Okay, remember the joyous whoops and small dances that occurred last week as our harvest was complete? Remember the thoughts I had about potentially having another warm, adult body in the house? Remember how I thought that the busy-ness in this business was OVER?
Well, I was WRONG.
Here I am, on November 1st, watching as headlights create two strong beams of light through my kitchen window. No, we're not planting some crazy crop that will last through a harsh Illinois winter, nor are the guys taking a joy ride on the four wheeler out in the "back."
No, no, no...it's tillage time.
The trick with fall field work is that in our family's operation, we don't turn off the combine and head off to some great vacation spot. There's no, "Hey, great season, guys! See you in six months!" Instead, hardly a beat is skipped, and the guys are back on tractors, pulling three or four different tillage tools, depending on what needs to be worked, disced, chopped, or "dominated." Our fun new tool is this enormous piece of red (and if you know us, that's shocking...we run green tractors and red trucks) and shiny, sharp and scary, spiderish looking thing, that works the ground "just enough."
Tillage work around here is a fine tuned, carefully calculated art form.
This meticulous work, however, can take place at all hours of the night. The scientific (ha, ha) reasoning behind this is that dirt is dirt, and if a frost is hard or an early snow falls, you're out of luck for fall tillage work. These all nighters adds stress on this farm wife's life, but that's another story.
Anyway, our operation takes great pride in the fact that the farmers not only become good stewards of their land during the planting and harvesting times, but also understand the topography of each of our farms. Since we farm in three counties (which makes us sound really fancy, but when you live a mile from two county lines, it's bound to happen), there are many different fields that need many different tillage operations.
I thought, before I have become more worldly in this agricultural science, that black dirt and big clods were the way that ground should look when it was worked. Stalks and remnants of the past crop should be hidden, like gray hairs or messes stashed in random closets before company comes. However, this is not the case. Our tillage tools may sound like something that should be participating in an Ultimate Fight Challenge, but they are actually massagers of the land, working it just enough so that a crust won't form and the crops that go in that field in the spring will have a good chance of coming up. The Dominator and the Turbo Chopper 3000 are fancy names for tools that are making the land better, not ripping it up. They are gentle giants that keep the soil from exposing all of its good stuff for the harsh weather to strip away.
I know that this is necessary, and that with November comes the threat of crazy early winter weather, so the guys are working long hours, again. I am thankful that they are good farmers, because in the end, it all gives us a better crop to provide to the nation.
However, it does not help the fact that I am left at bed time to give three baths, read sight words, chase monsters out of closets, and have no one to discuss who should be voted off of Dancing with the Stars.
But, again, that's another story.