Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Life on the Farm

As I mentioned earlier, it's been a really strange year for crops in our area. The Spring stayed wet much later than usual, normal corn planting was delayed by weeks, then the weather trended toward cold, even during July and August, and finally, the Autumn was very wet and colder than normal. Taken together, we didn't have very high hopes for the corn harvest. The delay in harvest was the most recent odd twist to the regular cycles on the farm. I had talked with the farmer earlier this month and he had no idea when they would be able to pick the corn, saying things like "I hope it's before Christmas." Later, he added that since it was snowing, he might need to wait until Spring.

Besides the farmers that lease the acreage for crops, I also have a friend who has hunting rights on the farm and the primary prey is deer. He had been hoping for a really good year because when there is corn growing, it's a major food source that draws these creatures. Problem was, with the corn still so tall, he was having a big problem finding the deer. Since he only hunts with a bow, he's got to be very close up and personal to succeed with his hunting!

So last weekend, he asked if he could put a deer blind up within the corn in his ongoing effort to get close enough to the deer. My reply was that since we had no idea when (or if) the harvest would happen, especially now that it was snowing, he should go ahead.

He had no sooner erected his blind when later that same evening, I heard the sound of a machine that just roared like a big snow plow coming up my driveway/road. When I ran to the window to see what it could possibly be, there was a combine and darn, despite the darkness, he was just going ahead and picking the corn using his headlights!

What a panic! Mike's deer blind was installed somewhere out there in all that corn and I had no idea where!! I started calling and calling him, kept getting the answer machine, and really had no idea how I could save his deer blind. When he finally called back, later than night, I told him that the corn harvest had begun and asked where his blind was installed. He sort of explained it to me and I called the farmer right away to try to steer him around this rather expensive piece of sportman's gear.

I was relieved to learn that they had only picked what was needed to clear away some work space for their wagons and trucks but were in position to finish the harvest at day break the next day. So Mike had a chance to get back over here and move his blind before the harvest--and then to quickly reinstall it in order to really be in position to get his deer! If you've ever watched a combine work...they just trundle down the rows sort of chewing up everything in the path.

So now the fields are clear and open. The spilled corn might draw deer in closer for the hunter, and all is well again on WillOaks Farm. I just love a happy ending and my wish for all of you is that all your stories have happy endings...and that Santa will be good to you...and that you have a very beautiful Christmas Eve.


Ratty said...

Every time I see big machinery like that my mind goes blank and all I can think is to get in there and drive. It must be something in my blood from my farming ancestors. I'm glad he was able to save his deer blind. Have a good Christmas.

Icy BC said...

I hope your neighbor gets his deer for the year, and to you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

Split Rock Ranch said...

Whew...glad it all worked out well. Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!

Bonnie Story said...

Great story!! Super pictures as always. Hope you all get to enjoy some venison jerky, that's my favorite. I am glad that you included the shot of the two men by the machine, I see that it is HUGE!!!! Were it not for those guys I might have thought it was regular tractor-size machinery. Wow, it's big. Merry Christmas - stay cozy!! Bonnie

Anonymous said...

Aren't big ole farm machines pretty? I'm crazy about combines.

Merry Happy to you and yours!

Lin said...

I heard on WGN that Illinois still has 5% of their crop out there. There are other states who have more, but they risk losing those crops unfortunately. On another note, I rode in a combine over Thanksgiving while they were harvesting! It was like giant vacuuming!

ArtSnark said...

Thanks for sharing your photos & slice of life :D

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas! said...

Wishing you, your family and all your readers a very Happy Holiday from your friends at Man Over Board :-)


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