I loved riding on the combine with my dad. As Dad started harvest, I couldn’t wait for him to be in one of the fields near our house, because then I could easily get a combine ride and go back to the house when I got tired of riding.
As I would climb up the stairs to get into the combine, I would be full of excitement. As we combined, I would tell him all about school and what I was up to. During harvest it wasn’t unusual for him to be gone from ten in the morning until after I went to bed if all the equipment worked.
When I would finally run out of stories to tell my dad, I would start asking questions like: “Why did you plant corn in this field this year but soybeans last year?” Dad would patiently answer my questions by explaining how it is important to rotate what you plant in each field to make sure you are conserving the nutrients in the soil the best you can. Or “why do you spread the hog manure on the field, it smells sometimes?” The answer my dad gave me was simple, it serves as a fertilizer and helps replenish some of the important nutrients in the soil and the smell is only temporary.
Looking back now I am amazed at how much I learned on my combine rides. I always saw combine rides as a chance to spend time with my dad not as a chance to learn. I still love riding in the combine with Dad, but I look forward to the ride for a different reason. I now see a combine ride as a chance to talk with my dad and learn more about our farming operation instead of just being part of harvest.