Last year those who believe in global warming could make hay. March in Indiana was so warm it was off the charts. July brought temperatures that resembled those recorded in the 1930s. Then there's 2013 – definitely a year with a mind of its own.
Forecasters called for a warm, wet spring. They got the wet part right, but up until now, at least, they missed the warm part. Maybe they believe in global warming too.
I could show you about 500 high school kids who don't believe it, and seven of them traveled with me and some other adults to the National Land Judging contest in Oklahoma during the last days of April and first days of May. We noticed the pasture was short, although we saw plenty of cows. We assumed it must be carryover from the drought they suffered there.
That may be part of it, but natives told us the bigger factor was that it had been a cool spring. It was the second coolest April on record in Oklahoma. If not for the last two days of April, with temperatures reaching intro the mid to high 80s, it would have been the coldest April ever.
Wheat was running about two weeks behind schedule, according to local farmers. South of Oklahoma City, it was showing a hint of getting ready to turn for harvest. But some told us that even in central Oklahoma it should be turning by now. It wasn't.
Then came the proof of all proof – global warming is a figment of someone's imagination. Mother Nature will do what she wants to do when she wants to do it. If you don't believe me, ask the kids.
We practiced soil judging on the red soils of Oklahoma on two, bright, shiny, warm days. Then contest day hit on May 2. It was 40 degrees tops all day, and there was a 40 mile per hour wind. This is not exaggeration – this is Oklahoma. They set up the contest on top of a hill. There was no protection for anyone. Then to top it off, light rain fell during the first half of the contest, finishing with a flurry of sleet so intense some of my kids claimed it was hail.
Try to concentrate on judging soil when your hands are growing numb. It's great for feeling texture of the soil, and your papers are getting wet, even though you have your clipboard in a two-gallon plastic bag. For some reason known only to the contest officials, one version of the Scantron card was waterproof, the other was not. Kids, and even yours truly, literally punched holes in that paper to mark answers before it was done. Everyone knows you can't write on wet paper. It took them four days to sort out those cards and issue results.
The people there could take a few lessons in how to run contests from the folks in Purdue Extension and FFA advisors here in Indiana, but that's a different story.
If that wasn't enough, on the way home the next day, it was snowing, up to an inch, for a 50-mile stretch in southern (yes, southern!) Missouri. Warnings were on the radio and we witnessed at least half a dozen slide-offs on the interstate highway.
And people wonder why they don't have their corn planted yet?
The weather will turn. But only when it's good and ready. And when it does, it will be because it wants to, not because all the damage man has supposedly done to the planet will force it to change. If my only frame of reference was this spring, I would think we were heading into an ice age, not global warming!