September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

When was the last time?

By Natalie Schmitt- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The fall harvest is a time for wrapping up another growing season and preparing for the long winter months to come. The recent rains have delayed our harvest. We are waiting for the fields to dry out so the combine can come in and harvest the high moisture corn, any beans that may be left in their pods and dry corn. Then there is all the fall tillage work to do before the ground freezes solid. Not to mention cleaning out the garden. At least we can check off cleaning the barn on our to-do list. That is one big messy job done till next year.
Fall seems like a natural time to look back and remember, but I am having a hard time remembering. They say your mind is the first thing to go when you reach a certain age. I must have entered into that age bracket. It seems like I'm having a hard time remembering what I did just five minutes ago. Don't even ask me what I had for dinner the night before. I'm not sure and I made the supper. I know there was probably hamburger, potatoes, veggies and milk, the standard farm meal. I do remember making an apple pie for dessert. I guess I haven't lost all of my memory capacity.
My memory decline became apparent recently while setting up the milk house. I have a specific routine for getting the milk house ready for the evening milking. A couple of times my routine was interrupted and troubles soon followed. In a rush to help someone else with a project, I forgot to clamp the milk line together. It was caught after a few cows were milked, milk spewed all over the ceiling and a few choice words were mumbled. A couple days later I remembered to clamp the line because I forgot to put in a new milk sock At least I have always remembered to close the bulk tank before milking. I may not always remember to turn on the compressor though. In January that isn't such a problem. In July that is a big problem.
My memory hiccups have started me thinking about other things I may have forgotten. When was the last time I really laughed out loud from the bottom of my toes at a funny story? When was the last time I just smiled for no apparent reason? When was the last time I said, "I love you" without it being a knee jerk response? Are we becoming so busy with our lives on the farm that we are forgetting about the important things in life? As the rush to finish the harvest pushes us forward, we still need to take a moment and look back.
When was the last time you...just stopped for a moment and marveled at the size of the hunter's moon rising above the horizon? Have you seen anything so big and deep orange colored? We just need to stop for a moment and thank God for all our blessings, good and bad.
When was the last time you took the afternoon off to go visit a retired neighbor who may have moved to town? I'm sure they would love to browse through your entire collection of old farm magazines piled up on the corner of the coffee table. Better yet, take them out for a country drive. My grandfather's neighbor stops by once a week to take Grandpa out for a drive to see what is happening between the ditches. He loves to get out and drive around the fields to see how things are going. The farmer may move to town, but you can't take the farm out of the farmer.
When was the last time you wrote a thank you note to someone who touched your life? They may not even realize how they affected you until you drop them a note. It is amazing how just a simple act can have such a big impact on a person and those surrounding them.
I have been trying to remember the last time I was home to Illinois during the fall harvest. Regardless of how many years it has been, in my memory I can still hear the roar of the grain dryer blowing hot air on the corn. The bawling sound of fresh weaned calves as they follow the fence line in search of their mothers. Fall is also the time when my family pulls out the old cider press from the shed. My great-great grandparents used this contraption years ago. It was truly built to last! Katie and I are heading south for the fall harvest, making apple cider and my niece's confirmation. Mom has been saving tubs of apples to make cider with the whole family once again. I'm even hauling down our extra apples to add to the mix. I think this is an event I won't have to worry about forgetting.
I guess the best part about forgetting 'when was the last time' is that I get to keep laughing, loving, pausing, marveling, thanking over and over and over and over again because I can't remember the last and time. I hope it is at least a different story every time I laugh till it hurts.
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