Here and yonder, high and low,
Goldenrod and sunflower glow.
Robert Kelley Weeks
It's that time again -- summer begins to fade away. As we came home from our stay at the state fair, we saw signs of fall, farmers doing the things we remember doing at this time of year.
We will try to tell you what we saw as we traveled northwest and what memories came to mind.
Milo fields with heads heavy with grain standing in straight rows, rich colors ranging from varied shades of red to orange to cream. Soybean fields turning from green to brown, and corn fields waiting to be harvested. The alfalfa fields might have one more cutting before they go dormant for the winter months.
Farmers preparing the soil to plant wheat. Some fields have been worked -- clean, no weeds. Other fields ready to plant have been sprayed to kill the weeds. This practice is called no-till farming.
Our memories of planting wheat included taking our seed wheat to Palco to have it cleaned. The wheat was put through a machine that separated the kernels of wheat from the chaff, weed seeds, grasshoppers' legs, etc. Jim would fill the drill box and began to circle the field, making sure there was seed in each cup.
We had (in fact still have) a 11βΡ2 ton 1952 GMC truck. Our truck had many jobs. At harvest time, we put the sides on to haul the wheat to the elevator. Then we would take the sides off to haul home the feed bales.
When it was time to plant wheat, the sides were put on again to take the seed wheat to be cleaned and to the field to fill the drill.
Looking back, this truck also was used to haul cattle. We added the stock rack and herded the cows up a loading chute into the truck. Nowadays there are low-boy trailers where cows can walk up and step in.
As we continued traveling home we saw goldenrod, sunflowers, trees beginning take on their fall colors, ditches being mowed for the last time this year and fields covered with big, round bales.
Jim remembers when he and his brother rode a square baler and the bales were tied with wire. Then twine was used to tie bales for years. When the big, round bales were introduced to the farmer, it was a great change. Now these bales can be wrapped in plastic. Wonder what changes the next generation will experience?
In the fall, weeds and grasses make beautiful arrangements. We used to walk in the pasture to check cows or bring them in at milking time. I'd gather a handful of mature flowers, weed and grass to put in a vase. The dark brown cattails are pretty until they begin to "fuzz up" and make a mess.
We noticed squirrels are very busy gathering acorns that are falling from oak trees. It's that time again.
Things have really changed in the 50 years we have been on the farm where we raised our family and are now retired. Many things stay the same -- the true yellow beauty of goldenrod and sunflowers, the smell of new-turned wheat ground, the color of mature milo crops and the tiny, green wheat sprouts, a promise of a new year.
Jim and Opal Flinn, Ellis, are members of the Generations Advisory Group.