Sunday, September 11, 2005

Frustration or, It's That Time of Year

Welcome to fall. Not the fall that appears on your calendar, or the fall that is heralded by leaves changing color and days getting shorter and warmer clothing coming out of storage. I'm talking fall. Harvest. When we get to see what the entire year has brought us for a crop.

When summer gets late and the days get shorter, the crops start drying in the fields. Cattle farmers start to chop silage before it dries down enough for grain harvesting. The idea is to have it at an optimum moisture in the field - where it can be harvested and hopefully not have to be dried in a bin, or at minumum, you can just run fans and not have to use heat. It's a fine line, though, between waiting until the grain is dry enough and waiting too long to where you lose too much moisture - reducing the actual weight of the grain, or in the case of soybeans, they start cracking and popping out of their pods and you can lose it on the ground. Time is a critical issue. You need to have enough time to get all this grain harvested, but it also has to be trucked either to a grain elevator or to a farmsite bin. Time is involved in transportation, dumping time, augering time, and if you have to dry grain, that can be a juggling nightmare - all of which keeps a farmer working nearly 'round the clock.

Probably one of the worst parts of all of this is the critical question.. "when's it gonna go?"... meaning, "when is the grain dry enough to start?" That can depend on how hot or cold it is during the daytime and nighttime - how much sunshine - is it drying weather? A farmer may guess it's going to be a week or a couple of days by looking at the fields, but until the first one goes in with a combine and they find out what a particular seed is testing for dryness, it's anybody's guess.

That's when the frustration comes in. Today was a perfect example. Hubby told YS yesterday that they probably wouldn't go to the field for a couple of days. Then, this morning he told me the neighbors were going in and it appeared to be testing pretty low moisture. You would think the fire alarm had gone off in a preschool! Unfortunately, Hubby offered his trucks to the neighbors because they were harvesting beans and their trucks were already loaded with corn to go to town - and until things get up to critical mass, the elevators in town aren't open on Sundays. It was all well and fine until Hubby decided that he probably had some beans that were ready to go, too!

Well, YS was just here and was told everything he had planned for today was going out the window because it is time. Frustrating for YS, as plans had been made. Frustrating for Hubby because he feels YS should drop everything and be ready to go on a moments' notice. Frustrating for me because I can see both sides quite clearly.

I know it will be better in a day or two, once they've gotten into the rhythm of harvest, but for right now things are a little touchy between the two of them. I called Hubby right after he left the house and told him to breathe... and to maybe try and understand that we all need at least a day to prepare. He tells me he didn't have a day to prepare... I understand that, too, but he needs to be a little more understanding of YS's frustration at least, instead of antagonizing him for being frustrated. I reminded him that YS is here and he really doesn't want him anywhere else and yes, he does understand but is just venting. I sure hope I got through.

From here on out, unless it rains, life will be an extremely busy place. Work will start getting busier as the crops come out of the fields - to the point where I reach maximum stress levels - and when I'm not at work I'll be fixing "meals on wheels" for the field hands. Between which I somehow have to fit in all the normal stuff - grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning house, blogging... yeah, that's become kind of a staple. We were hoping to get to Kansas and see YD and SIL before we got in the field... whoops! Another downside of it sneaking up on you.

Be ready... I'm sure there will be some whiney posts. Don't say I didn't warn ya!