“I FEEL BLESSED TO HAVE HAD SUCH A BACKGROUND, WHERE ANIMALS FOOD RAISING, AND CANNING WERE A NATURAL PART OF LIFE.”
As I write this the first combines are cutting wheat along the Kansas and Oklahoma border. Normally this time of year I have to fight the crazy urge to buy or find a combine and plunge headlong into a season that I grew up with. For a large part of my life, regardless of what I was doing at the time for a living, I never thought I would not be on a tractor or combine for the rest of my life.
My how times change. I wrote a poem once about a good friend of mine that we called ‘Big Daddy’ as he labored to get up into his combine for his last harvest. I watched the pain and struggle both physically and emotionally as he knew he would never see this piece of land again from the seat of a combine or tractor. Now as I would be doing the same thing trying to climb into a machine it would be the same. But now the machines are even bigger and more complicated.
It is a long way from the 403 International combine I ran for years or my uncles 95 and 4400 John Deere. I made my way over to a friends farm last year to get pictures of his new Case/IH combine with a 45 foot header. Yes a long ways from my 18 footer I used to run. Now they are using 60 foot headers on some machines.
Even though there is still a harvest madness today the trucks are tandems and tractor trailer rigs and not the antique pulled from the shed with a pickup tag wired on and sometimes no tail lights. Things have changed and I have found that I am not keeping up as well with things as I used to. When I was active as an auctioneer I stayed current on values, I had to it was my business. And yet when I went to my aunts auction I thought she was taking a blood bath because of the prices. To me the tractors and equipment were nearly new and prices are higher than that, so I thought. It had not occurred to me that even though everything was like new, that is the way my uncle always had things, they were twenty years old. I am simply out of date.
This year there is no urge to go find a combine except to photograph. But the madness of harvest is still here. Those who are on the roads need to be patient and understand that this is the time that farmers are setting the wage for the years labors. It will not hurt one bit if you take a little precaution and give the machines and trucks a little lea way on the road. There is no reason to take a chance of injury or dying for a faster speed. And put that phone away, it is not that important to talk or text. These machines are bigger than you and you will not come out very good.