Always Something - The Never Ending To-Do List
The life of a farmer or rancher accentuates the reality of a never-ending to-do list. Between chores, stubborn weeds, maintenance, doctoring livestock, equipment breakdowns, or life in general (because these people have families and friends, too) there is "always something" going on. A day’s chain of events during wheat harvest comes to mind as a prime example of this regular occurrence. Here was my recount of one particular day:
The morning began in the field, or more accurately, with the intention of being in the field. We finished cutting around "homeplace" today, so that area is where we were yesterday as well. Sunday night had brought in cooler temperatures and an increased humidity level. Unfortunately, the wheat was not thrashing well because of this. We managed to fill one truck with what we had in our wagons from the previous harvesting day. Uncle Jeff, then, made the executive decision to head back to the shop for the morning to find work.
Once back at the shop, it was determined that we would be going to hoe weeds in a field back behind the shop. My family and I collected hoes and pairs of gloves for the task. As my dad would say, "The right tool can make all the difference," which I agreeably interpreted in this scenario as being not just hoes, but sharpened ones. Uncle Jeff was already on the same page, jimmying the metal ends off of their handles and grinding them up nicely. Next, we loaded up and headed out.
After beginning, we realized there were quite a few weeds in this particular field, more than were to be expected. We went ahead and hoed for awhile anyway. They needed to be killed one way or another, and we were already there. As we worked along, we noticed a sprayer plane making rounds over a field to our east. The canary yellow craft buzzed to and fro. At one point, it flew right over us and then circled back to fly directly over me, allowing me to see it's undercarriage in crisp detail. It was less than one hundred feet from us, so it was an interesting distraction for a few moments.
The air quickly became noticeable cooler, and before long I felt "bird's spit" or light sprinkles on my arms and face. Although this caused us to leave our less than thrilling work after about ten additional minutes, we were not excited about the extra moisture. We wanted to get back to the field! Mother Nature has a mind of her own, and being involved in agriculture requires having an understanding and respect for that.
Needless to say, we settled back in to the shop shortly. However, as promised, there was a task to be done! The strange storm system, blew through fairly quickly. Our next task at hand was cleaning the shop. There is something to be said about shops. Each has a varying smorgasbord of tools, fluids and parts supply, but the organization, cleanliness, general levels of "traffic" in and out can vary immensely from shop to shop. I like to think shops have personality, often reflecting their owners. Anyway, we started with "the burn pile," dragging out boxes to burn barrels aside the shop. Gavin and Jeff were our pyrotechnics. We were in business in no time.
Next up, the shelving unit in the back half of the shop was due for some much-needed TLC. We made notable progress on the project. This included many trips to the garbage and metal recycling barrels. Bethany braved the messy scrap wood pile. Scott and Dustin helped salvage clamps from old tubing. Jeff sorted through who-knows-what that had not been gone through since who-knows-when. I ran the shop vacuum on shelves and filled hydraulic oil jugs. It was a true team effort!
By then, it was time for lunch! Aunt Ish brought down lunch and we sat, ate, and teased- the usual. The sun had made an appearance during late morning, and it was actually beginning to warm up. Good news! We wrapped up at the shop, and drove back to "homeplace" to give the wheat a second chance for the day. We were in luck and back to business. Jeff called trucks back and it was a relief to start again.
The never-ending to-do is okay. What is great, though, is being able check off those "to-dos" from the top down.