Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The season of harvest in southwestern Minnesota October 2, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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THE FARMER IN THE HOODED sweatshirt and jeans motions from atop the combine to the trucker across the field. He’s ready to unload just picked corn into the grain truck late on a Sunday morning near Sleepy Eye.



Scenes like this repeat throughout southern Minnesota as the fall harvest is underway. I embrace this season as much for the memories as for the sights, sounds and smells.





The farm-raised girl in me emerges, vicariously experiencing the harvest through a camera lens.





I feel this intense desire to return to the land every autumn. And last weekend an annual horseradish making party with extended family took me back to my home county of Redwood. Along the route there and back, I documented the harvest. It is the closest I come now to being part of the process of bringing in the corn and soybeans.





I miss the closeness to the earth that comes with growing up on a farm. Sure things have changed a lot in the nearly 45 years since I left rural Redwood County. But the imprint of harvest remains, still strong. You can take the girl from the land. But you can’t take the land from the girl.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “The season of harvest in southwestern Minnesota”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    My Iowa friends have been plagued by rain and wetness with #Harvest2018 but hopefully it will dry out so they can get back in the fields. Harvest times are important for all of us.

    • We are having the same issue here now in southern Minnesota with heavy rain yesterday and more in the forecast.

      There were areas of southwestern Minnesota that have seen significant rain with water standing in fields and rivers flooding. So, yes, this is a concern as harvest begins.

  2. Brenda R Says:

    You’re correct! You can’t take the land from the girl – the sights, sounds & smells will always remain! I feel so fortunate that I can still enjoy them every day on my Rural Mail route! My favorite smells are the freshly turned earth in the spring, freshly cut alfalfa, and the harder to describe smell of the harvest. Unfortunately yesterday I had to smell one of my least favorite- the smell of newly spread manure!! 😜😀

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    Harvest is one of my favorite things about going back to Nebraska in the fall. The only thing I do not like is the harvest dust that just seems to hang everywhere and cover everything for a month or more. I think everyone’s allergies kick up several notches!! Also, is it the same there where rural intersection accidents are more common during harvest? Until the corn is harvested, those intersections can be very dangerous.

    • Harvest is certainly a time to proceed with extra caution and patience. Everyone’s in a hurry. Farmers and truck drivers are putting in long days, and nights. Everyone needs to be on their game when on the roadways.

  4. This is my favorite time of year. We are currently in Indiana and get to experience this ourselves. The smells and other tell-tale signs of harvest season are starting to occur, and I love every second!

  5. Funny that is farm kids always feel that pull. I have even gone to the edge of a hayfield and gathered the farmer cut grass, to feel if it ready to bale. Or pulled the ear of corn to see how it is filled out. I have done that nearly everywhere I have been in the world. It connects me to my MN farming roots too. Nice that you posted.

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    Great photos! Hope that the rest of the year looks more like the first few than the last few. 🙂

  7. Bernadette Says:

    I was excited when I saw the topic line for your post. I knew you would take me back to the sights and satisfaction that come the harvest. I enjoyed the comment from the person who just has to go out and touch the fresh cut hay or inspect the ears of corn. My farmer dad did that, he’d collect a few stems of wheat and shuck out the kernels, looking at size and biting into a kernel for quality. Of all the crops he raised in Steele County, MN, I think wheat was his favorite. I can still hear the drone of the combine far out in the field as we waited with a wagon or truck to collect the grain. Great photos.

  8. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    Saw lots of farmers in the field on our way home from up-north yesterday. I always find myself smiling, I just love harvest time.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I love it when you share farms. It doesn’t matter the season I love them all.

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