Year after year, I never know where to start on this thing once harvest begins. I mean, is it December when Blake and Bruce have to make the decision again on whether or not to purchase new combines. March, where the bad news starts coming in on the outlook for the start of harvest and how Montana is getting so much rain that crops are being planted so late. April, where we remodeled our camper that finally got wrapped up just days before we left.
What I am inadequately trying to say is that even though we are on the wheat run typically from early June – late August, so much of our lives is wrapped up in the wheat harvest run. Maybe in subtle ways like how I know if a house project isn’t well on it’s way by February, it just has to get moved until the following winter. It also affects our lives in the bigger ways. Obviously, the financial outlook on the year is largely based on harvest but also, how we schedule our year and the plans we make with friends is so dependent on harvest.
So I’ll unwisely start a good 8-9 months ago and get this all up to speed. Fall Harvest ’17 was a late start. The rain would not go away until it finally did and it was fast and furious until we finished about a week before Thanksgiving.
When we finally were able to go, this little bug was excited to get a ride. He wasn’t able to last too long last fall before yanking at the wheel, climbing all over, and just being a pain in the cab.
The next week was a little hectic with Blake trying to get things cleaned off and put away on top of my sister Tess’s wedding Thanksgiving weekend.
We cleaned up better than expected. 😉
As it always is, December was a fast month. Between celebrating the girls’ combined 5th and 3rd birthdays, preparing for Christmas, and heading to Minneapolis for a weekend, the month flew by. We ordered the new combines somewhat late, partly because of everything we had going on.
In March, we found out that Oklahoma had 75-80% of their crop zeroed out and a full crew wouldn’t have to go down there. It was somewhat decided that if hauling was available, either Blake or Bruce would head down to Sentinel and the other would stay home. This is also when the discussion of taking two machines instead of three began. We may bring the third machine to Montana if needed but time will tell. April came in wet and hauling wasn’t happening until toward the end but my camper got a little renovation, which is a whole separate future post.
Toward the end of April, things dried up and the guys were putting in some really long days hauling fertilizer. A few days before the first group left for Oklahoma, one of our drivers just slightly missed the corner but hauling liquid fertilizer, it ended up pulling the whole truck in and totaling Blake’s truck. With all the hauling up until Bruce and Leigh headed to Oklahoma, Blake had a busy week and a half taking a load down to Oklahoma, getting things ready, such as packing the cargo trailer, finishing up the other combine, dealing with the insurance claim, etc. While Bruce was cutting In Oklahoma, he hit an unmarked old oil well and totaled the MacDon Header. At least, it’s totaled in our heads as we are still dealing with insurance on the matter. Blake then had to take a different header halfway to Oklahoma, meet Lloyd, and bring home the empty trailer. The header is so bent up that it wouldn’t go back on the trailer. Not our best luck / month. From mid-April to the time we left, the kids don’t see Blake much and during one tired outburst, Briar stayed matter of factly, that it was time to go on harvest so she could finally spend time with her daddy.
I also had a busy month, seeing people before we left, keeping the kids occupied, cleaning up the house, and packing the camper. My mom was a huge help with keeping the kids for a few days and also coming down to help out the couple days before we left.
June 12th, about two weeks behind schedule, Blake and I headed out to Manter, KS. We got there the next day and Bruce and Leigh arrived a few hours later. We thought we would have a couple rest days before we could cut but surprisingly, we were able to cut Thursday. It ripened south of town basically field by field. While in Manter, we had a whole slew of storms come through SW Kansas but we hadn’t been hit too bad, unlike Garden City and Scott City who have been absolutely hammered this month.
With the rain days, we were able to have some fun. We took the kids to the Garden City Zoo, a free zoo but we chose to rent a bike cart and during it, Briar said, “This is the funnest day I’ve ever had.” Hyperbole runs in the family but it really was a fun day.
Besides the whole zoo day, the kids have also been getting in plenty of rides, even all heading out one morning. With Blake and Bruce in the combines, they split up between dad and papa and they all have fun, but probably not as much as I do. Joking aside, there has been a shift from overwhelm to more enjoyment with the kids all getting a little older. Simple things like going to the park aren’t some huge ordeal and going to the field is going to the field compared to a daily Presidential Physical Fitness Test I remember from elementary school, along with the shame of not ever “passing.”
Run out, start the car, get Cal in his car seat, wait did I burp him? Shit! The potatoes are burning. Briar, where are your shoes? Grab the main dish, load it up, where did I put the plates? Okay, Cal, back in the car seat and out to the car. Grab Addie and her shoes, I’ll deal with that later. Come on , BRIAR! Oh my gosh, the vegetable. Start them, go to the bathroom, fill my water, take the diaper bag out to the car, come in and grab the dessert. Calculate if I should grab a bottle for Cal. Load it in the car and then wait for the vegetables while I sadly look around at the mess we were living in and knowing I was going to have to deal with that later. Take the vegetables out and call Blake that I was finally in the car, a full 20 minutes later than I planned. I told you hyperbole runs in the family but 2016 was rough, on top of being split up every stop besides the first and last that the summer. Now when I think of how easy things currently are, it’s a comparison to that summer. Last summer was also hard but not that hard.
Cal stayed out with Blake but didn’t have his blankie so four shop towels did the trick!
We finished up in Manter Tuesday evening, they loaded that night, left Wednesday morning at 8 am and pulled into Tribune around 9:30. I walked the kids to the convenience store to use the bathroom and by the time we got back, Blake was just plugging in the electric and then took off to grab the remaining equipment. Pit crew style. The kids and I got set up and then Bruce and Leigh showed up, they had went to settle up on their way. When all the guys got back, we ate, and they headed up to unload equipment. Surprisingly, they were able to start cutting and got two 80s cut that night. Yesterday, they were able to cut 440, which only having two combines with this summer, a pretty good day.
There isn’t any rain in the forecast so this may be a quick stop. Next on the list will be Chappell, then Chadron, followed by the final stop of Circle. This is bound to be the strangest summer I’ve had on the road as miss Bri starts kindergarten in August so the kids and I only have about seven weeks left on the road. As always, I don’t want to make promises but hopefully the next update won’t be of the past 8-9 months. Have a great weekend!