As I write this week’s missive for Midwest Messenger, I’m looking out at grey skies and listening to the weatherman talk about this past weekend’s cold snap and the snow — yes, snow — that hit portions of the East Coast and Upper Midwest, including regions of Canada that rarely see snow this time of year.

Hubby’s Twitter friends have been all a-twitter about these weird times and weird weather. Several of the Canadians shared photos of their snow, including the two inches covering vast expanses of an onion field, well up and growing.

It’s bad enough that most of us, even with planting season in full swing, feel like we’re trapped in a months-long version of “Groundhog Day” — you know, the movie where Groundhog Day keeps repeating?

Now we find ourselves in an abnormally long cold snap in May. For four nights straight, I’ve covered plants that I optimistically put out just a week ago in beautiful 80-degree weather. Now my weather-guesser says I need to do it again tonight before we might get night-time temps back up in the 40s.

I didn’t bother covering my three rows of potatoes that were looking beautiful — until two nights ago when we hit 29 degrees for four hours. Thankfully, I know from past experience the motley brown tops of today mean my plants will be set back a couple of weeks but will eventually push through.

I’ve decided weird is the new normal, and so am forging on because so much has been thrown at us this already this year. What’s one little record-setting cold snap?

I had to laugh at one of the latest memes making the rounds on Facebook. It’s a photo from the movie classic, “Back to the Future” with Doc Brown warning Marty in the caption, “Whatever you do don’t go to 2020!”

But if we skip 2020 totally that means I miss out on precious time with our new grandson, as do a number of our friends who entered grandparenthood for the first time this year along with us.

Skipping 2020 means we lose thousands of new graduates, both high school and college, any one of whom might find a cure or treatment for this virus or any other future pandemic pathogen.

It also means we would lose the precious lessons learned on how to better spend time with family, how precious time is with friends we can’t be in direct contact with, and the sheer joy of hopping in a car and actually going somewhere besides the grocery store or implement dealer for repairs.

We’ve gained a greater appreciation for life’s true heroes and have had to rely on creativity and imagination to fill niches we normally gloss over or perhaps take for granted.

As my dear, departed mother said many times through the years, “Be careful what you wish for.” So wishing we could skip 2020 perhaps isn’t the wish we should be wishing.

Rather, we should wish — or better yet, pray for — patience, a better understanding of others and guidance to travel toward the unforeseen new normal. Also prayers for all who are dealing with the crushing economic blows this situation has dealt in agriculture. No one has been exempted, and even when you feel like you are — you are not alone!

Freelance journalist Barb Bierman Batie grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She has written for local, state, regional and international publications and joined the Midwest Messenger crew in 2010. She can be reached at

Barb is a freelance journalist who grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She can be reached at