While farmers are spending long days in the field harvesting the land, family members are helping out in other ways.
Jackie Huysman helps husband Harry with many different tasks. While he and a crew are working to harvest almost 5,000 acres, she makes sure to be there to operate equipment and have a warm dinner for everyone. “I do a big meal every night.”
The trick is to bring something different to the table every evening and not make any plans. One day she will get dinner ready and another day she may have to drive the grain tractor.
“I think I just have to be spontaneous and flexible,” Jackie said.
Her two children are grown up and in university so she does miss the company, especially while Harry usually works from 9 a.m. to midnight during this time of year. Despite the long hours during harvest, Jackie enjoys the farm lifestyle.
“I think the best thing about it is the freedom of it,” she explained.
There are days she and Harry can take the day off to go see their kids or run errands. The work is not a 9 to 5 job, she explained.
Harvest is a busy time and she does enjoy seeing everyone work together. “Harvest is always exciting because we have a great group of guys with us.”
She counts herself lucky as she is able to stay at home and work on the farm. There are other wives she knows who have to work a regular job and then must come home and get things ready for the family.
“I think most days women have to work offside the farm,” she said.
Dealing with meals and dishes requires a certain amount of organization though and Jackie remembers days — when her kids were younger — when she would come home at midnight to a kitchen full of dirty dishes. Now, she has meals ready several days in advance.
If Harry and his crew are close they will eat dinner at home and if they are in the field she has a table that comes with her. Her goal is to provide the help where it is needed.