Sunday, November 1, 2015

A HARVEST-TIME STORY FOR YOU

By the time you read this we will officially be in autumn. September 23rd, 2015 is the first day of autumn. I’ve got mixed feelings about autumn in that it is such a visually beautiful time of the year but the shorter, cooler days are something I could do without. I guess you have to take the good with the bad though.


This time of year always reminds me of harvesting the crops. I had the good fortune of working on my sister and brother-in-law’s farm during a couple of harvests in the middle 1970’s when I was just out of high school. I drove truck during the harvest and things were a little different than they are today. Equipment wise that is.

My brother-in-law and his brother farmed two sections of land and they had a couple of smaller self-propelled combines and the truck I used to haul the grain back to the bins was an aptly named 1942 International Harvester. It was a long time ago but my memory tells me that the truck box held about 200 bushels of grain so I ran pretty steady trying to keep up to the two combines.

I had a great time during those harvests. We worked hard but we had fun, too. We built a lot of great memories during those long days and short nights. If the weather held we could cover a lot of ground, too.

One year we finished up our crops and moved over to help a neighbour finish off his last field before a fast moving thunderstorm was about to hit. We barely got the grain in the bin and the equipment into the shop before the skies opened up. Great timing! We were pretty excited that everything was finished and a celebration was in order.

However, my brother-in-law’s brother had promised his father-in-law that we would move over to his land and combine his swathed durum starting the next day. We all thought that the rain would have been pretty wide-spread so we weren’t too worried about the celebration going a little long and hard that night. As luck, or back luck as it were, would have it, the durum crop was completely missed by the rain and was dry as a bone and ready to go bright and early the next day. We, on the other hand, were not, but there was very little choice so we had to suck it up and go.

The farm we were going to was close to forty miles away and we had to drive the equipment to the durum field at an average speed of 11 miles an hour, or something, and it was about 37C that day. Pounding head, sandpaper mouth, no air conditioner, one radio station, water and aspirin for lunch, Rolaids for a snack…what a ride! Needless to say that was one of the longest, hottest, dry-mouthed rides I have ever had to make!

As I recall we didn’t get a lot accomplished in the field before the sun went down that day but we did manage to get a few rounds off before we called it a night. We were offered a full harvest meal and anything we wanted to drink. I was able to eat by then but I think coffee was the beverage of choice that particular day.

As I cruise the area roads I see a lot of crop has been harvested with more still to come in some areas but it looks like things are winding down a bit now. If you’ve been harvesting I hope it went well for you and I’m pretty sure there will be more than a story or two to tell once the grain’s in the bin.

“And Fall, with her yeller harvest moon and the hills growin’ brown and golden under a sinkin’ sun.”-Roy Bean (1825-1903).



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