wheat harvest…a slow beginning

IMG_1988We left home two weeks ago tomorrow. We’ve cut two afternoons.

They say it’s not typical. They say wheat harvest has usually begun by now. They say harvest around here starts on Sunday.

We’ve been waiting and testing and testing and waiting. It just seems the moisture test remained at that 14.5-15.3% and just wasn’t moving. By the time we quit testing and was given the go, I think we had probably already cut nearly 15 acres. Each test taken to the elevator was with great anticipation that we’d be told we FINALLY reached that magic number. The elevator in Claude is very lenient with a 14% moisture threshold to shoot for.

PPMN2038The excitement of starting the engine and putting the Beast in action was there every time – only to be disappointed when the test shows a “no go” number.






CUBR2958After one of the “go back and wait a couple more hours” suggestion given by the elevator manager, we changed a sickle section and guard. Jim felt the need to give me a tutorial as a reminder how to do it in case he’s not in the field with me. I was glad he did – but didn’t want to admit to him that it was a good idea. It’s just a verification that I don’t remember as well as I used to and I don’t want to admit that.




STPM6926Checking another field to see if it might be drier than the one we’re waiting on.

AFMP3059It was late Sunday morning when we took yet another test to the elevator. The wheat just FELT drier and the monitor in the combine told us it was. But, to be sure, we took the sample to the elevator. When we arrived, we realized that it was closed. Harvest hasn’t started yet and it was a Sunday so it was understandable why no one was there. However, Jim decided he’d make a quick call to the manager to find out when he would be there. The answer was, “In five minutes”. So, we waited, of course! The answer…GET THAT COMBINE FIRED UP! We finally dropped below that 14% threshold and was given the green flag. Woo Hoo!!!

IMG_2044Sitting in front of the elevator making that important phone call.

IMG_2045Firing up Frank for the afternoon’s job.

IMG_2046The farmer and Jim discussing the elevator’s findings and the plan of attack. Our farmer has given us his tractor and grain cart to use while we’re here. This is something we don’t usually have the luxury of including in our day so this is going to be awesome! And we’re off!



IMG_2048We worked late (for us). It was after 11:00 pm when we finally quit for the night. Jim thought we would probably pay for it the next morning – anticipating an early start.  It didn’t start that way. We woke up to heavy fog and thick clouds and knew we had to wait until after lunch to try it again. There was a chance for rain. But the weatherman thought it would stay north of us. Wrong!

IMG_2086The clouds began inching their way late afternoon. Then the tornado and severe thunderstorm watches were issued. Still all north of us. As the afternoon turned into early evening, the watches turned to warnings. I kept watching my weather app and it appeared to be moving northeast so I wasn’t concerned.

JGGL0243With the last pass I made heading north, I realized the lightning was quite amazing and I could tell the clouds were basically right on top of me. When in the world did this happen? It must have happened when I had my back to it – sort of like a monster unknowingly sneaking up on you. I called Jim on the two-way and wondered if he thought I would make it that mile up and back. His answer, “NO!! Get out of the wheat right NOW and head back to the corner and go as fast as you can without tearing anything up!” So, I pulled out, stopped the Beast, put ‘er in road gear and headed back to where Frank was sitting. Jim was already standing at the back of the box waiting for me so he could roll the tarp as soon as the combine was unloaded. The wind had come up and you could tell the storm was nearly on top us. After I unloaded, I gathered my items that had been part of my day and shut the machine off, ran to the service truck and headed for the yard. “Put the pickup in the shed and if you can, get the Dodge in there too before it starts raining” (Jim)

I made it to the yard just as the first sprinkles began to fall from the sky – all the while my adrenaline racing. You never know how bad it’s going to be – will there be hail? Tornado? Damaging wind? So, I ran…yes, I ran! For those of you who know me, know I DON’T run (only when necessary). I hate running. But I RAN to the Cottage, grabbed the keys, RAN to the Dodge and put it in the shed next to the service pickup. I opened the door to hear the heavy rain beginning. So, I RAN from the shed, gathered the couple of pairs of jeans off the clothesline and back to the Cottage. And there we sat. Sat looking at each other knowing that what we had hoped for – consistent day after day of work – wasn’t going to happen. Not yet.

We ended up getting about 1 inch of rain. But we were lucky. Rumor has it just up the road north of us in Panhandle, they had 6 inches of rain and a tornado on the ground.

Yesterday, we were invited for lunch with some new friends and then headed to McLean for supper with the Misener Family HarvestersA good day to connect with friends!

Today is another day. Jim made a trip to Amarillo to get a tire replaced this morning. He just came back and brought a box of donuts. He handed it to me and said, “Here, have one. They really are the BEST donuts you’ll ever eat”.  I don’t eat many donuts but I gave in. He was right…it really was one of the best donuts I’d ever eaten. 🙂


Jim just walked out the door as he was telling me he was going to where the equipment was, “I don’t know what today will bring”. And I replied, “Okay, I’m going to sit here and sew and we’ve got donuts to eat for lunch!”

9 comments on “wheat harvest…a slow beginning

  1. Linda says:

    So sorry you have had so much time waiting. I hope you are getting lots of sewing done. Can’t wait to see you guys.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Jim’s mom left an unfinished quilt for Nora when she passed away. I’m feeling a blog post…❤️
      Can’t wait to see you guys either!!!!

  2. Dave Jordan says:

    So sorry for your slow start up. So many do not understand that agriculture production is so affected by weather that is completely out of individual control. Nor are producers able to control prices either.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Right!! Maybe being able to share this story – of waiting- will help tell that story.

  3. I know what you going thru being a northern Illinois farmer the hole spring has not been normal The crops were looking good until the last 2 nights of storms 6″ rain got about 25 acres that will drown out. Keep your faith and hope tomorrow will be better. Enjoy your posts and pictures are always the best.

  4. Tom Stegmeier says:

    Jim & Tracy so glad that every thing is safe & sound. I here you Allan Z ,our spring weather has been so swingy one week we are in the 90″s the next, well today we had frost & a frost warning tonight ,hope the canola won’t get cooked have had only 2 3/16in of rain all spring . It is sooo dry here the frogs are packing their own water!!! Alberta weather !!! Have you & Jim ever had the same experience with storms in your cutting years ? So a short raincation ( fingers crossed )

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      We’re hoping to get back in the field tomorrow. Tom, Jamie told me we received your gift. Thank you!! She said she would bring it with her when she comes to visit. We’ll get a picture by the real one and share it with you. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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