Harvest. It’s simultaneously the busiest and best time of the year. An entire year’s worth of hard work is going through the combine and into the bins and good or bad, you can finally take a deep breath and relax a little bit. There’s no better season than the one spent in the field seeing the fruits of your labor enjoying the crisp mornings and changing leaves while you shell some corn.

Until there’s an accident.

For the first time in quite a few years, I won’t be spending the majority of the fall in the auger cart. Unfortunately, due to an accident involving a sprayer tire and someone very stubborn (*cough cough, me*), I’ve been kicked out of any and all equipment until I get the OK from the surgeon.

While I’m obviously pretty upset about not getting to enjoy my favorite time of the year from the cab of my 8420, I’m very grateful that I was able to hobble away from an accident that could’ve easily killed me with just a broken foot, which will hopefully be good to push the clutch in just a couple of weeks.

Read more of Erin Holbert's columns here

Newsletter signup for email alerts

More than that though, I’m grateful for the kindness and generosity of neighbors and other farmers in the community. Within 24 hours of the accident, I had literally everything I needed for recovery waiting for me in the shop office.

One farmer let me borrow his scooter so I could get around the farm a little bit easier without getting worn out by crutches. Another farmer gave me his continuous icing machine so I could get the swelling in my legs down as quickly as possible, and two others also offered their machines. The retired neighbor who just moved in and met us last year is running the cart for me until I’m back on my feet even though it’s not necessarily his favorite way to spend his time.

Erin Holbert.
Erin Holbert.

The family friend who helps us truck in corn is also helping us in soybeans since the farm is one person down. I literally have so many offers from the wonderful women in this little town for homecooked meals that if I accepted them, I’d have to go up three pant sizes. I’m on the prayer list of every church in the county.

I’d say the thing that helped me the most though was the farmers that called to check in on me, see how I was doing, and remind me to not beat myself up over an accident even if it was one that was all my fault. The calls from the folks at the end of their farming career to tell me that they’ve made plenty of stupid mistakes before and the best thing to do was to forgive myself and just keep going were the thing that really got me choked up.

I cried a lot those first few days not because of the pain but because I felt so terrible that I made the season more difficult for everyone around me, but I haven’t cried once since the day I got those phone calls.

Rural America seems to get a pretty bad rap from the media these days, but no one bands together like a small town with someone in need. This harvest may not be going exactly how I thought it would (far from it actually), but I’ve never been more thankful to live in small-town, USA.