29 Aug Laura: The great divide
Kansas, North Dakota, Montana—The light is at the end of the summer harvest run tunnel. The crew has finished up in southern Montana and are en route to or have started their last job respectively. This is the time of the year that the crew does a big split with one group finishing the season up in northern Montana and the other in North Dakota. The crew in North Dakota kicked off with canola harvest and initial yields are currently 40 plus bushels an acre.
Southern Montana finished on a positive note with spring wheat yields coming in around 50 to 60 bushels per acre. Yields weren’t the only thing healthy in southern Montana this year. There seemed to be a good crop of rattlesnakes or maybe everyone and every reptile was in the wrong place at the wrong time because I got a record number of reports about them.
Montana isn’t the easiest place to navigate when it comes to harvest. It is known as “Big Sky Country” but maybe it should also be “big field country.” The southern part of the state where we cut isn’t divided into the square sections like at home and direct roads aren’t as common. Some are maintained privately. This spring, a road washed out to one of our fields and would have left us with a detour that would have added many miles and minutes to the journey.
Thankfully, a neighbor was kind enough to let us use one of their roads and avoid the long detour.
The crews aren’t the only ones who are split. Life back home called, and it was time to resume full time responsibilities there. We are finding our new norm in this routine with mom back teaching and the kiddos in their respective classrooms. It is fun to hear how much the kids are learning and that they enjoy their classmates and teachers. As well as it is going, this is also a difficult season due to the distance. Weeks pass without the kids seeing their dad and so many big things are happening in their lives. The saving grace is the phone. The divide is the ugly part of harvest whether that is for us as a family, our marriage or for the crew split from their family and friends as well. I’m not sure what the right answer is to cure it all, but I do know the impact is unique for each crew, team member, relationship, and even each harvest season. No two are the same. With the distractions of school, hopefully the time will continue to pass quickly, and it won’t be long before fall harvest begins and the distance will shrink to something a bit more manageable.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura Haffner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.