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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Nov 21, 2014

The recent snow and very cold weather made it official. Winter is here, and whatever you thought you were going to get done outside is going to wait until next spring.

A late fall and early winter is a bad combination, but looking at the fields around me, I can say that almost everyone finished their harvest and fall work, coming in just under the wire.

On our farm the decision was made to haul the last acres of corn to the elevator. All the bins except for one were full, and setting up an auger to load the last bin which was a couple miles from the drier was not worth the bother.

Haul it to town.

That also had the advantage of those bushels being handled one time since they were already in town and we had plenty of stored bushels.

That was on a Thursday and over the weekend the snow and cold arrived; things haven’t been the same since.

This was the last field planted last spring. It was planted on May 29; a reminder that spring planting was also delayed.

So while corn harvest was being finished in the acres around my home, I was finishing the potato harvest in our garden. It was another job that needed to be done, especially since the snow and cold arrived only two days later.

I could hear two combines with 12-row heads each harvesting assisted by two grain carts and three semis while I was on the ground with a shovel and plastic tub digging potatoes.

The combines and I were both going back forth completing our harvest.

I was doing one row at a time, and I had about two and half rows before I was done.

The combine crew was harvesting thousands of bushels that day while I was harvesting about half a bushel and by late Thursday, harvest was done for all of us.

When it started snowing Saturday, it was obvious how getting our harvest done Thursday was exactly the right thing to do.

It was more than farmers and an elderly gardener (me) working to finish harvest.

I drove by our local elevator at 8 p.m. that day and saw several semis waiting to unload, and they were as busy then as they had been at 8 a.m.

It is impressive when during harvest, so many people have a role in getting harvest completed.

There are people who are in parts and service, the people delivering diesel fuel and LP, and an entire system whose purpose is to get whatever is needed into the hands of whoever needs it.

It all got done and now everyone has paused to catch their breath and even start thinking about next spring.

With the snow, the cold, and the empty fields, everyone’s routine has changed. Life is a little slower.

Considering the price and convenience of potatoes at the grocery store, is it worth it using a shovel and dragging a plastic tub up and down a couple of rows for less than a bushel of potatoes?

Yes, it is.

A big bowl of our home grown mashed potatoes on our kitchen table on that day of gratitude is a fitting end to another crop year.

Those potatoes were planted and harvested on our own ground only about 100 feet from where they will be served to our family on Thanksgiving Day.

A frozen turkey is stored in a cooler in the garage because the cold weather has made the garage a very large freezer.

At the end of Thanksgiving Day we will have full bellies to go with our full bins and we will be thankful for everyone and everything.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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