This past weekend I went back home to Alabama for the weekend. My parents were hosting 2 (yes 2) family reunions at at our house and I needed to go home and check on my beans. On Saturday after the first reunion was ended a little early due to a rain shower, Dad asked if I wanted to ride with him and my brother Brady over to the Ridgeway Place to check on his irrigator (irrigation system, pivot etc.)
Brady just graduated from Auburn University in May, he moved home and began farming full-time. My dad stopped farming in 2006 and although my brothers and I have been farming the last couple of years, this was the first year since my dad stopped farming that someone in our family has been working the ground that has a irrigation system on it (another local farmer has been renting the land).
When dad asked if I wanted to ride along, it took me back, way back.
It is funny the memories you remember and cherish from your childhood. When I was a kid and my dad was farming, during the summer I often remember my dad asking me the same question, “do you want to ride over to the Ridgeway Place.” Sometimes during the summer (when there was no school) we would get to sit up late at night so we could tag along or we would have dad occasionally wake us up to go. So Saturday we loaded up in Brady’s truck, we have named “Bellering Betsey” and off we went.
The irrigator we have wasters a couple hundred acres on one of our family’s farms. The water is drawn from a spring fed creek near the field. It has a center pivot and makes a circle around the field, it moves so slow you can barely see it move. (You can learn more about center pivots here) I can’t speak to the systems other farmers use, but you do have to occasionally check on it to ensure it is running properly and so you know where it is in the field and if it is time to turn it off.
We had a rain shower so Brady wanted to go see if it needed to be turned off. There is no need to continue to use water if the field has received a good rain. Irrigation allows farmers to minimize risk, it allows them to supply water at the right times so the plant does not stress (which then equals a less productive harvest)
Unlike when I was a kid, this time dad was in the backseat. My and grandfather put in the irrigator back in the 1980’s so he has been a lot of help to Brady this year as far as getting it up and running and helping him learn the quirks.
This trip was in the daytime. Some of my more vivid memories with my dad were trips we took at night. Sometimes we would drive the 13 miles and it had not watered a full circle, so depending upon where it was we would either sit and wait in the truck or we would go back home and come back.
This particular field of soybeans is blooming and is starting to start putting out bean pods.
This routine trip to the field with my dad and brother reminded me of a set of fond memories from my childhood. To some it may not appear exciting, I remember fun and exciting things from my childhood like going to Disney World and snow days etc. but memories are not always exciting.
I am sure I have many other memories of doing mundane and routine activities that I’ll remember as I get older. I’m really intrigued to try to take note of them now as I remember some of them. Checking the irrigator with dad at all hours of the day and night seems pretty insignificant, but one that I was really excited to somewhat “relive” this weekend.
What kind of memories do you have with your parents/grandparents that were maybe not all that exciting, but things that now stand out to you know as a lasting memory?