Our Rural Roots

Glean a Measure of Success

(Progressive Farmer image by Meredith Bernard)

Some measure success by the letters attached to the end of their name. For others, it's the size of home, make of car or the stamps on a passport.

For us, it is making an honest living on the piece of dirt we call home, raising children to love and appreciating the life we get to lead and the farm we get to tend.

Recently, the weight and glory of it all culminated on the edge of a hot, dusty corn field where I stood in the wake and to the hum of the very first run of corn being shelled by our very own combine.

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When my husband pulled in the drive with the 40-year-old Gleaner F2, I was sure he had brought home a dinosaur. Its long steel "neck" and big silver body screamed prehistoric to me. But, he was happy as a kid in a candy store to own his first combine, and I was happy for him.

We worked together for a couple of weeks under a tin-roofed shed in August humidity bringing her back to life. My husband is an amazing mechanic. I am not. But, after a lot of sweat and only a little blood, I successfully added wrench-getter, bearing-tightener, sprocket-holder and parts-runner to my resume.

Then, it came time to give her a test run and a name. We civilly argued about what that name would be. I said, "Gerdie." Our son said, "Allis." My husband said, "Old Glory." Because I'm the one writing this, "Gerdie" it is.

No matter what, I'm calling her good. She's not the newest or the shiniest. She doesn't have all the bells and whistles. But, she works. She shelled clean, pretty corn, and that corn is going to help feed our cows and feed our family.

In my book, that's the true measure of success. Sometimes, it's not about having the best but making the best with what you have.

Blogger Meredith Bernard and Gerdie can be found shelling corn on her North Carolina family farm. Follow her on Twitter at @thisfarmwife, and visit her website at thisfarmwife.com.

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