Claude, Texas - After all the pre-harvest preparations, details taken care of and tears shed, we can finally say we joined the #harvest17 party today (6/10).
We woke up to a heavy fog again this morning and very cool temps. But, the weatherman had been warning us of the impending heat and wind. It had been decided the night before we would get up early and move our equipment to a 400-acre field west of our current headquarters. By the time we made the move and had everything situated, we hoped the field would be ready to sample.
Apache, Oklahoma - One of my (many) favorite aspects of this blog is the ability to promote the agriculture industry that has made me who I am today. I'm definitely that person who will hear a nearby conversation going on about GMOs or hormones in beef and interrupt with an, "Excuse me but, did you know..." Those of us who love this industry will agree that it is our duty to spread the word and spread knowledge for everyone to hear. That's the thing about a passion; it doesn't feel like work.
The Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children brought three young men out to our field the other day to get a first-hand harvest experience. They loved it! These boys all came from different backgrounds but all found something they enjoyed about the harvester's life. They were telling me how cool they thought my job was, how cool my LIFE was, and one even admitted he now wanted to be a harvester when he grew up. That right there deserves a moment of silence, because instilling that feeling in any youth is something to commemorate.
It's always a good feeling after you've worked so hard to get to the point of driving out of the yard and pointing the trucks south. The transition of "home, home" and harvest has been solidified, and there's no going back. The feeling of arriving at your destination, however, is even better! This is especially true if you made it there with little to no issues. We had no issues. Oh...wait...I'm wrong. There was one wheel seal on the Pete that started leaking. Jim noticed it on Monday morning just as we were getting ready to leave Hays, Kansas.
West central Oklahoma - As you've read the All Aboard Wheat Harvest blog, you have likely noticed the listing of some of our contributing sponsors in the side bar of the site page. One new to the line-up is this one:
"What is this challenge and who are they?" you may ask. Well, I had to enlighten myself as well, so let me share with you what I discovered. The 10-Acre Challenge is a call for those in agriculture to donate ten acres of their crop to the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and challenge their friends to do the same.
Apache, Oklahoma - There's something about finishing up harvest at a stop and just as the back wheels of the combine touch the combine trailer, a light drizzle of rain starts across the area. It's almost like Mother Nature saying, "Hey, here's to a job well done." It's the perfect ending and an even more perfect sendoff, because traveling in the rain is easy on the tires.
We have now moved to our next stop on the harvest trail -- Apache, Oklahoma. John has had a couple guys from this area work for him before, so it's nice to have some locals to help us out. For example, the first night we got to town, it was later in the day. The campground was seemingly empty and dark with no signs of phone numbers to change that status. Well, it may have appeared that way to a passerby; but when you know a local, he can phone the owner because he's obviously a friend of his. Everyone knows everyone in small towns, and it's a beautiful thing.
Manley, Nebraska - I have sort of a surreal feeling this morning. It's the last full day of being "home, home." Home, home...wondering where that phrase came from? It's something the girls started years ago. When they talked about "home," it was the trailer house. When they talked about "home, home," it was Manley. It's stuck. And what's even more interesting...I hear other harvesters refer to their homes in the same way. That's weird, but it works. Now you know.
I was laying in bed this morning trying to take in all the noise that Callie was creating. She was up early this morning getting ready to go to work - her "normal" routine. Normal is good. Even the most normal of activities should be appreciated and loved. You never know when that "normal" is going to change. And isn't life all about change? Anyways...I wanted to just lay there and soak it all in because I know once we leave, it won't be the same when we return. She'll be back to school and the house will, once again, be quiet. I've enjoyed having her home so much. So much!
Clay County, Texas - Journeying along the harvest trail in the summer is not exactly conducive to an elaborate vegetable garden though I admit I did plant a lonely cucumber and pumpkin plant for the kids in hopes it would catch just enough rain until we make it for our home stop. My lack of garden is probably why I love a good farmer's markets on the trail. Getting produce picked at the peak of freshness and the fun of the actual market is a win-win. So when I learned of a "pick your own strawberries" event at a patch not too far down the road, I knew we had to do it to give the kids at least a partial garden experience. To put it mildly, it was a hit as you'll see from the pictures below.
North Texas - The kids were both asleep by a tick after eight this evening. Those reading who know them well, understand that this is nothing short of a miracle. I had the camper tidied by nine, which is another miracle as it's usually well after ten or eleven before I finish that. I don't know how its possible with only four people, and so few belongings, but it often looks like squirrel family took up residence by the end of the day. It seems two of the four, actually maybe one, not naming names, is the prime suspect. Now, I'm going to utilize these rare quiet moments and get caught up on the blog!
We are nearing the end of our time in Texas. In fact, Mark and some of the crew moved to Custer County, Oklahoma, and were able to start there Wednesday, May 31. The rest of us remain in north Texas but will join them in a few short days.
Gilliland, TX - Statistically, I don't think I want to know how many hours of my life I've spent driving. If someone were to insert the total hours of my life into some magical stat machine, I would bet 75% or more of those hours have been spent behind a steering wheel of assorted vehicles, trucks and machinery. I was once told that I drive a combine so casually it's as if I'm driving a car. But, it's what I love, so I wouldn't want it any other way.
We spent all of Sunday working on equipment -- a true harvester Sunday fun-day. It wasn't on purpose though. We started off the day with good intentions; but when it smells like there's a bonfire in your cab, something is certainly wrong. We came to find we had a bearing go out on the re-thrasher that needed to be replaced. Not only that, but we also had to made a phone call to the MacDon Harvest Support guys to come and calibrate/check our header. It was the best time for it to happen if there ever was one.