I don’t want to make anybody jealous or anything, but on Monday night, I spent a couple hours in a combine harvesting corn.
I guess if you grow up on a farm, this is not a big deal, definitely not something worth writing about, but if you didn’t grow up on a farm, and you come home from work one day and a dude offers to let you harvest with him, it’s probably going to be one of your most memorable experiences.
Just to give you an idea of my familiarity with farming equipment, when I was offered this ride, my first question was, “What is a combine?”
Even though this land has been in my family for almost 200 years, it has not actually been farmed by my family since the 1950′s. Photos from that era show a lively homestead bustling with cattle, chickens, tractors, and a lone sheep (according to my grandmother, the sheep was a gift from her future father-in-law).
Back in those days, my great grandfather, Louis Ewing, managed a diversified farm that a family could truly live off of. Now, most of the land is rented by a neighboring family, and when I started staying out here this spring, the only thing I could find to eat was a bag of bite-size Milky Ways.
Though I am not a farmer myself, I will say this: the homesteader’s lifestyle makes sense to me. I feel like I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure out what it is exactly that I’m supposed to be doing. At the farm, I never have to wonder. For instance, it’s fall, so obviously it’s time to plant garlic bulbs so I can enjoy some amazingly fresh eggplant parmesan and shrimp scampi next year. It’s time to harvest corn and soybeans. It’s time to start leaving a light bulb on for hens so they’ll keep laying through the winter. It’s time for ewes to go into heat. It’s time for my succulents to go into dormancy.
These things make sense to me.
I understand that this way of life would be unbearable to some people. There are those who enjoy living in a city with its noisy entertainment and smog. That’s fine. But there, too, are those of us who just want simplicity, a nice sunset, a porch swing and a good book, and on occasion, an unexpected twilight ride in a combine.