John Phipps: Crossing the Coveted Harvest Finish Line

John Phipps knows what it's like to cross the finish line of harvest. From fatigue to a growing appetite, he reflects on another harvest in the books. ( Farm Journal )

We finished harvest with a hard push to beat rains. Most around were already done, and that added more than little peer pressure. Oddly, the older I get, the smugness of being done when others are not diminishes. I don’t wish that gnawing anxiety on anyone anymore.

Finding that last row triggers a predictable mental and physical collapse. Since this year it was mere hours before rain chased us from already soggy fields, we had plenty of excuse to just drop in our tracks. It took me considerable effort just to get enough energy to enter the last yield numbers into the computer, let alone celebrate enthusiastically. It’s not only the combines that shut down after harvest ends.

However, I also know and dread how one part of my weary body is in no hurry to stop – my appetite command module. During harvest, especially the last few pressurized days, controlling my weight wasn’t a problem. Even though Jan makes ahead wonderful hot meals she can warm up fairly quickly after we get in, they aren’t the tempting multiple-hour preparations that encourage overeating at our house. Maybe it’s like oxygen debt for a distance runner, but my stomach still thinks it needs several thousand calories to get ready for more long days. It simply didn’t get the memo from my brain about a job well done.

So the combination of fatigued lethargy and a fully energized appetite creates a formidable challenge to rebalance. The important thing is to carefully weigh myself right now before the inevitable sad conclusion of this cross-timing so I have a truthful, albeit quickly outdated number to spout when asked for my weight at the doctor’s office or DMV. It’s like somehow only remembering those small but very high yielding fields when asked about our results. Memorizing what is likely my lowest weight for the year is not just ego comforting, but a valuable mental justification for Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the festive meals that await us in the near future.

Best of luck to all of you still pushing toward the finish line, and I have to say, you are looking wonderfully trim these days.