|Hauling tractor and wagons|
I got the call from my parents asking if I would be available to help them for a few days down on the farm. I checked my calendar and it was clear for a few days, so I packed a lunch and headed down to the farm. My parents were on the downside of the harvest and were down to the last handful of fields though among that handful were two fields that are the farthest away from the core farm. What that means on a year like this year when the corn was particularly good was that we had a lot of corn to move a long ways to get it stored away for the season. The first field was about a five mile haul and the the second field was closer but still about a four mile haul. Both fields were about 120 acres in size which means that it takes a full two days of harvesting to get them done.
My mom generally runs the combine and a full time hired hand that works for my parents works the catch wagon. His job is to follow my mom around the field and when the combine is full, to keep pace beside her so she can unload without stopping. This speeds up the harvest process considerably and keeps one of the most expensive pieces of equipment running constantly and thus most efficiently. Once a couple combine loads have been caught in the catch wagon, my parent's hired hand will unload it in the wagons that are parked nearby. My job is to keep those wagons close at hand and yet not in the way. When they are full, I hook up to them and pull them from the fields five miles down the road to where the grain bins that we store the grain in are located.
|Combine unloading into catch wagon "on the go"|
It took us two full days of working from dawn to past sunset to get all the corn cut and hauled in from the first field five miles away. The next day we started in on the field that was four miles away, in the complete opposite direction of our core farm and made a good dent. Although my parents had only asked for three days, I volunteered a fourth day to finish that field which we did with about 45 minutes of daylight to spare.
Although not physically demanding most of the time, hauling in grain does take a fair bit of mental focus. You are hauling in very heavy loads over gravel roads so you have to work the shifter, clutch and brakes carefully to prevent yourself from ending up in a ditch buried under tons of metal and grain. Despite the mental focus it takes, it does allow me to cleanse my mind for awhile as I concentrate on the job at hand and forget about the rest of my life for awhile.
|Catch wagon emptying load into traveling wagons. I'm always impressed at how well my camera phone works taking photos directly into the sunlight.|