Two Things A Farm Wife Doesn’t Want To Hear

Harvest is over for us here in northeast Kansas. The crops have been taken from the fields and the combine is back in the barn. It’s something to truly be thankful for because so many things can go wrong from crop failure to equipment failure, not to mention the ever present worry of personal injury. This harvest went smoothly for the most part. But there are 2 events from this year that will stick in my mind:

1. Late one evening during corn harvest, Harland was several miles away trying to finish harvesting a corn field before an approaching rainstorm came. He called from his cell to say, ” Hurry over here and bring the pickup. I have something that needs to go in the back of it.” I hung up the phone and my brain started churning. He’s out there in the middle of nowhere in a cornfield, just him and the combine. What could he possibly have that needs to go in the bed of our large pickup? Did he kill something? Did he find something? Dig something up? Buried treasure? A body? I was at a loss, and couldn’t imagine what it might be. I drove the 3 miles of paved road to get there, and then turned into an old gravel drive, around the corner past where a house used to stand, past old farm buildings up into a dirt field road..up up up the hill, and at the top of the hill the land opened before me and I could see for miles in every direction: cornfields, bean fields, pastures, and twinkling lights dotted here and there.It was past sunset by now, and the sky to the north was dark and shot with lightning strikes. Rain was only about 10 minutes away.  I stood alongside the truck in the cornfield in my t-shirt, short green plaid skirt, and pink flip flops(hey, I wasn’t planning on being seen by anyone that evening) waiting for Harland to stop the combine and come over. He finally did and hopped into the driver’s side with me along in the passenger side. He drove further into the field alongside an old fence and finally stopped by a gate to another field. He hopped out, and picked up a large metal panel about 3 X 4 feet and placed it in the back of the truck. He explained that it was a part of the combine that had come off when he had misjudged the location of an old fencepost. Luckily it was not a vital part, just some covering over the back where the chaff comes out of the combine. The fencepost in question didn’t have a mark on it. It was an old post, probably put there at least 50 years ago, and was apparently determined to be there another 50. Harland rushed back to the combine, and  I drove home thinking that at least my life was never boring, and thank goodness for that.

2. Another night during bean harvest, Harland came home late, and as I was preparing to serve dinner, he casually announced, ‘I almost caught the bean field on fire today.My jaw dropped as I tried to get words to come out. The best I could manage was, “HUH??” and he explained, ” Well I was driving along in the combine, and smelled smoke. Didn’t think anything of it as I assumed someone was burning something somewhere.  I continued for a while and then noticed in the side mirror that the bean field was on fire behind me in several spots. I stopped the combine and raced back and stamped the fire out with my feet. I realized that the fire must have come from the combine, so I went back and started looking and found that there was some smoldering bean stalks and debris near one of the wheels. The brake had locked up and gottten hot causing the dry stuff accumulated around it to smolder, and drop off onto the field starting fires along the way.”  He got the debris off and later took the combine back to the shop to hose it off just to make sure. It all turned out well, thank God, but it could have been so much worse.

See the look of concern on this farm wife’s face? I think I understand, at least in part, the cause of her expression.

——>TOMORROW: An autumn poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

——>NEXT WEEK: Turkey, Stuffing and Homemade Gravy.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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13 Responses

  1. mary m says:

    That picture of a farmwife, makes me want to cry. During that time, the women on the farm almost worked harder than the man. No electricity, no refrigeration, wood burning stoves, outhouses for toileting. They were always saying about the “SH%T” Mother Nature dished out as, “maybe it will be better next season”. Calif. is now populated with the the progeny of the “dust bowl” migration.For them, better next season never came.
    Harland, be careful working on your machinery. One of our
    friends who had rented my familys farm in S.D. for years was killed when he was working on a piece of equipment in the winter, alone, when his son came to check on him. I say soldiers arn’t the only heros today. The American farmer is a hero, also, in my way of thinking. Thank you, Harland and spouse, for all you do. And with the modern miracle of the computer, we get to follow along and learn from all the interesting blogs..Happy Thanksgiving from
    MM in Vancouver,Wa.
    all the interesting b

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Mary M,
      The stress is etched on her face isn’t it?
      I’m sorry about your friend. Harland’s father was killed in a farming accident, and Harland found him afterwards. Farming is a dangerous profession for all kinds of reasons. I pray every day for Harland to stay safe…
      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

  2. Kara says:

    I am glad it all turned out for the positive!

  3. What a great post. You had me wondering and wondering on that first one… I was really hoping it wasn’t something or someone dead. And how nice of Harland to casually mention the fire. I actually chuckled! 🙂

    I absolutely can’t wait to see your recipe for homemade stuffing. I loved my grandfather’s homemade stuffing and have never been able to find the recipe.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Morningbray,
      Harland always casually mentions the scary things in an offhand way. Very unnerving to me, but old hat for him as he’s been farming all his life.
      Stuffing recipe on the way Monday.
      Thank you

  4. Teresa says:

    It’s always a dangerous job on the farm. I must say my dad had a run-in with an electric pole and the disk–the pole won that one too. Glad you had a safe and successful harvest!

  5. I agree with Mary about farmers and their families being heroes. Our country needs you to stay afloat so that big corporations are not the only ones growing our food. Thanks!

    I kept staring at the photo of that woman. I was trying to figure out what she was thinking about, and what her life was like.

    Thanks for your comment on my foliage post.

  6. Linda says:

    HAng on to your HAT because the weather map says our nasty weather is heading your way.


  1. November 19, 2010

    […] Two Things A Farm Wife Doesn’t Want To Hear    Kitty In Bed […]

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