a harvester’s widow

I have become a harvester’s widow.

Jim’s been the sole fall harvester since we started this business. That means he’s been the only one in the soybean and corn crops for the past 30 years. And this year is no different. There was some talk that I may be needed to run grain cart because they are one man short. If you remember, the day Ben was born, we also lost our fall customer and dear friend, Russell. Apparently, his son-in-laws have it under control better than they expected before the harvest actually got started because I’ve not been asked. Russell would be very proud of them! However, I was sort of hoping I would finally be involved but with this cold snap…maybe not so much.

So, while Jim has been doing the fall harvest, I’ve been the one left at home doing what needs to be done here. Until the past two years, a lot of my time has been involved with the girls’ schedules. Not so much anymore. So, the days tend to get long. I have been able to unload and clean the inside and outside of the trailer house with very little interruption. I have all but one small flower garden to clean out before the snow flies and I still have the house to thoroughly clean of cobwebs. Jim usually leaves the house about 7:30 am and most nights doesn’t get home until 9:30. Long days – much like the wheat harvest.

I’ve had a couple of fun outings with Eli and Nora. It’s probably a good thing they don’t live any closer than they do. We may not get anything done…ever!

Our first outing was a spur of the moment occurrence. It was one of those beautiful Fall days where it didn’t even feel like Fall. It was one of those “let’s make her think it’s going to be summer forever” type of days.

Whenever we go anywhere, we have to have Jamie put the car seats in the van. I almost hate to suggest going anywhere simply because I know just how much work it is to transfer those seats from one vehicle to the other. It’s not like it was when my girls were little. Holy cow! So simple back then (and they survived)!!! Improvements usually mean more work. Anyways, I headed over to the H’s house and had Jamie install these pieces of engineering genius in the van. Jamie had their bag filled with snacks, jackets and anything and everything we could possibly need. I’ll have to give that girl credit…she’s prepared!

Once loaded, I decided we needed to head towards the walking bridge (that used to be a railroad bridge) that goes over the Platte River. You can walk from one shore of the river to the next. I will have to confess, though, I worried about just letting the kids head out on their own at first. But, once I surveyed the amount of space between the fence and the cement bridge, there was no way a body could just fall through it and land in the river. So, they were OFF!

It was about here where I was making sure a little body couldn’t just slip through any sort of opening. Even though I knew they couldn’t, I couldn’t convince the uneasy feelings I had of that while watching them stand there. 

I love their smiles!

Not even half way across, Nora decides to ditch her bike and have Gramma carry her across. And, in my usual fashion, I agreed. But the mode of transportation was a piggy-back ride. She was okay with that. 

I’m certain Eli was trying to tell me something very brilliant. He really is a smart kid!

I don’t know how far it is across from one end to the other – maybe a total of a mile? It felt like 10 by the time we finally got back to the van, loaded bikes and kids and headed out once again. And…the ‘ole van has no air conditioning (it broke a while back) so we just made do with the windows rolled down. It was near 80 degrees this day.

Next on my “to do” list was climb the tower at Platte River State Park. Did I mention the wind was blowing about 45 mph? I didn’t take that into consideration when we reached the first steps of the tower. But, there was no looking back once we got there. And that’s when I really started feeling a bit uneasy. I’m not real good with heights anyways and all I could envision was brave little kiddos heading up those flights of stairs and something weird happening. So, I made them hold on to the side of the steps that was fenced and go slow. They had NO CLUE why.

We didn’t make it up all the way. The flags at the top were literally straight out and I just didn’t have it in me to battle the anxious feeling of having those two (who know no fear) up there. We ALMOST made it, though. We would have only had two more levels to conquer – next time (when the wind isn’t blowing quite so hard). You can see the bridge we walked across on the horizon. They thought that was pretty cool to see from way up high…”Gramma, we’re higher than the roof!”

Eli was at the base of the tower looking up at it after we had climbed almost to the top. 

We had lunch at the “marina” where Eli remembered he and his dad once fished this summer – and rode paddle boats. The boats were put away for the winter or we would have gone paddle boating. 

We headed home after this – all of us exhausted. But probably Gramma more than those two!

The next outing was another spur of the moment idea. I won tickets to JK’s Pumpkin Patch via the Nebraska Family Magazine before we left Colorado. The warm days were coming to a quick end and I knew I better get them there soon or we would have to forfeit my winnings. We went last Sunday late afternoon. I am going to do a separate post on this experience so I can give all the credit and thanks necessary to those responsible for making this excursion happen.

Being a harvester’s widow has its ups and downs. I don’t talk to many people throughout the day, so that first-morning-frog-voice is there about all day. I sometimes run out of things to keep me busy. It gets lonely.

But I do accomplish a few things too…like outings with the grandkids, walls that need painted get painted, blankets that need sewn get sewn and blogs get written. It’s the longing to be in the field when I see combines running and truck lines at the elevator that just about kill me.

A new chapter of life…one that’s taking a bit of time to get used to.




2 comments on “a harvester’s widow

  1. mom says:

    Tracy , looks like you had a fun afternoon with Eli and Nora..they are soooooooo cute.My birthday flowers are so pretty,still after a week. You and Callie have a safe trip…have fun…love and kisses

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