During these days of harvest
The 24 hour day is only work or rest.
The farmer thinks little of the food he eats
As he concentrates on combine snoots.

As the farmer’s wife, it is my commission
To see that meals are always in preparation.
For one never knows when food is needed
Or where it will be consumed.

Breakfast is simple at least.
Eggs, bacon, cheese, applesauce, toast.
But the rest of the days eating
Can be a bit more challenging.

Mid-morning, it’s food I’m cravin’
It gets my noggin a thinkin’
Soon steak is a fryin’
Next to potatoes a boilin’.

Others must be famished,
For soon, my farmer I see.
He asks, “How soon can we eat?”
Not until 11:30, was my riposte.

Too late, we can not wait,
There can be no 30 minute delay,
You must bring dinner to the field
For today corn is king.

While my words said ‘no problem’
My countenance looked glum
My farmer noticed my dismay
Wisely left, wishing me a a good day.

Time to get to the task at hand,
This is no time for a hissy fit.
My anger soon changed to shame
 Will I ever be more considerate?

All is ready to be loaded,
Bread pans of warm food
Tucked under clean towels
Smiles have replaced my scowls.

Afterall my farmer does have enough stress
Keeping the combine running continuous.
Trucks dodging road hazards
Waiting in long lines at the elevator.

Fields had some hail damage,
Prices have sustained ample damage.
Storms seem to lurk in the forecast
Rain, wind and snow can make a mess.

In this crazy mixed up farm world
No farmer farms a close by home field.
My day now includes a road trip
Hope my thermos with hot tea doesn’t drip.

Delivering meals are other farm wives
We greet each other with friendly waves.
Many have youngsters tucked in car seats
Anxious to see their daddies in combine seats.

I see men moving augers, combines in fields,
Tractors pulling wagons, to which I yield.
Stalks being baled, manure flying away,
It’s a busy time in the country these days.

My frustrations seem so frivolous
Compared to the ranchers storm losses
That shattered many dream, bringing tears
To ranchers who have worked hard for years.

Cattle, horses and sheep are their livelihood
Ranch families are in a sorrowful mood
For these animals become like family
With names, characteristics and familiarity.

The strong storm unleashed its fury
A drenching rain, turned to ice, then windy
Taking out power lines, no more electricity
There was no end to the snow, thick and heavy.

Even before this storm moved out
Ranchers could no longer wait
They wanted to tend to their chores
Instead they found an unimaginable horror.

To see animals dead was an awful sight
But to read the facebook comments
From the very people they work so hard to feed
Is even harder, impossible to comprehend.

Do they not realize the grief,
Broken hearts, these families now have?
Do they not know what it is like to invest
Everything you have, your very self.

How do you replace the cow pony
Together you worked in harmony.
He understood what you wanted to do
Your whistle he always answered.

The cattle on each ranch were unique
It took generations to breed the genetics
The cow herd that made a rancher proud
To see in the pasture with the ranch’s brand.

It is a sad day in the country,
This calamity effects are long-lasting.
When life in the country goes awry
It’s time for America to pray. 


Essays from My Farm House Kitchen | Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Renae B. Vander Schaaf, freelance writer, lives on a real working farm in northwest Iowa.

To Contact Renae B. Vander Schaaf, please email her at [email protected]