Kim Baldwin, McPherson County farmer
Earlier this summer after we had finished harvesting our wheat crop and wrapped up planting the rest of our fall crops, my husband casually mentioned that fall harvest would take a while this year. At that time, we had a lot of acres of corn, soybeans and sorghum growing that would all need to be harvested before the end of the year.
As the summer transitioned to fall, the machines were brought out of the sheds, and I mentally prepared myself for the long harvest ahead.
While the summer wheat harvest for us is an incredibly busy two-week stretch requiring our undivided time and effort to get the grain out of the fields, our fall harvest is much more drawn out. I generally describe the summer wheat harvest as a sprint, whereas fall harvest is definitely a marathon.
As August rolled into September, my family transitioned into the long days of fall harvest. September moved into October, and the combines and grain cart continued to traverse the dirt roads to the next fields awaiting their harvest while our trucks methodically delivered the grain to local elevators. Lower temperatures and less daylight ushered October out and we settled into a colder November while the harvest continued.
The food delivered to the fields for the noon and evening meals were intentionally warmer than the meals we started out with just a few, long months ago. The shorts and T-shirts some of us wore at the start of fall harvest have been traded in for coveralls and sweatshirts. The air conditioning in the combine was turned off and the seat warmer turned on. Satellite radio tuned to baseball and football broadcasts earlier in the season now occasionally plays Christmas music.
Yes, this year’s fall harvest absolutely fits that “marathon” description. But my family has much to be thankful for today as we will not be in the field this Thanksgiving. Our crew has crossed that finish line and this year’s harvest is now complete!
We have wrapped up this year’s long harvest with the help of many hands who dedicated their days and nights to keeping the machines and trucks moving the grain out of fields. Our crew remained safe and healthy during these long days and nights that easily and often become a blur over a three-month period. Our days were long, yet productive, and harvest was bountiful. We have so much to be thankful for this year.
And much like someone who has just completed another marathon, we will now rest and recover before preparing for the next race that’ll be here before we know it. Until then, we will enjoy each other’s company and be thankful for all that we’ve been afforded.