Thursday, October 06, 2011

Harvest Time Thoughts

Our son-in-law Brian is down and working very hard at harvest. Gerald has helped him all day today by hauling grain. (It is usually too damp to start before l0; but Gerald did things here at this farm and then joined Brian, and he was ready for rest in his easy chair in front of the TV when the day was over.)

Brian works before and after time in the field in their camper analyzing crop results and keeping in touch with his home office at Stone Seed. (If he is lucky, he may even get needed sleep there.) At noon, I was fascinated that Gerald brought in a map print-out of the fields. Brian’s combine evidently records what it is harvesting, and Brian downloaded the information and took the chip into Twin County farm service to create this map. The same technology can be used for future fertilizing so that just the areas of the fields that need more fertilizer will receive it in just the right amounts. This is all over my head and my ability to understand, but I do understand that this is remarkable technology that is changing crop production in important ways.

The other Bryan in our family—granddaughter Tara’s husband--is now with his family in Georgia but continuing to work for his Illinois firm with the help of high speed technology that sends his work to his home office. I am amazed at these important advances in communication. I am so glad he able to be with his family now instead of depending on Skype to keep in touch with his wife and three little guys. A former Southern Illinois University football player, he was able to take Aidan, age 5, to a Georgia football game on Saturday afternoon, which was a dream come true for him. Of course, he will be making frequent trips to northern Illinois, but modern transportation makes that easily done also. Like most people, their family has been impacted by the recession since the house they purchased with high hopes and made improvements on has lost value and is awaiting a purchaser.

On TV tonight, I saw where a church in Oregon or somewhere in the Northwest had been given permission to create a tent city on their parking lot for homeless families since the city’s homeless shelters were full. While I am grateful to the church for providing this help, it is heartbreaking that families must go through this. Especially when many many beautiful homes all over the nation have been foreclosed on and are now standing empty marring their neighborhoods and often being vandalized by thieves stealing copper and other marketable items. I keep wondering why some innovative bankers cannot figure out a solution to these lose-lose situations. Again this is all over my head and my ability to understand, but I keep thinking there surely are some brilliant minds out there able to figure out a solution. As the world pays tribute to Steve Jobs, let us pray that some other creative geniuses and problem solvers will find ways to help us get families out of our present problems.

My contribution to complete the harvest has been to be available a couple of times to drive Brian and Gerald to new fields after they finish one field and have to move machinery on to the next. My skill sets are still back in the 20th century; and unlike many farm wives, I never even learned to drive the tractors or combines back then. I am not dumb, but I never had adequate training to overcome my fears and limited aptitude, so I spent a life time caring for children, vacuuming, mopping, cooking, and washing dishes—all of which I consider very important work. I was not only where I chose to be, but I think I was where I should have been with the particular geographic opportunities and peculiar set of circumstances and abilities that I had.

Nevertheless, as technology keeps improving and growing ever more complicated, education and training is increasingly important and must grow more available to everyone and more effective. We must believe in our people. There are millions of young men and women in inner cities, suburbs, and rural areas that are not dumb just as I am not dumb—but because of their limited education and lack of the skills needed in today’s economy somehow appear that way to themselves and others. As a nation, we have to figure out how to use human potential all around us. There is plenty of work to be done, and we need to prepare our citizens to be able to accomplish all the work needing to be done.

No comments: