By Paul Legge, Georgian Central SCIA President
As I write this on a foggy Monday morning (deadline for this write up), I can’t help but feel a little anxious about fall harvest quickly approaching. So many things running through my mind about having enough help, and all the field work and equipment to get ready…..and that week of holidays I have planned for a week from today. How do we get it done? Well we work into the nights and work on the weekend right up until it’s time to go. We manage just as we always have. It seems daunting, and then all of a sudden we are caught up and think “that wasn’t so bad”.
I find that this is often a common theme with farmers I know. Not all, but most seem to get through these busy times and are ready to do it again. I often wonder how healthy it is? Our mental health often takes a back burner during these times. I’ll admit that I’m not the first person to just strap down and carry on until all of a sudden I’m just completely beat. Seems as though I don’t let it get to me until that rain finally shows up.
What if it doesn’t rain? How long can I carry on with little sleep? Is everyone making it through okay? I am really pretty doubtful :(. What is the definition of “okay”? All thoughts and questions running through my mind this morning after a close friend messaged me last night to “check in” after going to a memorial for someone much too young:(. I didn’t know this person, or who it is, but after a bit of a sleepless night I’m left with a heavy heart. It’s because I know one of my best friends well, and she’s clearly hurting. It’s never easy to lose anyone, let alone someone way too young.
What makes me feel particularly bad is that one of my closest friends lives a 6 hour drive away from me, and in and amongst a busy life, she makes the time to see how I’m doing and seemingly knows when I’m going through a rough patch. She’s someone I admire greatly and could talk to about anything. So, what am I feeling bad about? Well that fact that she’s 6 hours away and she manages to make time for me……Why haven’t I stopped in at the neighbours to see how they are doing? I know that their two young boys would probably love to play with our puppy, so what’s my excuse? Well…..”there’s a hundred things to do and not enough time, and that vacation coming up next week”
I’m in an industry that seemingly makes you feel bad if you aren’t working 16 hours in a day. Like you’re lazy or something. It’s not healthy whatsoever and makes me think we need a shift. Maybe next time we try to take on more, we picture what it might be like if “we stopped in at the neighbours for their young boys to play with the puppy, and we got to see if they are doing “okay”!
I mentioned that today was the deadline for the article. Did I want to write an article when there’s lots to do? At first it seemed like a pain, but when it comes down to it, the answer is “of course I do”. Although it’s busy, I think this is just as important as anything on the farm this morning. The farm work will get done, but if I don’t write this, I’m going to miss the deadline and there will be no opportunity for others to think about what I’m thinking about. So, all I ask is that while we are busy, I hope everyone can make some time for others. The last thing we want is to have someone fall through the cracks.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy fall harvest!