Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A Sloooooow Slog to the End: Wheat Harvest 2019

It's going to be a sloooooow slog to the end of Wheat Harvest 2019. Same song, 15th verse or so? At this juncture, waking up to the sound of rain on the roof at around 5 this morning is just another day when we say, "Well, I guess we aren't getting any wheat cut today either."
The wheat is kind of a lost cause at this point. The majority of the wheat hasn't been that good and what we have left is even worse. So we might as well be thankful for the rain on our dryland corn, which is tasseling and pollinating. (More on the corn crop on another day.) For the record, it was just another 0.15 to 0.20 of an inch this morning.
Monday started with hiring a bulldozer to come and pull out the combine and the 4-wheel-drive tractor that were stuck in a wheat field last Friday night. The oilfield service had initially planned to come and pull it out Saturday morning. Then we got another 1.5 to 2 inches of rain overnight Friday into Saturday. We knew there'd be no cutting with that additional rain, so Monday was soon enough and gave the ground a little more time to dry. 
The field where we had two pieces of equipment buried was one of the fields I featured in a blog post last fall, when we had 14 inches of rain in October (after 8 inches or so in August). At the time, I put together a collage of photos and called it "Quivira South" because of its location on the road which takes visitors to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge just a mile away. We had plenty of migrating waterfowl taking a break at our "lake" this fall and spring.
A wet fall and wet spring have kept that ground soggy, so Randy had initially bypassed it and cut other fields. As he was cutting last Friday, he was already going around mudholes, but the combine just dropped into a soft spot left behind by mudholes and underflow. He'd been able to back out of mud himself other times. And we'd already used the 4-wheel-drive tractor to successfully pull the combine out one other time in the same field.
However, this time, the tractor was mired in mud, too.
I was along for the combine ride on my nightly "date" with my farmer after delivering suppers to the field, so I, too, got to hike back to the pickup. I was glad I'd worn my ratty tennis shoes.
I'm always a "Nervous Nellie" when using big ropes and big equipment to pull things out. I just don't want anyone - or anything - to get hurt. However, the dozer pulled both combine and tractor out of the muck. The tractor and combine weren't left with any damage. The field, on the other hand, has deep gouges left behind by grinding tractor and combine tires and dozer tracks.
I didn't get the video started soon enough, but here's the end of the combine being pulled out.

If we needed any confirmation about the power of a small town "news network," both Randy and I got it yesterday. I was in charge of the Circles meal served at our church last evening. The first question I got asked was, "Did you get your combine pulled out?" Randy said his stops at the co-op, the grocery store, the body shop, the parts store and points in between had several people querying about our stuck combine and tractor. Yes, Stafford and the surrounding metropolitan - or not so metropolitan - area: We got everything pulled out!

I realized I do have some photos of prettier harvest times that I haven't shared yet. On the evening of the 4th of July, I was riding with Randy at sunset and had nature's fireworks in the night sky.
Even in that pretty sunset photo, you can see the remnants of fall and spring rains. Near the sun in the photo, you can see a large green space - a mudhole that stretches from the wheat field into the corn field. I took a few photos of those mudholes in the corn along the mile-long field earlier in the evening.
I watched the 4th of July sunset through the front windshield and then in the rearview mirror as we slowly chugged back to the east.
I chose the rearview mirror photo above to feature because I didn't like the weeds in the shot below. And then I realized that having the weeds growing up in the mudholes and in the wheat itself is a more accurate portrayal of Wheat Harvest 2019.
In truth, we'd be happy to see all of wheat harvest in our rearview mirror, but we have several soggy locations left.

Later, as the sun went down and the humidity went up and we we quit harvesting for the evening, we watched fireworks light up the sky over Stafford.

Let's hope the remainder of the wheat cutting doesn't include any fireworks.


  1. Ugh! Good luck with getting finished. We’ve missed the rains the last two weeks. We wish we could have had your rain last weekend.

    1. As I said, we're trying to see it as a positive for the dryland corn, which is looking good. I hope you get what you need soon, too.

  2. Ugh, I'm so sorry about all the headaches you've been having! I was wondering how you would be able to get a combine out of the muck. I sure hope your corn harvest makes up for the wheat harvest this year!
    The weather all over, has just been so bizarre this past year! One of the guys at work last week mentioned that it has now been one year since we've been in this weather pattern.

    1. We had a wet August last year, and the moisture has continued since then for us. We'll give the wheat another try this afternoon, I imagine.

  3. The 'JOYS" of farming. All the best for the remainder of the harvest.

    1. This harvest hasn't been a lot of joy. We are still cutting. For one location, he's not even going to try again until Monday to let the ground dry out some more.