It’s haying season around here. Driving home from the doctor last week I had the windows down and could smell the fresh cut alfalfa. It is by far one of my favorite smells.
I remember several years ago I was sent to Florida for a training in July. I enjoyed being gone but by far, I enjoyed my drive home even better. I had the window rolled down and could smell the fresh cut alfalfa. I’d always known I wasn’t one who enjoyed travel but smelling the alfalfa cinched it for me. I’d rather stay home and smell it than travel anywhere. It’s the farm girl in me I think.
This is my favorite picture of Kramer….cutting alfalfa. He had a love hate relationship with alfalfa. He too loved the smell…but after that initial smell he knew it meant work.
For those of you who are new here, Kramer is my husband and he passed away last year due to lung cancer. He was a dedicated farmer…a workaholic who I often wondered if he was more committed to the land than to me. I laughing say the “other woman” was the farm. It was true….but I’m happy to say, it was an affair I learned to tolerate.
Most every year Kramer spent the 4th of July mowing hay, weather permitting, and in the following days, they harvested it…again weather permitting. It was our routine for the 29 years Kramer worked on the farm. I knew better than to plan for anything during that time.
As I look at the picture I can still hear the conversations we would have….I’d remind him to put on sunscreen as he always forgot and burned his bald head. I got to the point I would buy a couple cans of sunscreen and put one at the office at the farm and one in his vehicle. He could never remember it. He was more concerned about the farm than himself.
He’d come home with a headache and I’d say, “Did you drink enough water?”….He drank lots but still it often wasn’t enough to prevent a headache.
He’d tell me how many loads of haylage they got from the crop and then tell me how it compared to the previous crop always analyzing it from the previous crop and comparing it to the rainfall and temperatures we had.
He was always anxious before a harvest…it was a common time someone could get hurt. There was always the anticipation of wanting to hurry before the rain…wanting to have things set up right to make it all go more smoothly. Over the years I got used to that and it was just part of being a farmers wife.
Back then…I didn’t always like it. I got frustrated that we couldn’t plan things because of the rain…because of a harvest…because of the vacations of the other people at work. I got frustrated because as I said, I did often feel like the farm was “the other woman”. Now with him gone, I terribly miss even the bad and not so fun things about farming and would happily take back all the things I didn’t like if only I could have him back.
A couple weeks ago Craig, my son-in-law who now works at the same farm Kramer worked at, came to my house straight from work for supper. He had been hauling manure all day and boy oh boy did he ever smell like it. I know it sounds crazy but it brought the biggest smile to my face. So many days of my life as a farmer’s wife included that smell. At the time, I’d tell Kramer, “Go take a shower, I’d wait supper”. I didn’t say that to Craig….It was perfectly fine with me to smell that smell. It brought back the normal everyday with Kramer to me. That’s what I miss the most with him gone…the normal every day, take it for granted, way of life I lived with Kramer as the farmer’s wife.
It’s been over a year now since he passed…5 haying seasons have come and gone. People were right. Grief does get easier with time…but that’s also very sad. Kramer stays in 2019. I get further and further away from him. Every day the calendar rolls to the next date, I forget more about him. I forget little quirks that used to annoy me that I’d love to experience now. I forget what it was like to get his big bear hugs. I forget what it was like sleeping with someone else in my bed. I forget how to cook like he liked things and default to eating a sandwich….but haying season reminds me. I’ve never loved the smell of alfalfa more than I do now. It’s our time. That smell of alfalfa is a link that keeps his memories close to me and I long for that…time will eventually take a lot of memories away from me. I know that. I’ve lost both of my parents and have experienced that…but time will never take away that smell of fresh cut alfalfa….and I will always be grateful for that.