Honor tradition by making new ones

By Howard McDonald
WAWG President

wheat field

Traditions. We all have them. From Christmas traditions, to wearing the winning game socks (religiously) in a high school Friday night football game, to flipping aebleskivers every Sunday morning for the family. People love their traditions, and it’s no surprise that farmers have their own.

When I was farming with my dad, when my mom was still alive, we had a tradition of the harvest crew eating as one giant happy family! My mother, Gemma, was an excellent cook, and she made a one-pot meal to feed eight for lunch. Chicken and rice, enchiladas, roast and potatoes were just a sampling of her cooking skill. Let’s talk dessert! What good would a tradition be without the dessert?! Gemma always made the best pies and cinnamon rolls. Gemma also had her own traditions as she would take time off her waitressing job and then lived in her kitchen for the next two weeks. She was also very particular about what went on at her dinner table. The men had to break their bread before they buttered it, and there was no room on her table for elbows! But even with her “demands,” the same crew sat at her table harvest after harvest! I loved Gemma’s cooking, and that was a tradition I was sad to see come to a halt. One tradition that has continued is our harvest farm crew dinner that happens after seeding. It is a great way to celebrate the long, hot, busy harvest and to thank our crew for another great year!

I have a few of my own farming traditions. I never start harvest or seeding on a Friday. And that goes back to my great-grandpa and his tradition! This tradition continues with Travis, who is the fourth generation. I also believe in giving the harvest crew a break, and Sunday is the day! Travis and I still go out and service the harvest equipment early Sunday morning. As the saying goes, “Harvest on Sunday and broke down on Monday.” So enjoy your Sundays!

It is no surprise to me that the farm traditions we once did, back in the earlier days, are no longer continuing. That is neither a good thing or a bad thing…it is simply what it is. The lunches for a large crew are really no longer happening. The equipment is bigger and better, and we don’t have to stop at lunch to grease all of the equipment, so we can just keep on keeping on! It is also no longer monetarily feasible to feed the masses. Bring your own lunch is the new and forever tradition. 

The next generation doesn’t need to feel the need to carry on all of the past traditions. They should be starting some of their own to add to the ones already being honored. So get out there and create some new traditions and have a safe and bountiful harvest! Here’s a quote from my all-time favorite show, Hill Street Blues, “HEY, let’s be careful out there!”