Friday, September 21, 2007

The Last Day of Summer and the Beans Are in the Bin

Soybean dust hung over the empty fields like misty fog this evening in cooling air. Barren fields stretching into the horizon are a welcome sight to a farm family.

As Gerald and I drove by Wayside Farm on the way home from Geri Ann’s ball game, we had to appreciate the joy of having a crop safely gathered this early on the last day of summer. (I guess this was the last day of summer--one source said tomorrow is.)

Combines, tractors, trucks, augers, and wagons surrounded the one grain bin that Brian has there. Even the machinery looked pleasantly tired and relaxed to have the job completed as though they were circling round to celebrate a victory.

Gerald was delighted with Phil Anderson’s huge combine with its 30-foot head that contained not an auger but a conveyer belt instead. Beans will be less damaged. He could not resist an invitation for a short ride on the huge beast when Phil moved it out of the way of an incoming smaller combine.

I waited in the car and thought of past harvests that often ended on Thanksgiving Day or beyond. We have known harvests in fields so muddy the combines had to have tracks to keep from sinking. Gerald has harvested in corn fields flattened by icy weather. Brian and Mary Ellen said at the first of this season that they knew this might be the bad year for them--all farmers have them eventually. They were trying to be prepared.

They still know that eventually they will experience that bad weather. Many did this year. Brian had his crops out early, and the right weather breaks came. Today we saw the end of the harvest of the best crops ever grown on our farm. Brian’s hard work and good management paid off again. When that bad year comes and it will, he will be that much more ready for it.

We were already in a celebratory mood after seeing Johnston City Middle School win its regional tourney and earn the right to advance to the downstate “state” tourney at Pinckneyville a week from tomorrow. The skill with which these girls play is so exciting to watch. Almost unbelievable at times. Gerald's brother Ken was seeing Geri Ann pitch for the first time this season. He was amazed and compared her to someone he knew at an Air Force base over 50 years ago--not someone he expected to see at a grade school game.

Each game demonstrates an increase in individual player’s talent as well as an increase in team work. The girls’ hard work and good management of their lives paid off again. If and when a bad time comes, they will be confident in the knowledge that they have worked hard, excelled, and deserve to respect themselves no matter what happens next.

Having Ken with us was a special reason for joy and celebration. His color and energy have returned, and his head that was balded by the chemo now displays generous wavy hair.

Next day: I was wrong that the crops were completely harvested. Mary Ellen showed up down at Woodsong to borrow a tool for Brian this morning. While I did my hair and make-up for an appointment, we had a hurried visit in my bedroom, and I found out that there were still 20 acres of beans to harvest in a back field. That was accomplished early in the day, and the good dry weather let Gerald continue working on his ditch cleaning project.

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