Grit Blogs > Close the Gate

A True Farmer’s Heart

A photo of Nancy KraayenhofMy husband, Doug, had to leave on a two week business trip this week that was planned long ago. He grieved and begrudgingly left with our small farm crops, about 20 acres, still in the field to await his return. His heart is ready for the harvest process to begin. The combine sits greased, tuned and standing by in the shed. The truck has its battery all charged, the license plates on and all set to haul a bountiful harvest to the elevator in town. Our grandsons are chomping at the bit to ride along, but the moisture content of both the corn and the ground made it impossible to gather the crops before he had to leave.

To add insult to injury, the weather forecast is, of course, the perfect weather to bring in the crops.

My greatest efforts to assure him that the corn will still be here when he gets home were of no comfort to him in the least. I have learned that the acts of the harvest itself have the utmost importance to a true farmer’s heart. It is like that of air to breath, it is that significant.

The harvest is about the gathering of the abundance of God’s blessings from tiny seeds painstakingly planned, planted, fertilized and cultivated. It is about the purring rumble of a well-tuned, albeit very old, six-row combine. It is about sliding the lever that engages the gears that run the chains that put the entire process in action. It is about our four- and two-year-old grandsons sitting on buckets in the cab with their faces pressed to the glass fascinated with the entire course of action. It is about the rhythmic rumba beat motion of the straw walkers smoothly doing their job. It is about the sun shining through the dust of the chaff as it is scattered in waving patterns behind the machine. It is about the sound of the grain pouring like spun gold out of the combine’s auger and into the back of the truck that sits unused in the shed all year just waiting for gathering time. It is about waving to each neighbor on the trip into town to unload. It is about comparing yields and moisture content. It is about the wait at the elevator and the chatting with the fellow harvesters who have hearts similar to yours. It is about a steaming cup of coffee in a Styrofoam cup held in gloved hands as the corn unloads. And, perhaps most importantly, it is about acknowledging the hand of God in every step of the process.

My days are busy as usual. The daycare children are winding down from Halloween and gearing up for the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. We are making the transition from the out of doors to more inside time. There are more groceries to buy, as with the cooler weather, there are many new recipes to try. All the children appreciate cooking but one of the four-year-old boys I am privileged to have in my care has a baker’s heart and truly appreciates every step of the process. Next week we are going to bake bread and I cannot wait to share the experience with them. And I instill in them with every step that it takes a farmer somewhere for us to be able to get flour from the container, eggs and milk from the refrigerator and the rest. God willing, they will absorb and come to appreciate a bit of what I have learned from living the past decade with a farmer’s heart at my side.

So, I anxiously await his return so the harvest can begin. It is unfortunate that life sometimes gets in the way and delays our plans but that is just the way it is and so we are obliged to become the way we are.

Doug will get to complete the harvest; the whole gathering process will take place; a true farmer’s heart will beat at peace once again; and I’ll close the gate with grace.