Well, hello there!! It has been awhile, hasn't it? May was an incredibly busy month for us here at Leiker Farms; we had weddings every Saturday, that took us to Manhattan, Lamar, Kansas City, and LA. School wrapped up and finished and of my 12 students, I had 6 of 'em with D's or F's. Outstanding!!! My favorite quote of the semester, was from one precious soul who informed me that he has learned so much in the class and has actually enjoyed it, he just doesn't have the best grade to show it. So true, young academic. So true. I learned several new things I need to add to my regime next semester; for example, tardies. It never occurred to me to affect the students grade for them, because in college your professor doesn't keep track of who is tardy and who is there for the lecture. It's part of that responsibility bit. Little did I know, that I would need to have consequences for, say, 25 tardies in a semester. It's all fine, though, because this was a learning semester for me and my kids. Now, I know that fall semester should be tweaked a bit. For those of you keeping track, I'll be teaching College Sociology for fall 2012 at Holly High. Anyways, May was a busy little group of days for us, with traveling, packing, grading, reading, and cleaning. When one ride ends, the other begins.
We will start moving equipment this Friday (June 8) to commence that taxing 3-week period commonly refereed to as harvest. This will be the earliest Leiker Farms has ever started. Last year, June 18 was the earliest we had started and with the warmest March on record, June 8 will take the prize. That means, that this HV County Farmers Daughter has to start getting into harvest mode. What exactly is harvest mode, you may ask? Well, it's when you have to start preparing yourself for the possibility of having chaff and wheat and dust in every crevice of your body. Eye drops are a must. Chap stick cannot be missed. Lots of water, with ice, is desired, if you have to unfortunate experience of your air conditioning in your choice combine failing on you (which is horrid. If I happen to end up in hell, I think my punishment will be cutting endless fields with terraces with no air conditioner, blowing winds in every direction, open doors allowing said dust and chaff in and crappy radio). Stopping for a warm homemade lunch? Forget about it. We here at Leiker Farms will cut until the last ray of sunlight has fell from the sky. No stopping for lunch, so stock up on anything that doesn't require a microwave, stove, oven, or anything that would allude to modern conveniences . You may think this is a time where one loses weight, right? Hell no. We're sitting for 12+ hours a day, eating crap food. You think I have the energy to run 3-4 miles a night, after a full day of cutting? Hell no. You are exhausted. The only maintenance on my summer plan that happens, is that wonderful cut-off tan that will be golden brown, come July 4th. Cannot forget paper towels that can also sub as toilet paper. Actually, forget that "can sub", change to "will sub". Pop and squat for those natural desires.
My uniform for harvest consists of my hair in a bandanna, much like the 1940s housewives when they would be cleaning their homes. Old Navy boot cut jeans with Stetson boots and a cut off, that isnt' too cut off, because keep in mind that this is a family affair. I had thought about just wearing a bikini top, to help with those crusty tan lines. Oh, yeah, not happening with the father in law around. And then there's the chaff and dust. Ew. No make up and no foxy curls curling gel to help with frizz. With my smashing bandanna, there's no need to worry about frizz.
Oh, sigh. It truly is a romantic time of year. Harvest, that is. There are always those moments that tensions are so high and everyone is exhausted and tired of each other, that tempers snap. Big time. But, it's also such a proud moment for us farmers (and farmer wives). This is what we did, with the help of God. Total sense of ownership with what we're doing and do during the year. It's something that city slickers just do not quite get. Yeah, I am sure they think it's "hard work" and "hot". I doubt though they truly understand the process. Time stops for us during harvest. Totally. This (the land) is our job and we devote all our attention, time, energy, motivation, and love. Our houses are not cleaned. Our mail may get picked up. The bills had better be paid before we start, because our lives revolve around big green machines. I pray we do not have the massive amount of breakdowns, blown tires, thrown coolers in anger, and random electrical fires this year. However, if it does happen, we will get through it. Move on.
Because we are damn tough. Tough as the weathered skin on my Daddys hands and face. So, the next time you speed past a field with cutters or a farmer doing "something" in the field, you had best say a little prayer in thanksgiving. And when you're in such a hurry and that damned old farmer is going 20 mph in his big thing, keep calm. Because you have no idea what they're going through. We know that you're in a hurry and that we're slowing you down, but honestly: Chill Out.
Everyone has their vocation calling in life. The lucky ones get to keep playing with tractors and trucks, long after the sandbox days.
Again, though, this is all a HV County Farmers Daughters opinion. And I wear my bandanna with pride.