For the farm family, the coming of fall means the streamlining of chores to make them easier to do in the rush of getting the crop in and the tillage done.
It means long days and short nights, lunches to go, making time and gas count by doing several errands inone trip, knowing where the aspirin bottle is (and sometimes bottles with long necks, holding the more popular universal liquidproblem solvers), and squeezing in all the have-to’s that come with daily living in rural America.
I remember a warm day last fall when I was trying to get it all done. When afternoon came, I took a break from writing and set out to take some harvest photos in the area. I visited with farmers who were nice enough to stop their combines long enough to talk yield and moisture.
(When most women talk yield and moisture, it’s a completely different conversation.)
It was my night off from taking supper to the field, so since I had a little time, I went to the grocery store. I was going home right after that, so it would work perfectly. I was making it count.
Driving home I spotted our neighbor combining beans across the road from our place, so before I took the groceries home I drove into the field and got more photo selections for the paper, and he invited me to ride with him in the combine.
It would only be a few short rounds, and I hadn’t visited with our neighbor in quite some time. It would be a nice time to catch up and talk crops, family and important issues like stamping out toenail fungus once and for all.
I rode a few rounds and found the conversation to be both nostalgic and refreshing. It reminded me once again of how special all of our neighbors are.
Afternoon turned into night, and still we talked, remembered, looked ahead and hooked up wagons together as he continued harvesting his soybeans. When it was time to part ways, I was grateful to be able to share that afternoon and evening with someone who had taught my husband so much about farming before he was able to do it on his own.
I was sorry we didn’t get together more often.
By now it was 8:30 p.m. I drove the car across the road and into our garage, went into the house to make lunches for our guys for the next day and start supper for our harvesting crew for the next night. Everyone got home late, showered the sweat away from the warm day and went to bed, knowing the next day’s work was only a few hours away.
I’m not sure what did it, but I woke up with a start at sunrise that next morning, realizing the groceries I’d picked up that afternoon before were still in the car. I’d forgotten all about them in my excitement to ride my few rounds in the combine with our neighbor. They had been in the warm car all that time.
If they had been items like canned goods or bread, no worries-but you might know, most of it was milk and meat. Everything was warm, with the exception of my husband, who was a little hot under the collar when he discovered that my bad memory was now costing him money.
Good thing I wasn’t a horse with a broken leg. I suppose we could be born a horse in the next life – and you know what that means when it all hits the fan.
You can just forget it.
I’ve already gotten a head start on that one.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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