This post is sponsored by AGCO; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
This is my 10th harvest season as a farm wife, and it also marks my 7th harvest season as a mom. My role on the farm has evolved over those years from only worrying about myself and working as much as I wanted at the hospital, having combine dates at any time of the day or night, and going out for late night coffee runs to fuel the harvest crew when we were first married. This transformed to taking an annual break from work as a nurse in the fall and being home alone for 6 or more weeks with a baby, and now I have 3 to care for. I have become a harvest meal-maker and dessert-baker, sometimes cooking for a crew, family members and guests of 20 or more people at times.
I’ve also seen the farm acquire more land, which has meant much longer harvest seasons. We have gone from running 1 combine to 3 combines, have added a tractor with tracks to the equipment family as well as a grain cart when we had to deal with a September snow storm 3 years ago, and the fields were too soft to drive a heavy grain truck or semi into the field to collect the grain from the combine as they always had.
I’m well on my way to becoming a seasoned farm wife, and it got me thinking this year what I’ve learned in the last 10 years, and what I do to get through the harvest season. It is the best time of the year, but can also be the hardest time of the year with the stresses of single-parenting, dealing with harsh weather conditions and throwing busy kid schedules of starting school and preparing large meals into the mix.
Try to Always See the Bright Side
Believe me, I have been very open and shared my struggles as a farm wife, and it hasn’t always been easy to see the bright side of this farm life. I didn’t grow up on a farm and truly didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I married my farmer! I love our life and have no regrets, but it’s taken a lot of seasons of farming to get into a good groove and a good mindset.
Some of the ways that I have intentionally made the best of harvest time when things seem hard are:
- Enjoying my quiet evenings to myself by watching shows or movies I know my husband won’t enjoy
- Tending to my flower and veggie garden while listening to the combines humming in the distance
- Connecting with girlfriends and fellow farm wives for coffee and play dates (it’s so essential to know you’re not experiencing this life alone)
- Skipping a harvest meal now and then to reconnect with the kids at home: I make them their favourite supper (always breakfast foods!) and they can have some quiet time to just slow down and decompress
- Taking lots of photos throughout the farming season to have the memories to pass on and look back at
Make Time For Each Other and The Kids
All that time away from your significant other can be hard on your relationship. I know that a lot of couples work side by side, but I can only speak to my experience of staying at home to take care of the kids, the house, and providing food for the crew. It means a lot to me to receive texts from Jay knowing that he’s thinking about me and the kids and asks how we are doing during his busy days. When weather shuts us down we get to spend time together as a family, and if it shuts us down more than 1 day or evening, I can sometimes even arrange a date night by getting our babysitter to come watch the boys.
This year we have intentionally not worked most Sunday mornings so we can have family time and go to church. We even shut down the crew last Friday night to go for dinner and attend a local concert, just us adults. It was such a nice treat and I truly hope it happens more often. It’s so important to take breaks as you can and to take care of yourself during this stressful season, though I know it’s not always possible.
Luckily the kids have the opportunity not just at harvest, but throughout the growing season, to have time with their dad, papa and uncle in the machinery. They are learning valuable lessons and get to experience first-hand how hard farmers work.
Be Thankful for Advances in Farm Technology
When I came into the farm family 10 years ago, there was nowhere near the technology of precision farming that there is today. We didn’t even have GPS on the tractors and the sprayer dropped foam markers so you would know approximately where your last pass was. The technology on the AGCO RoGator sprayer alone shows me how far technology has come in the short amount of time I’ve been here. According to AGCO, precision farming works by layering in precise information from multiple sources so you know exactly what to do for any given spot in the field and can take action.
I’ve seen how using these technologies improves efficiency on the farm; it is such a focal point of the operation. The RoGator sprayer has helped minimized overlap and skip and reducing time and fuel consumption, as well as increasing yields and reducing input costs. Jay said in the past if they had a 100 acre field to seed or spray, they would always need fill for 110 acres “just in case”, as there was not the precision that there is today.
When I asked Jay what precision farming means to him, he said “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. He has always, always said that he wants to leave the land in better condition than what he received it, and they have so much data that they are passively collecting, and precision agriculture helps them to understand it better and to implement better methods. The more efficient Jay can be in the field, the less time he spends there and the more time he has with his family.
Add Humour Into the Mix!
When we don’t see each other all day until supper, we make an effort to keep in touch via text and always try to lighten the mood by keeping it light and funny. Jay and I are big movie buffs, so we like to add GIPHYs to our texts (as seen below!)
And even add to some harvest fun by paying homage to Salt Bae, with Seed Bae!
So that’s pretty much it—how I get through harvest season!