New To Harvest?

For some of you this may be your first go round for harvest....Well, gear up because this may be a bumpy ride that you may find a little hard to understand at times!

Whether you are just newly dating, or even newly married, experiencing your first harvest on the farm is likely something you will not forget. 
My first harvest on the farm is something I will never forget! We had been dating a few months and I had just moved to South Dakota about a week before we started chopping corn silage. I spent the next few months riding along in tractors and semis, not only with my husband, but with his brothers, my sister in laws, hired help, and my father in law. 
I spent late nights curled up in the buddy seat of the tractor my head on my hubby's lap as he pushed silage. We took funny videos and funny photos and talked for hours. 
But, it isn't all sunshine and butterflies during harvest all the time. The truth is those long nights can get really long and having a meal not in the tractor is something you dream about for a few months. 
My best advice... 
Be understanding and be a part of it. This is the time of year farmers prepare for all year long. Farming is their passion and their livelihood, try to understand that and be a part of it. My farmer loves how I have became a part of his livelihood and I take part in harvest every year. 
Take advantage of one more romantic date night before harvest gets started, we had ours this last Wednesday. Having that last special evening before the busy season starts is something you can remember when you get sick and tired of the late nights and the non-returned phone calls. 
Surprise your farmer with treats. My farmer loves it, and I mean really loves it, when I show up with a fun treat for him in the tractor. If it's my week to cook I make one of his favorite meals. If it is not my week to cook I go for some of his favorite snacks, like a chocolate malt or homemade chex mix.
Offer to help out. You may have a full time job, or you may be in school, but offer to give rides, help fuel up a vehicle, bring out a meal, or even make a run for parts. It's the perfect chance to see harvest in action and show your farmer you are willing to work. 
And last of all. If this is your first attention. And I really mean that. Pay attention to everything that is going on- how much time is invested in bringing in crops, the long hours, the late nights, equipment breaking, the weather. I stress this because harvest is an important time of year for crop farmers. It is something you have to be sure you can live with every year for 2 or 3 months for the rest of your life. 
Being married to a farmer, or dating a farmer, is also about understanding the passion and love that goes into farming. Take this first harvest to really get to know your farmer and what he is all about. And enjoy your first Fall! It's a beautiful time of year and one that is amazing and wonderful to watch as we reap the benefits of the growing season! 

Where To Begin The Conversation

If the farmer you meet on FarmersOnly is anything like my my farmer you may find yourself staring at a very closed off conversation at first.

And what I mean by that...

The first conversation I had with my farmer after sending that first message went a little like this:

Me: "How was your day today?"

Farmer: "Good"

Me: "What did you do?"

Farmer: "Hayed"

Me: "Anything Else?"

Farmer: "Nope"

Really!? I mean where in the world was I supposed to go with that?

After about five very direct answers, and no reciprocation, I thought of the idea- I'll ask ten, you ask ten.

Basically what we did was I sent ten questions, he answered them a long with sending me ten back.

It may seem a little too simple, but in the beginning when you aren't really sure you are ready to give out your cell number, or meet in person, it really is the perfect place to start.

Because of these questions my farmer really opened up to me about tons of topics- and he actually got pretty good at typing too!

It's amazing how much you can learn about a person when you ask them ten questions every other day.

We talked quite a bit once we established this pattern because we were both excited to see one another's answers.

Don't be afraid to make them think outside the box either!

I asked everything from favorite color to greatest fears, dream vacations, and even what he thought the best qualities of his parents were. Music, strengths, weaknesses, ideal dates...

The thing about asking questions through the computer is that after awhile all walls seem to come down.

By the first time I met my husband on the exit ramp down the road from our home I felt like I knew every single part of him and being in his arms felt just right.

So, if you find yourself unsure of where to take the conversation I suggest the "I'll ask ten, you ask ten" method. And don't just ask the serious questions, ask silly questions. Ask what they love, what they hate. What they do on a Sunday afternoon off. Their favorite TV shows.

After weeks of only talking to my farmer this way- I really, truly felt like I knew him better than some of my closest friends.

Not to mention that if you talk and you learn to ask questions it's a habit that will continue through your relationship.

After 5 years of being together I still find us playing the "I'll ask ten, you ask ten" on long road trips.

And it's amazing after 5 years what you can still learn about one another!

Happy Conversing!

Dating with Flexibility

By the end of the summer around here we are typically finishing up odds and ends on the farm, around our home, and planning the last of our date nights for the next couple of months. 

But, more importantly we are gearing up for a busy, fulfilling time of year. Harvest. 

During Harvest we work long, we work hard; I go back to being single, and a single Mom. 

Date nights are few and far between and typically means it is raining. 

One the of most important things about dating a farmer, or being married to one, is the ability to be flexible. 

I am completely organized, on top of things- always, and prefer to stick tight to a schedule. Real tight. 

And I married a farmer. That often will call for a "quick" ride that turns into two hours later. A "quick" parts run that takes all day. And, "Can you come run the tractor for a little bit..." that turns into a 16 hour day. 

Needless to say, in the last 5 years flexibility and I have learned to live in the same house...not always happily, but we live. 

It's also important to remember that if you have animals they always, always come first. And that means 7 days a week, all year long. Even on Christmas. So, being flexible about having to move snow on Christmas day, instead of spending time together as a family is a definite possibility. It has happened to me twice in 5 years!

I have learned in my 5 years on the farm to take advantage of EVERY opportunity to be together, or else you will go awhile before you are together. It may mean sitting in a bumpy tractor for the day reading off and on, picking up rocks, and getting some good quality conversation in between. 

It may mean riding in the semi at 4 A.M. eight months pregnant just to spend some time with your hubby. 

It may mean taking silly pictures in the tractor at midnight while you wait for the last few loads of silage, because you only have a few to go before you are done. 

Flexibility and I haven't always been friends. 

But, I have learned to be flexible.

Some of the best memories I have of me and my farmer are during those long nights in the tractor taking funny photos, cleaning grain bins, driving around checking fields, and even a sushi date every now and then. 

It may be hard to be flexible at times, but I think you will find, just as I did, that sometimes the best memories come from those times of being willing to add some flexibility in your schedule.