Homecoming harvest a celebratory affair for county farming couple

CUTTING CORN- Former Picton-area Farmer Leland Pearsall joined Shane Petingill in a Reynolds Farms Combine earlier this fall for a trip around Pearsall's former home farm. (Submitted Photo)

JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

The corn harvest at Reynolds Farms just north of the Picton had an extra set of hands late last month as a good crop was taken off adjacent to the home farm.

Leland Pearsall joined combine operator Shane Petingill for a trip around the former Pearsall Farm just north of the Reynolds base of operations on County rd. 4 north of Picton.

Combine operator Shane Petingill and Leland Pearsall (Submitted Photo)

Although they’ve moved to more comfortable accommodations in Belleville, Leland and Barbara Pearsall made a visit to the home farm and Leland was treated to a trip in the Reynolds Brothers combine.

Leland Pearsall, 97, was able to see parts of the farm that was in his family for five generations before it was sold to the neighbouring Reynolds Farms operations a few years ago.

Barbara Pearsall, 94, said she felt spry enough to also take a trip around the fields in state-of-the-art Claas combine but with the couple’s 75th anniversary coming up, she thought better of risking a chance to celebrate a milestone rarely seen in this day and age.

Barbara Pearsall looked on as Leland was able to view all corners of the 200 acre farm of the cab of the combine including some parts he hadn’t seen in a number of years.

“As true farmers do, they both love getting back to Picton and to the farm weekly to check on the corn growth. Leland always says it’s good land here and our family believes the corn is higher than in other parts of the county,” daughter Rilla Rhodes said.

Leland recalled planting corn first walking behind a horse to cultivate the field then walking the land again with a manual hand corn planter and he and a hired man could plant 10 acres in a day with the manual planter.

Leland and Barbara Pearsall. (Submitted photo)

Technological advances have changed the art of agriculture forever but one thing all the new equipment and advances can’t alter is the deep emotional connection to the land and the community farming families have even if they haven’t turned the soil for a couple of growing seasons.

Marilyn Crowe of Reynolds Farms orchestrated the combine trip and recalled earlier times where farming neighbours would help one another throughout the growing seasons and stay connected to one another through the highs and lows.

“Everybody was friends and everyone helped each other out. We were just all friends and helping each other and visiting one another commonly was very natural,” Crowe told the Gazette. “Leland and Barbara are inseparable, if Leland was out working Barbara was right there with him helping they did everything together. They were fantastic neighbours and you couldn’t ask for finer people to live next to for so many years.”

Late October’s trip in a Reynolds Farms combine was not the only reminiscing the farming couple have had this year.

In August, during one of their many visits to the farm, former neighbour Bill Allison arrived to take Leland and Barbara and their two great-grandchildren for a ride in his 1914 Model T Ford.

Leland and Barbara Pearsall in the late 1940’s. (Submitted Photo)

Rhodes recalled Barbara laughing, remembering her teenage years riding in one and every time they drove over a puddle, it splashed up through the gas peddle floor boards into the car and got them wet. She remembers them laughing their heads off.

“Mom told me the day in the Model T in August was one of the happiest days of her life,” Rhodes said.

The Pearsalls also love harvest time and it was during that August visit that Crowe set up the ride in the corn combine.

The happy couple will celebrate 75 years of memories on Saturday when an anniversary celebration is held at Emanuel Baptist Church in Bloomfield from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

It’s hoped by the couple they will be able to see old friends and enjoy some “good old Prince Edward County fellowship.”