Milo Calling

Back in June, Matt and Layne planted our summer crop of milo, aka grain sorghum.  It’s like corn, only shorter. And more grain-y-ish.  And better.  Let’s say corn and milo are sisters.  Corn is the tall, thin, blonde, high-maintenance daughter demanding attention and being all dramatic, while milo is the laid-back tomboy sister nobody notices until she goes to off college and comes back beautiful.  Farmers have to babysit and entertain their corn children all summer while milo just plays outside by herself and comes in at dinnertime.  Corn is fragile, milo is tough.  Corn is delicately harvested; milo can survive a blizzard and two hail storms before you get it out of the field.  All of these observations are based on my very scientific research of taking walks and monitoring crops for three years via iPhone photos. 

claire in milo

This year has been awesome for growing milo because, since May, we were blessed with almost three feet of rain on our fields. Miraculous.  The milo just took off!  I think we may have fertilized it once or twice, maybe sprayed for weeds, but I can’t be sure because Matt is gone and won’t answer his phone.  Which leads to the point of this post:  holidays and farming don’t mix.

It’s Thanksgiving week and we are just now getting the milo out of the fields.  Harvest is dragging on until Christmas this year because we’ve had so much rain and, in the past ten days, hail and snow.  And tornadoes in the Panhandle in November.  It’s been crazytown around here.  I was talking to a former future meteorologist at a wedding this weekend (long story), and he was discussing the uniqueness of weather in the Texas Panhandle.  There is no place quite like it, due to the convergence of  mountains, plains, desert, Pacific Ocean, Dust Bowl, Denver Broncos, and the Hill Country.  I made that last part up.

The guys have been trying to finish harvest for a few weeks now but things have just stalled.  Last night Layne called and said the milo is ready to cut again today, so Matt left from where we are visiting family for the week to go back to NM and cut milo before the forecasted blizzard hits Thanksgiving Day.  Since we live in our car, this isn’t such a big deal, and the good news is, I’ve come to accept the fact that being married to a farmer means that some holidays are spent on the farm.  By some, I mean every holiday.  Especially the good ones.  And does anyone have a nice motor home for sale?

I have enjoyed this year on our farm more than any other because A) RAIN, and B) NO CORN.  Corn is a 24/7 job, as I’ve insinuated, but milo is just a good time.  Here’s our milo in pictures.  The milo still in the fields today has some hail damage, which stinks to have right here at the end, but that’s the life of a crop. Here’s hoping the guys get harvest finished this week and eat some turkey with us on Thursday.  In our previous lives, Matt was a football/basketball coach, so we’ve never had much of a Thanksgiving anyway.  (All you coach’s wives friends:  I feel ya!)

matt in miloBaby milo, in early summer.  Looked a little patchy there for a while due to various factors Matt explained to me that went in one ear and out the other.

green miloThis was in July or August, when it was fresh and green and this sprinkler just stayed put.

2015 milo fieldThe golden era.

end of the milo

Septemberish.  I loved this stage.

milo all grown up

The day of our first freeze, all grown up.

ready to harvestMilo ready to go.  Pre-blizzard.  Where’s the combine?  Somebody get the combine.

Combine at sunset

                And today. Matt Bellah Photography.

That’s our 2015 crop story.  It’s almost a wrap.  And next time you eat a milo burger, thank a farmer.

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