This piece was originally published on LaoisToday on May 23, 2017.
With Silage Season fast approaching, here are the most common occurrences experienced on our typical Irish farm and some advice for the farmers, their wives and possible contractors.
Fathers, refer to your wife as ‘Mother’ in front of the contractors or extra help. It gives your business that formal tone and let’s the wife know her husband means business. “Mother, have you got the tae ready”… Almost akin to the other statement said the remaining 50 weeks of the year, “Mother have you got the blue cards?”
- Wives – keep the dinners simple. Bacon and a bit of cabbage will do. These lads would eat standing up and no one wants to be caught short on a tractor. The reliable dock leaves are no longer and the few that remain are laced with roundup
- Miwadi sales reportedly go through the roof this time of year! We all know the farmers who skimp on the MiWadi. “Sure lads you may as well be drinking cat p***!
- There’s always that one farmer that likes Brown Chef sauce on everything. Including the salad.
- Most farmers have a dog called Shep. If being chased by said dog, loudly scream, “go home Shep”. If Shep fails to respond, he is possibly more used to, “Go home you f*****g eejit of a dog!”. That’s sure to do the trick.
- Farmers’ wives have an unusual habit of organising trips here and there with their like-minded friends at Silage Time. Trips to Dublin should not be tolerated. Commitment is paramount.
- For years farmers have relied on looking up to the skies for weather reports. Ye may forget about the Sailor’s Sky and get the young lad (your own or the fella’s down the road) to download a good weather app. Hour by hour updates. You won’t know yourself.
- Don’t be ‘that’ farmer the contractors visit when no one else wants them because a tornado is due any minute. Hold steadfast, don’t be the pushover! There’s a massive difference between a ‘light mist’ and a torrential downpour!
- Speaking of the pushy contractors, try and get them to cut down in the evening, when the sugars are at their highest. Sure didn’t you learn that on the Green Cert?! Even better, a 24-hour wilt on the ground! This is the season we find out who was listening to the ‘young wan’, fresh out of an Ag Science Degree from UCD. Thanks Teagasc!
- Expect breakdowns. They’re part and parcel of the season and this is when the socialising takes place. Appreciate all the like-minded people around you. God knows it’ll be another month or two before the harvest
- When fixing breakdowns make sure you gather up all tools. Many an evening has been lost due to said tools going up through a harvester. The clatter can be heard miles away!
- Don’t forget the cool beers when the lads finish for the evening! Avoid leaving them in the parlour. No one likes a warm Carlsberg. A few cheese and onion crisps go down a treat too! ‘Something tasty’ as the fella says.
- No man is fond of a salad. That’s for the women. We’d love a feed of steak in the evening, but we’ll settle for a few rasher sandwiches.
- Recruit your lazy sons. No point in hiring lads when you’ve one or two of your own who are too damn lazy to gather up a four-grain fork. No one wants to be rearing the useless lad the contractors talk about! Acting the part is so important, as is putting on a good show!
- Finally, all hands on deck to cover the pit! No excuses. Women, children and whatever neighbour you can find. Even the toddler, when placed correctly, can hold down a black plastic corner!
- Most importantly, BE SAFE. The above is all for laughs but we want our farmers and contractors home safe every night. And remember, enjoy these hours and the excuse of not having to be home at night by six! If you leave it until ten, she’ll have the children in bed and the bins out.
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