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Laura: Friday Night Lights

North-central Texas: It was a nearly perfect, late spring evening in north central Texas. The breeze was just strong enough to cut through the heat and humidity, but not enough to disrupt the lids of the meal boxes at supper. It wasn’t long before I sensed something on my head, rubbed the spot, and felt something warm ooze onto my fingers. Ugh! The blood thirsty mosquitos were not deterred by the wind, and they were out in force!

I wish I had something for scale, but those mosquitos were huge!
The only thing better than taking pictures of combines is driving one!

After supper, the crew headed back out to cut until the elevators closed and the trucks were full.  The grain cart drivers had a relatively easy evening, however, This field had seen some significant hail and the yields were down as a result. It always causes heartache to see broken stems and heads or grain on the ground. In fact, the next field had to be abandoned after a few test cuts due to the severe damage received.  

This particular patch was exceptionally tough, but varied throughout the field.

With then amount of thunderstorms that have been prevalent during the start of the season, there’s a lot of pressure to get the crop out before the next system moves through. Despite the hail damage that plagued this field, there have been more positive results in other fields. Yields have pushed around 30-50 bushels per acre which is good for this region. Test weights have been exceptional coming in around 60-63 pounds.  Protein has been sitting around 10-11 percent.  

As the evening wore on, a chorus of frogs and insects accompanied the hum of machines while they traveled up and down the field.  As the sun set, nature put on a show. Soon after that, technology took over center stage as the steady beams of headlights and the flashing lights indicating bin levels lite up the sky. The air started to have just a hint of coolness and the damp, earthy humid smell that is Texas harvest grew stronger. Even with the stress that goes along with this occupation,  there is something so relaxing about an evening in the field. I really wish everyone could experience night in the harvest field, and believe the world may be a bit of a better place if so.  As much as I try to paint a picture with worlds, its just so much better to have the full sensory version in person. 

Harvest sunsets are tough to beat!
The grain cart headed to the next load.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the evening. Paul graciously hopped out of his machine so Ryan could take the kids for a few rounds. Little Man and Lady A had a cousin down to visit and if you recall from last year, rain kept them from having the full harvest experience in Oklahoma. This year, we could rectify the situation. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as the four of them crammed in that cab. I’m sure it was bursting at the seams with energetic laughing and carrying on. With two of the kiddos being pre-teens and the other not so small anymore, I’m sure it made for a cozy ride. It’s bittersweet to know how quickly time is passing, but am thankful for all the memories they are making along the way.

Cousin crew, plus dad/Uncle Ryan.
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