I grew up in the middle of the Canadian prairies. Farm country as far as the eye could see -– which, given the 360 degree horizon, was about as far as it’s possible to see.
Everybody you knew either farmed or depended on farmers for their livelihoods. Sons of toil raised from tons of soil to sort of quote P. G. Wodehouse.
And although the growing season was short, it encompassed all twelve months of the year.
In Winter, farmers prepared, repaired equipment, readied the seed, stocked up on fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide.
In spring they planted, hoping the last snow had really been the last.
In Summer, they sweated. Praying for more rain or less hail.
In Fall, they harvested 24/7. Wives and kids were pressed into service. Every free hand and each minute counted to bring the crops in before the cold returned.
And all of this took place far from the public eye. Nobody saw how hard they worked or how long –- just so the rest of the world could eat.
A few years back, while visiting Saskatchewan, I noticed that while little about the job had changed, some of the tools had.
Farmers called up weather forecasts on their Blackberries. Supplies were ordered over diner eggs and coffee on an iPad. Tractors now as big as Transformers were tricked out with GPS screens and Sirius radios (tuned to Outlaw Country or the Rider game of course).
Lately, it seems, one prairie farmer also availed himself of a GoPro camera, finally allowing those who’ve never been on a farm in the middle of nowhere to experience how that chunk of the world puts in its time.
It’s really quite inspiring.
Enjoy Your Sunday.