I wrote these words while sitting in the tractor on the last day….
The final hour….
Gosh… sitting in the big blue tractor – a New Holland T7040 watching Neil do the last few runs in a barley crop. The paddock is too rough to chase in, so just hanging back and waiting for the hopper of the header to fill and then unloading stationary. The reason for this is that it puts too much strain on the auger of the header to be unloading on the move and in the rough. Not all paddocks are like this, in fact none of the other paddocks are as rough as this one, and it’s all about soil structure. As this is one of their more recent purchases of land, they are still working on the management of this soil. All these things take time and thought with regard to which crop is grown and on what rotation. Farming is not for the feint hearted and to be successful you have to be smart and a little bit crazy. Just say’n! And these guys seem to have a lot of crazy!
The past couple of weeks have been hectic. Days all over 10 hours and over 14, one night after a breakdown. It’s been nerve wracking. It’s been dusty. It’s been amazing. It will stay with me forever and will provide dinner table conversation and many lunches and coffees with girlfriends to exhaust my re-told stories – for anyone who will listen. I must be mindful not to bore the life out of everyone!
It’s a glorious summer morning and it’s 8am – our earliest start since most mornings have been too cool, and we will be finished in an hour or so. Could have “busted a gut” last night but everyone was just too tired. The day is forecast to reach nearly 40 degrees Celsius – but a cool breeze blows now as the tractor fills with more dust, wonderful smells and memories of home and Dad. A little cry might be in order – already leaving rivers in the dust on my face. Sadness and joy, to be observed, in tandem.
I’ve learned much about the brothers, though nothing was a surprise. Well, perhaps that after all these years they still work together!
I think it timely to share that Peter Schirmer… the middle brother, says “Thank God” with such reverence, meaning and sincerity, that it would ring in my ears and resonate in my heart, for moments after he’d said it. He is such a gentle-man and it was a pleasure to work with him. He’s the slow and steady one and the job’s done when the job’s done – no sooner and no later. He’s the balance between the chaos, mayhem and urgency that harvest places on everyone. It is the life’s work that is at stake here. The “reaping the benefits” of their toil to bring food to our tables. We don’t thank them often enough. Our farmers are how we exist when it’s all said and done.
Another thing that is unrelated to the above but I have observed as I’ve unloaded grain into the various trucks, bins and trailers – is my old office! I see the jet streams crossing the sky and think to myself… what a wonderful world! 😉 Counting my blessings once again for the wonderful life that is mine. Wouldn’t swap this couple of weeks for the old office for anything but loved every minute of that at the time too! My sore feet and smile lines included. Maybe this is my “midlife revelation”! Feeling blessed.
The harvest has been an amazingly successful one. From a nervous start with some possible great losses due to a late frost, all seemed pretty pleased that those losses were almost counteracted by high yields and good quality grain in other areas. Since many farmers this season lost nearly all their crops to frost or lack of rain, these guys have done ok. And if it were Peter writing I’m sure he’d say: “Thank God”, and God would be listening.