The Harvest Changes Everything


Country MoonHarvest is the time of year when all things come together. It is the time when one tiny seed planted in the spring matures into a plant that gives back — sometimes a thousand-fold more seed and food than the original seed. Multiply that one plant by a billion to make a field, and those fields feed a nation.

It is truly miraculous! Farming is the only occupation where a person invests a year of work and can only reap the benefits during a few short weeks in the fall. To make it even more miraculous, each farmer’s story is different. Two can plant exactly the same variety of seed at exactly the same time and have two completely different yields. It becomes very personal.

This year, I was privileged to take an active part in harvest again after being away from it for over 30 years. Ron let me help him. To be quite honest, there were a few moments when the word “help” did not apply! But I had all but forgotten how fulfilling harvest can be. It’s not just about getting the crop in; it’s about harvesting memories, too.

I had also forgotten how meticulous you have to be, even in the smallest details. I pulled the wagons up from the field for Ron and unloaded into the storage bins. Driving up so that the chute of the wagon is positioned just so over the hopper of the auger is critical. Too far left or right and the grain tends to pile up and go over the sides; too far back and you lose some on the ground. Every kernel is money, so you don’t want to lose any. Laugh if you may, but I had markings on the ground to show where to position my front tire and where to stop. It sure made life a lot easier, and, in this business, time is the name of the game.

I haven’t progressed far enough yet that Ron could “dump on the go” like many farmers do with grain carts. Unbeknownst to me, one time we tried this, and let’s just say it did not go well. Remember what I said about every kernel being precious? Enough said.

So I had to know where to meet him in the field so he could dump. Sounds simple, right? Well, here in Indiana they have waterways, which are strips of land that cut up into the fields to let the excess water run off. This means that combining isn’t as simple as going around through lands or back and forth. Sometimes Ron would need to dump at the far side of the field, sometimes in the middle of the field, and sometimes at the lane. Basically, he needed me at the opposite place of where I was. Yep, not quite so simple!

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