I know I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again. Dating a farmer is something you really have to adjust to. It is not an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job and your date night or dinner conversations revolve a little too much around the latest and greatest equipment (that he wants but can’t afford) or what went wrong (or right) that day.
But then there’s harvest season . . .
This brings us to a whole new level.
Being 26, many couples my age are spending their fall weekends either at apple orchards, haunted hayrides, fall festivals or zombie pub crawls, drinking pumpkin spice lattes or some sort of craft pumpkin beer.
Not us. I’ll be honest – we’re lucky if we get around to buying a pumpkin from the local grocery store, and even luckier if it gets carved together.
Dating a farmer is one thing, but dating a farmer during harvest is another. Here’s a few tips and tricks to surviving harvest while dating a farmer.
First and foremost, DON’T DO IT. Whether it’s a wedding, double date, or even a simple appointment, do not assume they’ll be available. Unless it’s raining or they’re broken down, they aren’t leaving the farm. And let’s be honest, if this were the case, they’re probably not pleasant to be around, anyways.
Know the fields and field names BEFORE harvest.
There is nothing worse than saying, “I don’t know where that is,” or asking for directions to a field while they are multi-tasking in the tractor or combine. Plus, the directions usually include landmarks you’ve probably never heard of.
You know – take a left by that one farm site with the old red barn, you’ll then see a John Deere 4840 in the field (because we can all read that from the road or know what it looks like with a single glance), take another left, you’ll see a small red flag in the road ditch and it’s just beyond that on the right side of the road.
Just learn the different fields and field names before October rolls around. It’ll save you some stress.
Don’t comment on the lack of hygiene.
I’ll just say it. Putting on clean jeans every day, combing their hair daily or making sure they are clean shaven goes out the window during harvest. And it’s better if you just don’t comment on it. I grew up with my dad always telling me, “I won’t shave ‘til all the corn is in the bin.” Just accept they aren’t winning any beauty contests out there.
Stay clear of comparing progress to the neighbors.
Stay clear of comments like, “I saw so-and-so started picking corn today.” Or, “I saw so-and-so finished another field.” Don’t do it. Save yourself. Don’t cause any unneeded stress. You’ll thank me later.
Add meteorologist to your resume.
When rain is in the forecast, it’s a race against the clock. They’ll need to know where the rain is and when it’ll be here. Be prepared to know, but don’t ask how it’s coming. I can probably answer this for you – not fast enough.
Don’t ask when they’re coming home.
Harvest can feel like a never-ending cycle, day in and day out, working more than what they are sleeping. There are always things that can be done, even if they aren’t in the field. Don’t ask when they’ll be done for the day, because they probably don’t know. Or if they do, plan on an hour later than scheduled.
Make good food, not fancy, sloppy food.
During harvest, staying fed is critical. No one wants a hungry farmer who has just worked an entire day on four hours of sleep. If you’re making meals for the field, stick with foods that are easy to eat where half of it won’t end up on their lap. If they’re up against the clock, they might not have the time to stop and eat, so plan for food they can eat while driving.
If they don’t tell you how the crop is looking, don’t ask.
If they aren’t telling you the yields or how the crop is looking, there’s probably a reason for that. My advice–don’t ask until they tell you.
You’re not their priority . . . right now.
They have waited all summer to see how their hard work has paid off. Unfortunately, this time of year comes at a price. Be patient and flexible. I’d also recommend holding off on any sarcastic comments about being “neglected” until the middle of November.
If you feel single, remember it’s not forever.
There will be days or even weeks where you feel alone or wish you were able to do the typical “fall” activities. This is the one I find the most difficult, as I love everything about fall. I wish we were able to have fun dates together during fall, but my advice is this – make a point to plan something fun for after harvest. Just try and plan it before harvest, because you won’t get much of a response in the middle of October.
This is a crazy busy time of the year. Emotions are high and time is limited when you’re up against weather. They need your support, whether it’s visiting them in the field or making a quick “on the go” meal. Lend a hand when you can and let them know you’re proud of the work they do (while secretly counting down the days until it’s over).
Hopefully, these survival tips will help keep you (and your significant other) sane and together for another year. Good luck!
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