If you haven’t seen the very first episode of Little House on the Prairie called “A Harvest of Friends” (1974), I’ll give you the condensed version:
Pa Ingalls needs a plow and wheat seed, so signs a chattel mortgage on his oxen. Then he falls out of a ginormous tree while chasing a kite on a picnic (ouch), is unable to complete the work necessary to pay off the debt, and loses the oxen. Thankfully, Pa has been kind to all of the neighbors in his new community, and these new neighbors come to his aid and finish the work for him so he gets the oxen back. Then Pa realizes (as the sweet music plays and the family joyously reunites) that “he’d harvested a crop he didn’t know he’d planted: a harvest of friends.”
Heartwarming ‘70s television aside, a harvest of friends is actually a charming concept and a good reminder to recognize the true gift of friendship and community. Like Pa, everyone gets into a tough spot sometimes, and it’s a blessing to be a friend who can step in to lend a hand and ease a burden.
It’s especially poignant to reflect on these friendships at harvest time, as we remember the mechanical failures, the borrowed tools, the helping hands, the unexpected meals, the bags (!) of zucchini, and the listening ears that go into the harvest season. In some ways, harvest season is made possible by hard work, the miracle of rain, and friendship.
Like Pa Ingalls, let’s plant the seeds of good friendships, then cultivate them so they grow and flourish. Let’s be a gift to others; let’s lighten their loads. And let’s not climb trees to reach kites, ever.
About the author
Samantha Johnson is a writer, farm girl, and the author of more than a dozen books on rural living. She lives on a farm in northern Wisconsin with a colorful herd of Welsh Mountain Ponies, a bossy Welsh Corgi, and a wide assortment of tomato plants. View her portfolio at samanthajohnson.contently.com
August 18, 2023