Dirt Under My Fingernails


This fall I’ve been helping my cousin, The Singing Farmer, moving machinery and trucks around for harvest. This has been a strange year for farmers. The planting season was very late, well into June. When our big hail storm hit a month and a half later, my cousin figured the whole crop was lost. But what happened was that well over half the wheat came back because it was so far behind it hadn’t headed out yet. So here we are, harvesting in October.

Twice in the last week I’ve gotten to drive a combine out mud holes. The ground has been so saturated with rain that any low spot is dangerous for heavy machinery. I haven’t driven anything “heavy” in a long time but it felt good, like I was accomplishing something tangible. I’ve spent most of my adult life working at a desk, moving ones and zeroes in one form or another, sitting though interminable meetings, dressing in business casual. Standing on the platform of a moving combine with dirty hands, dust on my jeans and a cool fall breeze felt like a different reality. Not necessarily a better one. I’m not cut out to be a farmer and I’m OK with that. But I will continue to savor the change of pace, the break from my computer screen to do something outside, something real.

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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2 Responses to Dirt Under My Fingernails

  1. I’m sure you’re a great hand and that your folks appreciate the help. Not everyone gets an opportunity to pitch in on a harvest. Enjoy the tangible accomplishments.

  2. I spent my growing-up teen years on a farm in North Dakota. The cold ultimately did me in and as soon as I was able to, I headed to the East coast where there was an ocean and warmer weather. I don’t think I miss it, but seeing your photo and reading about the harvest stirred up something in my heart. Thank you for that. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve found here on your blog … and I look forward to the North Dakota-isms and other thoughts you next share!

    (Where in ND are you? I lived in Devils Lake, which I’ve written about — rather unkindly, I’m afraid — on my blog from time to time.)

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