I was thinking the other day how it is interesting that my grandparents and for generations before them were farmers. It is also interesting that the same fact remains on my husband’s side. We come from the true pioneer spirit of breaking the land, sowing seeds, living on faith and and harvesting crops.
As my husband and I embark on this journey together, we realize how little we know. And we also give thanks and credit to our forefathers(and mothers) who sacrificed so much back-breaking labour to get their crops into the ground. We are fortunate that we have hydraulic-powered equipment that cuts down on time and effort. How did those pioneers do what they did with what they had? We are blessed. Our equipment came with the purchase of our property. A tractor, air seeder, cultivators, harrows, auger, grain truck, swather, combine….we have it all. But our knowledge is limited. My dad farmed when I was too young to know the terms and the processes. In his later years of farming I only saw him at different times of the season and rarely did I get a good grasp of what he was doing. My husband was the chore-hand in his family. He had the grunt work and did not learn the ins and outs of seeding. Thankfully though, he learned how to repair and troubleshoot. He is very proficient in those areas and that’s a definite must on machinery that is constantly needing maintenance.
Yesterday, I helped him out. Cleaning the seeder and prepping it. Making sure things are operating right. He was cultivating and had a breakdown or two. As I was helping him change out a hydraulic jack from one piece of equipment to another I was struck by how that smell of diesel and hydraulic oil takes me back to simpler days on the farm. I smiled. The breeze was blowing and there was that fresh smell of soil being worked, green grass growing. And the sun. Something about the prairie sunshine smells so wonderful. The dogs were lazing under the shade of the tractor, the country radio station playing in the background and my husband’s grease filled hands working tirelessly to get back in the field.
Most of us take for granted how much goes into the bread we put on our tables. We just think it magically appears on our supermarket shelves. But there is blood, sweat and tears that goes into every pound of flour.
We are planting wheat. We are learning as we go. It has cost us(on credit) $3000 to purchase the seed for our one quarter of land. Add to that the $1200 in fuel and the couple thousand dollars in parts and other necessities and you can see how the farmers work so hard for so little. We don’t thank them nearly often enough.
Our seed will need to be treated. That is on the agenda for today if the wind dies down. Treating it prevents disease from taking over and controls pests. I wonder what our grandparents would think of all this technology?
So, after buying seed, treating it, adding fertilizer and getting the equipment ready….we will sow into the ground. 132 acres if we can squeeze out some of the slough land that has been too wet to sow in previous years. And then , we will wait….and spray for weeds….and pray.