Harvest time is my favorite time of year. The smell. The dust. The sounds. The SUNSETS. That being said…..harvest time is my hardest time of year. During harvest most farmers’ wives become single moms. They are alone with the kids 24/7. They have to pick up slack of all the other things that must be done on the farm…..all while maintaining their normal duties as a mom. Every harvest I always find myself thinking about how strong and amazing single moms are.
This is the first year of harvest that I have been given a lot of responsibility. We bought another group of cows this past spring which has doubled our herd. Currently we have about a little over 100 cows calving. This past week there has been no rain in sight and this mom and kids were in charge of checking the herd. Checking cows with two kids is like trying to corral chickens whose heads are cut off. It is a sight to see. Kinze’s flipping all the switches and pushing all the buttons she can reach on the ranger. Four wheel drive goes on and off. Grady’s screaming because cow poop landed on his arm. Kinze’s smearing cow crap on her legs. Kinze somehow manages to wiggle out of her seat belt. Kinze rips the sheet with the calving list in half(I’ve rewritten this list 3 times so far). Kinze screams spooking a new mom. Cow runs off before I can see her tag number. Kids are sweaty and fussy as I load them in the truck. Kinze finally falls asleep as we turn to head home. Grady is complaining because he doesn’t want to go check another set of cows. I explain to him that’s how mommy and daddy make money to buy his toys. He tells me he doesn’t want any more toys. I secretly scream inside my mind…….We arrive at the second group of cows and the process starts all over.
This past week my husband has been out the door before the kids wake up and doesn’t arrive home until we are ALL sound asleep in bed. I haven’t talked to my husband in days. I mean yes we have talked but its simply because I’ve had calving issues or he needs me to go do something else for him. On my watch so far, we have lost two babies. It’s heart wrenching watching a cow bellow at her calf and look up at you like shes begging you to do something. I’m in no way an experienced cattle woman. I really am a beginner.
I’m not complaining, even though it may sound that way. Every job in life is challenging. Its how we handle it is what makes or breaks us in this world. I love that my children know more about the process of crop and livestock production then most adults do. I love that we see a cow and Kinze immediately starts screaming “DOW” at the top of her lungs. I love that Grady comes home from the field and gets his farm equipment all lined up to match what he just saw in the field. I love watching the sunset over the pasture with our livelihood staring back at me.
I have been blessed with an amazing mother and father in law that have already helped me out already so many times this harvest, which I am so grateful for. Checking cows by myself is so much easier…..and honestly it has become my “ME” time. I can’t count how many times I’ve already cried this harvest season out of frustration but hey I’m not ashamed. It’s tough but I am able to push forward because of the help I have. Without them….my life jacket would’ve already fallen off at sea and I would’ve been eaten by sharks….or in my case the ranger would’ve ran out of gas and I would be eaten by coyotes and buzzards….
Regardless……nothing beats watching the sun set on something you’ve managed to maintain for another day…..My kids may have eaten a bag of chips and fruit snacks for lunch that day……my house may be a complete disaster…..I may have realized I haven’t showered in three days……but my kids are still alive and healthy, our cows are fed and chewing their cud…..and me….my heart is still beating and I’m still able to breathe in the smells of harvest….and cattle………..or that could just be me I’m smelling.