September 21, 2009

One of the perks of combining for Loren Koch is supper meals on the field. Terryl, Loren’s wife, is a great cook and we enjoy hot roast dinners and pie for dessert. I doubly appreciate it – I used to be the one making meals besides running a grain truck or combine and, it seemed, hundreds of other things.

King, the farm dog, gets to join the Koch harvest crew for another wonderful field supper. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

King, the farm dog, gets to join the Koch harvest crew for another wonderful field supper. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

While chewing on golden ears of corn on the cob from the garden we reflect what a blessing this crop year has turned out to be. Despite a late cold spring, frosts almost every month, and drought in June the crop has matured on time and is yielding generally well – little of this ‘half of a crop’ many predicted. The warm weather these last weeks made such a difference.

Loren had one field of hard red spring wheat that was particularly drought stressed which only yielded 35 bushels per acre. I reminded him that where I grew up (Peace River area) 30 bushels was a decent crop of wheat. It’s hard to believe now. The next field of CPS wheat yielded 70 bu/acre; a pretty good crop.

Robert Stamm and Tony Moerman talk shop over a cup of coffee - Tony passed away Sept. 21, 2009. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Robert Stamm and Tony Moerman talk shop over a cup of coffee - Tony passed away Sept. 21, 2009. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Thursday, September 17, we all stopped our combines to attend the funeral of Tony Moerman, a good friend and fellow farmer. Tony died of lung cancer at the age of 74. When we visited Tony a few weeks ago, his greatest wish was still to spend at least a half hour driving Iman’s grain cart (he was the grain cart operator during harvest there the last few years). He never made it.

Shortly before the funeral a light storm dropped a few milimetres of rain. Some felt it was Tony making sure we could relax and take time to remember him.

The morning after the funeral Iman, Robert’s boss, had quadruple bypass surgery. Iman is only 52, a very fit man, with three young children. But family genetics are against him.

Tony’s death and Iman’s surgery reminded us that there are more important things than big fields and bountiful crops. Let’s live life to the full each day, take time for our families, friends and ourselves because we don’t know how much time we’ll have left. Our businesses are important, but that’s hopefully not all we will be remembered for.

Despite so many weather problems this year, this is a beautiful barley crop. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Despite so many weather problems this year, this is a beautiful barley crop. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

The community rallied together to support both families during this difficult time. Even though many are themselves very busy with harvest, folks took time to visit, women took the time to make a funeral lunch, and to provide suppers in the field for Iman’s harvest crew

The weather report for this week is again sunny and warm. We thank God for that and pray for safety for people and machinery as we head into another very busy week. There shouldn’t be too much crop left out there by Saturday night!

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