Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's harvest time!

Well finally our time frames have aligned... it's threshing time in our story, and it's that time for real.  If you have never sat at a farm woman's table at threshing or modern day harvesting time, you have missed a very special treat.  I believe this is where buffets originated! 

My Aunt Olga, is bar none, the best cook ever - she has lived on the farm all her life, and makes a buffet look like child's play.  On minute she can be sitting and visiting with you, and hour later there is so much food on the table that you have to shake your head and wonder if you had slept somewhere along the way between your conversation and dinner.   Not one meat meal - but a two a day - we called it having supper twice because lunch was a hot meal with two types of meat - supper was another hot meal (different one) with two different meats.  I guess it helped much that there was an abundance of those meats running around her yard at any given time, but still....

Growing up, I heard many tales of feeding the "threshing gang".  Sounds like way too much cooking for me, but farm women are born to it, trained by their mothers to it, and excelled at it.  Then - and now.

So today - hats off to the women of the rural areas of our countries. 

An exceptional woman, as are all farm women.  Believe me it is far easier to go to a job for 8 hrs a day than to be a farm woman.

Winter Wheat...

It took an hour for her and Sue to wash up following dinner, and while Sue put Anne-Marie down for her afternoon nap, Emilie set the table for super which would be served at eight that evening. She started preparations for the lunch that would be served out in the field at four that afternoon. By two o’clock she had made a batch of thirty biscuits; dozens of sandwiches; iced the cakes that she had made that morning; packed the cakes and cookies in several boxes ready for transport and started packing tea-cups in a separate box. At precisely three-forty- five, she and the children carried the food, cups and hot tea to the wagon, and drove to the field where at by four o’clock they served the men’s lunch from the back of the wagon.

As she readied the wagon for the return trip to the house, Karl approached, and put his arm around his wife.

“How’s it going Em?” his voice rumbled softly in her ear, and for a moment she was tempted to rest her weary head on his wide shoulder. But instead of that she smiled warmly into his eyes and brushed the fine black soil from his face.

“How many days of this do we have to live through?” she answered his question with one of her own.

Karl chuckled at her plucky mood. “Oh, a few more yet, I’m afraid,” he hugged her close, kissed her brow and then released her. “I have to get back to work,” he said as he reluctantly backed away, “See you at eight . . .”

She nodded in agreement, blew him a kiss, and swung herself onto the seat of the wagon. “Come on kids!” she hollered, and watched as the children came running from every direction. When they were safely in the wagon she turned the team and headed back toward the house.

Karl watched his wife struggle with the team of horses and the cumbersome wagon, and grinned widely. Man, she was something, his Emilie. If anyone had told him six months ago that he would be deliriously happily married within the year, he would have knocked their lights out. But he was happy, and he was delirious half of the time - he knew that for a fact. He had only to think of his wife, or their big family, and his smile would rival the brightest sunniest prairie day.

He sobered a moment when he remembered the terrible day she had experienced yesterday. No matter how hard she had tried, it seemed that fate had decreed the day to be a total disaster. His heart had broke into a thousand little pieces as he’d watched her struggle through one disappointment after another. Later as he had held her close in their bed, he had heard her sobbing misery and he’d felt responsible for her anguish and disillusion.

She had rallied though - yes in true Emilie fashion, she had rose early this morning, brushed her emotions aside, and tackled the new day with vigor and determination, and by God if she wasn’t just pulling it off!

He sighed deeply as the wagon disappeared from his view, and he returned his attention to the men who had resumed working as soon as their lunch break had been over.

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