Some of you may be getting close to the last round of the year at harvest – others have a ways to go because of good crops to haul off, weather and late planting. At any rate, sooner or later you will get to the last round. Legend holds that the last couple of rounds can be as spooky as seeing a witch on a barn roof on Halloween night.
I swore I saw one once. Of course I was only 15, it was dark, around Halloween, and I was going to get the dairy cows in the field at 5 a.m. I probably drank too much soda with caffeine the night before, or watched one too many scary movies. It's funny how your mind can play tricks on you if you let imagination take hold of it.
Which brings us back to the last round. Even in today's modern combines, many farmers say they hear an extra squeak, or a different rattle, or other noise on that last round. They want to get done so bad, but fear a breakdown. Nine times out of 10 the combine isn't making any noises it hasn't made before, like the witch really wasn't on the barn roof, or I hope it wasn't, but your hearing is tuned in to any sign of problems at that moment.
It didn't help that before we quit farming, we had one of those last round experiences. The combine really did break with a couple rounds to go, but it wasn't major. Then after the gravity wagon was loaded with the last of the corn and we began to pull it out of the field, we noticed a tire was flat. The corn was harvested, but harvest wasn't over yet!
That's the message – it's not over until it's over. You will likely run that last round as smoothly as any, but I bet you will at least be listening a little harder than before you read this blog. Maybe you'll take extra time to grease the combine the morning you intend to finish. And make sure all the tires on trucks and grain carts are pumped up!
One last thing: watch out for that witch…Halloween is this week. I didn't really see one…I don't think!