Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Feels like Fall

It feels like fall around here. The trees are starting to change, we went from 100-degrees to the mid 50’s in a matter of hours last week, and the weather has been dancing back and forth ever since.

I’ve transitioned from running to town for haying parts to running to town for drill parts. From being asked if there is enough in the checking account to allow running the pivot one more time, to being asked if there is enough money to cover some additional forage wheat seed.

Three drops of rain and a single cool morning and my husband started hustling around, lamenting that the winter wheat, “Should be in the ground.” I’m always a little slow to the farming related transitions, and the growly urgency each one is welcomed with.

On the flip side, I am doing my level best not to nag him about whether he has the steer calves sold, yet. While they aren’t worth near enough to cover input costs this year, they are worth considerably more than a year ago. I want to know just how short we will be after getting them locked in.

It’s a ranch wife thing. Fall version.

The kids have added sweaters, but are still going barefoot. These days they’re mostly sticking to the gravel due to the puncture vine that has matured for the year. We are shoving school in between preg checking heifers, chopping silage, and all the other good stuff.

At the first week of after-school Wednesday bible study, my son just sat in a sea of fellow first graders, borderline shocked no one else could talk chopper heads, how much corn silage was doing per acre, seed and fertilizer costs, or heifer pregnancy rates. It took him an hour, but he finally settled back into being a kid. I assume his father had the same issue when school began each fall.

The crops continue to struggle along in our part of the world. It’s dry and windy. If our weather is going to be anywhere close to average for the year, we are looking at a long, cold, hopefully wet winter. In preparation we have a rather sad, meager, weedy hay crop and a variety of insanely high-priced protein supplement options.

Calves look really good in our area. Open heifers were hot when we sold – it would have been nice if someone at the sale barn had fed them during the two days they stood there. One-hundred twenty pounds per head difference between the truck’s weight and what they weighed going through the ring.

But, that may as well be the slogan for the year. If you can get something raised, and it is actually worth something when you go to market, something will occur to ensure you get a reduced amount of money in your pocket. No matter where you go or who you talk to, that is how it has gone.

Which leads me back to Wednesday bible study. After the kids are done, we stick around so I can participate in the adult bible study. The book for this fall is Ecclesiastes. One of the main takeaways so far is that everything under the sun (heaven) is but a mist, and focusing on things under the sun is meaningless.

We are to instead keep our eyes on things above the sun, remember that life is a gift, and our time here on earth is brief. We are called to eat, drink enjoy good in our labor. If we get caught up in all the rest, it is in vain.

Not a bad perspective as we all head into fall.

For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? for all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This is also vanity.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. Ecclesiastic 3:22-24.


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