October 20, 2023
It’s fall. Truly the most wonderful time of the year. While most people recognize this season by the changing of the leaves or cooler temperatures, for those in agriculture, fall is marked by the crops we grow or the fields surrounding us. Where sorghum is planted, the rows are lined with heads of gradient color from green to light orange to burnt orange to rust. In stark contrast are the white cotton fields and dried corn stalks.
Autum’s shorter days and dark nights are illuminated by a harvest moon. Some may see it simply as a full moon. But we know it’s helping light the night sky for cotton strippers, combines and choppers in the field and farm wives frantically trying to find a new field in the dark. Can you relate? (I’m talking about the days before you could send a pin!) We’re blessed to see fall through agriculture’s lens.
Looking back, as a young mom and wife, fall harvest days were hard, long and sometimes overwhelming and lonely and yet oh so rich. Maybe they seem “fonder” now that two of my kids are off to college and only one is left at home. But my kids loved harvest meals. As soon as the Suburban was in park, they were baling out of the vehicle and into the field, often scaling modules and waiting with anticipation to ride with their daddy.
This was the first and LAST time my children allowed me to dress us up as theme. As you can see, it didn't end well. I include this photo because Halloween often included a trip to the field so daddy could see the kids in their costumes before we went to a fall festival at our church or trick-or-treating. (Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)
They came clean and left filthy, if you call the soil their daddy tended and nurtured, watered and weeded, dirty. They would run down cotton rows until they were called to the Suburban supper table. I lost several crock pots bouncing down those dirt roads. I guess I should have transferred the food to an unbreakable dish, but I wanted to keep it warm and honestly, have one less dish to wash when I got home.
I remember trying to strike the balance between staying long enough to fill our evening but not too long so as to avoid fatigue meltdowns when we walked in the door. Baths after harvest meals were nonnegotiable.
Three baths, three sleepy kids, and a kitchen littered with dirty pots from preparing the meal awaited me. Maybe that part wasn’t romantic, but I wouldn’t trade for it now. After baths, dressed in soft cotton pjs, those sleepy babies would climb into my lap in the recliner, each wiggling into their spot, for a bedtime story.
Those were simple days. What I wouldn’t give to have all three kids together, time in the field, no electronics and the simple pleasure of playing in the dirt and witnessing the sun set on agriculture. But rumor has it, kids grow up. And while this season is just as precious, it does my heart good to remember. So, enjoy the harvest and your family. And relish the fall through our lens. It’s a privilege and a gift.
Below are harvest tweets I've gathered from Twitter. It's the most wonderful time of the year everywhere!
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