24 Jun Hello, Kansas wheat field farmer
Hays, Kansas—It seems like song lyrics or titles keep slipping into my titles. Why reinvent the wheel when these word phrases fit so well with the situation? Besides, if I didn’t use these lyrics, I would find myself repeating the same messages in my titles such as humidity, too wet, cutting, still cutting, here, still here.
Alabama was onto a few things regarding the farmer with their song “Forty Hour Week.” Farmers pass their income down the line. Correct. I appreciate them recognizing and thanking the farmers for their time. However, we need to work on this 40-hour-a-week business, especially during wheat harvest! I know it sounds good for the song, but it just isn’t quite accurate! This weekend in particular, for example, I know many sacrificed family time and their Father’s Day to bring in the harvest. A big belated happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there and men who serve as mentors or father figures. Where would we be without you guys?
On Monday, as I was driving home (home-home, not camper home, which felt really strange after being gone over a month), it was hard to go too many miles without seeing a combine, or two, or three, in the field. Harvest has absolutely exploded here in Kansas with 90-plus temperatures and strong winds making it a logistical exercise to be in so many places at once. The last few days have been a blur as the year just keeps getting stranger thanks to weather. Mark and crew finished up in Clinton, Oklahoma, on Sunday. (We appreciate the opportunity we had to work with our producers in Oklahoma again this year!) Monday, he moved into the panhandle of Texas for a quick stop in the Perryton, Texas, area. Earlier this evening he texted me that they were able to get through 180 acres even with the move and starting at 3 p.m., but, that’s all the information I have for now. Ryan and the Kansas crew have been working in the Anthony, Harper, and Cunningham areas. He reported that they have seen yields ranging from 26 to 50 bushels per acre with an average in the 30s. Test weights have been in the 57- to 60-pound range. Today they will be southwest of Pratt. Albert is moving a combine to the Victoria area today to begin cutting there. I feel like we could make the harvest edition of a “Where’s Waldo?” book if such a thing existed. (Waldo in a green and yellow sweater, of course!)
So why was I temporarily excused from my duties on site with the crew? Well, the timing seemed right to go ahead and move out as I have a doctor’s appointment this week. Little Man is set to lose his status of “youngest crew member” in early November, so we’re just over halfway there. New Arrival should make it just in time for the end of fall harvest. I know, I know…the timing. However, sometimes you just have to work with the timing God gives you and we couldn’t be happier. In the mean time, with my days “off” this week from the crew, I’ll dive into payroll and the the stack of bills that arrived via special delivery tonight from family friends from my hometown sent by Mom who has been helping us with our mail while we’ve been away.
Last night, as I had the luxury of preparing for bed in my well lighted bathroom, I noticed in the mirror I looked a little older than I felt was necessary. (Thankfully, the dimmer lighting on the camper vanity had been hiding that little truth.) It is the time of the season where stress is high, hours are long, and pressure is on. Few are lucky enough to be totally immune from this “worn” look right now, no matter what duty they hold on the crew. Luckily this look isn’t permanent. This year is one of the strangest yet. Have I mentioned that our northern most farmer in Montana called to let us know that his wheat is already headed out? We appreciate our farmers’ understanding and our crew’s positive attitude. We’ll continue to take it one day at a time and continue to do what we can to do the best job possible for our farmers. That’s all we can do.
Mark sent in this photo of the crew cutting near Clinton, Oklahoma.
Dot Mollenkamp contributed these three beautiful photos from her time visiting husband Kirby and the crew this weekend.
Once a runner, always a runner! This was the start of the race. I was so excited to finally be able to catch a 5K on the harvest trail! The Student Council of Chaparral High School did a great job on their first year hosting the event. Catch their race next year if you’re in the area.
Don’t worry, sandwiches had already been made for the day and dinner was in the crockpot before the three of us had our fun! Little Man and the little Stow Away were great running partners to me on this day!
The temperature hit 100 degrees on my car thermometer just as I was leaving the field yesterday. Wind gusts were 20 miles an hour according to NOAA.
This pretty Painted Lady deserved a photo.
Some additional photos I captured when delivering meals the last several days.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.