June 30, 2014
I long for Chris to call me by another woman's name and utter the phrase: "It's a cuttin' day, Mary Alice."
The line is from one of my favorite movies "Race Against The Harvest." Our Indiana wheat harvest is my favorite day of the year – yes, just a mere day for us.
We raise 40 acres of wheat solely to have a place during the summer months to haul manure out of our hog confinement barns. Wheat allows us to produce a crop on the acreage and still have the acres free in the summer.
I have people ask me what it is I love so much about wheat harvest and while it's hard to put into words a feeling, this is what I came up with.
Wheat harvest: When I grow up I want to be a part of a wheat harvesting crew, at least one season. I am a hard worker and no task is too small.
The Smell: The smell of wheat being harvested, or for that matter just wheat ripening, is intoxicating for me. There is nothing like driving past a wheat field, taking a deep breath and just knowing by the smell that is it almost ready to harvest. And the smell of the combine running through the field – it isn't combine exhaust you smell but close your eyes and breathe deep, it is raw flour, earthy but reminds you of someone baking and the smell of summer and fall all combined.
The Sight: The sky is so vivid blue in Indiana this time of year, with pure white cotton candy clouds and all around is a sea of green in all shades. But in Indiana the green is broken every so often by patches of shimmering gold waving in the breeze.
The Sounds: Listen to the sound of wheat waving in an Indiana breeze – it's rhythmic and calming. I love the sound of equipment working but there is a distinct sound of a combine that I find soothing, especially in the surrounding quiet that is summer. And once the wheat is harvested the field is still providing. I listen for the little squeaks of baler chains chucking out straw bales. These are sounds that are not heard in the spring or fall because it is so much busier for us.
All of this and more that I can't put into words. It's the idea that you put a seed in the ground in the fall, it will start to grow and then survive a winter to produce something.
It truly is a novelty to me as well. My whole life I have been surrounded by corn and soybeans, very little wheat. I always say I don't like change but maybe deep inside I crave just a little.
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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