17 Aug Laura: Spending the dog days of summer in Montana
South central Montana—The dog days of summer are upon us and I don’t know a better place to spend them than Montana. The views are outstanding, sunsets are gorgeous and harvest has been clipping along at a consistent pace thanks to cooperative weather. It’s worth noting the irony that we’ve had some warmer days up north than back home! One would think its would be reverse, but not this time.
When the children were younger, I often delivered a noonish meal because it worked better around nap schedules and gave me more time to clean up. As they’re older and nap times continue to become farther removed, it seems we have migrated more to a supper or even “lupper,” the word I like to call it, a mid-afternoon meal that’s neither lunch nor supper. This gives them more time to spend in the field after the meal. They have had a great time this summer forming relationships with the crew, riding and learning new things. I feel like I may need to send an apology email to their teachers because getting back into a school routine is going to be very difficult for the three of us!
Speaking of riding, the kids and I have gotten a fair bit of field windshield time this year. The crew has been gracious to share their cabs and take us along for the ride. I have also had a few chances to be behind the wheel, which has been a great change of pace. Another highlight has been getting to see a variety of harvesters come through the campground. I enjoyed visiting with other families and the kids have had a few days to play with friends.
High Plains Harvesting has had a few minor repairs, as one would expect with running hard this time in the season, but all were resolved quickly. A belt on the draper needed replaced, an air bag on the truck, a few tires, etc., and even my food mobile fell victim one night. Luckily, a couple guys had stayed behind that day to take care of some business in town so we were able to save the evening by exchanging vehicles and even with a huge delay, the food was still warm by the time we arrived at the field. The local farm store got me right in the next morning and had me back in business in about 15 minutes! That’s service!
In this part of the world we are harvesting winter wheat, spring wheat, and canola. There is some distance between the fields as well as elevation changes. As one might expect, the weather and other growing conditions can vary greatly between them. The canola that wasn’t hailed out has been going around 40 bushels an acre with hailed acres floating around the 15 mark. Some of the winter wheat that has been calculated so far has been in the 30 to 40 bushel range. We’ve seen a bottom ground field go over 100 bushels per acre which was absolutely incredible!
This night proved to be a little exciting when my tire sensor let me know I was getting a flat. Luckily I was able to make it back to town because that road was no place to change a tire with a little one on board. With help from the crew, we were back in business and had the meal out for the guys!
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Agri-Pro, Gleaner, BASF, and High Plains Journal. Laura can be reached at email@example.com.