Father’s Day 2017

“Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.”Friedrich Nietzsche

“My dad was my best friend and greatest role model. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend.”Tiger Woods

“When it comes to Father’s Day, I will remember my dad for both being there to nurture me and also for the times he gave me on my own to cultivate my own interests and to nurture my own spirit.”Jennifer Grant

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I suppose that looks like an odd combination of people to quote – a scholar with some interesting, provocative views on the world, a world class athlete with some questionable personal issues, and an actress from Beverley Hills 90210.

All are valid quotes though, and I feel that my dad will get a kick out of them once he reads them.

I think it’s probably easier for women in general to write about such things, especially about their fathers. I think just about any of us in the agriculture field was a “daddy’s girl” whether we knew it or not. Some of us while growing up maybe dabbling in ag because it was our father’s hobby, born into a the family business, or we fell into it unexpectedly.

My father grew up in Northeastern Wisconsin into a poor family that subsistence farmed well into the 1960’s. They grew what they needed to survive, had a hodge podge of livestock, and contracted to grow cucumbers for a local pickle company- Bond Pickle Co. that used to be right on the rain system in Oconto, WI.

His love for gardening, hobby farming, and an increased interest in naturalism strengthened over the years and after traveling the world in the military. There were always vegetable gardens and flower beds while I was growing up. He didn’t need anything fancy. He was brought up to work hard and lead by example, and that work ethic showed in his leadership while progressing through the ranks first in the Air Force and then the Navy. He instilled those same traits, work ethics, and mentalities in me.

Over the years he’s focused on rebuilding my family’s property- the natural wildlife population has slowly come back- quail, turkeys, foxes, birds not seen in the area for years, etc. It’s turned into one of his greatest joys. You don’t need to be a “farmer” to appreciate what you can do for the land, and in turn, what the land can give back to you. Imagine his surprise (or, maybe not) when I ended up in the middle of nowhere Nebraska and eventually started a job that no one had ever expected me to do (including myself)- farm and custom harvest.

Even though some of our worldy views may differ, he’s always encouraged me to explore, go out into the world, and find what was right for me. He’s always supported my decisions and yet knew when to stand back and let me make the mistakes we all make when we’re young and stubborn and have our own lessons to learn.
Here’s to the fathers in the world that (tried to) patiently teach all of us while growing up- whether it be in the world of agriculture, driving a stick, rebuilding an engine on a car, complex math equations that we never end up using in real life, changing a tire, their best ways to do certain things.

Here’s the the fathers who work long tiring hours at the office so their wives can be stay at home moms and create more of a traditional/conservative home life.

Here’s to the father’s who are gone for days, weeks, or months on end to provide for their families. Whether be it over the road truck drivers, pilots, military, etc. Sometimes our professions are our choice and what we dreamed of as being little, sometime it’s just purely a job that is financially the best way to selflessly provide. Everyone makes a sacrifice- but our society seems to place the focus of the sacrifice on the mother- let’s not forget about the father.

With that said, let’s not forget about the mother’s for whatever reason are raising their children by themselves and have to fill both parental roles.

And even on the flip side of that- here’s to the single dads that do the equivalent of a single mother and seem to never receive those same accolades.

Here’s to the dad’s who are the stay at home dad’s- being a stay at home parent is no easy task, and here’s to the men that realize that them staying home works the best for their family and situation.

And also, please let’s not forget about the father’s who no longer have their children with them on this Earth. The emotions, feelings, reactions, anger, guilt, etc. all still are very valid to the men who have lost a child. Fathers and men are not immune to this. Take a moment and think of them on this day.

To my daddy: thank you for teaching me about so many things over the years, and I appreciate each day with you, along with all of the sacrifices you made for our family. Our family is blessed to have a hard working, kind, generous soul as our rock.

-Love,
Your Punky.

This entry written in cooperation with HarvestHER. Go checkout our Facebook as well!

 

Grandmothers & Apples

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
― Henry David Thoreau

I’ve been meaning to write a few different blog posts in the past few weeks, but today this one grabbed me by the figurative balls. This is one of those writing that screamed at me to sit down and write.

Today is one of those days that bring a hint of fall, and with that the feeling of melancholy and nostalgia. It’s in the low 60s, cloudy, cool, damp, and grey. The kind of day where you need some sort of comfort food.

Today, that food is apple crisp. (Mostly prompted by the fact that I had a bunch of apples that needed to be used soon.

I had two grandmothers (as most people do), both very different.

My mom’s mother was Grandma and my dad’s mother was Granny.

Grandma and I were extremely close. I spent an incredible amount of time at her house, She was patient, she was kind. She was a beautiful woman that has part of her soul in mine. She was German and Polish and an amazing cook that could whip up a feast at the drop of a pin and made it seem so so easy. Holidays were spent at her house and no one left without feeling uncomfortably full. Food always brought the family together, and just about every woman in the family has an inherent feel for cooking.

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I only have a few pictures of my Grandma on my computer. I swear she looks like Queen Elizabeth II.

Grandma passed away when I was seventeen, between my junior and senior year in high school. She wanted to pass at home, and that’s what we did for her. My mom, aunt’s, my cousin, my dad, and I all took shifts caring for her. As hard as it was for us to watch, we took care of her every minute in her last weeks on this Earth, bathing, cleaning, and doing the dirty jobs that come with an eventual death. I wouldn’t give up that experience for anything. There were so many tears, but so many laughs and memories made. Her funeral of course was sad, but joyous knowing she was again with my grandfather and family, probably having one hell of a party. At the cemetery we toasted with champagne and poured an entire bottle over the turned dirt for her and my grandfather. Maybe odd, but so fitting for our family.

I inherited the vast majority of her dishes, cooking ware, etc. Some items I’ve had to replace over the past few years out of necessity, and I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt throwing the items in the trash. Then I know exactly The Look she would have given me and exactly what she would have said, (something along the lines of “Don’t be foolish. Get something brand spankin’ new and nice for yourself. You deserve it.”) and probably would have smacked me on the arm.

The first Thanksgiving I cooked after I moved to NE, I was (unfoundedly) nervous. It was my first “big traditional meal” that I was going to prepare, and I wanted to do it justice. I had gotten up way early that morning and I remember standing in the kitchen thinking of all the stuff I needed to do. All of a sudden I felt totally calm (Matt might not have agreed) and I swear our house smelled like her house, and I knew that she was there. And that Thanksgiving went off without a hitch.

I miss her now more than I did after she had passed. She would have loved my husband and their cheeky humor together would have been an absolute riot.

Granny on the other hand, brings back different memories. She was French-Canadian and Belgian and grew up speaking French at home. She could have been a model in her younger years, and that beauty masked a very hard and poor life growing up.

The smell of wood smoke and fall remind me the most of her. Growing up, her property was where the family gardens were and I remember planting and hoeing rows of cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, corn, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and whatever else that ended up getting planted that year. One row that was always planted without fail was a line of gladiola flowers for my aunt Susie. They of course were the first to bloom and I remember running down the hill each spring to smell them and knowing that the rest of the garden was on it’s way out of the ground.

Her land, my parent’s land, and my aunt and uncle’s land created one giant property that provided for a series of deer hunting towers and blinds built by my uncle, a refuge for wildlife, and the best fort building material that a kid could ask for.

There was a beautiful ancient red maple tree in the front yard that during the summer provided an immense amount of shade for parking, sitting and playing under, etc. It served as second base for kickball and softball games, and during the fall was the most gorgeous tree on the road. Sadly, a few weeks ago the age and weight of the tree became too much for it, and one of the large limbs fell across the road and split the tree. The REA/power company came out and cut it down before any more damage would happen. My mom sent me pictures when they were cutting it down, and part of myself felt like it was being cut along with it. The yard looks empty and bare now, and I’m dreading driving past when I return home for Christmas.

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The Tree. Photo credit actually goes out to my mom a few years back on this one. Later on this year after the bottom of the trunk is exposed, my dad plans to count the rings.

On the property there were apple trees, six of them that I remember. The type of apple trees that were so old and big that they drooped with age and apples. The apples themselves were so tart that you could hardly stand to just eat them by themselves, but they made excellent pie apple and stored well in the cellar. What I wouldn’t give now to have one of those trees nearby.

Granny, to put it politely, was not known for her cooking skills. The whole family knew it, and it’s been a butt of jokes. One of the things she could make though was her apple pie.

She made it the old fashioned way, with the left over bacon grease and lard. Enough of it to make a cardiologist have a heart attack on sight. Those tart apples got sweeter and held up the crisp inside of the pie like nothing else.

Granny sadly passed away only a few years ago from Alzheimer’s. I was able to drive back home for the funeral in between wheat and fall harvest, and even though I was told by my family that I didn’t have to, I’m glad that I did. Granny and I weren’t close, but a smell of a wood fire brings me back to her house in a heart beat.

So today, in my nostalgic mood, I bring you apple crisp.

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pretty apples!

Grandma’s Recipe for Apple Crisp
1 tsp. salt
1 c. flour
1 c. uncooked quick oats
2 c. sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (or apple pie spice)
1 stick butter

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×12 baking dish. Slice or dice apples to cover the whole bottom of the pan, plus a little bit more. The firmer/crisper the apple, the better. (For this instance, I just used a hodge podge of apples that I already had, including Granny Smith, Gala, and Braeburn.)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over the apples in an even layer.

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mmm butter.

Take the stick of butter and thinly slice and layer over the dry mix.

Bake at 350F for approx. 35 minutes or so, until the apples are tender and the top is golden brown. (You may want to check for dry spots on top and add a bit more butter in those places).

I also sprinkle some coarse sugar over the top.

And of course, vanilla ice cream.
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No bacon unfortunately was used in the making of this recipe, and the edges were a bit more done than I’d have liked them to be. (I’ll blame it on getting used to a new oven…yeah, I’ll go with that.)

As this blog suggests, I’m cooking something and that means that we’re home- for a little while. I’ll catch up on our exodus from North Dakota, getting back home, our weekend visitors, and the Grapes of Wrath soon.

Day 70.

We’ve been in New England, North Dakota for two weeks now, and surprisingly it’s gone fairly well up until a few days ago. Starting in mid-August, ND weather usually turns into a crap shoot- you never know what you’re dealing with really. When we were here last year, it was 80 degrees on a Friday, two days later that Sunday was a high of 35 degrees with freezing rain. Nasty and miserable. Thankfully we had a stretch of good, hot weather that cooked our fields. There were some late starts, early nights, and a few days where the farmer told us not to bother.

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durum durum.

Even with it being stop and go, we so far have managed to cut all of our farmer’s spring wheat, and about a third of the durum. The past few days we’ve been running up against green durum that isn’t quite ready, and we’ve been playing the “find the dry patches in the field” in between the threat of rain.

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stupid weeds.

Durum is a very specific type of hard wheat. It’s worth much more than the typical hard red winter and hard red spring wheat that’s typically grown. Regular wheat is used for feed and flour, but amber durum is to make flour for pasta and can be processed into semolina. After the durum is ready to be cut, farmers can get a bit fanatic to get it off as soon as possible- if ripe durum gets rained on, it gets bleached out, which causes it to be worth approx. a dollar less per bushel- which adds up to be a lot.

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The canola is still a ways out yet, but was sprayed earlier this week. Fingers crossed, we can jump on that in a few days. We straight cut canola here, which is always a fantastic time (/sarcasm).

Sunflowers (or, just “flowers”) are a pretty big crop in North Dakota as well. We don’t cut flowers, but a lot of our fields border flower fields. Seriously, how can one not be happy when there’s a couple hundred acres of these looking at you?

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sunflower fields forever.

 

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I mean, really. flowers!

When we’re here in ND, we cut back on how many people we need. Because all of the grain goes right to the farmer’s bins, we only have two truck drivers. We also only run three combines and one cart. Matt hops in a combine up here, and I’m usually on the ground until the remaining college kids go home. We only have one up here this year, so I’ll hop into that combine, and we’ll have a total of six people.

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white sage and goldenrod. nothing to do with anything.

We rent out part of a house/pheasant lodge to stay in, and it has a full kitchen, living room, and dining room set up. By this point of the year, it’s fantastic to be able to have real meals, space to relax that isn’t a hotel room, and a tv to watch the Olympics. The South Africans that came up here with us are an absolute blast. Damn near every night we cook family style and actually all sit down around a table with good food and drinks, which I think has improved the general mood greatly. We’re all away from home, and this makes it feel less so. The inside jokes and stories have definitely increased in the past week.

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The warm fuzzy “family” feeling makes for practical jokes if you’re not paying attention.

We’ve got (high) hopes that we can be done here around August 20th or so and head back home to Valentine. I’m ready to be home for a little bit before leaving for York, Nebraska for our high moisture corn job, and I’m definitely ready to see my dog again. Our farmer’s hired man, Ben, has a pup that makes me miss my dog tons more, but he helps me watch the combines go around the field, and is damn good company (and a pretty decent afternoon nap and cuddle buddy).

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Thanks for hanging with me, Trapper!

We didn’t work at all yesterday, and Jan (one of the South Africans) cooked us an amazing meal of beer can chicken done on the grill. Ben and Trapper showed up, and we spent a long time laughing and putting down brandy. Ben also brought us a bunch of lamb, and I am beyond excited. Lamb is something that American’s just cannot cook right, and the SA’s are going to do something amazing with it tonight.

Of Weeks Past

It’s been almost a month since I’ve taken the time to sit down and write. Time has spun a fast web and I’ve gotten caught up in it. To be honest, I have had the time to write in the past week or so, but lure of extra sleep or brief times we were actually home in Valentine outweighed sitting in front of a computer. Cell phone reception has also been pretty sketchy in the fields we cut, and that’s when I normally take the time to post anything new. Lugging the backpack with my laptop and camera equipment got be to be a pain in the ass too. I’m picky and don’t like it to be in the bed the of the pickup and we didn’t have enough room in the pickups for it to be comfortable. So, unfortunately, most of the pics I’ve taken have been from my phone.

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The sky was on fire. -southwest of Ogallala

My last post put us in Dodge City being constantly rained out. Since then we moved to and from Ogallala, NE and Hemingford, NE.

Dodge City/Ford ended up being a one hell of a muddy mess, but thank the lucky stars no one got stuck. We ended up pulling out and leaving just one combine and truck behind to finish up a particularly hellacious field.

We moved from Dodge City to Big Springs/Ogallala area in southwest Nebraska in a series of moves over the course of almost a week. The job itself went really well, even though we had to call in help for our second job near Chappell- there was no way we could do two jobs so close to each other with the amount of combines we had this year. Wheat from Scott City KS all the way into Murdo, South Dakota and places in Idaho and Montana ripened at the same time. I think just about every custom harvester was put into the same position as us. When we got to Ogallala, one of our harvest kids from last year took vacation from his summer job spraying for a co-op this year to come out and run combine for us. (Only a hardcore farmer would take a vacation to go work.) We “stole” a combine from Valentine and needed an extra guy. We were so glad that Seth was able to come and help us out and it was great to catch up with him.

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Seth was #thelonewolf

I was able to meet up with the son of a guy that I’ve known for a very large part of my life. Darcey was in the Navy with my dad for many many years, and was pretty much an uncle type figure to me, along with the rest of the unit. His son, Logan, joined with a different harvest crew, and we knew our paths would cross at some point this summer. Luck be have, his crew was cutting less than a mile from us and we were able to chat in the middle of the road (literally) for quite awhile. I think our dad’s were pretty excited that we got to meet up.

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Heeeeeey, Logan!

The wheat at home got ready at the same time we were in Ogallala and those poor bastards only had two 670s with 35 ft heads. Virtually all of our wheat is irrigated, so it was a slow process until combines started to come back from Kingsville, TX. After they got two 680s with 40ft heads running with them, harvest went fast. It’s almost funny- Matt and I pretty much never get to see our own company’s wheat.

Ogallala came and went and we moved to Hemingford, NE. The same crew that helped us out in Chappell moved to that job and started for us there. We caught the middle of harvest there, and with two seperate crews, the wheat was knocked out in record time. The farmer had quite a few acres of yellow field peas this year, so after the wheat was done, we got the 680s blown off and pinned up to move to North Dakota, and sent everyone home to Valentine. Matt and I stayed behind with a 670 and a 35ft flex head to do peas. While Matt combined with the farmer, I did a bunch of maintenance work on the 40 ft heads, got the rotor bands and brackets in the 680s.

And we watched it rain and hail more than once. Once storm brought a fury of hail that seemed to just flip the bird to our farmer and only hailed out his crops. We used a scoop shovel to re-ice the beer coolers and sat in his shop and watched it all play out.

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Some days require a 60oz coffee…

Hemingford is probably my favorite place to harvest at. We’ve been cutting for the same family owned farm for over 20 years now, and it’s always a lot of fun. Some customers you tend to bond more with, and that’s the case with this job. Another big factor is Phillip’s F&T in Hemingford. Phillip’s is a family owned fuel and trucking station/shop. They are hands down some of my favorite people on this earth. They are so much fun, helpful beyond belief, and always good for a laugh, shenanigans, and just a plain old stress reliever. They are friends. That statement may sound generic, but when you’re on the road for so long, the term “friend” becomes much more meaningful. These are people we talk to year round, people who know what our job entails, people who know the lingo, know when we’re stressed beyond belief, etc. When the night is winding down, you can usually find a movie projected on the side of the shop, wheelbarrows with iced beer, something cooking on the Pizazz, and always good company (and a dog to love on!)

Because of the weather and the delays, we managed to get home and sleep in our own bed on two separate occasions. I’m happy to say that the house is still in good repair from all of the vicious storms Valentine has had in the past week.

Now we’re currently calling New England, North Dakota home. The three combines and cart we needed were moved on Tuesday, and we followed with the pickups, shop truck and headers yesterday. It was a long and frustrating day for us.

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Hemingford, NE

Nothing is quite ready here near New England. We cut spring wheat, durum, and straight cut canola for this farmer. The whole area is green. Regent, ND is a popular place for custom crews to base their operations at and holy crap, I’ve never seen Regent so full of harvesters waiting. We sampled a bit tonight on the field that looked the most ready, but it was still at 17.5 on the hill tops. It’s going to be awhile, and we’re going to be here awhile. It seems like this year we’re either early or fashionably late. (Fashionably makes it sound better….?)

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Jan.

I’m still a sucker for a sunset and clouds. I don’t often take photos of people, but I managed to snap this one with him knowing. This is Jan, one of the South Africans that joined with us this year. He’s always taking pictures of harvest and every one else, but not many pictures get taken of him.

So, now we sit and wait in ND and hopefully something will happen later today or tomorrow.

Oh, Kansas.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
-Charles Dudley Warner

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At least the arrival of bad weather makes for some killer pictures.

And trust me, if there was one group of people in the world that could do something about the weather, it would be farmers.

We are still stuck in Ford/Dodge City. No offense to Kansas, but I’m starting to get sick of you. Any ground and time we had gained at the start of harvest has disappeared in a heart beat.

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As awful as this storm was to watch roll in, somehow by the grace of God we didn’t get anything out of it. Like I said, killer pics.

Six combines and four grain carts have now left over the course of the week for Kingsville TX to harvest the entire milo crop for the historic King Ranch. If you’ve never heard of the King Ranch, I highly encourage you to take a quick look at the history behind the Ranch. It’s absolutely incredible, and the scale of it’s diverse operations is enormous. I was lucky enough to go down a few years back before Matt took over “the north route”.

So, now we’re down to three combines and one grain cart to slowly finish the last of our job in Ford. The weather has not been cooperating and it’s been one step forward, two steps back. We only have about two hundred acres left here and we have to get to Big Springs, NE. In all reality, we should be there now.

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Down wheat and bad weather makes for some miserable cutting conditions.

The only solace is that we know a bunch of other harvest crew stuck in the same situation. It’s not really a solace, I guess. No one wants to be stuck at a job. No one wants the weather to be shitty. Everyone wants a quick, fast, hard run.

But all of us know that concept is never a reality. If wishes were horses…well…. combines would be running full bore.

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I tried giving Mother Nature the stare down. It didn’t work.

Nothing real exciting has happened since my last post. If the weather is decent, we can run. Thankfully the rain has mostly occurred at night, so the next day we stay busy doing maintenance on trailers, trucks, combines, tractors, and this week, loading the equipment for Texas.

We’ve been on the road for just shy of a month now, and we still have a long road ahead of us. It’s hard to believe it’s July 1st already.

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Wish I could write something with more juicy details or anything exciting, but, it’s been boring. Boring is good though because it means nothing awful has happened.

This is how farming and harvesting goes. Hurry up and wait. Suck it up and take Mother Nature for what she’s worth. No one can control the weather, but what a superpower that would be.

Take what you can get inch by inch. Beat your head against the wall. Live and breath and love and hate this job all at the same time. Go to bed and wake up the next morning and do what you can. Try to be a little bit better each day.

The Days Blend Together- Dodge City/ Ford, KS

How did it get so late, so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon,
December is here before June.
My goodness how the time has flewn,
How did it get so late, so soon?”
-Dr. Seuss

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Nothing beats a Kansas Sunset. Ford, Kansas

I remember being a little kid and time seemed to go so slow. How soon is my birthday? When’s Christmas? Why are we driving so slow? I want to go to Grandma’s now! My parent’s would laugh and tell me “wait until you’re older”.

Well, I’m not “old” by any means but the past few years, holy crap do I understand what they mean. I’m not sure how time the time flies by, whether you’re having fun or not.

We’ve been staying in Dodge City for almost two weeks now and it’s been slow going. Previous storms and high winds have laid almost all wheat down. Anyone who has run a combine knows that this is the total shits. It’s not just “our” wheat. It’s everyone’s in the area. It only proves that Mother Nature is always Boss.

We breezed right through Oklahoma, and now Dodge City has crept us to almost a standstill. Any time we thought we had gained has now been pretty much lost. Mother Nature decided to throw a nasty heat wave through out the entire Midwest and Plains region making everything ready way too close together. I know of crews that have been harvesting in Idaho already.

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I’ve been in a black & white mood lately.

It’s. Been. Hot. Like over 100 degrees hot. The type of heat where it sucks the energy out of you, makes you not want to eat, and no amount of air conditioning in the middle of the day makes it bearable when you’re in and out of the pickup. I’m glad that the combines and tractors have awesome air conditioning so that the “kids” are comfortable. As long as they don’t break down or have any problems, they’re fine. Heat waves like this make me want to make shorts, but crawling around on the ground in wheat stubble in shorts or getting covered in chaff gets pretty itchy pretty quick. I dug around online and found some super lightweight military issue paratrooper type cargo pants. They breathe much easier and are more comfortable than jeans in this heat. I know I’ve gotten some derogatory comments about wearing military cargo pants, work boots, and tank top with a baseball hat (heard the word “dyke” get muttered once when I ran to get lunch at Jimmy John’s). As to that, a big middle finger to that chauvinistic pig.

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The now nicknamed Goodfeathers outside of our hotel. (Which you probably won’t get unless you remember Animaniacs.)

Like I wrote at the beginning of this entry, the days have been blending together. Looking back on the calendar, all I can really say is that it’s been a lot of long but slow days. Nothing big has gone wrong, the guys have settled into their grooves for the most part, and we can feel confident leaving the field for awhile to get stuff done without too much supervision. The nine combines are now broken up into three different crews. I’ve either spent the day sitting in one field and only running to get lunch, or I’ve spent the whole day running around and not staying in one place for more than an hour.

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Late evening on the last field of the night is always my favorite time.

It rained last Saturday, and I’m not ashamed that I spent the whole day sleeping. I woke up in the morning to tell everyone to go back to bed, then woke up for lunch, and woke up again for supper. Sunday was Father’s day, and we managed to move a few combines and start around 5pm to only shut down around 930.

We knew it was going to rain yesterday, but had hoped it would have held off a few more hours, at least so one crew could finish cutting the last field of seed triticale.

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Waiting for the storm. Mike apparently has no legs.

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First storm rolling in yesterday. Ford, Kansas.

That didn’t happen. Nothing was accomplished besides servicing combines and blowing off another air-to-air on a truck. Everyone went and ate lunch, and again, I slept most of the afternoon after taking a care of of some paperwork. Matt and I went to see the late viewing of Finding Dory in 3D and I wasn’t disappointed. There was two other people in the whole theater and all of us were adults. Bonus: Dreamlounger seats. I don’t think I can go to the movies without those seats anymore.

It rained again a few more times last night and this morning, so it’s another day at a standstill. Matt went out with some of the crew to replace a load cell in a grain cart and do some other odds and ends, but I really didn’t need to go out there. I’ve been catching up on some emails, a bit of editing and writing, and we’ll see what the afternoon brings.

 

Good Bye, Dacoma.

This blog post was orginally written and posted for HarvestHER on June 14, 2016.  HarvestHER is an online community formed by women for women who work within the custom harvest world. Custom harvest is a small part within the agricultural community, and women are even a smaller percentage. HarvestHER focuses on these women’s stories. Without the women behind the scenes, harvest would run a lot less smoothly. Some are harvest wives, some are owners of the company with their husbands, and a few like me are paid employees from a non-family related company. We are the backbone. Stay tuned for more of my posts on HarvestHER and some potential big updates from them.

Hello Dodge City, and Ford KS.

I have never been in and out of Dacoma and the surrounding area that quick. 15 thousand acres and 8 days of cutting- no rain or anything. We got there and kicked it’s butt.

Friday we were still up in Kiowa cutting on a section and a half. I spent a lot of the day running around and picking up parts and paying bills in Alva. We got our first shipment of mail from back home which is always exciting. Matt finally got a new phone which is fantastic- now you can actually hear him. AND he (stubbornly) graduated from a flip phone to a smart phone.

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Alva, OK- if you drive around there are a ton of murals painted on the side of buildings. This one is by far my favorite. The shadow work is spot on. The two men painting? They’re painted themselves.

Saturday morning we got the guys going again, and then went into Kiowa for a quick meeting. While we were there we picked up a couple pizzas for everyone’s lunch. I fed everyone else first, then at about noon we moved from Kiowa back to Dacoma and started on our last few quarters. Although the move wasn’t bad at all, it took forever. We pulled three headers back to Dacoma, waited for three combines to get there, hooked them up, and then went back for the shop truck, last combine, and last header. It took almost three hours by the time everything was said and done. Then I finally got to eat my cold pizza. Still tasty. Our friend John was around again for most of Saturday and into Sunday. Saturday night he brought me out a large caramel frappe from McDonald’s. Total win for me. It’s little things as simple as a frozen coffee drink at 8pm that make your day. Also: drop off laundry service- might have to cough up the dough but so worth it. I don’t have time or energy to do laundry half the time.

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The ditches are filled with wildflowers this time of year.

Sunday we wiped out the last of our job in Dacoma and loaded the heads and blew off the combines a bit for our next move. Got back to our hotel after grabbing Taco Mayo, and then sorted out and organized probably 100+ tickets for our customer. I got to bed before 1130- it was awesome.

Monday morning it had rained in Alva, but our crew was moving to Dodge City anyways. We road the combines and tractors from Dacoma to our job in Ford KS. Some of the guys kind of get annoyed by the 6 hour drive, but by the time you load four combines and two tractors and carts, chain them down, and drive them to Ford, it’s just quicker and easier to road all the equipment.

We also dropped off a couple cases of beer to the guys (also gave the woman a pack of bottled margaritas) at the Dacoma Co-op. They’re so good to us and are willing to help with anything that we need. A couple cases of beer is nowhere near enough thanks, (especially cause I grabbed dinner there a few times, got snacks pretty much whenever, and tend to just sit and loiter), but you can still convey a lot of appreciation from a few cold ones.

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Dumping wheat into a pit. Dust and boring.

Got our combines on the road, and two pickups pulling heads left with them and guided them on the less traveled back roads to get to Ford. Matt stayed behind with the shop truck to refill the fuel trailer’s DEF tank, and I took off by myself with a head and went right to Ford. Dropped the trailer there, set up our regular charge accounts at a few places, went into Dodge City, checked into all of the rooms, and then ditched the pickup load of luggage into our room. Drove back to Ford where Matt was just pulling in. We went into the office for our field maps and chatted with the office people a bit. The combines were getting close, so we waited in the pickup instead of driving around. I totally fell asleep. Hard. Never heard the combines pull in next to us, etc. I woke up by five guys crawling inside of the pickup. It had rained in Ford Sunday night/Monday morning and the wheat isn’t completely quite there yet, so we headed into Dodge at about 430. Matt and I brougth them to Montana Mike’s which was our first “real” meal since leaving on harvest. After getting back to the hotel and unpacking a bit, we sat in the hot tub for awhile, and went to bed early. I even slept in this morning until 7. After a good night’s sleep and a hot meal, I feel fantastic.

We had a pretty good storm last night and got about half an inch of rain everywhere. We’re letting the guys sleep in while we figure out our game plan for the next few days. Six more of our combines and two more grain carts will get here by the end of the week, which means I’ll most likely be bouncing from Ford back to Dacoma a few times to help move headers.

Now, off for a real breakfast.