Well, I have just spent a weekend freezing on the side of several soccer fields, and I’m glad that’s over. I love soccer, and I love watching my boys play soccer, but when the weather turns in the fall, I’m glad to see the season come to an end. There’s pleasant fall weather, and then there’s what we had this weekend. Brrrr. The players might be fine, but the parents are freezing on the sidelines. Now the season has ended, and we have a short break from practices and games and tournaments.

I love team sports for what they teach our kids — cooperation, commitment, camaraderie, teamwork and healthy lifestyles. Everyone should play a team sport at some time, at either a recreational level or a competitive level. The lessons learned can come in handy later in life. Not everyone is a star — there’s value in being one of the team players. We don’t always win — sometimes you do lose and you need to learn to do that gracefully. We don’t always get a medal for participation — sometimes you really need to earn that medal. Thanks to every coach and trainer who is willing to sacrifice their free time to teach our children these values, and to be a mentor and a good example.

In between the soccer, we have been hard at work on the crop fields too. Robb has been working ridiculous hours lately, trying to take advantage of every bit of good weather he can. We are almost finished harvesting the soybeans, and have done some corn as well. So far, things have been going well and the yields seem to be pretty good. I’m hoping they continue to go well. Yes, there are always those little breakdowns and problems, but harvest wouldn’t be harvest without those. So many moving parts, and so many machines going at once — it’s a major orchestration to keep it all running smoothly.

The other thing we have to orchestrate is people. Thank goodness we have a bunch of sweet friends who come out to help with harvest every year. These people love to drive combine, tractor, or semi and so we let them! I don’t know where we would be without them showing up to help. I wouldn’t have time to write this column, or go to soccer if I had to be the one driving the combine or tractor. After all, I do have a regular full-time job during the day. It’s always a project for Robb to figure out who can come help on which days and at which times, and that affects what he ends up doing for the day, and how much he can get accomplished each day.

That is one thing I love about harvest, though. I know I say it every year, but there’s something about working together, even those long hours, to accomplish a goal and get the work done — it warms my soul. People help people, and you get to spend time with friends that you maybe don’t see as much during the year. Everyone pitches in to help. It’s kind of like soccer — the team works together to accomplish a goal. I don’t know who is the star on our team, but there sure are a lot of awesome players that work together well.

Stay safe this fall — watch for farm vehicles on the road, especially after dark. I don’t want any of you to be hurt, or any of my fellow farmers. And for heaven’s sake — stay warm!

Jennifer Ewoldt, DVM, and her husband, Robb, are farmers in the Quad-Cities. Her column about life on the farm is published every other Monday.

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