Monday, October 26, 2015
Since my final day of helping out on the farm fell on a Saturday, my wife was off work and was looking forward to a trip down to the farm to pick some apples for preserving. We all thought it would be nice to have a picnic lunch, something we haven't done in a long time. When I was a young boy, I remember having a picnic lunch everyday in the fields. My grandma would bring out a basket full of a hot lunch like fried chicken and mashed potatoes and a pie for lunch. We would spread out a blanket and sit down in the shade to eat a leisurely lunch and perhaps talk for an hour before going back to work.
Back then however, farms were much smaller and there was more time to get the necessary work done. The farm crisis of the 80's bankrupted many farms and the numerous small farms were absorbed by those who were able to survive the crisis. Economies changed as well and it became necessary to farm more land to be efficient enough to make a profit as equipment got more expensive. These days, it takes 6 to 8 weeks of practically non-stop work to get the crops shelled and in the storage bins and taking an extra hour off for lunch adds up to almost an additional week of work over that time. It is a week we can't afford and so lunch is mostly ate from the cabs of the tractors and combines while we continue on with our work.
Thus a picnic lunch is something that is rare but much appreciated after over a month of eating in a bouncing cab while juggling levers, wheels and throttles. We all powered down and had a leisurely lunch of pizza, salad and apple crisp made from the very apples my wife picked from the tree earlier. It wasn't fried chicken and mashed potatoes but my wife had two kids and her mother in tow and it is an hour drive from our kitchen to this particular field so picking up takeout pizza was a compromise of sorts. We arranged the food in the rear of my wife's SUV and sat down in the shade among the cornstalks and had a fine lunch. All present thought we should make time to do this more often, but not too often.