What Does Harvest Mean?

It’s that time of year.

The time where farmers are chomping at the bits to get in and harvest their corn and beans.  At least, this year, it’s that time.  Normally “that time” comes quite a bit later.  It isn’t often that you see combines rolling through the fields of northern Illinois on Labor Day.

Today, it happened.  In fact, farmers have been harvesting here in Illinois since as early as late August.  That’s early.  I’m not even a farmer and I know that.

So, what does harvest mean?  Well, for farmers, it means that the cycle of their livelihood has come full-circle.  It’s a time when they come alive, when sleep and food are secondary to the forces of nature that dictate when and where their crops are harvested.

For a farmer’s girlfriend it means something totally different.

I love harvest.  I love Farmboy.  I don’t love the necessary halt of regular, everyday, college kid life when the corn’s moisture percentages get low enough, though.  In the first few years, I had trouble adapting to the idea that “teenage life” as we know it does not exist during harvest.  There were arguments, I was bull-headed, and he was just doing what he had to do.  We adjusted, and we learned.  Farmboy found ways to make me feel needed and appreciated, and I realized that some of the best times we ever had were spent just talking in a tractor while we watched the combine make passes.

Farmers can be hard to love.  They’re stubborn, they’re difficult, and they don’t like to talk about feelings or long-term plans.  But, there’s something about the way a farmer lights up when they realize that it’s finally time to harvest.  A farmer, a true farmer whose heart and soul is planted in the same land as his crops, will come to life.  They live for this season.

Obviously, this isn’t all farmers.  This is just the farmers I grew up around and have come to know and love.  My experiences are limited to the grain farmers of the midwest.  But, watching farmers, especially my Farmboy, preparing for harvest…it gives farming a new meaning.  Every year, all the frustrations and stress and confusion that come from dating a farmer, it makes sense.

When I look at my Farmboy on a clear fall day, while he’s out there doing what he loves…there’s something special.  He’s most “himself” when he’s on the farm bringing in the grain.

I’m sure none if this really means much to you, and I’m not sure what I could say to make it any clearer. Maybe you understand all too well, or maybe this goes completely over your head and makes me look batty.  Either way, this is what harvest means to me.  It’s an annoying, wonderful, frustrating, moving, unbelievably busy, stressful, beautiful time of year.

And it’s begun.


5 thoughts on “What Does Harvest Mean?

  1. Beautifully said!! Although I'd have to say food comes pretty high on the priority list around me… bring a fresh batch of cookies to the elevator and the who places is swarming… haha 🙂

  2. I know what you're saying. We're not quite harvesting yet, but it's right around the corner. Once harvest starts it will be better, but the preparation of the combine is probably one of the most stressful times of our year (and possibly the hardest on our relationship). I love once harvest finally gets here though, my hubby is the happiest person alive during that time…

  3. Kathryn: Okay, maybe I was stretching it when I said food "doesn't matter." However, the harvest crews really like having a college girl to run and fetch them supper in the evenings. It's even better when wives/mothers/*cough* girlfriends bring home-made meals…Leslie: It's amazing how such a stressful time can also be such a fun time! It's like farmers feed off of the thrill of it. Even when it's a serious time, there's kind of an air of festivity to it. Maybe that's why I like harvest so much…it's one big, dusty, loud, month-long party 😉

  4. Thank you, Maria B.!Knowing that I'll be leaving my college in the suburbs to go out to harvest is a great feeling. The anticipation is killing me, and I know Farmboy is chomping at the bits, too!

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