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 its 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 eating your lunch. 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.

harvest lunch
Harvest Lunch

2. The smells, sights and sounds of harvest.

Nothing compares to 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.

10 things non farm people don't know about harvest
Corn dumping

Another “sight of harvest” is the evidence of how farmers feed wildlife–more specifically deer. Here is a picture of our cornfield as we harvested corn. There definitely was some kind of party going on here and they probably invited the neighbors!

Wildlife
Wildlife feeding frenzy!

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. It may also 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 throughout the harvest season, “we’ll make it work.” We just adapt. 

4. Free combine/tractor rides.

Grandkids love riding in the combine or tractor! Many combines/tractors have buddy seats that can accommodate safe rides. And you can’t beat the smiles!

10 things non-ag people don't know about harvest
Mr. E in the combine

5. Field “dates” with your spouse.

I don’t think I spend as much time during the day with my husband as I do during harvest. Some days that is good . . .  other days maybe 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 wildlife. 

Ear of Corn
Ear of Corn

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. It never fails. No matter how hard they try. 

10 things non-ag people don't know about harvest
Miss C sleeping in the combine cab

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 brothers-in-law to sons-in-law, to daughters and sons, to mothers-in-law. We can’t do all the work without them. And we appreciate 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.

Yes, it’s a hectic time of year. Stressful. Thankful. Tired. Push forward. Blessed. Resilient. Persevere. A life I wouldn’t trade for anything.

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14 Comments

  1. I particularly chuckled at #6 because though I don’t work on the harvest crew in the field and we don’t harvest corn, my husband has dreams of harvesting and equipment breakdowns and all the like. Never has a break. Also, #8 is very true for our harvest crew, especially this year!

  2. LOVE this! I wouldn’t trade this life for anything else either. We cherish all the moments spent together in the fields, this time of year spending time as a family means every one gets in the semi or takes turns in the combine. The sounds of the combines running into the night or the semi grabbing gears would keep most town folk awake, when out here our its our lullaby, we know how blessed we are to have this life. Call it sacrificing a “normal life” of schedules or 9-5 steady paycheck or what have you but to know our “normal” is so rewarding, not in a financial way but in a way that raises our children to know hard work an dedication hard lessons learned and that at the end of the day no matter what time it is when the chores are done an furnace is stoked, and filled for the night we lay down knowing family is everything!

  3. Nothing about the seed dealer bringing out the weigh wagon (while sharing a pop, or homemade sweet rolls), or you fertilizer dealer looking at the crop to for fertility issues? Your agronomist out in the field pulling samples. Herbicide reps out in the field looking at how well products worked and what kind of weed pressure needs to be controlled next year. How about the many conference calls between the banker, elevator on splits, or the guy at the bin site screaming for help with moving the auger because the bin is full. Oh, and those two way radios. I can’t decide if it’s more fun listing to the neighbors or shooting the bull with the grain cart operator… Don’t forget some of us have animal chores to do before and after the day’s harvest… Crap, that reminds me- I need to go feed the dogs too. Great post….

  4. My harvest prep is shopping like a hoarder and having freezer meals handy. we go into “survival mode” . laundry is clean/wearable not folded put away. Family meals happen only when it rains. And the house will get cleaned as soon as I’m done with my farming. The school ( and our friends ) our kids go to has learned what our lives are like and i call in all favors for child care and school pickup. It definitely takes a village.

  5. Oh so very true!! You only know if you truly live it!! Wouldn’t have it any other way!!

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