Harvest time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It’s harvest time.

It’s what we’ve been waitin’ for all year.

It’s like pulling back the curtain and seeing what’s on the other side.

It’s like running a marathon for six months and seeing the finish line up ahead. And then gathering all your strength and whatever you have left and making a mad dash to the end.

It’s deciding the end for your crops. When you dig those peanuts, that’s it. They will do no more. When you defoliate that cotton, that’s it. It will do no more. And there’s something unnerving about pulling a tractor out into the field and digging peanuts. For six months you’ve been doing everything you can to make those peanuts do all they can. Preparing the land just right, planting just the right amount, spraying whatever they need to keep competition away. And now, you’re going to dig up those plants you’ve spent so much time on. You’re stopping the growth of those plants you missed meals over. You’re putting an end to those thousand of living things that you stopped and checked on every day. It’s almost like severing a relationship.

It’s seeing what you’ve got. Though you’ve got hundreds of acres of crop in front of you to harvest, there’s something about pulling out there with that combine and picking those first rows and hearing and feeling your crop go in the basket or hopper. Though you know that after a few days you’ll be exhausted and sore and your body will ache all over from hours and hours on that combine, that first set of rows you are alive and excited and invigorated.

It’s seeing how far you can go. You’ve been farming that field the last 20 years and you know exactly how far you should go before you have a hopper full. You know exactly how many cotton modules there should be or exactly how many peanut trailers should come out of that field. How many will you get this year?

It’s showing all the world what you’ve got. Ain’t no hiding it now. Those taproots on those peanuts are shooting straight up to heaven and showing everyone that rides by all that they have. Good, bad, or disastrous, it’s there for everyone to see.

It’s go, go, go, rush, rush, rush, do, do do. That window of fair weather might shut tight the day after tomorrow.

It’s messy farm shops because no one has time to do any cleaning.

It’s falling into bed at night figuring out how much crop you got in and how much is left to pick and- if the weather stays good and nothing major breaks down- when you might just get it all in.

It’s all this and a lot more. But it’s a lot of fun.

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is rexalphin@aol.com.