Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Giving Up the Co-Pilot's Seat: Wheat Harvest 2022


We almost needed one of those number dispensers that they used to have on the counter at Baskin-Robbins during the summertime rush. Plucking one of those numbers from the spool guaranteed your place in the line to order your scoop of one of 31 flavors.

It may not have been ice cream, but there was still a line to ride in Grandpa's buddy seat this past weekend, when the whole family made a quick trip to the farm. I didn't think it was going to happen. Jill, Eric and the girls had planned to come, but Brent and Susan had just returned from their honeymoon. However, Friday afternoon, they made the decision to get in the car and come, so they were last-minute additions to the harvest "party." 

There was no homemade ice cream - or Baskin-Robbins, for that matter - but there was frozen lemonade dessert for all.  And everyone got a ride or two (or 3) in Grandpa's co-pilot seat.

It made my day - and weekend - to have everyone here together.

The bright sun may have not been particularly conducive to quality photos. But I'm still glad to have them as we celebrated wheat harvest as a family one last time.

I'm sure our kids remember wheat harvest with a mix of emotions. During such a busy time, there's pressure to get a lot done. The hours are long. The time is short. Machinery breaks down. You make trips to the parts counter or the co-op. You think things are fixed ... then they break again. The weather doesn't cooperate. Tempers boil over. By the end, people are exhausted. And after a celebratory dinner at a favorite restaurant (a harvest tradition), then there are always new farm tasks to complete - like the seemingly endless job of working wheat stubble to prepare it for the next crop.

But I also know they learned a lot about working hard ... working together ... doing a job well ... being dependable. Those long hours on the farm working with family helped shape them into the successful adults they are today.


As always, Randy loves combine "hitchhikers." And Kinley and Brooke are definitely favorite riders.

He loves answering their questions and introducing this generation to their agricultural roots. This year, Grandpa got to see them before I did. They spotted Randy on the combine as they drove by, and their parents let them out for their first combine ride of the weekend. It wouldn't be their last!

Randy is glad to tell them about their mom, who was our truck driver back in the day. They always come back to the house with reports of wildlife they've seen. Jill even got to see a bobcat.

This was the second year that Susan was part of our harvest-style family reunion.

We ate "out" with our special dinner guests.


Grandpa was the instigator behind this posed photo.

This type of "eating out" may not be the norm when you have dinner guests. Maybe they can't be called "guests" when they are drafted into work.

One afternoon, Brooke illustrated the lunch bags while Kinley rode the combine.

It's a tradition that the girls draw pictures showing each dinner guest's interests and hobbies.

There can be some interesting seating arrangements. Grandpa likes to stand up to eat since he spends hours sitting in the combine cab, so we don't bring a table and chairs, like some farm families do.

Since our truck driver fell through, Randy has been cutting the wheat, then hauling it to the co-op. But that made for another experience for the girls (and others) who rode along on the trip to Zenith.

There's a lot to learn at the elevator, too.

Cities aren't the only places with tall structures.

After the grain was dumped, they headed back to the scale house for the ticket, which gives the amount of grain delivered, the quality, the moisture and any dockage.

After supper, it was time for Daddy-Daughter time - old style. Jill rode with her dad both Friday and Saturday nights.

Photo by Jill

It was a flashback to her truck-driving days, when she'd catch a ride in the air-conditioning and wait for the truck to get filled before another trip to Zenith.

Everyone left shortly after lunch on Sunday to return to their own lives. But it was the perfect gift for a Father's Day weekend for a Kansas wheat farmer.

Photo by Jill

Then Randy was just left with me as a helper again. It may have been Father's Day, but those clouds - the first of this harvest season - seemed like a gift to amateur photographers like me.


More photos to come in upcoming reports!


  1. Kim, a beautiful harvest commentary! Nothing compares to all you learn and teach the next generation than good Ole wheat harvest 101! The climax point to a seasons worth if blood, sweat and tears!!

    1. It was great to have everyone here, one last time. Randy loves sharing it with others. And now, for a dramatic pause: We got 1.10" of rain last night, but a quarter inch the evening before. So we will have a little downtime before we can finish. I'm glad everyone came last weekend.

  2. Incredibly special memories made of this last harvest!

    1. We were glad everyone was able to be here, and it was especially fun to have everyone here at the same time. We weren't sure that was going to happen with a wedding, honeymoon, etc.