Harvest is one of those times that are demanding, causing one to lose sleep. On the other hand it is also one of the most rewarding times. This is when a years worth of work and worry come to fruition. To me it was more than a years growing time I am talking about.
Having worked every harvest since 1977, I would have to say that this has been by far the most fun. While driving a truck for the first time in a field and having that responsibility was good nothing beats this year.
Most harvest memories revolve around what I was able to accomplish or certain highlights. This year was different because of being a parent...and a proud one at that.
The way my two boys stepped up this year and met the obligations and responsibilities head on will always be at the top of the list (unless it might be grandchildren in the future).
Dillon ended up getting strep twice this summer and Logan stepped up to fill his spot with mowing, weedeating, and helping dad with jobs in the shop. Dillon was well enough to finish swathing a late first cutting alfalfa while I went to a meeting.
While I view these things as something most kids their age should be doing, not necessarily swathing, but helping out around the house without backtalk or complaining, their growth was more.
Dillon ran combine by himself for the first time and Logan was in charge of the bill of ladings and dumping the wagons. Both jobs were challenges I set out for them and they met them head on.
I vividly remember some of my firsts on the farm and how nervous I was. I didn't quite see fear in their eyes but there were drops of sweat on their foreheads.
So why was this my most fun and memorable harvest? As a father you want to see your children grow and progress, not only in school but with life skills. I new they were nervous of making a big mistake but after the jitters went away their faces lit up every day.
Farming is a unique profession where a family can do most work together. Now I am not saying that everyone will be talking with each other at the end of the day (hasn't happened yet) but there is a bond between "teammates" that is created that makes the family bond stronger.
Looking back at this year we are fortunate to keep this tradition going of teaching our young farmers and ranchers responsibility and fun. If it were in the hands of the Department of Labor and the Obama appointees this year could not have happened.
While there are many years ahead for Dillon and Logan to grow, learn, and make mistakes I am certain that this year will be one of their most memorable because there is nothing like meeting a challenge head on and looking back with satisfaction at the end of a day with a job well done.
I guess that is why this is my most memorable is I feel that looking back on being a parent and how Dillon and Logan have grown makes me look at them with satisfaction.
Oh, I had better mention the glue that keeps all of us together, Rhonda. If it wasn't for her being a great mother, wife, and farmer this year could not take place. Her understanding (and cooking) keeps everyone going.
And me, I hope that I am a good father and manager. My job as both is to set people up to be successful. I hope to give them the tools to (physical or mental) to perform and challenge them enough to grow.
This harvest I believe that we all grew in different ways. Me, trusting young adults with their jobs, Rhonda probably trusting that I knew what I was doing, and the boys, smiles after harvest for becoming young men. What father could be prouder?