Monday, October 10, 2011

Soybean Harvest and a Rainy Day Break

Today is a second rain day from combining soybeans. I haven't blogged much because harvest started with wheat awhile ago and then we moved onto beans...I don't have lot of time to myself lately. My mom and dad have been here, but have left today.

My mom and dad came last week and my mom took care of the kids while I went out in the combine. If you are wondering, yes, I run a combine. For those of you who are farmers, the next answer is, we run two John Deere 9600's. Not the newest machines on the block, but great machines for us and our farm. We added the second one this year, we had been going through harvest with one combine or sometimes we'd bring out an even older 7720. The 7720 was in need or retirement and we needed more combine than the one. Harvest was just taking too long on one combine and it was even worse with a breakdown because having only one machine makes a breakdown even more stressful.

While I am, technically, still a pastor, I really have shifted my life focus to thinking myself more as a farmer. I am in a corn planter most of the spring and a combine most of the fall. I sign our FSA paperwork and I'm the one responsible for field maps and acreage reports. I have had opinions on our crop, our machinery, our capital purchases and improvements, and I am as well known to the local crop duster as my husband is and he doesn't doubt me when I sign up acres. This is how our family lives.

So, now we start finding out how the year will go. It's harvest time!  There's something very exciting, scary, and spiritual about harvest, I think this may be especially true if it is how you make your living. When I'm in the combine by myself, I get a lot of time to reflect. Let's face it, since I have two small children, this is often the most "alone" time I get.
Here's what I mean about exciting, scary and spiritual. Every year is a step out in faith, at least that's how I see it. We can only plan so much, we try to choose the best seed, get it in at the right time, right fertilizers, care for it by spraying for weeds or insects. Yet...we don't bring the rain, the sun, the heat, or the cool. We don't keep the hail away in the midst of rain that we need. There are no guarantees. We plant the seed, but God gives the growth.
I thought about this very clearly Saturday night. It was late, very dark and as the beans are streaming into the combine, it was more than happiness that the crop looked good. It was relief. Thankfulness that it was there and we would be okay for another year. The bills would be paid, we could give some extra away that we hadn't budgeted, we can make some farm improvements.
Some years we have better crops than others, which also determines how we live and how we spend or don't spend. We are blessed, we have had several good years, but I remember the first year of our marriage and it wasn't as good, fine, but it felt way tighter than we had hoped. We have had the opportunity to grow our farm and add some acres.

Sunday, during church, it started to rain and it rained through the night and some this morning. It has been pretty dreary today. Dustin's in the shop, working on the corn head, that will be what is harvested after beans, so it's a good opportunity to get it ready. I have enjoyed time with the kids and a chance at a break. I've been trying to get caught up on laundry and getting ready for company on Wednesday. A friend is coming to help in the field. I've got a lot of work to do, but seem a bit too tired to get it all done, but I've done what I can. It has seemed more important to spend "Mommy" time with the kids, so I have. I've cuddled Ella, who wasn't happy with me because I was gone. I played games and danced with Ian in the livingroom.  I'll also try to get my confirmation lesson for Wednesday done.

Harvest has been fun. We got two entire quarters done on Saturday, which is the most we've probably ever done and we did it with a late start too.

But today is a day for a bit of sabbath and a bit of work. Coffee or something with a friend this evening, Time to get caught up, but not rushed.  Sometimes...the rainy day is good.