Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Harvest Paradise

Last week we were in the middle of corn harvest and my job is to drive the truck into town with the grain. I wish you all could join me for harvest because there is something about the rush, hard-work, and sweat that make me feel more alive. It makes me love the life I have chosen and the place I live even more. I had this epiphany as I took the first load of the day in one morning.

That morning I started down the highway into town with a mug of coffee on the dash and my arm out the open window. The air was cool enough to be refreshing and warm enough to be pleasant. I drove down the road enjoying the crisp wind in my face and the fresh, heavy smell of fields and pastures. I watched as neighbor's fueled and serviced their equipment, waving at all of them along the way.

The great thing about our grain trucks are that they move at a slower pace than normal traffic. It is amazing how much you notice when you drive 15 to 20 miles an hour slower. You see cattle grazing on native range, kids waiting on the school bus and deer meandering through the fields.

Then I made the last turn into town. My hometown in one of those great small towns with a main street that is still very much alive. Early that morning I saw people heading to work with mugs of coffee, as with many of our Midwestern small towns they had time to stop and talk on their way to work. I wish you could all see my hometown come to life like I did that morning.

My destination was the local coop elevator (this is where we store and sell our grain). Greetings were exchanged with the employees and fellow farmers. The truck and the grain on it was weighed and the moisture of the grain was tested. I sat in line to dump my load of grain.watching other loads dump and slowly dissolve into the unloading pit. Then it was my turn to unload, weigh the empty truck and head to the field for another load.

This was my day as I repeated this 8 more times. The final load I marveled at the sunset as I drove back. The air was returning to the refreshing chill of earlier that morning, the heavy cool air intensified the earthy, clean smell of the countryside. The cattle and deer had returned to their feeding in the pastures and fields. The sun was setting in an awesome display of oranges, reds and yellows back grounded by the soft blue of the sky.

That is why I love what I do, and why agriculture is a way of life more than an occupation. I just wanted to share my experience on this perfect day during harvest, I wish I could have had you in the seat next to me. This experience is shared by all of my fellow farmers and ranchers as we bring you the food you eat, the fiber you wear and the fuel that powers your car.

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