|Flag Day sunrise, June 14, 2022|
And so begins the end.
We began our 2022 Wheat Harvest last evening about 6:15. It won't be a banner year when it comes to wheat yield. That happened last year. But it is a banner year for another reason: It's our final wheat harvest as active farmers.
|Harvest begins, June 13, 2022|
I rode along last evening. I'm sure there will be plenty of other rides during this harvest season.
I have a record of our start dates since 2010 because that's when I started blogging:
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
2017: June 12
2018: June 12
2019: June 26
2020: June 16
I've told a few friends this, but I guess you're my friends, too. But it almost feels like people expect us to apologize or offer explanations for our decision to retire.
"You're retiring!? Farmers don't retire!" I've heard it from more than one person.
Well, we are. And I can't deny that there are bittersweet feelings about this being our final wheat harvest with "boots on the ground," so to speak. But we are at peace with the decision. Yesterday, Randy found out the truck driver that had said he'd drive won't be coming. This morning, there's a low tire on the semi trailer. (It's taking awhile to fill a truck this year because yields are lower after our dry winter and spring, so I guess there will be fewer truckloads going to the elevator anyway.)
Last evening, as we traveled east to west across the waving wheat field gobbling up yet another header-full of wheat, Randy said, "Well, I won't miss scooping out wheat from the bin to get it cleaned for seed wheat this summer." And I won't miss being up in the tractor cab, running the PTO, hoping he wasn't getting heat stroke inside that hot metal bin.
But, on this Flag Day - and every day - we are proud that we have been part of the American fabric - the American farmer.
This morning, a Facebook memory came up from five years ago. A friend at church had given me a bookmark that had been produced years ago by the Kansas Wheat Commission. I then put my own photos along the side for an illustration.
I still feel the same way about wheat. And I probably always will - whether I'm in the truck cab or the combine cab or just viewing the action from my dusty dirt road.