Many years ago during harvest my son, who had a day job off the farm, was available evenings and weekends.
During day time, harvest was a one man job and I was the man.
One morning during breakfast my wife asked me a question as she was getting ready to spend the day at her job in an office and me in the combine.
We would both be working in our cubicles except mine was in motion and had a better view.
“How far do you want to get today?”
My answer was simple.
“As far as I can.”
Her question was valid. Tasks are accomplished when a goal is combined with a deadline.
My answer was the result of my experience. Plans made in the morning are often changed by noon and even earlier when there is a breakdown.
I remember a breakdown where the parts were at three different locations. It was the better part of the day just collecting them.
But there are times when things go better than expected and if I reach my goal ahead of time, am I going to quit?
Of course, not.
My son has a different approach. He has a goal for the day and if he has setbacks, works until he accomplishes it, even if it means working until midnight.
Once the sun sets, I don’t mind going for another hour, maybe two, if everything is going well.
Working after dark adds another problem of only being able to see as far as your lights.
Working late makes for a short night and a long next day unless you are willing to settle for a later start in the morning.
If threatening weather is in the forecast, working later into the night becomes a good idea.
One of the rewards of harvest is seeing where you started in the morning and by late afternoon how far you have come, or not come if there have been any problems.
While I enjoy working by myself, when my wife would bring me an afternoon snack after she returned from her job, I was more than ready for company.
God told Adam in the Garden of Eden, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t believe I have ever had more satisfying meals than when the machines stopped, someone showed up with food, whether homemade and still warm or burgers from a fast food place, and everyone stood still for a while to enjoy the day, the food, and the camaraderie.
Laughter and teasing add to the meal as much as ketchup and mustard.
Since my days of working alone with a six-row corn head, the harvest pace has greatly increased with two combines, each with a 12-row head, along with the grain carts and semis and all the help to keep the combines from ever having to stop.
What took me weeks is now done in days.
However, food served to a hungry crew under a bright blue sky on a sunny fall day still tastes as delicious as ever.
Evening meals after sunset can be just as enjoyable as the meal is eaten with the diesel engines running at idle, purring in the background.
And as we pause to look around at the surrounding acres of crops in fields that are harvested, being harvested, or yet to be harvested, it is easy to believe we are living in our own Garden of Eden.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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