Tuesday, November 3, 2020

12 Days of Harvest

At school, we are often shown in many different ways how to learn. My favorite way is through a song. What better way to learn about what’s been going on during the 2020 harvest season than in a rhythmic melody. Also in honor of the unwanted snowfall last week, I figured it would make sense if the song was Christmas themed. With that being said, don’t be shy and sing along as you read!

The 12 Days of Harvest: On the 12th day of harvest, harvest season gave to me, 12 rows a harvesting, 11 broken sickle sections, 10 snacks already eaten, 9 broken guards, 8 missed calls from dad, 7 empty pop bottles, 6 forecast changes, 5 more partsss runssss, 4 busted snoots, 3 inches of snow, 2 belts a slipping, and only going 1 mile per hour due to down corn!

As you can tell from my silly song, the 2020 harvest season has been one for the books. However each year I feel like we say this year's harvest is totally crazy, hectic, and different. And each year, farmers still love being in the fields. No matter what the situation is in the field or with the weather, farmers simply love harvest. There is nowhere else they would rather be than in the combine seat. During fall that seat is their new temporary home. Thank you farmers for everything you do! I hope the rest of the harvest season goes smoothly and safely!

 ~ Kesley Holdgrafer


Part Runs

One of the many joys that come with farming is the beloved parts run. It’s harvest season, so equipment is being used all the time and needs to run smoothly. There are many chances for things to go wrong, which leaves many chances for me having to go and get parts. Most people hate a parts run. It costs money, it takes time, and it is unplanned. I however thoroughly enjoy them. It’s usually not my fault that it broke, so that probably helps a bunch. Being the farmer's daughter, you are always the designated gate opener, but if you are above the age of 16 you are also the designated parts run girl. I love to drive and I love to meet new people. The parts counter guys and gals are my unsung heroes.

Rule number one of being the person that does the parts run, always keep your cellphone on. The farmer will call you whenever, even while you’re in school. They expect you to drop everything and go get it because usually, they need the part “right now!” If you don’t answer your phone they will just continue to panic call you over and over until you actually answer or finally call them back.

Another thing about parts runs, sometimes the farmer is in a hurry, so they don’t fully explain the piece you are getting or how big it is. They just say head there, grab the parts, and hurry home with a look that means no stopping for ice cream along the way. Short, sweet and to the point, no stopping for snacks. However, it is very important to know just how big the parts are that you are getting. I have learned from experience. Once I showed up with the car to get parts and I was to bring home a big pallet full of parts. Long story short, it definitely didn’t fit. Good thing I did have a good cutting knife. I slashed the boxes open, threw in the parts quickly by hand, and left the fork truck driver with a big pile of packaging trash.

This harvest it seems I have been on quite a few parts runs. Thank goodness for school because with that excuse I get out of some of them! A few weeks ago my little brother and grandpa had to go get parts. This was a big part day. They took the livestock trailer to hold all of the parts. I told dad that’s like a double cart day at the grocery store when we are completely out of food. That’s a lot of parts! I’m very glad I got out of that parts run. Luke would’ve been critiquing my trailer hauling skills the whole way and I am pretty sure it wouldn’t fit through the drive-thru. Sorry Dad, but we ALWAYS stop for ice cream and hide the evidence!

~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Farmer Wave Week

It’s time for one of my most favorite Iowa celebrations, “Farmer Wave Week.” To some, this might sound made up but I assure you it honestly is a real thing! One of my very first articles was all about the farmer wave. I have been writing this fun column for over two years now and I thought it was time to revisit one of my favorites from Nov. of 2018 ....

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I could not be more excited. It is one of my favorite holidays and I am very thankful to have grown up on our family farm. Being raised in a rural setting means being surrounded by an amazing small town atmosphere where everyone knows everyone, helps each other out, and always remembers to wave when driving down the road.

You may not know this but Nov. 6-12 is “Farmer Wave Week” in Iowa. Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation to recognize the very first “Farmer Wave Week” back in 2014. The farmer wave is typically just two fingers coming up off the top of the steering wheel to wave at someone while driving. On a simple trip to town, no matter what vehicle I am in, I am guaranteed at least 4-7 farmer waves from my friends and neighbors. I always reply with an eager full hand, five finger wave, but I have often wondered where that silly farmer finger wave even came from? Is it because some of the farmers I know are missing a few fingers?

This past week, my truck has been in the shop getting new brakes, so I had to drive our old Ford stick shift pickup to school. Now remember, I am only 15 with a school permit, so I am not the most experienced driver, but it was either l learn how to drive the dreaded stick shift or take the bus. Let's just say, I quickly became a gear shifting, double clutching queen!

On my maiden voyage to school in the Power Stroke stick shift, with my little brother riding shotgun, anxious to immediately report back to my two older brothers on how many times I killed it, I met my first vehicle on the gravel road. With one hand on the shifter and the other on the steering wheel, my two fingers instinctively came up to greet my fellow neighbor. I did not even realize it, but I had just done my very FIRST farmer wave! Suddenly it dawned on me, that is where the finger wave originally came from. Stick shifts, pickups, and friendly neighbors is how the farmer wave began.

This is what I am most thankful for this fall; my farm background, a strong family, learning to drive a manual transmission at a young age, and being raised in small town Iowa where everyone knows everyone else. Enjoy celebrating this unique week and always remember to wave at your neighbors!

~Kesley Holdgrafer