Monday, November 3, 2008
It's Harvest Time!
Yes, the day the dog and I long for all year is finally here! That day would be harvest day, the day the crop is finally cut and we can reclaim the full use of our field for our long walks.
While our crops are growing, I use the farm access roads around our farm to take long walks with the dog, but it's not the same thing as walking on your own land somehow. Even though I have permission to walk my dog on neighboring fields, I long for the day I can tread on our own earth at the end of the growing season. Somehow, it just feels right underneath my feet. And the dog enjoys it too, because he knows he is not allowed outside the perimeter of the property when he takes his morning walk, so he is a bit confined by the corn. He doesn't venture down the rows once they have reached a certain height.
Once again, it proved to be a great year for corn. Last year's wheat was a bumper crop, and this year corn was a perfect choice. I suppose it is like taking a gamble every spring - will this be a good year for soybeans, wheat or corn? Personally, corn is my least favorite crop, simply for it's size - this year it was well over 8 feet tall, and it becomes a bit claustrophobic in a way. There goes the vista, if you know what I mean.
The equipment used to harvest this equipment is heavy, huge and expensive. Had we not changed the drain pipe over the culvert in September, forget having this piece of machinery access our land. Literally, this combine is the width of the road - if you are in a hurry and stuck behind, you better be patient or grow wings, because you aren't going anywhere quickly. And a note to those impatient, lead-footed, disrespectful drivers: please, stay out of the country if you want to go any where quickly during harvest time. There is nothing more annoying than operating a piece of farming equipment with a seething driver tail-gating. Have a bit of respect and back off. (End of rant!)
Not every farm owns a combine, so there are only a handful in the area. This particular combine runs about 18 hours a day during harvest time, and one can hear its constant drone for days on end. It takes about 45 minutes to fill the trailers with corn, and from here they are taken to the silo for drying. The moisture is was about 25% at harvest, and needs to be dried to about 15% for storage.
Once again, Cooper is in his element, running up and down the rows of cut corn. There are so many exciting smells for him to discover, while I walk in a straight line, he is running up and down and zig-zagging all over the place. His excitement is palpable. From time to time, we can see a hawk eyeing prey below, even they fly low along the rows in the hopes of finding a mouse or mole in the freshly cut corn.
As I make my way up the rows and back towards the house, I say a quiet thanks for the people who make it happen. We are mere observers, however, the people who work long hours plowing, planting and harvesting are the real heroes in my books. My hat goes off to you.