It's seeding time. Farmers are putting in long days preparing their fields and then seeding wheat, barley, oats, legumes and more. As I watch sea gulls hovering above the newly seeded ground, it takes me back to my first spring on the farm.
When my husband told me it was time to get ready to seed the crops, I had no clue as to how involved I'd be in something I knew nothing about.
After asking many questions, I learned the wheat had to be cleaned and treated. Since I didn't yet have my Montana driver's license, I didn't have to drive the truck of seed wheat to town. However, I quickly found out how the wheat was loaded onto the truck. I'd never heard of a grain auger but I sure got an education in how to operate one. And I learned about how the truck was unloaded and the grain drills filled. By the time spring seeding was done I didn't want anything more to do with 5-gallon buckets.
Once I got the hang of filling the grain drills, the next step in my learning process was about riding the drills. I gained a new respect for trapeze artists.
Helping with spring seeding wasn't just about cleaning the wheat and filling the drills. It also entailed driving the pickup alongside the shed in which the bulk diesel tank rested. And then climbing up on the pickup bed, opening the portable fuel tank that sat behind the pickup's back window, and lastly, filling it.
Once the tank was full, I headed out to the field being seeded at the time, waiting for my husband to stop the tractor so I could pull up and refuel it. It took me a while to figure out how not to make my clothes smell like diesel.
Trips out to the field weren't all about refueling the tractor. There were the trips to take out a mid-afternoon lunch.
But the trips that caused headaches and hair pulling were the ones made to get parts when the tool bar or drills broke down or to get a tire repaired. I got so I could make the 50-mile round trip for parts in just a little over an hour. That was true only if I was successful in finding the new part at the first implement dealer I went to. Returning without the part and the sentence, "The part will be in tomorrow afternoon," was not met with a smile.
After several weeks of very early breakfasts, mid-morning and mid-afternoon lunches taken to the field, and very late suppers - most of them reheated in the microwave - I welcomed the news spring seeding was done.
Even though the days were long and sleep was at a premium during seeding time, when we drove out to look at the fields and saw the earth slowly being covered with new life, it made me feel good to know I'd been a part of it all.