Tuesday, June 28, 2022

This Is Us: An Overhead Glimpse of Harvest 2022

Thanks to our neighbor, Mark Pike, for these drone images and his permission to share them. What a gift!


Just like 6.4 million other people, I watched the series finale of a family television drama called "This Is Us" at the end of May. Just by watching my Facebook feed, I know I'm not the only viewer who had a Kleenex box nearby as I watched the finale episode about a family we all got to know and care about during six seasons of Tuesday nights.

I'm not sure how many people then scoured the internet to find quotes from the episode. But there was at least one. (That was easier than starting and stopping the DVR for me to take notes. And since I found a compilation of "This Is Us" quotes, I'm fairly confident that I'm not the only one.)

In it, the mom, Rebecca, is traveling on the metaphorical train toward death after suffering from dementia for several years. And I was struck by the words from her "conductor," William:

"The way I see it, if something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening. Truth be told, I always felt it a bit lazy to just think of the world as sad, because so much of it is. Because everything ends. Everything dies. But if you step back, if you step back and look at the whole picture, if you're brave enough to allow yourself the gift of a really wide perspective, if you do that, you'll see that the end is not sad, Rebecca. It's just the start of the next incredibly beautiful thing." 
William to Rebecca, This Is Us, series finale

I saved the quote (and a few others). And I thought about it again when our neighbor, Mark Pike, sent some drone photos he'd taken of our harvest - our final one as active producers.

Undoubtedly, the drone gives that wide perspective - a little bigger picture than I'm able to see with my normal "boots-on-the-ground" view through my camera lens.

For some reason, the drone pictures - and that different look at harvest - had me pulling out the Kleenex box again.

Through the years, I've tried to document harvest to the best of my ability. Since I began Kim's County Line in 2010, I've made an even more concentrated effort, but the efforts to photographically show and tell the journey of wheat - beginning to end- have been part of my DNA for long before then.

I've taken some spectacular shots - and a whole lot that weren't noteworthy at all. But, for some reason, these photos taken from a bird's eye view were particularly poignant. 

"The way I see it, if something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening."
That bears repeating, I suppose. But I also know this process is a little like childbirth. The mom develops a bit of amnesia about the rigors of the birth process itself. Otherwise, the whole world would be single children - or so the joke goes.
So, as I look back on 41+ years of farming with Randy (and a lifetime for both of us before that), I have a tendency to remember the good - the rides in the buddy seat on the combine, my book in my hand after the conversation was exhausted. ... The wildlife making a hasty retreat as the mighty machine takes another swath of field ... The vibrant green peeking through brown soil, a yearly miracle. ... The dewy raindrops caught on green wheat. ...The sound of wheat, rustling in the Kansas breeze. God's masterpiece sunsets sinking into the western horizon as the combine rumbles toward it and seems to gobble up the light. And so much more.

You don't wax nostalgic about yet another trip to the parts counter or the third flat tire in a week or your legs sticking to the plastic seat of the truck or the buckets of sweat. You realize that you're not bounding up the steps of the combine like you did when you were that teenaged truck driver. You aren't thrilled with the rash you develop during harvest or the pesky cheat that gets stuck in your socks. You don't fondly remember those phone calls to hire a Caterpillar to come pull both the combine and the tractor out of mud - and the accompanying bill. While Harvest 2022 was pretty smooth sailing the first week, perhaps I needed a reality check - and got one. We had a rain delay, and, when we got up and running again after a day and a half, I got the call that I needed to come help get the truck pulled out. (Plus, since we hadn't used the tractor for awhile, it had to be jumped before it could do its job. Mission accomplished - but it was a circuitous route.)

But those moments of aggravation don't take away from the life and lifestyle that we've lived and loved. It's not for everyone. We didn't do it perfectly. I'd change some things.

But, a bird's eye view helps me remember that it was - and is - a beautiful life. 

Toward the truck, that field finished
In another quote from "This Is Us," Dad Jack tells his kids:

“That’s what we’re doing, just collecting these little moments. We don’t recognize them when we’re in them because we’re too busy looking forward. But then we spend the rest of our lives looking back trying to remember them, trying to be back inside them.” 

So I find myself doing a bit of that. I think it's natural, as we change directions.

Mark also included a drone photo of Randy's folks' house. It sold on June 4, and a new family will begin building a life and making memories there, beginning in mid-August.


I just hope they'll look back - years from now - and have those moments to collect and remember, too. 

And, as for us, we may get done with wheat harvest today, after getting rained out yesterday again. Then it will be time to get things ready for the farm sale coming August 13. 

And, hopefully, just like William told Rebecca: "It's just the start of the next incredibly beautiful thing." 


Mark shot drone footage two harvests ago. He didn't send any video from this harvest, but here are some repeats of 2020 videos



I actually got a pretty awesome still shot from that 2020 harvest night, too. The sky was breathtaking. I enlarged this one to canvas size.

Harvest 2020

A shot I got Saturday night, June 25, reminded me of that one. 

Harvest 2022

For more from the post about the 2020 harvest, click HERE. And, thanks again to Mark!


  1. Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments and for your vulnerability. Enjoy the next beautiful thing.

    1. Kim L.. FritzemeierJune 28, 2022 at 10:20 AM

      Thanks for taking time to comment. It's been an amazing journey, and we'll see what's around the bend.

  2. I followed you years ago and just ran across your blog again! I am so happy to have found it! I too was such a fan of This is Us. The quotes are beautiful and so appropriate for this time in your life. Your pictures are stunning! Remember this is the start of a new season-enjoy it!

    1. Glad to have you visit The County Line again! Thanks for the positive feedback and the encouragement. It's been a wonderful journey, and while there are some bittersweet feelings, we look forward to the next chapter!

  3. Kim, I don't know of this program but the quotes here are beautiful and resonate with me as well. You have written so beautifully that tears have welled for all that farm has meant to and the future ahead. What wonderful images to have of this final wheat harvest and its highs and lows! Your sunset image is very special.
    Today we leave our family. This quote is perfect.
    "The way I see it, if something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening."

    1. Thanks, Helen. Yes, there have been plenty of tears this week, but we will always have a connection to this land and the farm. I'm always somewhat reluctant about change, but we look forward to the next chapter.