Farming with family


As dairy farmers, the work is never done. There are always chores that can be done. Nonetheless, we typically try to take it easy on Sundays and dedicate time for family. Most Sundays, we either visit my family or my husband’s family or do something as a family at home.
The annual exception to this tradition is harvest season.
This past Sunday, we were combining corn. We only worked for a few hours, just to get enough to fill our dryer bin. We asked one hired helper to haul boxes along with my husband, Jason, while my brother-in-law, Dan, drove the combine.
Dan had his 6-year-old boy with him, and Jason and I had our two kids with us. Dan’s son and my daughter are best friends and like playing with each other since they see each other often. I was playing with all the kids in the yard while the guys got everything set up and ready to go. It was such a beautiful day outside, after almost two full weeks of gloomy skies and off-and-on rain showers. We finally got a day filled with pure sunshine. We needed the rain, so I am not complaining, but when I don’t see the sun for over a week, I get restless.
Dan’s son learned to ride a bicycle on two wheels this summer, and my daughter loves riding the tricycle she recently got for her third birthday. They were riding circles around each other while my 1-year-old played with a toy truck off to the side.
Then Dan started up the combine. All eyes turned to watch the ginormous green machine slowly back out of the shed. It turned and went off to the field directly behind our barn. The kids watched it go then resumed playing. I thought for sure one of them would ask to go with, but I figured the guys would want to try it for a couple rounds before having the kids join. Sure enough, a short time later, Dan came back into the yard to ask his son to go for a ride. A very short time later, my daughter missed Dan’s son and asked to be with him. Thankfully, combine cabs are roomy and have buddy seats, autosteer and row sensors.
Now the yard was quiet, so I walked around with my son, and we headed to the other side of the barn to watch the action. We came across Jason, who was hooking up another tractor to boxes. Jason only needs to extend his arms and our son immediately does the same, indicating that yes, indeed, he would like to go with Daddy.
After taking care of a couple of tasks in the house, I jumped on our side-by-side and went back out in case any kids or adults needed anything. I snapped a couple of pictures and thought to myself, “We are spending the day as a family together.”
Whether we are in different tractors, we are all working together to get the job done. During one of Jason’s breaks in unloading, he and the kids jumped on the side-by-side with me, and we drove up and down the field alongside the combine to watch it unload on the go with the other tractor and wagon. The task had been done countless times that day but was still considered cool according to the youngsters and the young at heart, like my husband.
Jason has always told me some of his fondest memories growing up were riding alongside his dad in the combine. Now, some of his fondest memories are driving combine or tractor with his kids riding alongside. We hope our kids will cherish these memories as much as we do.


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