Where’s the Farmer’s Wife?

Wheat harvest is in full swing in our part of Kansas. It’s about two weeks earlier than usual. For some reason, harvesting the wheat is a much bigger deal than harvesting the fall crops. Extended family come home to help and farm wives spend hours in the kitchen making meals. Walk through any local grocery store and you’ll hear the women discussing harvest meals.

I grew up living a quarter of a mile from my grandparents who farmed. Grandma would make huge meals for the harvest crew. Homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes, loaves of hot, white bread, creamed peas (straight-from-the-garden) with pearl onions and homemade pies. Everything was from scratch. As soon as the men left, she’d clean up and start on the sweet treat for the 4:00 p.m. lunch. I have memories of taking fresh cinnamon rolls and cream puffs to the field for the men. Food was definitely a huge part of my harvest memories!

When I got engaged to a farmer, I had dreams of being the kind of farmer’s wife Grandma was. I’d plan and bake and haul it to the field. Nineteen years ago this month I became a farmer’s wife. I took several meals and desserts to the field. Then, my father-in-law gently told me they would eat lunch at home before coming to the field and would eat supper when they got in at night. I also didn’t need to do the sweets at 4:00 p.m..

I was a bit discouraged, but determined to be a part of this farm life, I learned to drive the grain truck. For many years I drove one of those older trucks you follow on the highway at 25 mph. Then, Mark decided to upgrade and he got a truck and trailer. A BIG, LONG truck and trailer. It only took me suggesting the CO-OP might need bigger doors for him to teach me how to drive the combine.

I enjoy driving the combine. It’s air-conditioned (need I say more?) and there is a huge sense of accomplishment when a field is finished and we move to another.

The problem? There’s no farmer’s wife who brings food to our fields. Almost daily I run into another farm wife who has taken lunch to the field. This is a huge job. They plan it, make it, deliver it to the field still hot, then go home to a messy kitchen. Many will take something else out at 4:00 p.m. for lunch. My family ends up eating too many meals from Wendy’s and the local hamburger joint. I don’t mind the meals from those places, but I do miss that 4 o’clock lunch! Where are the cream puffs? I’ve realized that I may not miss being the farmer’s wife who takes food to the field (it’s a lot of work), but I DO miss the farmer’s wife! At least once a harvest I ask my husband why he didn’t marry her!

Here is my Cream Puff recipe. Maybe you’ll make it this week and think of me. If you’re around where we’re cutting, feel free to bring a few to the field! My family will thank you.

PASTRY SHELL:

Bring 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water to a rolling boil.

Turn off heat and stir in 1 cup flour, 1/4 teas. salt until ball forms.

Add 4 eggs, stirring each one in before adding next one.

Place by spoonful on greased pan (should make 9-12). Bake at 450F for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 325F and bake for 20 more minutes. Cool completely, cut a piece off top and fill with hot pudding.

PUDDING:

1 c. sugar, 2 T. cornstarch, 1 egg, 2 cups milk. Microwave until it boils and becomes thick like pudding. Stir in 1 T. butter and 1 teas. vanilla. Pour or spoon into pastry shell.

It’s pretty easy and very worth it!

Now, I think I’ll go call my mom and suggest she reads this post!

Sara

P.S. As for my favorite genre? As long as it’s a great read, I don’t care if it’s historical or contemporary.

Some of you have harvest memories–we’d love to have you share them with us!

Advertisements

14 responses to “Where’s the Farmer’s Wife?”

  1. Deborah Vogts says :

    Great post, Sara. Still waiting to have our wheat harvested. Hoping it happens this weekend before our next chance for rain. As for meals, my memory recollects a big lunch at home and my dad eating a late supper of egg sandwiches or bread and milk in a glass. Sorry, no cream puffs. But if I lived closer, I’d make some and bring them to you!

    • Sara Meisinger says :

      I hope they get your fields cut soon. It’s hard to wait when there’s rain predicted! I’m not sure we’ll make it to hear your girls because we’ll still be
      in the field, but let me know how it goes!

  2. Jeanie Berg says :

    Oh, I have vivid memories of taking lunch to the field with Mom when I was young…..no cream puffs here either, but always something yummy. Lots and lots of sandwiches for the supper meal or a late lunch. We had one man who we rented some land from that liked to come out from his job in town as a probate judge and help with the harvest. His favorite thing was iced coffee–which to me was a totally strange deal! I did take lunches to hubby while we farmed and it was always an exciting time!

    • Sara Meisinger says :

      For some reason those cream puffs are what I remember so well. They were filled with chocolate cream which isn’t my favorite so maybe that’s why I remember it. Thanks for sharing your memories. It’s fun to see how many people have sweet memories of this time of year. Enjoy your weekend, Jeanie!

  3. julane hiebert says :

    I promise . . . next year!!! I know you are totally tired of those ‘fast’ kids . . . Wendy, Mac and that Sonic guy!! You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Well, just you wait.!!! I ain’t fast . . . but I’m good!!

    • Sara Meisinger says :

      Tonight we had the Mr. Sanders (KFC). BIG breakdown when I hit the neighbors fence post he left if the field. Think my paycheck just shrunk!! So I had to run to a big town with more restaurant choices. I’ll be looking for you NEXT year!

  4. Ingrid says :

    I loved your Post, thank you. I’m not a Farmers Wife or daughter but I remember my Uncle being out in the field and my Aunt taking these big Lunches to the fields, I spend summers there at the Farm. Sweet memories.(smile)

    • Sara Meisinger says :

      Thanks, Ingrid! I think anyone who has participated in harvest at some point does have very sweet memories! All the work it takes is forgotten, but the memory of everyone standing around eating for those few moments is cherished.

  5. carriellewis says :

    Sarah,

    We’re on the same page. I posted photos of wheat harvest in Newton, Kansas on May 30. The second day I saw trucks at the mill.

    I grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan. We grew hay, corn, and oats for the cattle, so there wasn’t the massive harvesting the happens in the Wheat Belt.

    But I do remember Mom putting together meals for the uncles and sometimes cousins who came to help on our farm. Meals at the table. We girls (three of us) were enlisted to help and we got to eat after everyone else left the table.

    I’ve watched the wheat harvest this year with a good deal of nostalgia. While I never worked in a wheat harvest, I do remember riding in the wagon as oats were harvested and corn was picked. Everything about the farm life beckons.

    • Sara Meisinger says :

      Hi Carrie,
      I think that’s what’s so fun about the farm life. No matter where you live there are things that we all share–especially the meal times and kids riding in the wagon filled with grain! I have pictures of my boys “swimming” in our grain cart of golden wheat. It’s a good life.

  6. Cherie Gagnon says :

    I’m a city girl and don’t have any farm memories, but I’m really glad to have your cream puff recipe 🙂 Yum!

    • Sara Meisinger says :

      They are delicious–my mom took pity on us today and brought some to the field. It didn’t matter where the guys were in the field, they all came to where mom was! She couldn’t believe everyone stopped so easily. I don’t think she realized how much we wanted that treat!

  7. Susan Hollaway says :

    Fun post, Sara! I’m glad you got your cream puffs.

  8. Kathy G says :

    Oh My, Fried chicken ( the ones we pulled the feathers off of just yesterday!!) mashed potatoes, garden goodies and pie… and YES cinnamon rolls at four o’clock! Did we grow up on the same farm?????

    A trick I learned from my mom back then… She would dress several chickens ( and no ladies that does not mean hats gloves and the latest fashion) and cut them up for frying . they then got stored in the refrig in a bit of salt water. That flavored them perfectly by the time they were fried… ummmmm, I live in “Chicken Country” but none was ever as good as those home grown fryers cooked mama’s way!

%d bloggers like this: