Sunday, September 30, 2012

Harvest is finally here!

I haven't even begun to post on harvest, which is like the Christmas of farming! We just started last week and we are FLYING through it thanks to wonderful dry sunny perfect fall weather.  I love harvest so much. Seth is so happy during it, it means fall is here, and I love riding alongside in the combine.

For those of you who don't farm or aren't familiar with crop farming, I thought I'd do a "who's who" in harvest.  Every member of the team is vital when it comes to harvesting, so I thought it would be good to introduce them!

The combine driver:  The combine is obviously the heart of harvest. If its broken down, you're out of luck.  They are remarkably huge, comfortable to ride in, and require a lot of maintenance.  Since we harvest both corn and soybeans, the combine has two different "heads" that attach to the front of it. One for corn (they are the ones with the pointy things on the front, some people have 6 row heads that pick 6 rows of corn at a time, and some people have 16 row heads, which pick 16 rows at a time) and then there is the bean head for the soybeans.  Our combine driver is usually Ted, but he lets Seth and Grant drive too, especially if their lovely lady friends come to ride along. :) That was basically Seth and my first "real" date, which made him happy he could show off for me.

Last year's combine with the corn head (8 row)
I found this old picture to show what the bean head looks like. Seth was a senior in high school when this was taken. Isn't he so cute?! I think so!
The grain cart:  The combine has a small hopper (what holds the grain) on it, but when it gets full, you have to put it somewhere else. This is what the grain cart is for. The cart is attached to a tractor, and the driver pulls it alongside the combine as the combine is still picking to collect the grain. This way the combine never stops moving.  After the grain cart gets full, the driver dumps that grain into the semi. This job usually belongs to Seth, Grant, or my dad...but sometimes if Ted is in a pinch Taylor and I man the grain cart. She's brave enough to unload on the semi, but I haven't worked up to that yet. I'm too scared I'll spill grain, and if you spill grain, you have to shovel it into the semi, which is nearly impossible! Its fun to drive though!

The combine unloading on the go into the grain cart

The grain cart is really heavy and causes a lot of soil compaction, so you want to try to run it efficiently so you're not driving it on the field more than needed

The semi:  The semi driver has to do a lot of hurry up and wait. After the grain cart empty's into the semi trailer, the semi takes off for the farm where it will dump the grain into the storage bins, or where it will go through the dryer system.  Corn is often wet when its picked, and if its stored wet, it will rot and you will lose all that grain in that bin. So the corn goes through a dryer if its above a certain moisture level.  After the semi driver is done dumping the grain and turns off the auger, he then has to hurry up and get back to the fields before the grain cart is full again. Sometimes that means 2 semi's are on the go, especially if we are at a field far away. Steve, or "Super Steve", is usually the semi driver and his little boy, Tanner, usually rides along too.

The semis: The Bumblebee and the Brown Semi. Riding in the bumblebee is pretty fancy, there's a tv, fridge, and the bed in the sleeper cab is so comfortable for naps when riding to the elevator.

The short order cook:  Men working in the fields get incredibly grumpy when they are hungry, and require a lot of fuel to keep them going just like the tractors and combines need fuel.  Thankfully, these men have wonderful women back at the home front who love them and are willing to cook up quick meals to run out to them in the fields! Vicki is a pro, and I am still in training. But so far no one has complained about what I've fixed them, except that I only gave 2 Oreos per person.

Harvest is crazy busy, and you can get burnt out quickly...which is why I am hoping it will rain soon to force the boys to take a break. This is when accidents can happen, but luckily everyone is usually pretty excited and positive about the whole process, as well as safe. We definitely have fun out there though, taking turns riding with the drivers to keep them company, watching the semi driver and grain cart driver play football between dumps, and overall, just enjoying one another's company.

Family fun in the combine!

If any of you live in the area, and wanna take a ride in the combine, let me know! We love having company, and you may score one of Vicki's sack lunches out of the deal :)

1 comment:

  1. My oldest would LOVE to! She used to ride with my Uncle Dave before he passed away and now no one in my family farms so she doesn't get to. She asks every time we see a combine if she'll get to ride one this year. I might just take you up on it. :)