Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wheat Harvest 2018

I was busy babysitting my two-year-old grandson during harvest this year while his mommy, our younger daughter, drove truck. 

But she had an afternoon off, and the boss (the love of my life) summoned me to make him an iced mocha and bring it out to the Upshaw ranch, where they were cutting. The ranch is only four or so miles from home, so I did my Kerig magic, grabbed his Blistex, and drove on out. 

Mike standing in front of an almost-empty truck and holding his  trophy, his quart-sized iced mocha. At some of the ranches we cut, our truck drivers haul the grain to a commercial elevator. At several other ranches, we have home storage. This ranch has home storage, so the grain is being dumped out of the truck and augered up into a grain bin. The auger is powered by a small tractor to the left of the truck.

Mike suggested that since I was here, maybe I should spend some time with two of our grandkids, who are new to the crew this year. That was enough to talk me into it, though it was miserably hot. Was it 102? Or 104? 

And it was dusty. My nose began to run immediately and my throat got a little choked up. The thought of our grandkids being on the crew might've had something to do with that. 

 Mike and I have left the grain bins and are back in the Freightliner, waiting for Miya, our sixteen-year-old granddaughter, to come off the hill with her loaded truck. The hills are far steeper than the camera makes out, and with a full load, trucks are tippy. She's slow, but that's perfectly okay. She'll speed up as she gets more experience. It's best to be safe.

Mike is so proud of the kids. There are any number of dangers in being part of a harvest crew. Miya and Trent both have cool heads and trust their instincts, which is extremely important.

Mike and Miya are trading trucks. He will take hers, which is fully loaded, back to the auger and load the wheat into the grain bin. Miya will hop into the Freightliner with me and we'll go back for more wheat. 

 Miya is very talented. She's in National Honor Society, is a junior class officer. She's been a varsity cheerleader since 9th grade, and for two sports, which is highly unusual. She's also into track. Go, Miya!
Here, I see one of our combines in the distance, kicking up dust. We are on a grass ridge top. There's a pretty steep drop off between us and the combine, although you can't tell from the picture.  
Here, I see both of our combines. My camera phone's been facing the sun, and has gotten so hot that the pictures are blacking out. I need to wait for it to cool down before I can take more.  
While waiting for my camera phone to become usable again, I got into one of the combines with Trentin, our fifteen-year-old grandson. It takes skill and endless physical and mental energy to stay on top of driving a combine from early in the morning until 8:00-9:00 pm. His dad, our son, worked with him a lot, and Trentin did a fantastic job. At school, he's into Football, Wrestling and Track. As a freshman, he is already a formidable wrestler.  
A deer in the field. Not an unusual sight. He will be fine. He'll just bound away in a minute.  
I like to watch the grain being pulled into header, where the stalks get cut off and, somewhere in the process, the grain kernels get separated out. It's the separating of the wheat from the chaff. 

The view ahead. Where is our other combine? Must be on the other side of the dip. 

 Oh, here it is. Trentin's dad, Jeremy, is leading the way. 
 The bulk tank is full of wheat and we need to dump it. Two trucks are in the field. We will fill the partially loaded one with this dump.

 One more picture of Trentin as I get out of the combine and join the trucks. He's such a great kid, like his sister is!
 Here's how big a combine is: You need to climb a ladder to get into it. The wheel wells are taller than I am. 
 My chariot awaits me, and the love of my life. He will help me into the truck if need be. Naw. I can grab some handles and hoist myself up into it. I'll let Mike close the door behind me, since he wants to be helpful.
 Trentin's manouvering the arm over the truck bed. Wheat will soon be pouring into the truck. 
 Got a picture of the header. What a set of scissoring teeth.
 Wheat dumping into the truck.
 At the grain auger again. 
Some of tens of thousands of bushels of wheat that were taken off our ranches this harvest. We are a small, family operation. 


  1. I LOVE this! Not only did I have an opportunity to see what it's like to farm during harvest (something I will never experience in my lifetime), but I felt as though I got to glimpse at your family scrapbooks. Lovely...

    1. Yes, Molly, when I scrapbook, I like to tell a story with my pictures. This sequence will be scrapbooked, however the journaling will be, understandably, slightly different. No need to explain to the family who we are and how we do what we do. ;)

  2. Thank you for sharing this insight into the life on the 'Good Earth' <3

  3. Thanks, Joyce. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. I really enjoyed this post--what an amazing glimpse into the life of the wheat farmer :-) I never knew the scope of it all before. And the photos are terrific, showing the expanse of land, technicalities of harvest, and the fantastic (family) crew you have. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Kenda. Once when I was corresponding with a writer who lived in what I would consider exotic India, she remarked that my life is every bit as exotic to most people.

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