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Laura: Windshield time and other harvest heroes

Northern Texas—It was planned that I would head home for a few days to take care of some business and attend a long standing appointment for one of my kiddos. But as harvest would have it, plans changed abruptly the morning I was to leave. Harvest up north was coming on quickly and we would need to deploy crew members to deliver and run equipment in a variety of locations. This left a potential, temporary seat vacancy and some mama logistical complications.

I hate to ask for help, but gave my recently retired mama a ring. Bless her heart, mom dropped everything to come hang out with her grand children. I drove three hours north, we exchanged two kids, a cat, and several weeks worth of harvest luggage. They headed north three more hours, and I turned back south. It was a lonely, quiet trip back to the Lonestar State but I was thankful they would get a few days of special nana time to make memories. I know she was happy to spend time with family, but mom is certainly one of many behind the scenes harvest heroes that help make our lives so much better.

This time of year, I get a lot of windshield time in one form or another. During Texas, I found myself running the children around to camps and other activities, going to and from the field for various reasons, grocery and parts runs, and more. I don’t have just one specific job within our business, but try to do whatever needs done to keep things rolling. Upon returning to Texas, I had a variety of duties but one afternoon I got to slip into the cab of a combine for a few hours to keep wheels turning, while crew members helped to complete other tasks of preparing to or actually moving.

Running combine is my absolute favorite job on the crew so it was a treat to help in this capacity. Despite the rains, the ground held up well. One thing we were starting to see was weed emergence due to moisture. Weeds can grow several inches a day so weed control is important in season to prevent a jungle at harvest. However, even with careful attention to weed control measures continued significant rainfall can put a strain on the system and weeds can emerge and this is what was happening.

That day we had about a 20% chance of a storm. I hoped we would miss it, but as time went on the air had “that feeling” about it. Anyone who has spent any time at all on the prairie knows what I’m talking about. Sure enough, a cell built up around 8 that evening and brought another drencher to the area. It would be another late start the following day.

Soon enough, everyone returned to their respective roles and I was able to head north for a quick trip home, just in time to be able to attend the appointment. Because harvest plans can change so quickly, we didn’t tell them I was coming. Even though we were separated just a short few days, I was greeted with cheers of joy and hugs. I was equally happy to see them and will tuck this memory away. They are growing up so fast and with it will come increased independence. I know I will soon be missing moments like this.

The green in the wheat is not a ripeness issue, but a weed one. Significant, persistent rain stressed weed prevention measures. It was a good thing we got this crop out when we did.
I joked that Bradley was “my knight with shining shear bolt.” I rarely break one, but did more than one in this field thanks to a sneaky, overly steep, nearly hidden terrace in this field.
The cab I was in was very patriotic.
I sure love getting to take a combine for a spin from time to time. \

After such a long drought, we appreciate the rain. However, let’s talk about the irony that it all comes at harvest time, haha.

Laura Haffner can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc.High Plains Journal, New HollandITC Holdings CorpU.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., Kramer Seed Farms, and Lumivia Insecticide Treatment by Corteva Agriscience.

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