Monday, October 24, 2011

A day on the farm

The clock reads 12:30a.m. A cellphone rings. But wait. It is not just a cellphone. It is an alarm. Set by the farmer. He crawls out of bed, pulls on the jeans and shirt he'd put in the kitchen before going to bed early. Dressing in the kitchen so as not to awaken his sleeping wife.
On the kitchen counter he finds a lunch box packed with goodies, an insulated mug of his favorite ice coffee, and a little scrap paper note that was scribbled by his wife after she prepared the foodstuffs and before she went to bed. Just something simple, reminding him she loves him.
Grabbing keys, and glasses, he heads to the field with the empty semi. Due to some prior planning, the pickup truck is there and waiting. He drives that to where the combine is parked and gets in the combine cab, heading back to the field where the semi is parked. And he begins to shell corn.

Another cellphone rings. It is a 6:30a.m. alarm. The farmer's wife rolls over and hits the snooze button. Four times. Finally she rouses from under the delightful warmth the electric blanket is providing. Stumbling to the shower, then to make coffee. Little boys with tousled hair patter into the kitchen. The baby calls from her bed. The day begins. Snuggles on the couch, a bottle of warm milk for baby. Little boys dressing and going about their chores while Momma dresses sister. Breakfast is cherry pie and peach crisp, left over from Sunday lunch.

The farmer comes in. It is raining. But that corn field is finished. The monitor in the combine telling of a good yield. Quietly the farmer's wife gives thanks. Now the combine is home and in the barn for a few morning maintenance things. After eating the final piece of cherry pie, the farmer picks up his Bible. Little boys snuggle around him on the couch. The farmer's wife picks up little sister and settles into the rocking chair. These moments she cherishes, watching little men learn from the man she admires and loves for so many reasons. From him they are learning to reverence the Scriptures, learning truths that will be added to and deepened as they grow. The short little prayer of a little boy overflowing with enthusiasm. Then the quiet, thoughtful prayer of her quieter, more deliberate little man who is growing up oh, so fast. Followed by the deep, steady voice of the farmer, giving thanks.

And then the morning moves on. Little ones find shoes and jackets. The farmer finds his pillow. The farmer's wife ushers everyone out the door to run errands so their hard working Daddy can sleep for an hour or two. Until the cellphone alarm will call again. Calling him to crawl back out of his bed to check the grain bin. The dry corn is dumping into the small bin, and it must not overflow.

Mamma and the children go north to the Ag lending office, and go south to the library and grocery store for a few items. All the while, singing Scripture songs, counting telephone poles, discussing important little boy things like the color of rain, and why winter is cold.

The rain ends. Home again for a late lunch all together. Then the farmer is off with a semi load of corn to the elevator. Children nap, the farmer's wife starts the washing machine and the dishwasher. Then sits down to read her own Bible. She naps, involuntarily. The telephone on the wall awakens her. No, the farmer isn't here. He's out being wonderful. Calling later will do no good. He'll still be out. She resumes her day, doing paperwork and housework.

Children are up, toys about. The play sounds an awful lot like what is taking place out in the barnyard and up the road in the field. Poking his head in the door, the farmer tells his family quick little snippets about his day. Little man laces up his boots to head back out with his Daddy for a second trip to the elevator. Baby girl squeals for Daddy hugs. Little man, still sleepy, curls up with his Mamma for a story and a snack before heading outside to his pedal tractor, tricycle, and wagon. Little sister is clingy, cutting teeth. Mamma snuggles her, looking at books. They fold clothes, sing songs, and talk.

A late supper of left overs is a standard meal for children and the farmer's wife during harvest time. The farmer pops in for a portable supper, and kisses all around. Supper is soon over, little boys help clear the table while little sister is readied for bed. Snuggles for sister, a song or two, and she goes nightie-night.
The farmer pokes his head back in to pray with his little men, a nightly routine that no one wants to miss. Then he heads back to the trucks. He is hauling corn away from the combine and grain cart and dumping it in the wet holding bin. And keeping watch over the grain dryer. The first season it is in use, and a few bugs have had to be worked out.

Little boys and the farmer's wife snuggle on the couch. A new story is begun. Four chapters later, they beg for more through their yawns, but Mamma knows best and herds them into the bathroom to brush teeth. Snuggles by the bed, more prayers and hugs, and then they are tucked in for the night.

The farmer's wife walks through the now quiet house. She eyes the full basket of clean laundry that needs to be folded, the kitchen counters that need washed, the kitchen floor littered with corn dust that needs vacuumed. She makes herself a cup of tea and ignores the never-ending duties while she checks her email. Scribbles a few revisions on the family schedule. Pulls out school papers and craft supplies for the next days' lessons. She turns on the yard light. Her silent "welcome home" for her man. And then she washes dishes, switches laundry loads, and writes a love note. Which she will put in the bathroom. On top of the clean pajamas she will lay out for her farmer Superman before she snuggles back down under that warm and wonderful electric blanket, thankful for her hardworking man.

As she finishes the last few chores before bed, the farmer pops in and urges her to come outside in his quiet, excited voice. He points to the northern sky. For the first time, they see a display of the northern lights. They stand hand in hand in the darkened back yard and gaze at the utterly clear sky streaked with reds and blues. It is amazing. A few minutes later they part ways - the farmer back to the field with an empty grain truck, the wife back to the house to warm up her nose and get ready for bed.

Tomorrow will begin soon enough, and she has to leave by 8:00a.m. to get parts for the grain truck that is broken down in the barn yard.

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