Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Autumn, Southern Minnesota’s season of harvest & hope October 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Somewhere between Morgan and New Ulm, in the middle of prime Minnesota farm land.

Somewhere between Morgan and New Ulm, in the middle of prime Minnesota farm land early Saturday evening.

HARVEST. That word holds the seasons of a farmer’s hope.

A partially-harvest cornfield between New Ulm and Morgan.

A partially-harvest cornfield between New Ulm and Morgan.

From spring planting to summer growth to autumn ripening, a farmer focuses on the outcome—a yield that brims with golden corn and soybeans.

Harvesting between St. Peter and Nicollet.

Harvest equipment sits in a cornfield west of St. Peter.

Through months of looking toward the skies, of weathering too much or too little rainfall, of watching heat shimmer waves across fields, of tending and waiting, a farmer anticipates this season of harvest.

Driving west on Minnesota State Highway 99 toward Le Center.

Driving west on Minnesota State Highway 99 toward Le Center.

On a day trip Saturday from the southeastern to the southwestern side of Minnesota—through Rice, Le Sueur, Blue Earth, Nicollet, Brown and Redwood counties and back—I observed the harvest. Minimal on the eastern side, which has been flooded with too much recent rainfall, but in full swing in the counties of Brown and Redwood.

Combing beans near New Ulm.

Combining beans near New Ulm.

Farmers worked the land, dust enveloping combines.

A red grain truck jolts color into a field near New Ulm.

A red grain truck jolts color into a field near New Ulm.

North of Belview, trucks await the harvest.

North of Belview, trucks await the harvest.

Parked outside the elevator in Morgan.

Parked outside the elevator in Morgan.

Farming communities like Morgan are busy with harvest.

Farming communities like Morgan are busy with harvest.

Grain trucks idled in fields and barreled down county roads toward local elevators

Near Courtland.

Near Courtland.

Grain bins near Waterville.

Grain bins near Waterville.

or homestead grain bins.

Driving into Courtland.

Driving into Courtland.

This time of year, motorists need to be watchful of slow-moving farm equipment.

This time of year, motorists need to be watchful of slow-moving farm equipment.

Harvest started west of St. Peter.

Harvest started west of St. Peter.

The landscape crawled with tractors and combines and trucks, farmers at the wheels, guiding the crops toward harvest.

White among fields of golden crops.

A harvested field against a farm site backdrop of white.

And I observed it all. No longer an intimate part of this process as I once was so many decades ago on my Redwood County childhood farm, I am still connected to this season by the memories that trace deep within me.

West of New Ulm, grain wagons sit in a field.

West of New Ulm.

Harvest still holds me in hope.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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25 Responses to “Autumn, Southern Minnesota’s season of harvest & hope”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Great Photos Audrey.

    And hope – such a powerful word…It keeps us going.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    Harvest has become large scale compared to the small tractors, wagons and trucks that we used when I was a kid.

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    “This time of year, motorists need to be watchful of slow-moving farm equipment.” I agree. Seasonal grain truck drivers need to check their mirrors before just moving over into the right lane near their exit. I saw one just about run over-top of a car by Hampton on Hwy 52 yesterday.

    • Yes, it works both ways. Farmers and truckers need to watch as well. That sounds like a scary scene you witnessed yesterday. Driving a grain truck on Hwy 52 doesn’t seem like the wisest idea. But I know there aren’t always options.

  4. I truly miss the harvest time with apples, pumpkins and wine grapes. There is such a thing as Florida Fall where the weather drops below 90 and the humidity decreases a bit. Just need to make it through this month and Hurricane Season will be over too – not sure what Hurricane Matthew is going to do later on this week. Happy Fall – Hello! October – Have a Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  5. Don Says:

    Love the pictures of your day trip, harvest time is definitely my favorite time of the year.

    Grain elevators are the skyscrapers of rural America, which I find much more pleasing than what a city has to offer!

  6. Jackie Says:

    I love harvest time, so much activitiy on the farms, and there’s something about seeing the combines working in the dark, I could sit and watch for hours.

  7. I will never tire of the pictures of barns that you share

  8. Bernadette Thomasy Says:

    Thanks so much for the pictures; I could practically smell the earth and combine dust. Brought back many family memories of those fall days in the field.

  9. Thanks for taking us, the unfamiliar, through the workings of an agricultural season of reward (hopefully) with your pictures and insightful narrative Audrey!

  10. Sue Ready Says:

    Your connections to the rural landscape serve you well in your observations. A good reminder for a city girl to appreciate the hard labor and long hours of put in by those in the farming community.

  11. Great pictures! The countryside is always so beautiful during harvest time. ☺


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