DOWN ON THE FARM 2001

October 23, 2001

Down on the farm. That's where I am. We're getting close to wrapping up this harvest. I was drafted into trucking corn to our grain storage facility, rode the combine with my son, checked the new litters of baby pigs, and ate more than my share of pork at our annual pig roast. All the neighbors, friends and business associates with their families bring their side dish specialties. The band plays as the children dance. We sit on straw bales around the big bonfires with flames leaping toward the dark sky. Is there anything more demanding, anything more challenging and at the same time more exciting than the harvest? It is hard but so much fun.

The harvest is the pay-off for a whole year of work beginning with the fertilizer application and perhaps some tillage the fall before, then spring planting, weed control, and pray for rain, finally, the harvest. All the effort and expectations are rewarded as you watch that corn rise in the combine hopper, that golden stream flow into the trucks to be taken away load after load to storage -- It will be there to feed the pigs. I think back when my father picked 100 bu of ear corn by hand in a whole day. We pick and shell 100 bu in 7 minutes.

It is with great satisfaction that we all come together to celebrate another harvest. Yes, the celebration can not escape the backdrop of the war and the tragedy that struck New York City and DC. But we're not going to allow the enemy to ruin our lives. We have work to do, families to care for, a way of life and values that we intend to protect. With the stars and stripes flying we intend to treasure this traditional harvest celebration in an atmosphere of renewed patriotism and gratitude to God for his blessings.

Until next week, I am John Block. Down on the farm.