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). ย 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.




IMG_4597And water where I haven’t seen water before. I’m certain this countryside looks totally different when the spring thaw happens; but I’ve never seen it. ย So, this was fun for me.

IMG_4598Just look at this gorgeous blue sky – no filters whatsoever.




IMG_4605I couldn’t stop with the pictures. I just wanted to remember this beauty forever. August means brown and crunchy not green and growing.

IMG_4607There they are. I wonder if they missed us. Just sitting there on the side of the hill wondering when they might get to work again.

Jim eased his way into the field and then I could sense his nervousness. “What’s wrong?”, I asked. “Well, I could feel the tires spinning”. This service pickup of ours is very heavy and doesn’t get along very well. We don’t have 4-wheel drive (and probably should). I’ve seen this pickup spin in very dry, powdery soil and get stuck. So, it didn’t surprise me when he bailed out of it and said, “I’ll be back”.

IMG_4611He had to see for himself what condition the field was in. In all the years that we’ve been coming to Jordan, we’ve never experienced rain such as we had. Rumor has it that the fields where the equipment was sitting might have had 7″-8″ of rain. Like I said, the yearly average rainfall for Jordan is 12.73″.

While Jim was walking to the Beast and Frank, I took off on my own. I wanted to walk to the coulee I had been to a couple of weeks ago to see how full of water it was. As I walked through the field towards the road, I couldn’t help notice the HUGE elk tracks that were in the mud.


IMG_4616Here…this might help you better understand their size.

IMG_4619Yep…water where there hadn’t been when we left a week ago.

IMG_4627And the desert was alive with color.




I returned to the pickup at exactly the same time Jim did. He lowered the tailgate, sat down and started scraping the mud from his boots. “Well, what’d you find?”, I asked. “There’s mud everywhere. But you see, it’s not regular mud. I don’t understand what’s out there. There’s sand and there are seeps and it’s troublesome”. This stresses Jim beyond words. To bury a combine is the worst nightmare he could have.

IMG_4630After he finished scraping the mud, we jumped back in the cab and backed out of the field. “Want to go back a different way?” “Sure!” So we drove to an intersection and turned south. “I’m going to turn left at every intersection we come to” When we got to the first T in the road, he asks me, “Left or right?” I said, “Right.” Then he tried to convince me why we shouldn’t turn right. So, I said, “Why do you ask me if you’re going to do what you want to anyway?” Guess I must have made him feel bad, because he turned right. “Well, we have between 1/4 and 1/2 tank of gas.” I could sense his nervousness. He didn’t know where we were and I was feeling like I had done something wrong by suggesting the turn to the right. Eventually, we started recognizing different landmarks. “I know where we’re at!”, he exclaimed. Whew! This even made me feel better.


IMG_4634We eventually made our way to the highway and headed East back towards Jordan. We came to a familiar turnoff and he headed south again. “How long has it been since you’ve been down this road?” “Gosh, I don’t even know. A long, long, long time!” We were headed to a part of the world that used to be his (our) daily routine a lot of years ago. We were headed to Tom Thumb’s “rock farm”. We started cutting this particular area in 1991. Its nickname, “rock farm”, comes from the numerous large rocks that are scattered throughout the fields. Jim used to come home from these fields stressed to the max. Putting a rock through the machine would not have been good on the ‘ole Case combine. Jim’s dad was the truck driver. Back when it was just Jamie and Jenna and it was our job to haul meals to the field. The last year we were here would have been 1999.



IMG_4639Then I spotted an old friend of mine…Henry. After we bought Henry from my Grandpa, we nicknamed it after Henry Ford. Grandpa bought two of these trucks in 1973 and one in 1974. Jim thinks these may have been the only new trucks he ever bought. These are what he pulled his combines with.

harvest4-001You can find more old pictures if you visit the post titled, “boredom produces old harvest picture gallery.

1975-0011Jim leaning against Henry in 1975 – his first year on harvest (all of 18). Who would have known where this guy and this truck would be so many years later – 39 to be exact.

“Here, let me take a picture of you.”, says Jim. He knew how much this truck meant to me. I just needed to crawl in the cab one more time to see if it still smelled the same. The same sweet, gassy, greasy smell that I remember from so many years ago. It did. And the tears began to flow. How can a piece of equipment – a truck – make you feel like you did when you were 12? I sort of have this 12-year-old theme going, I guess. First it’s the Massey Ferguson 750 combine and now it’s the 1973 Ford grain truck. Oh…if only they could talk!



IMG_4644The only thing that could make this any better is if there was a scratch and sniff patch!


12 comments on “the color green

  1. Kevin Nelson says:

    What a wonderful post! Hope you are able to continue and finish harvest without mishap.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Why…thank you, Kevin!
      Now we’ve decided to escape the confines of the Cottage and headed to the Montana mountains for a few days. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Will get back to finish when the ground is dry.

  2. Pat Schlegel says:

    The old Ford still looks good.. The interior even looks good. 1973 would have been about the year My uncle would have bought his GMC 6000 and dad bought his 1951 International L160. About 1977 I bought a 1964 Ford C850. The rearend went out of the L160 on me in 78 and it was replaced with a C50 Chevrolet mid harvest. The frame of that truck was long so we made the old 14′ bed into a 16′ and added a hoist. The grain elevator was about 20 miles away and from the third week of September to the end of harvest just before Thanksgiving I’d log about 2,000 miles on each of those trucks. I know that is nothing compared to the miles you log each year but it kept me busy back then hauling corn and beans away form a JD 6620.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      After Jim and I bought Henry from Grandpa, we had the seat re-covered. We did nothing to the rest of it. I’m so glad the current owner loves it as much as we did!! And, it’s so much fun seeing it once in awhile.

  3. Beautiful pictures as always just keep getting better.Hope you get done in a couple days. Sitting around is more stressful than the job itself. Pray you don’t get stuck that no fun as we all know. Be careful.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      We haven’t sat around for the past several days. We decided to escape for a few days and headed to the mountains. You can count on a blog with lots of pics to follow! Hoping maybe once we get back, we’ll be able to get to moving again.

  4. You have this amazing knack for finding the importance in simple, everyday things and I just adore it! Your posts leave me with my heart almost welling up with emotion. The memories, the love, the passion! Love it!

    p.s. having met you and Jim both, I can TOTALLY hear this dialogue going on throughout your post! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Aw…you haven’t any idea how much I respect what you have to say about my writing! Thanks, Jenny. If I can stir you that way, maybe I do that to others, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. GNauman says:

    Loved the old harvest pictures. Some of my fondest memories are of the hours I spent riding on that ledge behind my Dad in the 510 Massey. We had an 850 next, then went to Case IH. Dad is 89 and is determined to run a combine again this fall. It his favorite time of year. Look forward to your posts on All Aboard, and your blog. Hope you can finish up harvest soon, and have safe travels home. Here in northwest Missouri, we have had 14 inches of rain since first of August. Not a typical summer.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      These darn combines and trucks certainly bring back great memories – just like a favorite song! When you hear it, it takes you back to a certain time and a certain emotion. That’s what the combine and harvest does to me. Thank you for taking the time to let me know you read my blog and that it stirred an emotion inside of ya. No…harvest 2014 has NOT been a typical summer journey!!!

  6. Doug says:

    I know that old grain truck smell real well! Grandpa’s old ton and a half Ford had the same smell, only he kept this old rag in there on the seat that he used to wipe the dust off the windshield with so it added a smell of corn and soybean dust to the mix! Great memories! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      It’s a bit weird, I know, but I almost wish I could just take that truck home so I could jump in the cab and smell the days of being 12 in a truck that would end up meaning so much to me 40 years later!

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