It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my kitchen these days. Yes, I know it’s June. No, carols aren’t being sung, and we’re not decorating a tree. We’re beginning to bake massive batches of cookies and other goodies that will sustain our wheat crew once it’s time to harvest the grain. You see, Christmas and wheat harvest are really the only two times during the year when I do mass baking projects.
A major grocery run leads to dozens of eggs being stored in my refrigerator. Bags of chocolate chips fill my pantry. Flour ends up on the floor. Cooling racks cover my counters. Ziplock bags and my deep freeze are filled to the brim. And I set watch on my kitchen — monitoring my children and others who may dare to enter my territory to see what’s being created all in an attempt to sneak a few goodies out the door.
I take this time of year very seriously. I call in reinforcements, and we knock out the task at hand. I like to get ahead by baking in advance to avoid getting behind once harvest begins. After all, there will be plenty of meals to prepare daily once harvest starts. For me, it’s a matter of planning and organization, and not feeling overwhelmed.
Besides, I want to spread goodwill and good cheer to our harvest crew. They work hard every day during harvest trying to get the wheat out of the fields while the conditions are right. It’s hot. It’s dirty. It’s tiring. The least I can do is keep their bellies full of sweet treats.
There’s been a lot of talk around town, down the dirt roads and in fields lately. The main topic of conversation is all about when harvest will begin. I generally chuckle when this talk begins — although I am also guilty of participating. While we might like to believe we have our bullet-proof systems for prognosticating the start of wheat harvest, the fact remains we’re all just making predictions. To be honest, your guess is as good as mine.
Yes, we can make educated guesses based on the weather. We can narrow it down to single-digit days. But let’s be honest, just like Mother Nature can dupe the best meteorologist, so too can a farmer miss the mark. There are just too many factors that play into when wheat harvest will begin. The wheat might look ripe, but the ground might be too wet. Other farm tasks like planting soybeans and sorghum demand our attention. Mechanical breakdowns might stop a crew before it can even get started harvesting. Mother Nature might throw a pop-up rain shower that nobody was expecting, delaying the kick-off for another day.
Although we can’t pinpoint the exact day when we will fire up the combines and begin that rush to get the grain out of the fields, we know that wheat harvest is getting closer and closer every day. And just like when my kids mark down a calendar daily in anticipation of Santa making his visit, I too am mentally marking down the days. Anxiously awaiting the start of harvest. Until that day arrives, I’ll enjoy a few homemade cookies I’ve set aside from the mass baking operation in anticipation of the start of our wheat harvest.