if he just didn't want to do it he should have told me. Lesson learned. I'll do my own stuff from here on.

Bruce King said...

KGFarmer; I've purchased hay from him, and grain, and both of those checks have cleared long ago. I don't think I owe him anything at this point. He's never said a word about it to me, and we've been face to face several times.
If I do owe him something, he could have handled it right now; "hey, I wont' plant because you owe me xxx" or maybe "hey, can you pay me xxx and then in advance for the planting" and either way I would have been better off than this.

I'm sure he's got way more important things to do than keep his word.

You're living in another century if you think that text or phone or email isn't a way to do business.

I think he's a nice guy, and that's why I trusted him when he was shining me on. Shame on me.

George said...

And people wonder why every farm owns it own tractors, planters, rakes, balers, etc etc...

It is SO hard to get custom balers/planters to show up on time and get the job done. I don't get it.. I get outta bed every day at the same time, and do what I gotta do. Why can't they?

And KGF... how do you know that Bruce does / does not owe money to Albert?