southwestern kansas

Hello. It has been a busy couple of days again. We left from Ponca City yesterday morning and the weather was not very conducive to moving. We got out of the campground at a decent time (I don’t remember exactly but maybe 8:30 or so) and the temperature was already in the high 90s. I should have looked at the humidity but it felt completely wet outside.

As we traveled west, the temperature rose but the humidity went down. The temperature peaked at 108 degrees but luckily, we had no problems traveling. We always unload at the Richfield elevator but when we pulled in, for about the first time ever, they didn’t unload the tractor and grain cart right away. Instead, they parked it and we continued on to Manter – about 25 miles North. We started setting up around 4:30- and the temperature was still well above 100. Where we park in Manter is next to this shed so the area is long and narrow. There is room for two campers (ours and Bruce & Leigh’s) next to the shed and then the hired guys are parked behind the shed. It probably took a little more time to park last night because Leigh and I wanted to face each other if possible. This way, our awnings would be toward each other so if need be, we could have the area very well shaded. Our mats also give a nice walkway between campers so less tracking into the campers and it’s a nice area for Briar to play. It’s also convenient and I’m all about that.

While the guys were finishing some smaller setup things, I had blake fill Briar’s pool with air from the compressor. Bruce then filled it with water so Bri got to start pool time before I even was close to having the camper set up. The grass was crunchy when we got here so we didn’t want to leave the vehicle running. Needless to say, the babe was hot and it was good that she got cooled down. After her little dip, we headed over to Johnson City to El Torino’s or El Mesquite…it has both names up. This is basically the traditional eating spot for when they (we) get into Manter. Having last summer be my first Harvest, I am just reporting some information from a fairly reliable source.

Last night I was able to do a few things in the camper as Blake was around to watch Briar. I finished getting it set up and fairly organized. One of our farmers stopped by to talk to Blake briefly about certain fields, yields, and what not. Other than that, we just relaxed having been wiped out from the heat and the drive.

This morning, the guys headed out right away and got the tractor unloaded. They couldn’t cut the first field they tried because it yielded THREE. And that was in the “better looking wheat.” Blake said it has been six years since they have been able to cut that. They farm on a rotating basis due to the dry conditions so one year a certain field will be planted and the next it will be summer fallow. Well apparently, 2009 and 2011 were too poor to cut and 2008, 2010, and 2012 the field was summer fallow. Blake and Bruce were also talking about how about every five years, this area has a good year and how it has been five years and they’re due. Not every year is this dry but they certainly are due.

At supper, Blake had said we had to leave two quarters (320 acres) because the yield wasn’t high enough. In the other 250 they tried, they were about to cut 200 of it so 200 of 570 acres were cut as of supper. I know we were able to cut more after supper but not sure on the acres. They worked pretty late tonight even though we don’t have the pressure to get to Tribune. Manter is only 65 miles south of Tribune so essentially, they are ripe at the same time. In typical years, it is a push to get to Manter to get up to Tribune but we knew we didn’t have any acres in Tribune in early May. Briar was being a little turkey about bed time. Highly missed are the days when she would go to bed at 10 pm in her crib, wake at 5 am for a bottle, and sleep until 8 or 9. I hope we can meet again this fall.

Here are some pictures of the drought land that is known as Southwest Kansas.


Dry, dry, dry!


I was walking to take a couple pictures and noticed my foot prints. It’s dust.


It’s hard to tell where they have combined in person as well.


This is what 5 bushel wheat looks like.


Poor girls will need a bath!


Little gusts of wind will come up and dust is everywhere. It makes you really appreciate showers.


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