the color green

Yesterday, Jim and I spent most of the day inside the Cottage. Well…maybe I should say I did. Jim, on the other hand, started doing some of the going-home chores that he normally does AFTER we finish cutting. Things like change oil in the pickups, grease whatever needs greased and preparing for the 900+ mile trip “home, home”.

It was about 4:30 when he walked through the door and announced he was going to take a trip out to the combine. That trip is about 40 miles. “Give me a second to finish what I’m doing and I’ll ride along”, I said. It didn’t take me long to finish typing what I was typing, shut off the internet, throw on my shoes and walk out the door.

Gosh, it felt good to get out of there and head back down the roads that we had been travelling daily until the rains began just a week ago today (Friday).  The day was beautiful and the sky seemed extra blue and clear. Once we got just west of Jordan, I noticed it…the color green. It was only seven days ago the color was brown. The desert had come to life after that life-giving rain we had. Jordan was blessed with about half her normal year’s rainfall in just two days.

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four hours

IMG_4544Friday morning began just like any other day except we were up against heavy clouds and cool temps. I had left Frank parked near the grain bins for the night so Jim dropped me off and then he headed to where the Beast had spent the night. While I waited for the air to build and the truck to “warm up”, I took a quick walk over to a dugout I had seen. I cautiously walked through the tall grass hoping I wouldn’t be surprised by any sort of critter. As I walked towards the mound, I wondered if it had been someone’s homestead – someone’s home. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to live in something like that.  Had it been warm while the north winds of winter were blocking the door with snow? Did that same door keep critters out? What would it have been like during the hot months of summer?

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more breaks – the missouri kind (video)

Today (August 20) was a much cooler day. We began our day by putting the new part on the Beast and hoping the sprinkles would quit so we could get started again. We had lost nearly a whole day due to that breakdown and the miles we had to cover to get the new part. I believe it was nearly 10:00 by the time we were ready to rock ‘n roll again.

After you make repairs, you just hope there isn’t more damage from the piece that broke…especially when it’s part of the shaking system. We could only cross our fingers and hope nothing more would come from this. As it was, things ran as though the breakdown never happened.

IMG_4507Another harvester’s secret…Jim’s make-shift sink for the field. It works amazingly well! The sun warms it up so he has warm water at all times to wash his hands.

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a break in the action

IMG_4452Smokey Butte and location #3

I think our farmer may have mentioned to Jim that combines tend to get stuck in the field in location #5. So, with the latest rains we had, the Beast and I have been separated for a few days. That’s OK, though, because I was starting to miss Frank anyways.

I have cut mud holes and I know when it’s time to move on but if anyone is going to get a combine stuck, I’d just as soon it was the boss. By the way, we’re down to the last 20 acres in this particular area and I don’t think Jim has seen even a little mud.

After moving the equipment to location #5 late Sunday afternoon, we parked everything for the night and decided to get a good start the following morning.

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kaput!

Continued from “and then it rained“…

We ate our sandwiches for supper and our evening in the Cottage was longer than what we had experienced over the past eleven evenings. It felt good to be home at a more reasonable time.

Another round of storms rolled through Jordan about 10:00 pm. This time it really poured and the wind blew. All at once, chaos began. I realized the skylight in the bathroom had been left open. It had been raining for a while so there was quite a bit of water all over the floor and running into the carpet. I quickly grabbed a couple of towels to soak up what the rug on the floor had not. At the same time this was happening, the fridge started beeping.

“Can you take care of this while I’m cleaning up this mess?”, I questioned Jim. I was probably unnecessarily put-out with him but he had been the last one in the bathroom! This mess wouldn’t have happened if he would have just shut the skylight. (this is what I was thinking)

The beeping doesn’t stop so Jim runs upstairs and grabs the owner’s manual. “The error code has something to do with a high temperature shut off mechanism and it says the owner can’t fix it.” – Jim

Great!

So, what happened next? The fridge is shut down…not working…notta…KAPUT!

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and then it rained

Continued from previous post, that bed has NEVER felt so good

We moved to location #4 on Tuesday the 12th – a little further away from Jordan, again. We just keep moving further and further west. The further west we move, the closer to the “Breaks” we get. The “Breaks” would be the Missouri River Breaks. These are pine tree-lined buttes along the Missouri River – the very same buttes Lewis and Clark would have seen so many years ago. The prairie just drops off into something completely different. I’ll get pictures of this when we actually get to location #5.

IMG_4768Jamie sent me a picture of Callie’s first day of school as a Junior. How can this be???

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that bed has NEVER felt so good

It’s been 11 days since the girls left. Seems like a lot longer than that! And…a lot has happened since that day.

We had rain the day before they left. Not much but enough to stop us. I spent the day on Wednesday (the day they headed south) picking up what they left-towels, bedding, etc.- which all reminded me of them so I could move on and not cry every time I saw it. We were back to the field the next day and haven’t stopped until Friday night. And then it rained. THANK GOODNESS, it rained!

That would explain why I haven’t posted.

So, let’s backtrack a bit and I’ll see if I can get you caught up on our activities without making this too long.

We finished our second location on Friday (August 8) evening. The following pictures were taken before we left.

photo 3 (3)Seems me and the Beast have been doing quite a bit of this…sitting and waiting on a truck.

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let’s cut wheat!

photo 1 (24) - CopyMontana – BIG country! Do you see the Beast?

We got back in the field on Thursday afternoon.

While Jim and I were servicing the combine on Wednesday evening, he realized a bracket which is part of the spreader had broken. So, on Thursday morning, he took it to his favorite local welder and got it temporarily fixed until a new one can be shipped to him. He had also taken the time to drain the oil from the Beast on Wednesday evening  so he needed to finish that job on Thursday morning too. All this takes time. So, it was very close to noon before the Beast headed into the wheat to see what we had. Result? Moisture was 10% – plenty dry! So, the plans changed from “unsure of what we were doing” to “let’s cut wheat”! Continue reading

the northward trek – final day

photo (11) - CopyThis is where the Beast and Frank spent the night – The Miles City sale barn.

For those of you who do not follow the Zeorian Harvesting Facebook page, you haven’t seen a few of the pictures I’ve posted and you don’t know that we made it to our final destination. We got to Jordan about 10:30 a.m.

photo 1 (21) - CopyThis is one of those “sames”. This has been in this pasture welcoming us every summer. I look forward to seeing it and I don’t even know what it is.

photo 2 (22) - CopyA good sight to see…Jordan!

There are a few changes but mostly the town looks the same. This is the 34th summer we’ve been to Jordan. Not necessarily Zeorian Harvesting but my family. We (Hancock Custom Combining) stopped in Jordan for the first time the summer of 1981. I was oh so much younger then! :) The very first HUGE change is that we had to relocate our “home” to a different trailer park. We’ve been in the same one every summer since we first stopped here. Fellman’s (a convenient store/cafe) is closed. The swimming pool is open for the first time in a couple of years (updating). We haven’t been to the store or the post office yet. We’re hoping those are a couple of the “sames”.

The first thing we saw when we pulled into the farmyard was this awesome welcome sign. This was so much fun to see, Jennifer, you made our day!

photo (10) - CopyWe unloaded the service pickup and headed right back to the Cottage. We needed to get her set up and back to “normal” so we could continue with the day. Once we got everything hooked back up, it felt like we had never traveled the last several days. Jim and Callie jumped back in the dually and made that 85 mile trip back to Miles City to get the header trailer. We had to leave it at the sale barn as we lost it’s driver. Chanse, by the way, is back home tonight in his own bed. Again, thank you Chanse!

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photo 1 (22) - CopyIt’s very pretty here. There are even trees BUT it’s not the same.

photo 3 (5) - CopyThe view from my “desk”(aka the kitchen table).

photo 4 - Copy (13)Love these Big Sky sunsets

Everything is unloaded and ready to begin the task of harvesting wheat in the Jordan area. Our final stop for the summer. This also just feels weird. We just left home.