The giant reaper opens it massive jaws and its teeth consume the hay – It spits out bales of golden chunks as it forages through fields of fodder – food that will keep the cattle happy for the cold months ahead. The old farm equipment now sits idle in a field of corn which also becomes silage. This animal “super food” will be a source of protein for them.
We so often take the products of farming for granted. Lots of city folks believe that corn, oats and wheat come from factories. They haven’t a clue how their food is harvested and turned into boxed cereals, dog food, and flour used for baking. Most kids have never been to a farm and seen the results of hard work and a lot of sweat. They see items on the grocery shelf and guess they got there by happenstance.
I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I spent many summers at my grandparent’s. Every child should have the opportunity to visit a farm. This time of year is especially good. We see all kinds of equipment cutting – shredding – bundling and storing. Many of the new farms are now owned by big companies using modern and more efficient machinery. Every now and then, you’ll see a farmer behind a plow or a pair of horses pulling a hay wagon. Usually they’re Amish or poor farmers trying to make a measly living off the land.
Farm life stimulates all the senses. You feel the hard ground turn into fertilized soil, ready to receive seeds. You hear the sound of the machinery as it cuts through the dirt, laying seeds. You see the seeds come to life and grow. You look at the skies and pray for rain or lack of it. You smell a large variety of odors like moist, black dirt – cows, sheep or hogs – freshly baked bread – milk coming straight from the source – perspiration – and so much more. You taste the result of the harvest – corn on the cob, fresh vegetables and fruits, grain turned into flour for use in food preparation.
The smell of fresh, homemade dinner rolls and southern fried chicken wafts from the kitchen. Nutmeg and cinnamon are among the tempting scents. An apple pie or two awaits. Work will have to wait for a while. A famer’s life is filled with anticipation, invention, patience, disappointment and optimism – depending on the circumstances. Come to think of it, we all experience things like that too.
At day’s end a harvest moon appears in the distance. Maybe just a little more can be accomplished by the light of it. You see, the farmer is also one who endures even in the most difficult situations. So do we. With God’s help, we can all be filled with endurance to finish the race.
“What I learned growing up on the farm was a way of life that was centered on hard work, and on faith and on thrift. Those values have stuck with me my whole life. ”