Thursday, June 16, 2016

Gold at the End of the Rainbow: Wheat Harvest 2016

Taken at sunrise, June 14, 2016
Do you remember when you were a little kid and you were waiting for Christmas? At my childhood home, the Christmas tree was in the living room, the room without the television. But as Christmas approached, I might even give up Major Astro to sit in the quiet and contemplate what might be in the colorfully-wrapped presents under the tree. This near-sighted girl would take off her glasses and the lights seemed to shimmer even more in the blur and glow of multi-colored illumination.

That's kind of what it's been like around here this week. Early this week, the moisture reader on the combine showed 16 one day and 15 the next. As a neighbor started cutting, the underlying song of life seemed to be "Anticipation, anticipation is making me wait."

But the wait was finally over yesterday afternoon as Wheat Harvest 2016 began on the County Line. Yes, I capitalize Wheat Harvest intentionally because it's that important to us. It's our primary crop.

Randy made it a whole round before the first breakdown. But it only required a trip to Stafford before he was up and running again.

Tuesday morning, I could tell it was going to be a pretty sunrise, so I went out to take photos. As the sun came up, I noticed a partial rainbow in the west. I drove to a wheat field to get a photo. (It's never as pretty in the photo as it was in person. Rainbows aren't easy to capture in a photo. The colors are often too subtle.)

But I couldn't help but wonder,  "Will there be gold at the end of the rainbow?"
Time will tell. So far, yields are good.  Though it seemed like it took forever to get here, this year's start to harvest is pretty consistent with the past seven years. (I have good records of the past seven years because I've been blogging that long):

2010:  June 18
2011:  June 10
2012:  May 26 (an anomaly and the earliest harvest, by far, we've ever had)
2013:  June 21
2014:  June 17
2015:  June 20
2016:  June 15

Randy has been anxious to try out our new-to-us combine. At a farm auction this spring, he purchased a 2010 7120 Case combine, along with a 2011 35-foot flex head header and a trailer to pull the header.
This combine is 16 years newer than the combine we'd been using for 14 years. (We bought that one at a farm auction is 2002.)  This combine had 1,500 engine hours before harvest started, compared to 3,800 on our old combine.It's definitely like Christmas for him, once we got past the short-lived breakdown. Harvest is always his favorite part of the year.
Yesterday afternoon, storm clouds and some sprinkles also had us thinking that we were going to have another delay. Some friends north of Stafford got hail, so we'll need to check to see if our fields in that area got hit.
In our location, though, we were able to keep cutting, with only a little bump in the wheat's moisture content as Ricky delivered the truckload to Zenith.
Combine shadow and trucks through the combine windshield
It did make for some dramatic blue skies as Randy unloaded another binload into the semi.
Near sundown, the back draft from the storms to the east brought winds that kicked up dirt from fields and mingled with wheat chaff in the air, creating an odd-colored sunset and sky. (Naturally, the combine wasn't down at my end at the time, but it probably would have been too dusty anyway for a decent photo.)
We've already had some drama and that was just Day One! We're ready for Day Two: Wish us luck!


  1. Busy times and still you find time to share with your readers. Just awesome to follow your harvest. Loving the colours and close ups of the wheat. Best wishes for a successful completion.

    1. Thank you, Helen. So far, so good, but we have a long way to go.

  2. Now all the fun begins with getting all the wheat off. Your photos are gorgeous, that sky was just amazing. Hope your harvest continues to go well.

    1. We got 1.80" rain, so we have been out of the field for a couple of days. We'll see whether we can get on the ground today.