CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | November 2023 EDITION
No Lazy Days of Summer
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Published August 2023
By Helena Smrcek


Photo – Timothy Eberly / Unsplash

The world is buzzing with heat and mosquitos, and I can’t help but to be thankful for every moment. Driving down the country road, the front lawn gardens boast with arrays of amazing flowers, and I smile. This is my favorite time of year.

My husband and I grow hay, and I must say for ex-city folk like us, it’s not a small undertaking. We started with seven acres of five-foot-tall weeds, as the previous owners let the field go. Our goats grazed some of it. Then we cut it with a sickle mower. After that with a bush hog. We tried to plow it under, burn it, and compost it. The task was overwhelming. Add in our inexperience and the stubbornness of rag weed and flea bane, this was a task that took us several months.

The following spring, we seeded alfalfa and blue grass, in hopes of producing quality hay. The first cut was terrible. Weeds don’t dry, especially if it rains. We persistently baled the weedy yield of our hayfield and gifted it to our goat-farmer-friend. Her girls polished the trailer-load off in no time, while we contemplated if there was any sense in continuing our experiment.

When it came to the second cut of our first season, after the baler broke and we realized that parts are hard to come by, we were pretty much ready to throw in the pitchfork. Yet, call it stubbornness or determination, we did harvest the second cut, and managed to sell some.

The third cut was honestly a thing of pride. We were thrilled hauling the bales into the barn, thinking we have pulled off the impossible. We were hot, scratched up by dry stems, exhausted and achy, but we had the first load of beautiful hay under our roof.

Things improved from then on. My husband researched various equipment and quickly learned about the economics of farming. To buy what we needed, and the machine be younger than us, we would need to take out a second mortgage on our house. The ROI? It would take decades of hay harvest to repay the investment.

So, to auctions we went. Our collection of well-aged tractor attachments presented another challenge. The schematics for the outdated contraptions were pretty much non-existent. Back to our doggedness, my husband crawled under the machines and by some ingenuity sorted out the problems, found parts, greased and prayed over – and low behold – the rusty heap of wheals and menacing looking spikes came to life.

Our second season was fun. We have friends who actually like to come and help load the bales. Once again, we were hot and sweaty, but somehow, at the end of the day we felt happy, proud, in a good kind of way, of the labour done, and feed for many heads of animals safely stored for the winter months.

The first cut of this season presented another challenge. I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, but the advancement in satellite and radar technology does nothing for the weather forecasters. As all the farmers in our area, we too depend on the weather to plan our season. To produce a good hay, one needs a string of four days with no rain and plenty of sun. Unfortunately, the forecasts seem to spontaneously change several times a week.

As soon as we parked the tractor, the clouds appeared. It is a disheartening experience to watch your fresh cut hay get soaked by the rain. Especially if this happens twice. But as farmers, we have learned to live on faith. We thank God for our farm every day. We thank Him for sustaining us, giving us the strength and stamina to do all that needs to be done. We thank Him for the soil miraculously producing our food year after year, and for the hard work of all those who toil, regardless of the heat warnings, high winds, or persistent rains.

Majority of our population finds food on the supermarket shelves and doesn’t give a second thought to the person who picked that apple or pulled up the carrots. I abhor food waste, for I understand, at least a little bit, how much work goes into producing simple potatoes or chicken nuggets.

As we all face rising food prices, and many struggle to make ends meet, perhaps we need to pause and think of our habits. We take so much for granted in this beautiful country of ours. Driving down our country road, I watch our neighbours load huge bales of straw and hay, rushing to get everything under a roof before the next storm hits. And I can’t help but wonder if this too can be seen as an allegory.

In the heat of summer, many complain about the scorching sun, find refuge by the swimming pools or in airconditioned homes, yet most don’t think of the harvest. Suddenly, Matthew, (Chapter 9, 36-38, NIV) comes to mind. It talks about Jesus, walking through the countryside, from village to village, telling people about the Kingdom and healing the sick. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

I wondered if the disciples did as asked. I’d assume so, after all, Jesus told them to do so. And how did the Lord of the harvest answer that prayer? I feel that you and I might be part of that answer some two thousand years later. Just look around. How many people feel helpless and harassed among us? The harvest is ready. Let’s get to work.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for Mississauga News. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita, and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, the USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audiobooks, working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in Southern Ontario with her husband, three Vizslas, several cats, a herd of goats, and an undisclosed number of chickens.

For more about Helena, click HERE