Megan: Busy Bumble Bees

When we first got our CR’s we had many comments from our family and friends about how the combines looked like big bumble bees just working away in the wheat field. The name has kind of stuck with our crew and let’s just say we have been “busy as bees!”

On Wednesday afternoon we were finally able to get going with our sample at 12% moisture. However, just because the grain is dry doesn’t mean the ground always is. As you can imagine, we fought mud all day and onto the next day so it was a bit slow going at times. Thursday morning we loaded up one combine, grain trailer and the header. James and I headed up north with this load and made it to our next stop in Carmen, Oklahoma while Brandon, Danny, and Greg stayed in Duke with the other combine and grain cart to finish up some mud holes.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad headed south from home loaded up with the old TR ’98 combine, 30 foot header, grain trailer and a truck as old as Brandon. This is all older equipment that was retired from harvest many years back and typically just used on the farm. We keep joking that Dad “resurrected” the ’98 to whip it into shape for harvest on the road. Mom and Dad pulled into Carmen just a few hours before James and me. The wheat was more than ready with 10% moisture so the TR (ran by Dad) and the CR (ran by James) worked late into the night while I trucked for them and Mom set up camp for us.

Now, usually when we work in Carmen we stay at hotels in Alva. However, the oil industry has had a recent boom in the area as they have been reopening many Oklahoma oil fields with new technology. Due to this, the availability of rooms is slim to none, mostly none – and that’s just in a 100 mile radius of Carmen alone.  Since that was the case, Mom and Dad also pulled down the camper so we have somewhere to shower and sleep for the next week or so. It’s pretty neat to wake up in our camper and walk about 20 yards over to the combines and start servicing for the day.

Brandon and the rest of the crew rolled into Carmen around noon on Friday. They unloaded the combine and grain cart and started cutting away. While Brandon unloaded his CR, Dad loaded up his TR. We recently landed a job in Lahoma, about 40 miles away, so “corporate” (Dad) decided it would be best for him and Mom to take the ’98 to knock out the smaller fields.

So, as of now, Brandon, James, Danny, Greg, and I are near Carmen running the 2 CR’s and grain cart, while Mom and Dad whittle away in Lahoma. We just hope the weather will hold and we can get some of this good looking wheat knocked out. Now it is time for this little bee to get back to my hive!

Mud in Duke
Check out the mud on those tires!  In the background “Boss Brandon” contemplates if the field is dry enough to start cutting.

Haybails near Duke
One of the CR’s cuts away near Duke. Unfortunately, the area was hit by a horrible hail storm in April – on Friday the 13th. Due to the hail, part of this wheat field was bailed and the better part of it was left to harvest.

Hailed wheat in Duke
Some of the hailed wheat near Duke. The crop adjusters reported this field would have made close to 70 bushels per acre if it had not been hailed.

Blowing off the combine before a move
The field is cut but the work is not done. Brandon and James blow off the combine in the background before it’s loaded up to go to Carmen.

Danny puts on oversize load sign
Danny bungees down an “oversize load” sign on the front of the semi.

Brandon and James
Brandon and James pose in front of the loaded combine before we hit the road.

Oil well near Carmen
The crop’s out but the land is still making money. These oil wells are the new scenery in most of our fields near Carmen.

Mom and Dad
After branding cattle, going over summer fallow, and planting corn at home Mom and Dad are finally reunited with the crew!

Pulling into Carmen
Brandon and the rest of the crew roll into Carmen. I rarely get pictures of this since I’m usually in the convoy.

Coming or going?
Coming or going?! A brief insight of our “organized caos” in the yard as Dad loads up, Brandon unloads, James fixes a hydraulic hose, and the rest of us help out.

Old '98 combine loaded up
Well, Mom and Dad were briefly reunited with us. They loaded up and headed nearby to Lahoma yesterday.

Flashback:  Mom laughs as she recalls of a harvest in 1982 where she came to visit Dad in Enid, Oklahoma. Here, 30 years ago, Dad originally proposed to Mom at the Long John Silver’s in town. Although a traditional proposal was made later that fall, she still has fond memories of Enid that summer. Back to where it all began –  30 years of bliss!!!

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan Roland can be reached at

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