Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Reflections during the season of harvest in Minnesota October 14, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Harvesting corn in southern Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

DUST RISES FROM FIELDS, clouding the air as combines rake through rows of dry soybeans.

Barely visible, the top of the same combine featured in the photo above. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

Combines comb corn rows, too, in this season of harvest in southern Minnesota.

Follow country roads, like this one in eastern Rice County, to view fields at a slower pace. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

Take a drive in the countryside these days and you will observe farmers hard at work, bringing in the crops.

A common site, semi trucks parked in fields, awaiting the yield, this one in western Rice County. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

As October moves to mid-month, a sense of urgency presses into long days in the field. By 7 pm, darkness envelopes the land and farm machinery still moves, like a mammoth beast lumbering across acres of corn and soybeans, eyes aglow.

A silo peeks above a cornfield in eastern Rice County. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

It is in this season of harvest that I feel a bit melancholy, missing my once close connection to the land. The scent of earth. The view of acres and acres and acres of crops drying to muted hues, visual evidence of a farmer’s work. The sound of combines roaring. The taste of dust and dirt. Golden orbs of soybeans sifting between fingers spread wide.

A farm site spreads across the land in western Rice County. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

While I once experienced all those first-hand on my childhood farm in southwestern Minnesota, today I feel an outsider looking in. Watching. Remembering. Feeling grateful for the years I lived on a farm, never realizing then just how much those days would mean to me later in life.

Grain bins, like these in eastern Rice County, symbolize harvest as storehouses for grain. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

Each autumn I yield to the call of harvest. I reconnect to the land. Observing. Recalling. Missing my farmer dad and my Uncle Mike, a bachelor farmer who lived the next farm place over to the east. They are decades gone now, their final harvests long-finished.

Acres of wildflowers bloom in a field off Rice County Road 20 between Northfield and Cannon City. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

These emotions rush like a blustery October wind into my thoughts as winter approaches. As harvest continues, as seasons pass and life goes on.

Cornfield to the right, farm site to the left, all part of a Sunday afternoon country drive in southern Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021.

TELL ME: Do you go for country drives to view the harvest? Or, if you live in a city, how do you celebrate autumn? I’d like to hear, wherever you live. I welcome harvest memories also.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Reflections during the season of harvest in Minnesota”

  1. beth Says:

    it must be such a rush of mixed emotions –

  2. Bernadette Arlene Thomasy Says:

    As usual your post is so timely, Audrey. Yesterday my husband and I were driving out of our suburban neighborhood in Sacramento, CA, to pick up granddaughters from school and there were three combines working in the fields across the road. They were harvesting rice. I’ve observed them with nostalgia for several years, but yesterday i was able to take a few quick photos from the car. Those powerful machines, the dust, the smells, the grain pouring into the truck brought back lots of childhood memories of this unique season on the farm, Your words and photos made those memories richer.

  3. Valerie Says:

    When we were in PA we saw the corn being harvested by a mule team pulling the harvest farm implement. It’s picturesque, but hard work!


    Last week I had the good fortune to ride with friends in the combine, the grain cart, and the semi hauling the corn to the bins. It was fun to learn the current way of doing things; so different from when we were growing up.

    There is something about the culmination of all their hard work in the harvest. It was a wonderful experience; one of my favorite days of this year. A ‘tending of God’s creation.’

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    Harvest time is certainly a special time. Even though I am not a farmer I definitely appreciate the seasons of farming.

  6. I’ve always got my eyes on the fields, looking for the Harvest going on’s. Tonight we headed out for dinner to Stewartville a small town just south of Rochester, it looked as though there was a fire somewhere as the air was hazy. We came up over a knoll to see the equipment running in the fields and the big plums of dust, “Ahhhhh, I said to Rick, I should have known” I could stop and watch all night.

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