On yesterday’s show (Aug 9) we talked about harvest getting underway in parts of Saskatchewan. I received texts from farmers near Wolseley and Francis indicating they were on the land doing a little combining and preparing to swath canola.
This talk conjured up great memories of growing up on the farm during harvest season and I have a feeling many farm kids can relate to this. When I was young (around 9 or 10) I’d ride all day in the grain truck with either my dad or grandfather. It was especially fun at night when it was cooler and all we had to do between loads was listen to the radio. We were able to pick up stations from all over Saskatchewan and the northern United States. Country stations, gospel, news, talk, and rock and roll entertained the driver, passenger, and passing wildlife. Thus, began the love affair with radio. I thought it was pretty cool that the voice coming from that little transistor radio in the grain truck could keep someone company all day long.
As one got older and could now drive a grain truck you now had to actually work especially when it came to hauling the dreaded barley! On our farm we had two grain trucks. One was an automatic engine and had a radio. The other was a red 1968 IH cab-over grain truck, standard on the tree, with no radio. Guess which truck Cody got? Yep, ol’ red as we called her. There was no radio to listen to, it was always hot to sit in, and we only used it in crops with high yield – mostly itchy, irritating barley. As I sat there in blistering August heat, with itchy barley dust on my legs, and looking forward to school starting back up, I thought “this is terrible, I wanna be the guy on the radio playing Alan, George, Garth, and Reba!”
Well, it wasn’t terrible when one thinks back. Sometimes it takes a year, two years, or a decade to realize it was pretty great in that grain truck out in the middle of a field with a summer sky full of stars above you, the sound of a distant coyote howling into the warm night air, and the gentle moo of the cow in the pasture across the grid road. No movie, song, or painting can accurately depict that feeling.
It’s not just the grain truck that brings back memories either. My mom and grandmother made delicious suppers in the field. Sometimes there were big meals of stew, potatoes, and salads. Other times, depending on harvest weather and the work ahead, they were just quick suppers of sandwiches and pie. By the way, if you’ve never had homemade stew or pie in a field you’re missing out!
Have a safe and bountiful harvest this year and don’t forget to slow down occasionally, remind yourself why you do what you do, and soak in that country lifestyle. I’ll be there with you in the truck, keeping you company on the radio with Alan, George, Garth, Reba, and everybody else!