When you pull out your billfold to pay for a Polar Pop at the local gas station and particles of soil fall out, plus maybe a wisp of a corn stalk leaf, brown and golden, it could be quite embarrassing. Actually, I’m proud of what I do and it’s an occupational hazard. If someone that sees the soil fall out and the corn leaf segment drift to the floor thinks I’m a hick, so be it.
The soil gets there largely because I volunteer to coach local soil judging teams, and I’m in roughly 50 soil pits during the fall. Somehow the soil magically moves from the pit into my closed wallet. I wish I could say I’m a magician, but I’m not. My wife thinks it’s because I rub against the sides of the pit. I get so engrossed in what I’m looking at and trying to point out to soil judgers about soil properties that I don’t know if I brush the walls or not.
She’s actually not too happy with what it does to my billfold. If I took it out and left it in the car, I would never find it again. I’m at that age where everything needs to be attached to me by a string or chain so I won’t lose it. I can lose it on my office desk because it gets covered up with something when I’m working on expense reports. She always gets me a new wallet for Christmas. Fortunately that’s not too long after both harvest and soil judging conclude.
Last week I followed Danny Greene, a local consultant, through a cornfield taking stalk samples to check for nitrogen. That’s where the corn leaf got inside my wallet. How a three inch long, quarter-inch wide piece of corn leaf found its way into my wallet, I’m not sure.
What I am sure about is this is one of the favorite times of the year for me. I can watch farmers harvest, and help kids learn about soil properties on crisp autumn afternoons. As long as there is no radio around to remind me of everything that is wrong with the world, life is simple, life is good.
So what if I have a little dirt and corn leaf in my wallet? Having nothing like that in my wallet would be far worse, because it would mean I was just sitting home, never getting a chance to get a taste of the real world.
Here’s hoping you continue with a safe harvest. To make your spouse happy, leave the dirt and corn stalks in the field if you can.