National Holiday: Kansas Wheat Harvest

People in Chicago were baffled when I told them I was going to the farm for wheat harvest.  And that I was seriously excited.

Even though fall harvest (corn, soybeans, milo) technically lasts much longer, there’s just something about the two-week period in June when all of the farmers are cutting wheat.  It’s like an extended national holiday around those parts. It’s thrilling to see wheat ripen into a sea of amber waves. And then to be out in the middle of it on the buddy seat in Dad’s combine — well, that’s when the big talks happen.

This year it’s been wet. Wet, wet, wet. During my Saturday-Thursday stay, we got to cut for a grand total of a few hours. It was dry enough by late Tuesday afternoon to hit the field…but I was already booked for a date with two hot chicks and a margarita. So that was that.

On Wednesday (the quintessential 4th of July), we had The Pioneer Woman’s brisket for lunch. Then our hired truck (driven by Junior) showed up in the yard to take a load to the elevator.

Dad unloaded the combine first, and then Brother DIY unloaded the grain cart. Junior supervised…or at least attempted hide the fact that he was trying to look down our shirts.

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Dad headed on down the road to the field entrance — about 1/2 mile.

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I hopped in the tractor with DIY.

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We set out down the road.

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Isn’t it exciting to see a big green machine in the field?

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Dad was stirring up dust when we arrived, and we headed out across the field to be ready to intercept a dump once his bin got full. DIY nearly killed me by going 80 mph through the field. My head almost hit the ceiling.

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Wes, the neighbor, was heading off to another one of his fields in his Massey Ferguson.

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It was only partly sunny to begin with. And then the clouds started rolling in. (And DIY was asking far too many questions about my marital status.) Now was clearly the time to jump in with Dad, and fasten myself into the buddy seat.

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That pillar in the background below is the silo next to the house. The clouds were getting scary.

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“DIY, come on over an pick me up on the curve [to unload],” Dad said.

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“10-4,” he replied. DIY lined up the tractor with the combine, and Dad started unloading as they were driving along.

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The rain was creeping in. Would it pour?

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Dad phoned the trucker and told him to show at 5:00.

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And then the rain came. At first, it was a few large drops. But by the time we bounded across the field in our massive machine, it was raining pretty hard.

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Dad slowed down enough on the road in front of the house for me to (somewhat) safely make it down the ladder and sprint for the door. I was soaked. My next task was to fetch DIY from the hayshed. So I jumped in Grandma’s Olds, and attempting to do a nice thing, drove 200 feet to the machine shed (where Dad had just parked) to grab him first.

As soon as I pulled inside, he opened the car door and said, “I hate to tell you this, but you’ve got a flat.” Crap. The back passenger side tire was flat as a pancake. (I’m telling you, I’m cursed logistically!)

Turned off the car. Sprinted across the yard. Jumped in DIY’s Camry, and ultimately completed my go-fer mission.

We checked out the radar once we got in the house. Looked like a good night to have hot dogs with the relatives.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Trish said,

    Great photos! Makes me sooooo homesick for Kansas!

  2. 2

    Haystack said,

    I hate to point this out, but your neighbor, Wes, doesn’t have a MF, its a CaseIH. 🙂 True, they both are red, and have axial rotors, but that’s about it. I think you have maybe seen too much green in your life. (Of course so have I. My stuff just isn’t nearly as new as yours.) We cut til 6pm that day. We also had 3.5″ of rain day before yesterday. You’re right: wet, wet, wet.

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