I have been on this farm doing farm activities since 1975 and every now and then I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” Yesterday showed me one of the main reasons.
This fall’s harvest can be characterized by hurry up and wait. There have been too many days of sitting idle waiting for dry conditions to return. The weather has been our foe when October days are usually our friend.
Yesterday was one of those days that have been in short supply. The sun was shining, the temperature was pleasant, and we were just dry enough we could actually do what we have wanted to do for several weeks.
My son operated the combine and I hauled the loads to the elevator. It was slow going for the combine because of the damp soybean stems, but we were making progress. I was able to make three trips delivering beans and I was their final load of the day at 10:30 last night.
We started the day with short sleeves and ended the day wearing jackets, notifying me the sun is not as strong as it has been a few months ago. Each trip to town with a load of soybeans let me take inventory of my neighbors and everyone else along the way.
By late afternoon, I could see everyone around me was doing all they could to cover as much ground as possible, especially when a bank of clouds appeared in the west telling us our sunny weather was a one-day event. The weather forecast was saying this was going to be the best day of the week.
In addition to the combines moving in several fields, I saw the crew from the power company replacing poles. I am sure they have been waiting for a sunny day, too.
My route took me past a peat field that has been growing vegetables since I can remember and they were filling wagons with onions and potatoes. It was harvest for them and the warm sunshine was just as welcome.
Arriving at the elevator meant waiting to unload and then I saw people I have not seen since last year’s harvest in some cases. Greetings and smiles were exchanged and that was all we had time for. Every minute counted and we were going to stick with getting our work done. The visiting will wait for another time.
However, in our haste there are a few minutes when we wait while the equipment does its job. There is still time for a quick visit such as talking with Mike who was running the unloading auger. He had just graduated from high school and I got caught up on how his fall is going. College and working at the elevator are his daily routine now and Mike’s happy smile told me he was enjoying himself.
At 8 p.m., a different Mike showed up with his weigh wagon to calibrate the newly installed yield monitor in our combine, his fourth calibration that day. He left at 9 p.m., but not before we traded information on how things were going for all of us.
Each walk into the scale office to get the scale ticket meant a friendly greeting from Rhonda with her brown eyes and dazzling smile along with a few moments of teasing each other. I told her there was no point in her going home that night. Since it was 10:30 p.m., she should find a corner of the office and stay there. She was going to be back in a few hours anyway.
Without hesitating, she asked me if I was going to show up for breakfast. I told her, “Don’t count on it.” I was ready for a full night’s rest.
The Mikes and Rhondas of this world along with everyone who waved as we passed each other in our haste showed me one of the best parts of farming. It was a day that once again I learned the best part of farming is the people around me.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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