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FIRE AND ICE- LITERALLY

Get me to 95 degrees. Please. I say this with all honesty. I had rather endure a week of 95+ degree heat than a week with highs in the 30's. I know what some of you are thinking. "It's easy to talk about temperatures OUTSIDE when you are working INSIDE". I used to think the same thing when I was working on the family farm back home.

In mid-winter, my family would protect our plant beds with Reemay (long time farmers know exactly what I'm talking about). It was a special cloth designed to provide a breathable cover while allowing sunlight to penetrate. Whenever a passing winter storm paid us a visit, we would pull chunks of ice off the Reemay to prevent tearing. Keep in mind that our plant beds spanned many acres. We would often spend an entire day on our hands and knees, keeping the protective cloth free of obstruction. Our hands were so tired and stiff, we actually took off our gloves so we could better handle the thin Reemay. I've spent many an hour moving ice sheets with my bare hands. It was miserable, and I don't miss it one bit.

I also know a little something about heat. Early June was primary "wheat picking" season. As many farmers will tell you, wheat fields are often set on fire after harvesting to prepare the ground for the planting of soy beans. Needless to say, setting a 30+ acre field on fire when the air temperature is already in the mid 90's is not a pleasant experience. To manage the fire, we would use our tractors to cut "fire lines" around the field. This created a boundary of dirt that kept the fire from spreading to neighboring fields. The combination of large-scale fire, summertime temperatures, and the heat given off by the diesel tractors was nearly unbearable at times. With the exception of firefighters and soldiers, it's hard to imagine a hotter job.

And yet, I would still take the heat of summer over the chill of winter- especially this winter of 2010/11. From December 1st to mid January, temperatures were at least 10 degrees below-normal for more days than I care to remember. A colleague of mine was joking that February and March would probably be at least 10 degrees above normal. Then, years from now, some clever statistician could look back and say that we had a "normal" year. Funny, isn't it?

By: Jerry Jackson