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HOUSTON -- At the Imhoff Ranch in Grimes County, three generations toil from dawn to dusk harvesting hay with what amounts to Texas-sized lawnmowers.

Patriarch Joe Imhoff is equal parts farmer and philosopher.

The weather is like your wife, said Imhoff. You learn to live with it, not for it, and you can t predict either one of them.

A year after the worst drought in Texas history, no one could have predicted it would be such a banner year.

It was real bad last year, and it s real good this year, said Imhoff s son, Frank. I don t know how you go from one extreme to the other. We re lucky.

Talk about a reversal of fortune. In all of last year, the Imhoffs harvested only 10,000 bails of hay. So far this year, they ve already cut 60,000 bales and expect to harvest another 40,000 by the end of the year.

The first cutting, everyone was nervous. They were fighting for it in the fields, said Imhoff. If they normally buy 100 bales of hay, they bought 200.

Even so, they still have a surplus.

Life is good, said Imhoff.

Good with the weather and the wife, who he s planning to take to Paris in a couple of weeks.

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