Harvesting Life Lessons

I wrote the following article as part of Progressive Farmer’s Our Rural Roots.  

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I am fairly sure I have passed that on to my two farm kids. Every day on our way to day care, they excitedly watch and report on everything they see in the fields along the road. “Combine!” “Grain cart!” “Boll buggy!” Trust me when I tell you, if Mama identifies a piece of equipment wrong even three fields away, they’re happy to correct me. It is nearly impossible not to be excited about harvest being around the corner when you experience it through the eyes of children.

Last year toward the end of the season, we passed a shiny new red combine. I pointed it out to the kids, commented on how fancy it was and told them about some of the technology it had inside.

I asked, “Don’t you wish we had one like that at our farm?” My son, Braun, quickly replied, “No. I like Grandad’s.”

Grandad’s combine is a 1974 model John Deere. The air-conditioner is broken. The seat is rotted out. There is no yield monitor. We kind of quietly pray each year she makes it through harvest. Anyone in their right mind would prefer the new combine we passed, wouldn’t they?

Not my son. He knew that the old green combine of Grandad’s had something the shiny new red one did not — memories. That green combine was there for Braun’s first harvest. It was where he learned about the differences between wheat and milo while talking to Grandad. That old combine has the perfect spot for a toddler to see firsthand how farmers reap what they sow.

Braun’s comment is an important reminder: We can begin comparing our yields, our machinery lineup, our lives to others, but the best fruits of the harvest are the memories made with the people we love — old rusty combines and all.

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