By Kim Baldwin
We’re beginning to notice small changes in our wheat crop. The short green fields are growing tall. Before long, the wheat will begin turning from the vivid greens to the golden hues signaling the nearness of summer harvest.
While driving into town for school with my son recently, the topic of summer came up. For many kiddos, summer means sleeping in, swim lessons, drive-in movies or summer camps.
When I asked my boy what his plans were for this summer, his answer included swimming, fishing, riding his bike, playing baseball, visiting a museum and going on a trip.
“But we have to harvest the wheat first, Mom,” he concluded matter-of-factly.
My boy knows how we kick off summer on our farm.
For many families, once school is out, vacations, barbecues, a slower pace and freedom are all imminent.
Once classes are over for my family, our days consist of finishing up planting our corn, soybeans and sorghum, rushing to get ready for wheat harvest and then racing storms to get the crop out of the fields. It’s the busiest time of the year and it’s a family affair that both of my children have always been a part of.
During harvest my son helps with delivering meals, riding in the combines next to his dad and grandpa, and delivering grain to our local elevator. He takes his harvest jobs very seriously. The jobs require a lot of time, so we try not to schedule a lot during this period.
Swim lessons and afternoon fishing trips are often substituted by playing with a water hose in the front yard and practicing casting techniques off the front porch after coming in for the evening. Sleeping in generally doesn’t happen because we want to utilize the coolness of the mornings before the heat rolls in to accomplish other tasks on the farm. Drive-in movies just don’t work because we are either out harvesting late into the night or are too tired to stay awake for a show.
Simple pleasures like campouts in the living room, popsicles, taste-testing freshly baked cookies for our harvest crew and running through the sprinklers when the opportunity presents itself are the norm for my children during the summer harvest. Although they are simple, they are thoroughly enjoyed and embraced by my kids. It’s all part of being a farm kid during the summer months.
My boy knows wheat harvest is what we do first before we can start checking off our other fun summer activities from our to-do list.
I always find it interesting how he accepts our crazy schedule. I suppose it is because it’s what he has always known. I’m thankful he recognizes the importance of getting the wheat harvested while also finding ways to enjoy his summer.
Kim Baldwin is a farmer and Farm Bureau member in Kansas. She is a past president of her county Farm Bureau (McPherson) and current board member. This column was originally published as a Kansas Farm Bureau Insight column.