How to Procrastinate on a Farm

There’s a farmer here who hasn’t harvested his soybeans yet. Yep, it’s mid-February and some people are already itching to plant corn, and he’s still got soybeans standing on the stalk, which makes my heart brim with admiration. Though he’s merely four months behind (which isn’t all that impressive), to procrastinate such an essential task as harvesting your crop, you’ve really got to dedicate yourself to other pursuits. 

Despite what some may think, procrastination isn’t easy. For instance, last Saturday morning, just to avoid cleaning out the barn gutters, I decided to continue putting new siding on our old farmhouse. Cleaning out the barn gutters is a tedious yearly task, but re-siding on an old farmhouse is a once-in-a-lifetime monumental task that is challenging and gratifying. After five minutes of gratification, however, I remembered I needed to feed the cows, a matter of more pressing concern than cladding my shelter or cleaning out gutters. Thus, I went off to attend to the cow’s health and well-being. 

On the way to the barn, I noticed the tractor tire was flat again. I’ve been intending to buy a new set of front tires for five years, so I went to start the air compressor. While waiting for the pressure to build, I cranked the tractor and let it run a while since I hadn’t used it much in the winter. Good grief, the fuel gage was nearing E. Truth be told, “accidentally” running a diesel tractor out of fuel is an excellent way to occupy your time. Personally, I’ve never bled a fuel line in less than two hours and once or twice had it take all day. But mostly, I was starting to get hungry, so I decided I’d drive the tractor to the gas station down the road, the one with a grill and good cheeseburger basket, to refuel the tractor and my stomach in one efficient stop. 

On the way, I stopped by a neighbor’s house to ogle his new hydraulic wood splitter. Ogling another’s man equipment is an excellent way to kill time. However, it can be untasteful if you linger, so after a mere hour chat with the neighbor, I promptly resumed my journey to the gas station. 

The grill was bustling with talk and upon some beckoning, I joined a table of old men to hear reports of all that had been accomplished throughout the countryside. One farmer had trapped a large skunk overnight and was trying to figure out what to do with it. Another had spent the morning at a scrapyard searching for the perfect pieces of scrap metal pipes to weld together for a set of homemade monkey bars for his granddaughter. He wasn’t successful with his search and was generally displeased with the selection of scrap available these days. 

By the time I finished listening to such reports and got home from refueling, it was nearly mid-afternoon and a great spell of fatigue descended upon me after I fed the cows, so much so I decided to go inside and watch a basketball game just to restore my energy. It happened to be a real nail biter that went into double overtime, and by the time it concluded, darkness had descended outside, which meant all other tasks could be put off till tomorrow. Tomorrow, being Sunday, a day of rest as declared by God, I could safely procrastinate till Monday. Monday happened to be President’s Day, a federally-mandated holiday which I felt obligated to observe as a patriotic American. By Tuesday, I couldn’t remember what task I had originally intended to start on Saturday, so I considered my procrastination complete, a job well done. 

Re-siding your farmhouse will only take ten years if you diligently apply yourself to mastering procrastination.

If you’d like to join the Misfit Farmer’s Procrastination Club, just let me know. So far, the only two members are me and my barn cat, Bunty. And, to be honest, we’ve just briefly talked about the idea and haven’t gotten around to meeting yet, so you’d be a charter member.