For those who work 8 to 4 jobs or work in town at other hours, Monday, Sept. 5 is a holiday. If you farm and can take the time off, great. It can be a chance to get in last-minute trips with the kids, and maybe hit that last-minute summer-type resort or favorite fishing hole before fall moves in.
For many it's another day to work. That's especially true for an increasing breed- the part-time farmer. There's a reason why stores like Lowe's, Menards and Home Depot, or whatever the big-box lumber and hardware supply store in your area is, stays open on holidays like Labor Day. It's a big fix-things-up day.
I've reflected upon what I've done on past Labor Days, and it runs the gamut. Before I was married, my brother and I and a married farm couple of our age range, without kids at the time, would plan an outing, often a cave excursion, or something similar. We probably saw some of those Indiana bats that the environmentalists are so concerned about because of the I-69 project. My wife saw one of those bats when we started to go into a cave once, and decided to sit the tour out in the car.
Since she doesn't like caves, that activity came to a halt. For awhile a local auction firm saved a big, old-fashioned auction for Labor Day. Since we're both into checking out auctions, we did that for a few years. But they've run out of old folk who lived in big white farmhouses stuffed with old stuff, so they don't do that much anymore.
I've also worked on Labor Day, caught up as the weekend warrior with an off-farm job, trying to farm on the weekends. Back when my brother and I owned a farm, I remember one Labor Day we spent pulling our old fence rows with an Allis-175, so we could get ready to put in soil conservation projects. Then I spent the week after Labor Day itching myself to death because of all the poison ivy I got. When the stuff sets up between your fingers, that's really painful!
In recent years, Labor Day has often been a day just to catch up around here, maybe due something to the barn or work with the sheep. One thing we do though every year. We try to make one meal a special cook-out with our family. Maybe it will be the noon meal, or maybe the evening meal. But we'll get out hamburgers, or more likely porkburgers, since my daughter, Kayla, sells pork, and maybe some bratwursts, and cook them up on the grill.
There's usually some tomatoes left- there should be this year although they're starting to dry up fast since we haven't had rain, and if we can still find corn on the cob from a local farmer's market, we'll cook that up too.
Even if you have to or choose to work on Labor Day, it's important to set a side that one meal for some family time. After all, what comes next is harvest. I don't have crops to harvest, but I'll be out trying to catch some of you as you do, to see what this year's corn and soybean crops will actually be like.
Whatever you choose to do, enjoy Labor Day next week!
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