I did start out last week with great intentions of posting regularly on my newly renovated blog. And then—life. I spent Monday night throwing up well into the night from some mysterious illness or food poisoning. Tuesday I spent the day in bed recovering but thinking about all the things I should be doing. Wednesday I sluffed off to town with the kids in tow to buy $500 worth of groceries to feed our hungry harvest crew. (You think I'm exaggerating). That evening we stepped into our garage to a stench that knocked us off our feet and almost brought on phase two of the aforementioned stomach ailment. The dead mice and birds our dear cat gifted us that week were covered with maggots, and mixed with the smell of stray-cat spray and baked in the 100-degree oven of our garage created quite the recipe. (I'm really sorry for that but I have a point.) The rest of the the week we schlepped dinner out to the field every night while we worked 1/2 hour north of the farm. By the time dinner was unloaded and dishes were done it was a five hour affair. I haven't kept up with the housework. My freshly mopped floors are immediately covered in a new layer of dusty footprints. All this to say: this harvest schedule can be overwhelming. And I'm not even the one in the field.
We had some hail damage again this year, and we didn't get the moisture we needed in a timely manner, the crops we have been cutting have been somewhat disappointing. Some of the wheat we cut this past week was suffering really badly from sawflies (they eat through the stems and lay the wheat right over on the ground. Some of the worst stuff looks like this:
What is left standing is pretty thin, and it can make you kind of sick to think about how much is laying on the ground. That on top of the current low price of wheat is disheartening.
You probably think the point of all that is to generate some pity for my miserable week. But really, I have been trying to focus on what I have to be thankful for. That stomach bug—the rest of the family hasn't caught it (knock on wood). It only lasted a day. I have awesome kids who helped each other out while I holed up in my room. I have an awesome husband who has been getting up before me every day to work in the fields, even after coming home after midnight most nights. We have the means to buy all the groceries we need and prepare a feast for the crew every night. I have an awesome cat that kills mice. I have a large, beautiful, air-conditioned house that I have the privilege of caring for. It might be a lot of work to clean, but I get to stay out of the heat most of the day.
Harvest is a time of high spirits because it feels great to be putting grain in the bin after a full year of costly input and hard work. We have the benefit of storing our grain to sell later when the price is more favorable. Last year we were encountering a series a frustrating breakdowns that delayed our progress. This year we have a new-to-us combine and our two machines have been rolling along pretty smoothly. My brother is back on the farm this year and a cousin has returned to help for the month, so we have a competent, more experienced crew.
Tom and I spent a few days at the end of July with a Farmer's Union group we have been invited to participate in. (More on this another day). On the beautiful shore of Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wisconsin, we received some training about Attitudes. Our attitude determines whether we have a good or bad day, not our circumstances. A good attitude can completely change our perspective. We learned about the difference between problems and inconveniences. A week of inconveniences can wear you down, but they aren't real problems. Wake up each day and think about what we are truly thankful for, and it will put those inconveniences right into perspective. Powerful, right? I don't want to forget it.