Right about this time of year, you start wondering what you were thinking when you decided you needed to "get back to the land" and farm for a living. But that really isn't totally true in my case. I had a very long career in a totally unrelated field (finance) and was relatively successful in that career. I lived in a cool house on Lake Norman, drove a luxury car, didn't think anything about paying $100 for a haircut. Now I am lucky if I can remember to comb my hair, much less find the time to have it done anywhere. Some days I think maybe it would be an okay thing to go back into the corporate sector where I could earn some serious money again and it has on rare occasions been tempting. But it only takes one drive into Charlotte to bring the flashback to what that life was like and any notion I might have been entertaining about doing something different that what I am doing how flees like smoke in a hurricane.
This year things have been a bit better, was far as the drought conditions we suffered through last year, but frankly this area is far from out of the woods. We are not enjoying the same volumes of rain that other parts of the Piedmont are experiencing this summer, which is a frustrating situation. For some reason (location, topography, Lake Norman, who knows) many of the summer storm systems that could potentially bring in any wet weather here go right around us. We watch and track large systems that might bring some moisture and we literally watch them split in half right over the lake and go on both sides of us. The only typs of weather system that might bring us some serious rain is a tropical storm or a hurricane coming close and heaven knows, you dont' wish for those to happen. We have a neighbor who is a dairy farmer and he mentioned the same thing last time we talked to him. Said it was about the most frustrating thing he had to deal with because if affects his pond, ergo his cows and his living. Of course, he has the same attitude that we do...he wouldn't do anything else but farm. So, if you choose this life, you also choose to accept whatever Mother Nature throws at you and make the best of what you do have to work with.
We put in a well this year and that has helped us out a good bit this summer but the irrigation system part is not finished by a long shot. The well cost more than double what we anticipated and we are still paying that off, so there wasn't a lot of extra money for piping, etc. That will have to come next year. So, for now, we have a whole lot of hoses.
One hold up this spring was that the new well wasn't completed by one of the critical times we needed it. The driller was in great demand and very busy and so it was finished until nearly a month later than we expected. Also there was a tremendous amount of grit in the water for about a month which clogged up the hoses, sprinklers, etc and so we weren't able to utilize the water source as we needed to until about the middle of July, when it settled.
Don't get me wrong, if it hadn't been for the well from that point until now, some of our crops might have been fried in the heat and dry conditions that prevailed this summer. However, our sweet potatoes, okra and a couple of other varieties are in the upper fields where there is NO water source but Ma Nature and they are growing fine. The soil in that field has a little better moisture holding capacity and so the small amounts of rain that have fallen have been sufficient. That is why we plant the crops that can take the hot dry conditions in that field.