As we are in the midst of harvesting, I thought I would write a few, fun random thoughts about harvest. Some things about harvest most non-ag people don’t know.
1. Lunches are eaten in the field. Thank goodness for autoSteer in tractors and combines. Autosteer is a mechanism that automatically steers the combine/tractor. I can literally eat, with both hands, while the combine/tractor continues to operate. And, believe me, I have eaten many meals this way! Multi-tasking at it’s finest. And if you have lunch delivered to you, it’s eaten right in the field. So you might be sitting on a pickup tailgate or somewhere semi-soft on the ground. Farmers really do love harvest meals – just a nice little pick-me-up and one less meal to prepare. Trust me, it’s the little things.
2. The smells, sights and sounds of harvest. Nothing compares than smelling corn as it is harvested, watching the corn augered into the grain cart or truck, running through the corn dryer or hearing the sounds of corn dropping into the corn bin. Yes, it’s the simple things we cherish. And it mirrors life–it’s the simple things that really are the big things in life.
Another “sight of harvest” is evidence where we are feeding the wildlife–more specifically deer. Here is a picture of what our cornfield looked like as we harvested corn. There was some kind of party going on here!
3. Housework during harvest? It’s nearly nonexistent – you adapt to looking past the dust and clutter. Laundry during harvest? Just enough clean clothes to wear and sometimes we recycle clothes if they aren’t too dirty. And it may mean wearing mismatched socks because that’s all you have left. Grocery shopping? Minimal. Harvest season means early mornings and late nights. It’s just the reality of life in the fall. You will hear me say numerous times, “we’ll make it work.” We just adapt.
4. Free combine/tractor rides. Grandkids especially like this! Many combines/tractors have buddy seats which can accommodate safe rides. And they love it and you can’t beat the smiles!
5. Field “dates” with your spouse. I don’t think I spend as much time during the day with my husband as I do at harvest. Ummm some days that is good . . . other days not so . . .
6. Dropped ears of corn on the ground. If you are the combine operator harvesting corn, it absolutely drives you crazy when the biggest ear of corn in the whole field hits the corn head or slides off the corn head and drops to the ground. I literally have dreams where I am holding onto the corn head trying to catch those wayward ears of corn. A little weird? Yep. Weird things happen when you spend hours and hours in a combine. And the bright side? It’s winter food for the wildlife.
7. Toilet Paper, pillow, trail mix and insulated lunch bags are necessities in my combine cab. Why a pillow? No, not for me . . . although at times I sure could use it. If I have a grandchild ride with me, it never fails the sound of the combine and the monotonous view and sound of constant corn/soybeans flowing into the head of the combine lulls them to sleep. Never fails. No matter how hard they try.
8. You become “snarkier” as the harvest season progresses. You can’t help it. Your sense of humor ends up being sarcastic remarks and you need an attitude adjustment. And when you can admit it to yourself, you really know you need it.
9. The whole family is involved. Harvesting is truly a family affair in the fall. From brother-in-laws to son-in-laws, to daughters and sons, to mother-in-laws. We can’t do all the work without them. And we appreciate all of them. Immensely.
10. And when you are done with your own harvest and pending weather forecasts are unfavorable, you help neighbors and friends to finish. It’s just who farmers are and what we do. And you don’t wait to be asked. You just do it.
And I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.