I didn’t realize until Tuesday afternoon that a lot of the wheat harvesters swarming through this area are foreigners, much of them from South Dakota, sprinkled with Kansans and Nebraskans and even a few from the darkened hills of North Dakota.
I went out to shoot some photos of the wheat harvest – which is just now kicking off a week or so late because of all the rainfall – and found these guys cutting up some fields off of Watts Road south of town, and Bell Road north of here.
Everyone of them were as down-to-earth as the wheat they were looking to cut, open and friendly and just fun to talk to. Oh yeah, and looking happy to finally be hard at work.
Especially the Dakotans, who sound suspisciously Norwegian.
One of the younger boys, a Van Beet, was just as clean cut and wholesome as I would ever want my own to be, bearing in mind that I only talked with him for about 10 minutes. He could have had me snookered, but I doubt it.
Talking to him made me think how much he has in common with our own farming families and their children, here in North Texas and in the Panhandle.
We need such children, because they bring to the plate and with few exceptions the kind of hard-working attitudes and honest moral ethics we all can love and admire.
That, despite all that’s been done to make the farming family extinct in this country.
I know farming is a tough business to be in these days. Heck, I don’t think it has ever been much different. But today statistics show that farmers get far more of their revenue from “other sources,” meaning another job that has nothing to do with farming.
I couldn’t do farming. I’d fry my brain with worry the first year. Will it rain enough to grow the crops? Or, why won’t it stop raining enough for me to harvest? Or, when I have plenty of coastal to bale, that means nobody needs much coastal. I’d end up walking the acres in a stupor, talking to no one in particular.
Some around the office will say I’m almost like that after putting a paper out. Maybe. But I recover quickly. As a farmer, I would be lost forever and covered in perpetual hives.
There are more than a few hearty souls who still pull it off, and I applaud their efforts. The weather has finally cleared up and the wheat farmers should still have plenty to smile about. This time next week, that Van Beet boy and his crew will be somewhere around Amarillo.
And I’ll be missing his “honest friendliness.”
Even though it was for no more than 10 minutes.