16 Jun Rainy days and Mondays…
Burkburnett, Texas/Clinton, Oklahoma—Well, we tried, but we just couldn’t outrun the rain. The Oklahoma crew was rained out starting Friday and the Texas crew was finally pushed out of the field late Friday night. Until the rains hit, the Texas crew was seeing yields in the 30- to 40-bushels-per-acre range on Friday, test weights around 58 to 59 pounds, and moistures hovering around 10 percent. Below are some pictures I captured a few hours before the rains set in. We heard the area received a little under 3 inches of rain as of Sunday.
Since I’ve been wearing my harvester hat, I cringed with the timing of the rain during harvest. When I put on my farmer hat that is dusty from our drought in northwest Kansas, I had to smile at the good fortune these farmers of north Texas are finally receiving. Then I put on my wife and mother hat, and had a big smile because we were in desperate need of some family time.
Whether you view what happened in north Texas as a miracle, the power of prayer, just a natural part of the weather cycle, or all of the above, there is no doubt that these rains came just in time. People were hoping for a few inches here or there to buy them some more time. Some of the lifetime residents I’ve talked to say they’ve never seen a rain event of this magnitude. I’ve been told that the majority of the area’s water comes from reservoirs, not groundwater, and they didn’t have much left after nearly five years of drought. Now waterways are completely filled and some are overflowing!
Agriculture and harvest are rewarding occupations and offer many benefits to family life. However, due to the long hours, demanding and unpredictable nature that custom harvesting is, especially when harvest lasts around six months for us, it can really put strain on family life and is lots of personal sacrifice. After all, we have a job to do just like any other profession, and someone is depending on us for their livelihood. And like other professions, it’s just not appropriate to have one’s children or family present at all times at the work place (especially young children who can sometimes pose an extra safety risk). We usually try to squeeze a little family time in when we bring supper out, which may entail a ride in the buddy seat, moving equipment, or a quick chat between loads. My hat’s off to families in other time-sensitive, challenging occupations, especially the military who don’t even have the option to have their families with them when duty calls. At least this year we had the option to travel with the crew, and while it’s been an “adventure” at times, it’s been much better for our family than being separated for days or weeks at a time.
Our family members weren’t the only ones who needed and have enjoyed some recovery time. The crew has been able to get caught up on sleep, laundry and running errands. The Oklahoma crew enjoyed a team meal and went go-carting together. In Texas, we had a treat when the crew invited us to their BBQ. It was the first time since harvest began that we were able to all be together and enjoy a few laughs in the campground. They enjoyed meals out together and some went to the movies.
The Oklahoma crew enjoying some time at the go-cart track.
The Texas crew enjoying a BBQ at camp. Chef Dalton did a great job!
As we start Monday, the skies are overcast here in Burkburnett and we had another shower early this morning. There is a pile of paperwork that waits to be tackled in our camper on top of our other responsibilities. Hard decisions will have to be made about which crew will be going where and when. It will be interesting to see what this week holds.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at email@example.com.