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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Goin Nuts!

Or should I say will work for peanuts? Hmmm?

The great peanut harvest has started.

I am beyond relieved. Peanuts require a huge investment and are so dependant on the weather and the market, that one just never knows if it is going to be a good year or just a mediocre one.

We really needed it to be a good year this year. The rains came and the peanuts grew and everything looked wonderful.

Ahead of schedule actually...

Until one fine day when The Hub came walking in with a handful of freshly plucked peanut plants in his hand. Lo and behold there were SPOTS on them. Dark brown ugly ones that looked as foreboding as bad as an x-ray at a yearly check up you don't want to ever ever see.

One never wants to hear

"Look at those dark spots"

does one?

Inwardly I collapsed in fear. In my mind I was whisked back to last April when we found a weird mold growing on our oats. Trying for an organic crop of oats that would be safe to eat ourselves and to sell at harvest, went terribly wrong and we had MOLD growing in our crop.

In one minute our hopes for a cash crop were dashed to pieces and we frantically began to look at a salvage operation. Thankfully we discovered that cows can eat the oats as hay and are impervious to the lightly growing mold once it enters their many fermenting stomachs.

So we baled it and the cows had a feast and while we didn't make the money we had hoped to and we didn't strike our blow in organic crop raising as we had hoped, we did at least salvage something.

It was a very scary time and it was with that in mind that I looked at the spots on the peanuts with great trepidation. Here we were, facing another crop holocaust.

So while he headed to the Agricultural Lab I sat here frantically Googling Peanut spots and scaring myself silly with what I found.

Fortunately the lab gave good news.

It seems every ones peanuts in our area were being affected by the excessive and wonderful rainfall.

What had made the peanuts grow so beautifully and lusciously was also contributing to their down fall,

too much of a good thing, moisture!

Apparently “Quod me nutrit, me destruit”

a slightly kitschy Latin phrase that taken literally means

“What nourishes me, also destroys me.”

Can apply to peanuts too.

The peanut experts did give us a fascinating prescription of sorts to serve as a guide for the peanut illiterate (that's us) as to when exactly the peanuts are going to be ready.

It appears there is a formula for everything!

Here is the optimization of all our hard work and when we should plan on reaping a crop according to the computer powers that be...

a closer look...

Isn't that great? A highly technical piece of paper and we wouldn't have known if we hadn't rushed to the nice lab folks in a panic with a box full of spotty peanuts.

Now we had a plan in place!

It begins...

close up of the digger crawly thing that actually digs the peanuts up out of the ground.

Looks wickedly dangerous huh?

Turning to a more peaceful pastoral scene, here's the peanuts, about to see the light of day! Yay!

after the digger crawly thing makes a couple of passes, you see tossed about plants with peanuts belly up drying in the sun.

long rows of peanuts....

or in the words of Buzz Lightyear "To infinity and beyond"!

a close up

The next day

The wagons to transport the peanuts stand ready to fill. Our good weather is holding. Rain is coming. We just need one more day....

The big combines work really fast!

Finally, under a darkening sky threatening rain, the peanuts are loaded and ready for the market

where they will make their next appearance as peanut oil or even better....peanut butter.

Pass the jelly!

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