york swirls

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Family Tradition

I left home at 6:30 this morning and got home at 7:15 tonight.  It was such a long, exhausting day with my mom and dad at the hospital, but when I got home Erin (age 14) had spaghetti with homemade sauce and homemade breadsticks ready for supper.  Krissy is working part-time at the elevator with Autumn this fall.  Both of them had to work today until the elevator closed, so the girls had both babies all day today.  Autumn & Krissy got home about 5 minutes after I did tonight.  As soon as they walked in, we loaded up in the van and took Erin's delicious supper down to the field.  

As we were all standing around, balancing our plates as we ate and catching up with each other's news from the day, my heart was full.  I think it is impossible for someone who isn't a part of a farm family to understand just exactly how we feel about our "job."  Farming is our livelihood, but it's not like a typical family where dad and mom go off to work from 9 to 5 and bring home a paycheck for "x" amount of dollars for "x" amount of hours.  This is what pays our bills, but it's our lifestyle, not just an occupation.  Everything we do is planned around planting, harvest, hay season, calving season, or even disasters like the fire we just had.  We don't send Dad off to work.  We all go out there and work together.  For example, Gary ran the combine today.  Meagan ran the grain cart catching corn as Gary dumped it "on the go."  Nathan hauled corn to the elevator in the semis all day.  Grady rode with his daddy (and Aunt Heather) to the elevator to see his mommy & Aunt Krissy.  Ryan rode with Pop in the combine.  Erin & Heather watched the boys so their mommies could work.  Erin fixed supper so I could be there with my parents.  Then we all ended up together in the field at 7:30 at night to gulp down our supper and get back to work.  I love this life and wouldn't trade it for the world.  Farm families are just a "different breed." 

 Krissy, Meagan with Ryan, and Autumn with Grady
Ryan is investigating the soybeans.

Meagan and I were talking on Sunday about how we felt about the fire.  Have you ever seen the Sarah, Plain and Tall movies or read the books?  Could you feel all the emotions that they felt when their barn burned to the ground or when they had the drought?  That was the feeling I had on Saturday as I stood in the road watching the firemen try to fight the fire.  As they put it out in one place and went to spray another place, the first place would flare back up.  I dashed the tears from my eyes three or four times as I stood there watching, fearing that we would lose that whole 80 acres.  I was thinking, "The corn prices are already down about $3/bushel from last year, and now we're going to lose 80 acres of corn.  How will we ever make it?"  80 acres of corn at 150-200 bushel/acre times $4-$4.50 per bushel.  That would be devastating!  

Praise the Lord!  It looks like we lost a little over 7 acres, not the whole 80.  I can choose to focus on the loss and the work it's going to take to clean it up -OR- I can focus on the fact that no one was hurt and all the other blessings God has given us.  I will focus on "God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good." As the song says, "Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me." 

After the Fire...

 Since Mom's extra busy this week with taking parents to doctor appointments, I'm updating the blog for her so that you all won't be left out on what is going on!

This past Saturday, a fire went through one of our fields of standing corn. Someone had dropped a cigarette in the field next to ours that was already harvested, and the shucks lit right up and the wind started blowing the flames across that field and into ours. Luckily, there were neighbors out combining beans who saw the smoke from the fire and one of them called the Remington fire department. When the fire department couldn't get the fire out with water, the neighbor went home and got his tractor and disk and disked through the corn so that the fire wouldn't go any farther. Dad and Mom headed over there as soon as they got the call and Meagan came behind with the 7120 and our disk. Dad took over for the neighbor so that he could go back to combining his beans. We're very thankful for quick-thinking neighbors! We lost around seven acres, but if it hadn't been for them and hard-working local fire departments, we could have lost a lot more.

Our tractor and disk in the field after the fire, with one of the fire trucks in the background.

 The path disked through the corn so they could get to where the fire was burning.

As you can see from that last picture, there was a LOT of corn on the ground. It looked like the fire had burnt all the shucks and leaves off the stalks and the ears of corn just fell on the ground. So....guess what job we had on Monday!

 You guessed it! We picked up corn for four or five hours. That was a long day! There was still some ashes and soot on the ground, so everyone wore their junkiest work clothes to get stained up. Dad combined the rest of the stalks that were burnt, but still standing, while we were picking up everything on the ground. If he had left them, the wind might have blown them over. It sure didn't look like there was much holding them up!

While the bigger girls and Nathan picked up corn, Nanna kept Grady entertained with ears of corn and corn cobs that had come out of the back of the combine.

Once we got the tractor bucket filled, Nathan would dump it into the combine to shell it and then Dad dumped it into the semi so we could take it to the elevator in Goodland.

...and here are everyone's faces after working in the dirt and soot all afternoon! :)

Once we finished for the day, everybody took showers and then had a nice, hot supper that Erin made for us. Chicken potpie and homemade rolls...yum! There is still quite a bit of corn to pick up, so we'll probably be out there a couple more days this week. Anybody want to help? :)