Fall Harvest

There is so much to learn about farming. As my mother-in-law always says, farming is his love, not mine. This is true. I will listen to him, but no, hunny I really don’t care about feed rations or exciting equipment featured on http://www.tractorhouse.com.

When it comes to fall harvest, I can tell the difference between a field that has been chopped versus combined. I know the corn has to dry out and it gets kind of droopy looking. They started testing the moisture for a week or two to get ready for combining. But somehow the sudden absence of my husband still caught me by surprise. Seriously, Jake sent a text one afternoon saying “I’m going to get the combine.” In man terms that should have been ample communication. But I totally did not process that as being “See you in a week from now!” I really don’t know why, I mean what did I think they were going to do with the combine? I just always forget how long it takes and how late it gets when they are trying to get fields done and bins full.

When Jake pulled in the yard with the huge combine, another one of his job’s duties was waiting- the feed reps. from AgVenture were waiting for him to touch base. So Jake parked the combine and was talking to them. Well, I was outside with my 3 kids along with a friend’s 5 year old son that I watch part time. I’ve got Ellorie in the baby carrier and two excited toddlers, one running around each side of the combine. The 5 year old waited patiently off to the side. But Joey & Caleb split in opposite directions running around both sides of the combine that was still running. Jake eventually helped me rally them up but not before I gave the feed reps quite the show. There I was running around with a baby strapped to her chest jetting to the left after one toddler and then looping to the right after the other. Much like a cutting horse.. (If you’ve never seen a horse cut cattle, you need to you tube that!)

I feel like I could write a post focusing simply on Miss Ellorie in the baby carrier. She sure gets taken on a ride almost every day out seeing the world with her curious, energetic, and busy big brothers. I have a lot of anxiety trying to keep an eye on those two. Things happen so quickly, like the sound of clanking metal one afternoon and you turn and half yell, half laugh at what you are about to deal with “Joey, no!! Don’t let that calf out!”. But oh, no, here we go. It sure is awkward wrestling a calf with a baby in between you and the calf. The calf is secured, and Joey’s on to the big gate next. There is a lot of jogging after them with one hand supporting Ellorie to limit the impact of my running. Phew, we didn’t let the herd of milk cows out this time.

That first night that the combine was there, Jake couldn’t wait to drive it. My father-in-law was supposed to be gone that night driving for another farmer that our family works closely with, until plans changed and he came home that night with intentions to drive the combine himself. Jake told me “I guess I won’t be combining tonight.” I silently rejoiced but then he pouted, “Dad’s coming home. I don’t get to drive tonight.” Sometimes I forget how much he loves this job. This life. That’s something I love about Jake. When someone is passionate about something you can see it in their smile, in their step, in their demeanor and he has all of that.

Jake took our boys, age 3 & 2 in the combine for THREE hours for me one day during harvest. It was such a helpful gesture and I should have been able to move mountains inside our cluttered, sticky-handprints-everywhere home. Oh wait, I have a third child. She has really been a blessing to us. And she is an amazing sleeper at night, goes down around 8 pm and sleeps soundly until wake her around 7 am. So because of that blessing, she just takes random little cat naps during the day not sleeping for longer than 30 minutes usually and she wants to eat, often! And likes to be held and talked to. So of course she did not sleep during my three hours of freedom. That’s been an adjustment, I can rarely finish a task these days. Even this post is a draft that I am revisiting from a few weeks ago.

Jake came in beaming one night this October, telling me he had the best day ever.  He said it’s the most corn he’s ever seen this year. “Let the corn roll in, baby!” With a little “cha-Ching” arm motion. “I just thank God for this farm and for you and the kids”.  During harvest he sure does have to lift me up though. I have struggled with the weights and balances of positive and negative. I have everything I’ve ever wanted in life, but when someone is licking your feet while you’re cooking supper (yes, my kids are strange), and the other is drawing on the floor with your eyeliner, while you reinsert pacifier for 15th time for the baby- It is hard to hang on to the joy you find in your 3 year old’s hilarious outlook on life; your 2 year old’s out of the blue bear hug & “I love you Mom”, or your 4 month old babies newly found belly laugh. That’s why it’s hard to write sometimes. Because I want to lift others up but I first have to find my grace, and my peace.

And now I am almost there. To sweet, sweet winter. In a lot of ways I hate winter. I don’t have thick Minnesota skin. I start shivering in 30 degree weather from a simple walk to a building from a vehicle. And I hate that feeling. But in my role as farm wife, I absolutely love winter. My husband is about to be home. Like inside of our house, home (outside of milking & routine animal care) There will be more quality time as a family, and sorry babe, a honey do list. I know it’s my hair, but I can’t do it. I can’t use that snake contraption to unclog the shower drain, it makes me gag. I will hold the plastic bag for you though.

Until next time. Thanks for reading the dairy wife’s diary.

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