• Last modified 2555 days ago (June 20, 2012)


Balancing act

Wrong holiday, right feelings

Staff writer

I have never been a real wheat farmer, but something about wheat harvest stirs the blood in just about anyone with any connection to the country. When the big trucks rumbled down the road the past few weeks, and the combines stirred up dust and chaff in the fields, I could feel the excitement in the air.

The marvel over cutting wheat on Memorial Day weekend in May has probably rolled over every tongue in recent conversation, but I remember when wheat harvest meant Fourth of July fireworks, picnics at the farm pond, and hunting bullfrogs by flashlight after dark.

I was lucky enough to belong to an extended family of farmers who enjoyed celebrating harvest with family potlucks and kids playing in the dirt. Back when I was small, we didn’t worry about what might have been sprayed on the wheat when we stirred it with our toes in the back of the big trucks and clenched fistfuls of the red kernels until we could feel them pulsing in our hands.

Wheat made great “gum” and though it took a lot of saliva and chewing stamina, it was great fun to work a bit over in the mouth until it became chewy.

Even though harvest was earlier this year, and centered on Memorial Day weekend instead of Fourth of July, I still felt the excitement of first-cut fields. Like a farmer with acres of wheat, I asked my son working at the elevator every night, how much wheat came in and from where.

The excitement did not last all that long however, especially when I got stuck behind a long line of slow moving trucks laden with grain on the way into town.

A combine trying to maneuver across a bridge with waves of impatient traffic flowing around it reminded me of the dangers of the season.

Hay bales in the road, stubble fires in the fields, flat tires, short tempers, and summer heat added to overall effect of harvest.

Harvest affects farmers and non-farmers living in Marion County no matter what holiday it surrounds. I hope everyone enjoyed a little of that harvest thrill and not too much harvest impatience as the wheat rolled in around the county.

Last modified June 20, 2012