Okay, first things first. My birthday giveaway is still live, and you can enter here!
It’s running until midnight Sunday evening. So get your comment in if you haven’t already.
While you’re there, don’t forget to read the comments. Oh my bunnyslippers. The most brilliant hilarious comments ever. I promise you will be inspired.
Unfortunately, as much as I’ve wanted to curl up and spend lots of quality time reading comments and replying to comments and stalking commenters on Facebook, I haven’t had much time for that at all. I’ve been too busy with my job.
Yep, I’m combining again this year, from the moment the morning clouds clear away until the sun begins to set in the evening.
(If you’re wondering what that thing on my arm is, it’s a pink sparkly legwarmer. Yes, a legwarmer. The side dashboard where I rest my arm gets really hot, so I got resourceful.)
Even though driving combine is almost a rite of passage for teenage girls around here, I avoided it for years. It seemed scary. It didn’t seem like my thing. It wasn’t until I was 23 and needed money for college that I finally decided to give it a whirl.
And I LOVED it.
I love being a part of the frenzy of harvest. The urgency to get the crop in. The connection with everyone else in the valley who is also rushing to get the crop in as quickly as possible.
I love being able to work an 11 hr day without collapsing from fatigue. Driving around and around a field, in a cushy air-conditioned cab, is actually quite soothing.
At least, until a whirlwind comes through and does this to your row.
I don’t know if you can really tell in the picture, but the whole row flipped in on itself. This has to be maneuvered through very carefully because if you suck up that whole chunk at once it will clog up the header.
Which means shutting the combine down, cranking the header backwards with a giant wrench, and pulling piles of straw out of the machine by hand.
(If you are a combine driver wondering why I don’t just push the button to reverse the header, let me just say I drive a very old combine.)
Where was I?
I love combining because if I appreciate the beauty of Oregon summers much more when I’m out in it all day.
But probably most of all, after a year of college, I just like to have a couple of weeks in the summer where I have an excuse to just sit and think for a couple of weeks.
To listen to NPR, or audio books, or just the rhythmic rumble of the engine.
To ponder what makes Americans so lonely, and what is the difference between racism and racial insensitivity, and why people define themselves as “city people” or “country people” as though they can’t be both.
Maybe driving a combine is just an excuse to spend whole days day-dreaming and pondering, and getting paid to do so.
P.S. Don’t forget to go enter the giveaway! Only two days left!