For six generations, over 107 years, the Finken family farms have occupied this homestead. Back in 1916 when Farmer Bob's great-great-grandfather bought this land, he had no idea the legacy his son and his descendants would leave behind. From 160 acres back in 1916, I cannot help but wonder what these previous generations think as they look down on the operation as it sits today. There is no way they could have predicted what this farm has become today.
These are the thoughts that went through my mind as I watched Chris' youngest son sit on his lap and steer the combine as we harvest the soybeans. If you look very carefully below, you can see Calvin in a red shirt on the right side inside the combine. Although it is not a daily occurrence, it is not unusual for Chris to have one of his three boys in the combine with him making memories that will no doubt last a lifetime for these little boys.
The boys bring toys with them. Calvin on this day brought (drum roll)..... farm toys! Tractors, combines and other farm machinery. For hours they go up and down the field, he seems perfectly content riding with dad, playing with his toys, sitting on dad's lap and learning at a young age when it means to be a farmer.
This is the legacy Bob, DeAnne, Chris, Holly and Dylan will leave for future generations just as their ancestors left for them. Who knows how many years this will carry on or what the farm will look like 107 years from now after we are long gone.
While many intentionally or unintentionally, leave a legacy behind, many others of us do not. Barb and I are travelers. With 6 residences in our 37-year marriage, we have never stayed in one place for more than 10 years, with several years of that be totally homeless and traveling. So, what is our legacy? If I were to answer that today, I would say it is our property and our house that we built with our own
two four hands (with help of Kevin of course who is leaving a legacy of dozens of houses in Wisconsin and South Dakota).
I have a feeling we will be here for more than 10 years, God willing, more than 20. It is nothing like the legacy being created here, but we are proud of it nonetheless. We have never been ones who felt the need to leave a permanent mark on the world. Jessica and Forrest are enough of a permanent mark for us.
Thinking back, other than their children, I cannot think of a legacy my grandparents or parents left behind. My dad was a successful businessman who helped furnish many libraries across the Twin Cities, but I am sure most, if not all of that has been replaced over the years. So, what would you consider your legacy? Do you even care?
But back to farming.....While breakfasts are often eaten back at the farm, lunches and suppers are eaten in the tractor or combine on the move. We usually pack a lunch, but supper is often delivered to the field by Holly. It is always a welcome sight to see her white suburban traveling across the field with what will no doubt be a delicious meal.
We do stop once in a while though...
As you might have surmised, we got started on the soybeans this week. With almost 700 acres of beans to harvest and only two days before the forecasted rain we hit it hard going well into the night.
My role is to cart, driving the tractor next to the combine while they dump into the cart. Holly found a very funny Facebook post which accurately describes the role of the cart driver.
The rain came sooner than expected and we only got about 1/2 of the crop in before we were forced off the field.
These beans bypassed the farm and went directly to the elevator. While I was in line at the elevator, I made another observation as I watched the farmers in the trucks ahead of me unload their grain. That observation being that I bet I could walk into any restaurant and pick out the farmers and ranchers just by how they got up from their table and took their first few steps. They all pretty much walk the same, the same way I have been walking the past few weeks. I get up, walk a few steps bent over, groan (internally or externally), and slowing straighten my back until I am walking fully upright. Farmer after farmer unloading in front of me walked the same way, although some of them, having lost their ability to stand upright, stay bent over the entire time they unload. Such is the fate of the farmer or rancher.
This week's quiz involves Soybeans.
Which of these products come from the Soybean?
A) Soy Milk
B) Soy Sauce
C) Astro Turf
E) Hydraulic Fluids
G) Spray Foam Insulation
H) All of the above.
The answer of course, is H: All of above. Who knew?!?!?
A few days before that, before the beans were ready, I was in the field harrowing. Harrowing involves pulling a 70' drag of sorts that lifts the residue from a harvested field making it easier to plant the next year. It is best done on a dry, windy day to blow the residue away. Here is a short video of what that looks like.