Megan:Summer Catch Up

As most of you all know, harvest can be ridiculously busy and crazy at times – okay more like most of the time. Needless to say that that’s how this summer has been for Roland Harvesting. I’d like to give you all a recap of our season thus far so everyone can be caught up with us.

Back flash to end of April and beginning of May: Dad and Jason spent much of this time getting our equipment ready for harvest. They also did many necessary tasks around the farm so that things could run more smoothly for Mom this summer while the crew is gone.  After the first week of May James and I were done with college classes and came back home to Hemingford to help out with things. Brandon graduated from Hemingford High School on May 8 and after the weekend of celebrations we went back to work to get ready for our departure.

After much anticipation and preparation we were finally ready to head South on May 20. We finally made it to Altus, Okla., on Sunday the 22. The trip went quite smoothly with no breakdowns or blown tires to our relief. I lead the convoy with the pickup and a header trailer so that I could scout out the best route and watch for road construction and narrow bridges.  Jason followed behind me and drove one of the semis hauling a CR combine and a header attached behind the combine trailer. Brandon was next in the line with the other semi hauling the CR on a combine trailer and a grain trailer attached behind that. This was Brandon’s first time hauling a “big rig” and with the help of the rest of the crew he was quite successful.

Going through some road construction in Kansas was a bit challenging and stressful but he made it through with no problems, just a few white knuckles.  James followed up the rear of the caravan with the service truck and a grain trailer so that he could call out traffic coming around Brandon. Dad stayed at home for a couple days to finish up some work at the farm as we headed South. He drove straight through all night and met up with us in Altus.

We worked in the Altus area, around the towns of Gould, Duke, Hollis, and El Dorado. Like most of the areas in the South, these fields had endured harsh drought during the growing season and due to the lack of moisture, yields were considerably lower than usual. Unfortunately, most of the fields made anywhere between 8 to 20 bushels per acre. For this being our first stop of the season, things went fairly smoothly for us during this time. Like usual, it took us all a couple days to “get all the rust out of the combines” and for us to fall back into our daily routines. We had a few minor breakdowns with a tire blowing out on Dad’s draper header and a leveling bolt breaking on Brandon’s header. However, both were fixed in a mannerly fashion and luckily did not cause us very much grief.

Ready to leave
Our convoy waiting to leave our farm near Hemingford and head South. The rig is a bit out of order in this picture, since I normally lead everyone in the pickup and header.  As you can see by all the standing water in the field next to the road, we were blessed with a lot of moisture in Nebraska this spring. The mud and cold temperatures were somewhat of a damper when trying to get the trailers hooked and combines loaded up, but we certainly didn’t complain about all the wonderful rain we had for our crops at home.

Traveling south
All of us parked in a truck stop in Colby, Kan. for a break to fuel up and stretch our legs for a few minutes before we continue heading South. Brandon is on left examining the other crews driving by and Jason is on the right walking back to his truck.

Brandon big rig
Brandon proudly poses by his “big rig.” This year was his first time hauling a combine and a grain trailer together for the entire trip from home to down south. He made it there safe and sound with only some white knuckles and a boost of confidence to show for it.

Jason at truck stop
Jason is caught by the camera in front of the semi. He’s not so fond of photographs so we like to sneak up on him from time to time.

Combines unloaded
After traveling over 700 miles with oversize loads and many hours of driving later we finally made it to the Altus, Okla. area. This picture was taken right after we unloaded the combines and hooked up the grain trailers. We moved to the first field shortly after this.

Cutting in Altus
Ahhh, at last! The first dust of the season is kicked up and the combines are humming contently in our first field of wheat near Altus. We are finally able to do what we do best – cut wheat.

Done in Altus
Finishing up around Altus, Okla. while part of the crew talks with one of the farmer’s about how his wheat crop turned out for the year.

Megan Roland is the newest member of All Aboard. She can be reached at All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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