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A Farmer’s Perspective

This past week has been a blur in the valley. It felt like all the farmers were busting it! Spring and fall are two seasons that really are critical to the farmer. We have to get our early spring crops in and we have to get our fall crops off. We then replant with either a cover crop to protect and nurture our soil biology or get another crop planted for spring harvest. It is a cycle of farming that never rests.

In our valley we also have flood pressure. It was October 2003 and we had just moved to the valley. I remember it clearly. Rain was coming, but no worries – it’s only October. Our neighbor calls, “Looks worse than predicted.” It was and most farmers were caught off guard. We expect flooding November through February, but not October.

Our valley was full of crops that needed to be harvested. They were in rotation and were to be out by November. There were also winter ditches to dig and fields to plant. The weather, however, had another plan—the end of the season, with water everywhere and covering everything. So for us, October is a month that we pay attention to because it has left an indelible mark on our souls.

Late last week, coming home from town, it was dark and I noticed all the headlights in the fields. A lot of my neighbors were “pushing” it around the clock to get ahead of the weather. So with that picture of my neighbors working around the clock, I penned this:

Headlights in the Field

Headlights in the Field
Headlights in the field tonight.
Working ground – discing, plowing, planting.

Headlights in the Field
Old man winter is coming soon
plant the wheat, the barley, the rye
before he shows,
before he sends the rain.
The weather windows are small,
the clock keeps ticking,
planting has to get done.

Headlights in the Field
I will see you at the crack of dawn
after the fields are planted.
Headlights in the fields tonight.


Tristan Klesick