Saturday, November 11, 2023

Random thoughts from the driver's seat

We made it through another harvest season here at Wichmann Farms. There were the requisite amounts of heat, dust, wind, sun, cold, frost, rain, random breakdowns, late nights, miscommunication, mobile meals, chaos, mayhem and swearing. 


No one got hurt and the fire department was not involved this year, always a good thing, especially when harvesting in an area that’s been in extreme drought conditions for multiple years. 

The view never gets old.

Through it all, I logged lots of pickup-driving hours which provided lots of time to think about lots of things.




If a farmer pulling a loaded grain cart leaves a field two miles from home, how many ham sandwiches will it take before there’s a chance of rain and the feeder housing chain breaks? 


Great. It's starting to rain and I’m driving a truck where the windshield wipers were apparently installed like secret weapons in one of James Bond’s Aston Martins. I’ll just start flipping levers and see what happens.


If you want supper right now, you’re getting a ham sandwich. If you want supper in five minutes, you’re getting a hot ham sandwich. 


If you wanted your supper five minutes ago, do you want your peanut butter on white or wheat?

The view from atop my ladder, filling a fuel tank.

Here is a sweatshirt, batteries for the flashlight, the moisture test results from the co-op, a bottle of water and a sandwich with a dog hair in it so you feel at home.


Sloppy joes, barbecued beef, grilled chicken breasts, hamburgers, Casey’s pizza. Cookies, cookies, cookies. The five-star tailgate menu.


I am a very small woman driving a very big truck. Maybe if I pile up all the cast-off sweatshirts and sit on them, I’ll be able to see over the hood.


No, seriously, where are the windshield wipers in this thing?


Yes, I can give you a ride. Again. I live to serve.

I do not drive the semi.
Neither does Raider.

If you wanted me to be at a farm 15 minutes away in 5 minutes you should have called 10 minutes ago. Farm wife math is a special skill.


Oh holy hell, did something just fly out of the back of the pickup? 


Swear he said to pick him up at the east corner of the 40 on the north road. Or was it the north corner of 40 on the east road?


Crapweasel, the fuel gauge is on E. This is only marginally better than the check-engine light coming on randomly.

Iowa traffic jam.

There’s a field gate along here somewhere, right? In the dark. And the dust. Okay, I’m turning, that gate had better be where I left it or this is gonna be real not fun in a hurry.


Holy mother of God, why can’t GM put the $#@! wipers in the same place in all its vehicles?



Being a farm wife means you speak fluent Farmer. It’s not so much a different language, just requires a different skill set when it comes to interpretation. Most of it involves directions. Folks who live in town will struggle to appreciate this because for much of the civilized world, addresses are exactly that—1028 North Willow Street—and the like.


It’s a bit different out here in the hinterlands. 


“Can you walk out and get the Gator? It’s just over that hill” translates to “Better start now, it’ll be dark soon.”

Banner is not allowed to drive the Gator
even though he is sure he could.


“I’ll be in for supper at 7:30.” Do not get excited about this as no specific day is mentioned.


“I’m gonna need a ride to (insert obscure location somewhere in the county) after chores.” Do not believe this for a minute. Nothing is as simple as a single ride. Ever. There is always another farm, another field, another bin site, another tractor that needs to be ferried from Farm A to Farm B and wherever your Farmer is, he needs to be somewhere else.

“Can you come pick me up at the Jefferson 80? That’s south of Trenton’s past the Immanuel Church on the west side of the section.” The fact I know exactly where this is means after three decades plus of being a Farm Wife, my super power is that I can get in a pickup and actually FIND the Farmer at virtually any time of day or night, under any weather conditions with directions like these. 


Just saying "the Jefferson 80” would be sufficient but I think he gives the additional specifics because once, a very long time ago, he neglected to and it did not end well.


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