American flags weren't the only things flying on Memorial Day this year.
Strong south winds blew Harvest 2012 onto our South Central Kansas farm over the weekend. Those amber waves of grain could have made you seasick with their tossing and turning on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It's not out of the ordinary to be cutting wheat on the 4th of July. Back when I was a kid, we were usually cutting wheat on my birthday, June 27, and harvest often extended into early July.
Since Randy and I have been married, harvest seems to have arrived earlier. and we have often been done cutting by my birthday and, certainly, by Independence Day. (Independence Day is rather an apt description of how it feels to be done with harvest, but I digress.)
But, until this year, we've never cut wheat on Memorial Day. We took our first truckloads of wheat to town on Saturday, May 26. Other people began cutting before we did. An area farmer cut one small field north of Stafford and hauled it to town on May 22. It caused a lot of "combine fever" and scrambling by his neighbors to find some dry wheat.
More joined the harvest parade by Friday, May 25, but ours was still too wet to cut. But, by late afternoon on Saturday, the moisture was down to 13.5, and Harvest 2012 on The County Line commenced.
Randy has been farming since he was a sophomore in high school. (Oh my goodness! That's 40 years.) He can't remember cutting wheat before the second week in June.
My parents, who have been farming full-time in Pratt County since the 1950s, think June 7th was their earliest wheat harvest start until this year.
According to a neighbor, Randy's late Great Uncle Glenn Bagley cut wheat on May 30th, though we're not sure what year. Randy rented his first farm ground from his Uncle Glenn, who lived just a half mile to the south of Randy's boyhood home, and we still farm for his daughter, Mary.
We decorated Randy's folks' graves on Friday afternoon with his sister, Kathy, and her girls, Amanda and Emily. (How did I miss getting photos?!)
On Sunday, Randy missed the annual cemetery trek with my family. But I went on the annual excursion to Pratt's Greenlawn Cemetery, as well as Iuka, Pleasant Plains, Prattsburg and Macksville Cemeteries.
It was a first cemetery tour for my great-niece Neelly. She posed by her great-great-grandparents' gravestone, for whom she is named.
She got quite the family history lesson (and I'm sure at 13 months,
she'll remember every word of it.) She and Great Grandma Moore posed at
Neelly's great-great-great grandpa's grave in the Prattsburg Cemetery in
rural Stafford County.
(To read more about the unusual Woodmen of the World grave marker, read this post
by blogger Lynda Beck Fenwick.)
But I was back home in time to make my Meals on Wheels delivery to the guys and to see a spectacular sunset over the wheat fields.
More to come on Harvest 2012!