The combining has begun and that means that for all impractical purposes, the girls and I are a single Mom and her children for the next several months. We will see Chad 1) when he gets hungry and we take food out to the field, which is not as often as one would think. 2) when the men need help hauling equipment from one field to another-which consists of following along behind at 10 mph with the blinkers on and then driving them back to where they left their pickup trucks. and 3) when he falls in bed long after I have given up the fight with the Sandman. This year the girls may get to see him a bit more if they decide that riding in the combine is fun. M already discovered last year that when you ride in the grain truck to the elevator, you get peanuts.
But it's not all bad. During this time, all the farming widows work to support each other by rallying to watch the soaps and eat bon bons together instead of each one alone.
Let me take this opportunity to bring you up to speed on some of the ins and outs of Farming.
- "Knee-high by the fourth of July" was for your Grandpa's corn. Modern day hybrid corn is usually pushing 5 feet or better by Independence Day.
- You can safely ignore all the fuss about genetically altered crops. They are all genetically altered nowadays. People use the hype as a political platform. Which makes the farmers frown and chew their wheat louder than usual.
- A word about Tinkering. Tinkering is a term that farmers use when referring to the need for fixing something on a tractor. A farmer's wife quickly learns that Tinkering is about 5% driving to get parts, 10% actual fixing and 85% staring at it.
- Time estimation. Farmer's are not very good at estimating time. A farmer's wife quickly learns to muliply a project's ETC (estimated time to completion) by a factor of 4 to get the RTC (realistic time to completion). The crockpot was invented by a farmer's wife.
- Farmers working in the field make slightly less dirty laundry than farmers Tinkering on greasy equipment. But only slightly. A farmer's wife quickly learns to double check a farmer's pockets for peanuts.
- When a farmer's child talks about The Elevator, they are not referring to the hydraulic lift at Macy's.
- The corn that comes out of the field goes through about 217, 691 steps before Kellogg gets a hold of it. You don't want to know what it looks like before that.
- There are about a bazillion moving parts on a Combine. Something always needs Tinkering.
- A Farmer's wife get dirty looks from her husband when she plants Morning Glories.
- Communicating with a farmer can be tricky business. "I reckon" generally means Yes, while "Whatever" has a range of meanings from agreement to a strong disinclination. If you want to get more than three words put together you have to ask about soybeans, "the ol' 33", or weather prospects. Don't try to combine more than one of these topic, however, or you will be seen for the novice that you are.
- Farmers have team loyalties too. Do not say, "That's a nice looking John Deere.", to a man who uses Massey tractors, or vice versa. He might actually spit out his wheat.
I hope this little educational talk has helped. If you know a farmer's wife, do her a favor and take her out to dinner. A crockpot carries on a really sorry conversation and you can only eat so many peanuts.