Much harvesting, grains and gardens, are now completed. I just read a posting from a former student, Joseph, who has nearly finished his gardening for the year. At our place in New Berlin, frost has been very light. Protected by many trees, my roses have not yet frozen, many yard and potted flowers are still blooming. Most farm crops have been harvested, though I still see standing corn fields as I drive around the area.

I love seeing the corn harvester cutting off corn stalks while separating the ears of corn and seeing large wagons of shelled corn. Nothing about harvesting corn is like it was in my old ways of doing it. Harvesting corn is incredibly more costly, but the amount of corn we could harvest was what five of us could husk by hand. Then my brother and my dad would shovel it off into the corn crib to be used throughout the winter for animal mixed feeds.

Before that, neighbors helped each other cut the corn stalks and tie them into sheaves, then stand them up into shocks like a tepee. Then the corn needed husked and thrown into a wagon pulled by horses. It was slow and laborious., but I enjoyed adding my little hands to get a few ears off the stalks. I also enjoyed hearing the grownups talking Pennsylvania Dutch (German).

For the final hay harvest, ours was Clover and Timothy. As daylight hours got shorter so drying the grass got harder. In early days, my dad used a fork to turn the hay so it would dry completely. Later, fork it onto a wagon.

In the barn was a big hay fork. It had pulleys with a strong rope. Our horse, hooked to the rope, would walk away from the barn bringing up the hay fork full of hay. Another rope pulled the hay fork to the mow to be dropped when the lever was tripped. Sometime two of my uncles would help. Uncle Art teased me to pieces; Uncle Glenn took good care of me. My only job was to regularly carry water.

After getting a tractor to replace the horses, we soon changed to baled hay. I was older and could help unload the wagon. We all wore long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. It saved a lot of scratches and brush burns.

In the fall, we made apple butter, cider and apple sauce. I didn’t mind the work, it was the most beautiful time of the year, the air cool and crisp, and the rewarding product worth the effort.

We harvested potatoes to last all winter. We had pumpkins too. My mother made the best pumpkin pie. I followed that tradition, and have even raised our own pumpkins. Now I feel just as satisfied using pumpkins from a can. I never got into the excitement of carving pumpkin faces either.

We celebrated Harvest Home in our church. Canned goods, and fresh foods were donated and decorated the front of the church. Those foods went to the Devitt Home in Allenwood. Fresh foods and home canned foods became unacceptable in later years. Our youth group went there to do programs. Two years, we did Minstrel Shows. They would no longer be allowed either. We also did the programs for the public in the Kratzerville Grange Hall. Preparing it and performing it was so much fun.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, I loved a singing group called Harvest. They no longer perform, but Jerry Williams and Ed Kerr wrote and performed some amazing songs. My favorite is Holy Fire, meaning the fire of the Holy Spirit. To have no compromise, and to live only for God. It remains one of my most favorite songs (but I have many). I get emotional every time I play it. I know how much I need to lean on God to live peacefully and victoriously in this world. I am thankful for God’s willingness to use scripture and music to teach me.

I will soon be playing Christmas music, celebrating the coming to earth of Jesus Christ, God’s only precious perfect son. To think he did this because he loves us never ceases to amaze me.

The Bible tells us the fields are white unto harvest. We must harvest when the time is right. Waiting too long, and the harvest is lost. We must tell people that we just might be in the last days. Do you think this way too? If so, the time of harvest is short. The Bible says no one knows the hour, but the signs of which Jesus spoke are visible. Perhaps we don’t have much more time to tell the Gospel of grace through Jesus Christ to people who have not believed. Maybe they don’t understand. It may be, we need to tell them.

Harvest Time? In more ways than one.

Betty Blyler lives in New Berlin. For comments, questions or speaking engagements, email:

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