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Good run of bad luck

 Helena, Oklahoma—I would like to first wish a Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! My dad, Grandpa Hiladore and Grandpa Bob are the strongest men I know and life would sure be boring without all their wise cracks and wisdom. Dad got to spend yet another Father’s Day with his kids out in the Oklahoma sunshine, surrounded by farm equipment. What more does a guy need, really?

It seems that every crew you talk to is telling the same tale; anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There have been things breaking and giving out on machines that normally last a little longer test of time. Dad has been doing this harvesting bit 34 years and things like this happening still surprise him about the business and to me, that’s really saying something. Our combine has been throwing “derate” fits recently. This means that it will be running smoothly at regular speed and then codes will start popping up on the screen, bringing the combine down to an irreversible snail pace. Any solution we have found has been a temporary one so far.

Today, our big yellow baby got picked up and brought to combine clinic (AKA: the shop at the dealership where we purchased her). They brought us a donor combine to use while we wait for our own big yellow baby to get back in shape. They offered us a combine just a couple years older than ours but once dad heard the amount of hours it had, he declined. You see, a combine with around 1100 working hours on it enters into what Dad calls the “witching hour.” At this point in the life of the combine, general maintenance of bearings, belts and chains turns into necessary replacements. Case in point, we accepted a CR9065 as a donor. To add to the plot twist, this CR9065 is the very combine we traded in to get our 8080.

However, this was not to say things would still not find a way to turn on us. After driving the donor for a while, Dad decided the feeder house chain sounded too loose, so we started the day by removing a couple links in the chain to tighten it up. Not 40 minutes after we got donor back up and running, I found myself on top of the sieves, helping unplug the machine on account of a broken coupler on the PSD belt (PSD stands for positive straw discharge). Good thing we have half a hockey stick in the service truck to help us out in times such as these.

So, needless to say, things are rolling but they seem to be rolling awfully slowly. We were able to get a solid half-day with our header in the wheat today after all the commotion. Yields have been around 40 bushels per acre but the load I took in today showed a 61-pound test weight! On the bright side, mom made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch today to try and bring out the kid in all of us.

 Quote of the Day—“Just go have a banana split, it’ll make your day better.”

Here comes donor combine!

Here comes donor combine!

Thank you, AgriCenter.

Thanks for bringing it down, Agri-Center.

Checking it out.

Checking some stuff out on the donor.

The two yellow babies.

See you later, 8080.

See ya later, 8080. Come back ready to work!

Visiting Brandon at the elevator.

Visiting Brandon at the elevator while on a small grocery run in Helena.

Elevator St.

Brandon at the elevator.

Work boot line-up.

A line-up of work boots ready for a tailgate supper.

Pretty wheat.

Pretty wheat.

Full hopper lights in the distance.

Brandon caught some shots of me by sunset that I dig.

Brandon was snapping photos the other night during sunset and I’m a fan of this one.

On the horizon.

The best windmill photo I have taken to date.

By far one of the best windmill photos I have taken to date.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.


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