a wheat whackin week

IMG_8593Testing the “bite” of the grain to see if it’s dry.

We began cutting the acres for our farmer in the Garden City, KS area on Wednesday morning (6/24) without missing a beat.  If you recall, we finished Shattuck late Monday afternoon and loaded as much as we could. On Tuesday, Jim and Taylor loaded the combine while Callie and I got the trailer house ready to go. After the tire on the van was replaced, we headed north. We unloaded Frank and the Beast in the dark. The next morning, as we were leaving for the field, the girls were headed home.

IMG_8540A lot has happened since my last blog update. The days were long and usually didn’t end much before midnight. The cutting conditions were perfect – hot! There were a couple of mornings we had to wait for the morning dew to dry before we could get started. Especially with the last two fields we cut. These fields were irrigated – the grain was dry but the straw was still green. The end result was dry land averaging 60 bushels per acre and the irrigated had an average of 75 bushels per acre. The test weight was 60-62. Beautiful wheat! We finished exactly a week after we started. Record time! Sometimes, we’ve been known to sit here for weeks waiting for the grain to dry.

IMG_8577The problem with finishing in record time is not having anywhere to go before the next job is ready. The wheat in Colorado doesn’t look like it will be ready for a test cut much before this next weekend (7/12). Sitting still is not easy for me. I can only tolerate so much TV before I start to get a little stir crazy. The girls aren’t here. They’ll be joining us again on Tuesday or Wednesday. If they had been here, we might have convinced Jimbo to take a camping trip to the mountains for a couple of days. Instead, we will hang out here until they get back and then make our way towards Limon.

The past week has been a bit off without the girls. The groceries didn’t get bought, the mail didn’t get picked up, the dishes weren’t washed and the laundry didn’t get done. The first day away from the field was my catch-up day. Well…sorta. Every time I would just get involved with paper work and really deep, the phone would ring. It was Jim. Could I come to the farm and pick him up? Of course. So, I drop what I’m doing and walk away from it for at least an hour. Get back to the Cottage and begin again only to hear the phone ring again. “Can you come pick me up at the farm?” Sure.  Jim spent his day away from the field doing maintenance work on the trucks…something that probably didn’t get done before we left Nebraska.

IMG_8539As usual, what felt like at the time would never happen (the mountain load of work that needed caught up on) did.  I hurried and didn’t need to. With harvest, you never know what tomorrow will bring. I just know when I have time off, I must take advantage of that time and try to get as much done as possible. This time, though, I guess I wouldn’t have had to push so hard.

The plan is to load up and head out as soon as the girls get back. We’ll move to Limon and get ready to start again. The newest concern is the timing of our Colorado and Montana acres. Colorado is a bit late and Montana is way too early. Things always work out but right now the stress is wondering how it’s all going to play out. Stayed tuned to see how this situation works itself out.

IMG_8550A mama and her babies…

One of the evenings ended earlier than expected. A hydraulic leak was detected by the Beast’s brain and a screen told me the hydraulic oil reserve was low. It happened just as the final grain of wheat was being emptied into the truck. So, I shut it down and waited for Jim to come back to the field. It ended up being a broken “O” ring. It was replaced and we were back in action.

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IMG_8514While I was waiting for the repairs to be made, I just decided to take a few pictures. This first one was from the back-end of the Beast, looking inside.

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IMG_8528More action shots from the week:

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IMG_8530The irrigated wheat.

IMG_8531One morning before we got started, we were visited by the New Holland Harvest Support. As harvesters, we depend on them to be there when we need them. Thank you, Monte & Chase for taking time from your busy morning to come out and help us. We had been hearing a “ticking” noise in the feeder house. They decided they would come to the field and see if they could help us detect what was causing the issue. After a few adjustments, they were on their way back to Garden City. There’s been talk of taking this support away from the custom harvester. If this happens, there will be some really unhappy harvesters!!! We can’t do what we do without them.

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IMG_8579This irrigated field seemed to take FOREVER! As I mentioned, the straw was green. I was pushing the Beast at 2 mph. I was so glad to see this little slice of the picture turning from white to green! The green in the picture is the part of the field that had been cut.

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IMG_8581Nearly done!

IMG_8589The last bit of this field was the along a corn field. I took this video mostly for Jamie. If she had been riding with me, she would have been freaked out; thinking about some scary movie, I’m sure.

IMG_8594The final strip of Kansas wheat for another year!

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IMG_8597Jamie sent this picture of Eli to me this week after he got ahold of the newest edition of the US Custom Harvesters Harvest News magazine. It just warms my heart to see how much he loves the combines and equipment.

2 comments on “a wheat whackin week

  1. Judeen E Rikli says:

    Loved reading your post as usual, and seeing the pics, Tracy!!!! But my greatest “treat” this weekend was seeing Callie & Taylor and getting a hug!!! Sweet young ladies—–be a proud Momma!!!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      I AM a proud momma! 🙂 All my girls have turned into beautiful young women with lots to offer the world. Thanks, Judeen! Thanks for letting me know you’re still with me.

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